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Motorola Xoom review: First Look

The Motorola Xoom, the first Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet, has finally been revealed. Should Apple be worried? We took a closer look.

From our brief sneak peak, the onscreen keyboard looks large and sensibly laid out. Curiously the version we saw lacked the ability introduced in Android 2.3 to type numbers quickly by simply tapping and holding one of the top row of keys instead of switching to a different keyboard.

32GB of storage is built-in which should be more than enough for most app and media collections. Although there is a microSDHC slot for adding more storage it won't be enabled until Google/Motorola release a future software update which is a puzzling design choice.

We were also concerned by the location of the power button on the rear of the Xoom. It's possible that this could make it far too easy to inadvertently turn off the Xoom or put it to sleep, but hopefully its recessed design will prevent this.

Other hardware features included Mini-HDMI and microUSB ports. The SIM card for 3G access and the microSDHC slot are protected by a rubber flap. Alongside the usual accelerometer and gyroscope there's also a barometer for measuring height. The two-megapixel forward-facing and five-megapixel rear-facing cameras means video conferencing is supported using a bundled app.

The Xoom itself feels sturdy and well-made, even at this pre-production stage. We couldn't tell if it's made out of metal or merely metal-effect plastic, but it feels robust nonetheless. We saw two pre-production units one in silver and the other in a bronze-grey mixture Motorola has yet to decide on the final colour scheme.

See our photo gallery of the Xoom here.

So what do we think?

Verdict

Although we weren't allowed to try out the Xoom's interface and apps for ourselves, we're still cautiously optimistic about Motorola's tablet although it will face stiff competition from RIM's upcoming PlayBook. UK availability and pricing have yet to be announced, but we'll bring you a full review as soon as we can.

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