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Tablet deathmatch: Apple iPad 2 vs. Motorola Xoom

The Xoom gave the original iPad a strong challenge, but does the iPad 2 knock it back down?

By Galen Gruman, InfoWorld
March 14, 2011 05:58 PM ET

Page 14 of 14

The winner: In the original deathmatch between the Xoom and the iPad 1, this category was the toughest call, given pros of the Xoom's cameras, video mirroring, and easier SD card usage versus the pros of the iPad 1's battery life and superior enclosure design and screen. But the iPad 2 erases the Xoom's advantages, even with the iPad 2's underpowered camera, making the iPad 2 the clear winner.

The overall winner is ...

The iPad 2 beats the Xoom in most of our comparison's categories -- often in significant ways. Still, make no mistake that the Xoom is a strong tablet offering, despite some annoyances (mainly related to software). But it lacks the fit, finish, elegance, and cohesion of the iPad 2. After all of these years of Apple's consistency in this regard, it never ceases to amaze me that competitors haven't wised up. Quality across the board has to be a given.

Still, for many users not blinded or charmed (take your pick) by the Apple way, the Xoom is a compelling tablet. If you're in the Android smartphone camp already, it's an easy pick as a tablet. We're only at the beginning of the Android tablet wave, so if you're leaning Android but have no pressing need for a tablet today, it makes sense to see what else comes on the market before committing to the Xoom. But if you're not a member of the Fandroid camp, the iPad 2 is the one to pick.

Motorola Mobility Xoom vs. Apple iPad 2

Price

Supported U.S. networks

Bottom line

Motorola Mobility Xoom

$800 (32GB); $600 with two-year contract

Verizon Wireless, with data plans of $20 for 1GB, $35 for 3GB, $50 for 5GB, and $80 for 10GB; setup fee is $35. The use of tethering adds $20.

The first 10-inch Android tablet and the first model to use the tablet-optimized Android 3.0 OS, the Xoom packs the hardware capabilities that many users want. The Xoom's use of widgets and notifications keeps users more easily up-to-date. On the downside, the widescreen display results in awkward visual cramping, and several software and UI flaws suggest a rushed debut.

Apple iPad 2

iPad 2 with Wi-Fi: $500 (16GB), $600 (32GB), $700 (64GB); iPad 2 with Wi-Fi and 3G: $630 (16GB), $730 (32GB), $830 (64GB)

AT&T, with no-commitment data plans of $15 for 250MB and $25 for 2GB; Verizon Wireless, with no-commitment data plans of $20 for 1GB, $35 for 3GB, $50 for 5GB, and $80 for 10GB. For both carriers, the use of tethering adds $20.

The revamped model of the device that created the tablet phenomenon is even moreso the best tablet available, with a cohesive, elegant UI; lots and lots of apps; and a solid, well-designed enclosure. Its new inclusion of cameras and ability to mirror its display to an external monitor erase the major deficits of the original iPad. But note the camera produces mediocre still images and merely adequate video.

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This story, "Tablet deathmatch: Apple iPad 2 vs. Motorola Xoom," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in mobile technology at InfoWorld.com. Follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter at MobileGalen. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

Galen Gruman is executive editor of InfoWorld for features, as well as its Mobile Edge blogger. Follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter at MobileGalen.

Originally published on www.infoworld.com. Click here to read the original story.

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