Printed from http://www.electronista.com

Hands-on with Motorola's Xoom tablet, Atrix 4G smartphone

updated 12:15 am EST, Thu January 6, 2011

We check the Motorola Xoom and Atrix 4G first-hand

After Motorola's keynote, we had the rare opportunity to see and (in one case) test two of the brand new devices, the Xoom tablet and the Atrix 4G. Although it wasn't considered ready for hands-on time, the Xoom was clearly in working order and had Android 3.0 in full swing. What we got to see suggested that Google has made much better use of a large screen than on the Galaxy Tab; the home screen used a mix of apps and widgets well, and the e-book, media and YouTube apps all took good use of the space, even if they were sometimes overly flashy.

The tablet is already fast enough with its dual-core Tegra 2 chip to play HD video, which was much more in evidence on the 1280x800 screen. Motorola reps reminded us that the 16:10 ratio screen helped address complaints about thumb typing on devices like the iPad: it's narrower and thus easier to reach the full keyboard with your thumbs, but it's still very large when watching movies in landscape.

Our main misgivings were over the potential feel. While we liked the textured grip, the prototypes looked somewhat lower rent than Apple's iPad, even if it was well put together. We would also have liked to see how well it handles downloads on its current 3G connection. Users will have 4G as an option later, but it would be unique to get the full potential of the device in a test today.

The Atrix 4G we had real if brief time to use. While 4G speeds weren't available to gauge, the NVIDIA Tegra 2 isn't quite as fast as it might seem. Based on a quick navigation around the main interface, the phone still had a slight stutter for visual transitions. We also have misgivings about continuing to use Blur; the Atrix 4G is a power user's phone, and the UI not only gets in the way but will invariably delay upgrades to Android 2.3 or later.

Having said this, the phone is an excellent example of hardware design. Its four-inch screen is large without being ungainly, and it's very color rich. The design isn't metal but feels reassuringly solid and comfortable in the hand.

We simultaneously had the opportunity to see the two key accessories for the Atrix 4G in action. The webtop mode is quite simply, surprising: dock the phone in either a dock or the notebook add-on and it really does turn into more of a computer, complete with a Mac OS X-style app dock and a windowing system for certain apps. Performance in this mode did take quite a hit -- you wouldn't want to play a 3D game on a bigger screen -- but it would definitely be a more comfortable environment if you just wanted to work on an office document or browse the web with more screen area and USB peripherals.

The notebook add-on itself is fairly well thought-out and hides the docked phone in the back. It uses a well spaced chiclet-style keyboard and a fairly colorful 11.6-inch display; we were surprised to see some cleverly hidden speakers on the back corners. The HDMI dock doesn't need much explanation; it works well displaying video in 1080p. We didn't have as much of an opportunity to see it, but it does have a custom media interface designed for the larger screen.

Overall, we're fairly convinced that, while there are still noticeable issues that likely won't be addressed in time, Motorola just turned itself into a serious competitor. Two years ago, most had largely written it off as a victim of the iPhone. It now at least shows that it wants to be clearly better, not just different, and has taken some of its first clear steps on that path. Apple is likely to catch up in at least speed and may still be preferable to some in software, but that it might even have to worry is a good sign for Motorola.

The Xoom and the Atrix 4G should be available through Verizon and AT&T respectively before the end of March, with prices to be set later.

Xoom





















Atrix 4G
















By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. Salty

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Jul 2005

    +2

    Sooo

    So it looks like Motorola beat Apple to what I've been saying was going to happen all along. Your phone will soon be your computer. Frankly with the way Arm Processors are getting I don't think it'll be long before This sort of idea can really take off. That said I imagine it'll involve less physical docking.

    What I don't get is why you're docking the phone in the back of the companion device? Nothing says yoink my phone in a coffee shop like this thing does. They'd have been better to put the docking/usb port on the side,and have the phone slide in as the track pad surface.

  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2009

    0

    That is


    a nice looking tablet.

  1. macnixer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2006

    +2

    that phone is impressive

    Except that phone is not going to allow you to run all of them great apps in high resolution or that you can get local apps like MS Office, Outlook, SAP, Oracle Business Suite etc. You will need Google Docs, Spreadsheet, GMail etc. So the essential idea of using great apps on your larger screen is beaten.

    I am still upbeat about the hardware. The software now has to grow. Brothers, we now have a great new play ground to develop new apps. :)

    Comment buried. Show
  1. facebook_Rudy

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jan 2011

    -12

    what a pretty phone, but the price?

    all of us are kind of wondering about the price structure of it - i mean will it really beat the iPad? Read our small review of it! http://www.carbonated.tv/biztech/motorola-xoom-android-tablet-may-be-first-ipad-killer

    Comment buried. Show
  1. facebook_Rudy

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jan 2011

    -12

    what a pretty phone, but the price?

    all of us are kind of wondering about the price structure of it - i mean will it really beat the iPad? Read our small review of it! http://www.carbonated.tv/biztech/motorola-xoom-android-tablet-may-be-first-ipad-killer

  1. Cronocide

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2010

    +3

    Well, My iPad Isn't Perfect....


    ...

    Okay, never mind, it is. :)

  1. facebook_Edd

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jan 2011

    -1

    PC replacement?

    I am hoping to see a tablet that can truly be a PC replacement. The new generation lf Tablets certainly have enough horsepower. Mate one of devices to a docking stations that can connect to an external keyboard, hard driver and CD/DVD player and you would be all set.

  1. facebook_Shani

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jan 2011

    -1

    motorola xoom

    Checkout this review on motorola xoom.

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