This was originally going to be a Samsung Galaxy test.

Funny story: my boss ordered a Galaxy and a Xoom for testing for deployment to the field.  He really liked the Galaxy, which I didn’t, due to size.  The Xoom came in yesterday (it was backordered) and my boss got so frustrated, he said the Xoom was `all you, baby.’

Auspicious beginnings, to be sure.

I like the Xoom, if for no reason other than it’s larger and I’m hoping to hear less about certain iDevices (ok, all iDevices).  I also don’t see much utility in tablets, so you’re getting a skewed view.  And let’s face it, if you’re reading this blog, you’re getting a skewed view already and you appreciate it.

Oddly enough, the screen, while larger than the Galaxy, is still a bit small, even when compared to Certain iDevices.

It’s heavy.  It’s much heavier than one would expect.  This does not bother me but it might bother some.  It does not come with a case, which the Galaxy did.  The really fun part of this is that when shopping online for accessories, some aren’t even out yet, so there’s precious little instant gratification.  I finally located a case with a `kickstand’, so it will sit up a bit, but it will still take forever to ship.  The kickstand should have been included for each side.

The device runs Android, making operation somewhat similar to my original Droid phone, which I use currently.   Xoom runs Honeycomb and the phone runs Froyo.  As one would expect, every single security-busting, privacy-eating service and function is enabled, such as geolocation and auto-sync.

In the portrait mode, the onscreen keyboard is a real winner.  Anyone who has ever used a mobile device will find this greatly improved, if for no other reason than size.  Unfortunately it covers half the screen but I guess that’s the price we pay for a large keyboard.  I’m sure there are or will be aftermarket keyboards.   In landscape, it is also decent but nowhere near as nice.  You will need a screen protector.  Smudges are very visible.

Wifi set up as expected and 3G obviously works out of the box.

Email was a bit hairy, as it didn’t seem to like one of my addresses.  Exchange was also weird but that might have had more to do with a security feature of the server than the tablet.  As one would expect, Gmail accounts set up very quickly 🙂

Logging in to the Xoom happens via a locking/unlocking pattern.  Once I got the correct pattern from my boss(!), it worked flawlessly.  I would suggest to Motorola that they move the pattern each time you log in so you don’t produce handprints that give away the pattern.

It will not simply plug into your computer (I tried with linux).  I was informed that you need special drivers.  Hopefully there’s a linux driver.  I hope there’s a good reason for this, as I believe these devices should simply plug in and appear as a storage device.

The unit’s response is quite snappy, which I really enjoy.

 

 

BUTTONS – WHERE ARE THE BUTTONS?

There are no buttons, like on the Droid.  These are incredibly handy little tools to get where you want to go faster.   There are a few soft buttons but they don’t seem to have the utility of the other ones.

More as I test the unit out….