Why I Returned My Motorola Xoom

A few days ago, after giving my iPad to my partner, I decided to try replace it with a Motorola Xoom rather than a new iPad. I went to Best Buy and for $599, I purchased a WiFi-only Xoom with 32gb of storage. Unfortunately, I’ve returned the Xoom and and going to get an iPad.

Why? I have to say the Xoom was close, but there were a few things that kept me wanting.

Weight: This was one of the biggest factors. At 1.6 lbs, it comes in heavier than the 1.33lb iPad. Doesn’t sound like much, but in your hand the weight difference between the two moves the Xoom squarely into the “It’s uncomfortable to hold for long periods of time while reading” category. The iPad, by the way, falls into this category too, but just barely. The Xoom nailed it.

Dimensions: So the Xoom’s 10.1″ screen sounds like it would be better than iPad’s 9.7″, however its in the actual dimensions where the Xoom looses, again by a hair. The iPad is 7.3″ wide and 9.5″ tall, whereas the Xoom is 6.6″ wide and 9.8″ tall. When holding it like a book, it is narrower and longer than the iPad. Something about it just doesn’t feel right. Maybe it’s 41 years (yes, I’m that old!) of being used to the dimensions of 8.5×11 paper, but the iPad just feels more pleasing to use in this respect.

Fit and Finish: This is what really nailed the coffin of the Xoom. It just seemed a teensy bit harder to use. For example, when browsing a web page. After getting to the end of a long web page, the Xoom required me to manually scroll back up to the top – because the URL bar and other common browsing controls were not static at the top of the page. As I scrolled down the article, they would scroll up and off the page. Irritating. The iPad controls are static on the top of the page, and even if I do just want to get back to the top of the page quickly, I could tap the top of the screen and it would auto-scroll back to the top. I also didn’t like that the back button for the browser was on the bottom of the page. Yes, it was static, so that’s nice, but when holding the tablet, I tended to hold it with my left hand grasping the top of the device, so in order to navigate back I ended up adjusting my grip too often to move to the bottom and back to the top for it to be comfortable.

Issues With File Copy: Never could get the Xoom to sustain file copies to it. I’d drop a few gigs of MP3s onto it and would have to babysit it. It would error out every few minutes. Grrr.

So those were the key reasons. “Certainly,” you say, “there must have been some things that were better about the Xoom!” Indeed there were. Let me share those things as well:

It’s Not Apple. Yes, I love Apple products, but boy oh boy do I hate Apple as a company. Not that I think Google is the greatest either, but Apple has an arrogance and opaqueness with their customers that sets a new standard in crappy. I’d love the best tablet out there today to not be produced by Apple, but it seems for now, that’s not the case.

Widgets. I love them. I love the customizability of the Android desktop, the active widgets that can actually do things and give me relevant information without having to go into an app.

Notifications. I really, really hate the way iOS/iPad deals with notifications. Android is much better here.

No iTunes! ’nuff said.

With some work, I can see an Android tablet becoming the one I want to use. It’s not today however.

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