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Motorola Xoom: to buy or not to buy?

JR Raphael | Feb. 23, 2011
To buy or not to buy? That's the question right now as the Motorola Xoom, Google's first Android Honeycomb tablet, gets ready to make its grand debut.

Something else to consider as far as pricing: The Xoom is available only in a 32GB model; other still-under-development Android tablets will come in both 16GB and 32GB varieties, creating additional options for lower-priced alternatives.

The question comes down to whether you're willing to wait an unknown amount of time to save a couple (or perhaps a few) hundred bucks; it's really just a personal judgment call.

Motorola Xoom: If a 10.1-inch tablet seems about right for you...

...get the Xoom. The upcoming G-Slate is a slightly smaller device, at 8.9 inches. Other Honeycomb tablets, like the Galaxy Tab 10.1, will match the Xoom's size -- but (a) they aren't here and (2) we have no indications that they'll offer any significant advantages other than subtle design differences. The Tab, for example, lacks a memory card slot and USB port, both of which are present in the Xoom. It does, however, have a slightly slimmer profile -- by 0.07 inches -- and weighs about 0.3 pounds less.

Put it this way: If you're interested in the Xoom, head to a Verizon Wireless store on or after Thursday and check it out. If you like the way it feels, take the plunge; if you think one of the future tablets' designs might suit you better and you don't mind waiting, hang tight till you can properly compare.

Motorola Xoom: If you're sold on the idea of a smaller tablet...

...wait. As more and more Android tablets arrive on the market, we'll see plenty of options in terms of sizes. The Xoom is likely to remain on the larger end of the spectrum; if you prefer something with a smaller screen that's easier to lug around, it might not be the right tablet for you.

Motorola Xoom: If you value a 'pure' and regularly updated Android experience...

...go Xoom. While some other manufacturers are promising to keep their clunky proprietary UIs off of their Honeycomb tablets -- thank goodness -- the fact remains that the Xoom is the device Google's Android team is using to test and develop the Honeycomb OS. If any tablet is going to have an advantage when it comes to timely Android upgrades, the Xoom will be it.

As for the heavily modified tablets, like HTC's Flyer -- forget about it. The Flyer is launching with a version of Android Gingerbread that has HTC's Sense interface baked into the OS. If you like what it has to offer, that's great -- but if you want Honeycomb and you want Google's future updates to the platform, a "pure" Google device is the way to go.

 

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