When the first Motorola Xoom was released in 2011 it acted as a showcase for the then new Android 3.0 operating system as well as dual core processing on a tablet. A year on has seen the market develop further and in an attempt to diversify the Xoom 2 Media Edition (ME) has been launched. It pitches itself as a more portable alternative to the fully fledged Xoom 2, but retains most of its features. Does this make it a worthy tablet choice or just another iPad knock-off?
The Xoom 2 ME occupies a relatively obscure part of the market when it comes to screen size because its 8.2 inch display is not quite up there with the 10.1 inch Android alternatives when it comes to area. However, it is a sight bigger than the seven inch models like the Amazon Kindle Fire and HTC Flyer while still being about the same weight as these portable tablets. This means Motorola will be looking to attract the attention of people who want a tablet they can take with them wherever they go while still giving them big-screen thrills. This is a good Android Tablet.
The display of the Xoom 2 ME warrants further praise thanks to its resolution of 1280×800. This is identical to that of the full sized Xoom 2, but since the pixels are fitted into a smaller area you actually get crisper onscreen imagery. Only a few people will really find the difference that significant, but in a tech-heavy market it is necessary to gain lots of small victories in order to succeed.
If you were to pull apart the slender frame of the Xoom 2 ME you would find a 1.2GHz dual core CPU and a standard allocation of 16GB of storage space. Wi-Fi connectivity is the main means by which the tablet will take you online as there is no 3G available. To keep the weight low and the chassis slim Motorola has chosen to reduce the size of the Xoom 2 ME`s battery to 3300mAh, which is less than half that of the full Xoom 2. This means you will be plugging it back in after about six hours of use.
Cameras are now commonly found on tablets and the Xoom 2 ME does not disappoint as it comes equipped with a five megapixel rear-facing unit and a video call-friendly secondary camera above the screen. You can record 720p HD clips if you wish and Motorola has chosen to add an LED flash at the back, which is less usual to see on tablets.
Android 3.2 is preinstalled, along with the usual selection of customised Motorola interface elements and applications. It seems likely that version 4.0 of Android will arrive on the Xoom 2 ME via an update at some point in 2012, although without an official release date this will have to be put to the back of the user`s mind.
In all the Xoom 2 ME makes a convincing attempt to fit into an area of the tablet market which is unusually bereft of alternatives. By not directly competing with the iPad or Android-based rivals it could win a unique section of tablet owners whose portable media players no longer cut the mustard when it comes to functionality.