Is the XOOM Tablet any good?

I got one of these babies at GDC. People ask me how I like it whenever they see it, and I finally have an opinion. It’s a nice device, overall, but I would not have paid the money for it. There’s a place for it in my life, albeit a small one.

The first thing people say when they pick it up is “this is heavy”, and it is true that it’s heavier than the iPad, but I kinda like it. It feels substantial. I have the 4G version without 4G, so I’m only using it on Wireless LAN, which hasn’t been a problem, since I don’t carry it with me at all times. It’s not that kind of device.

Best usage scenarios so far:

  • As a surface for looking at geocaching maps with others and planning a trip.
  • As a TV companion to read up on Doctor Who lore.
  • As bedside internet, keeping me from getting up in the morning.
  • As a mobile phone, thanks to the Skype app.


    • Android 3.0 is pretty cool. I like the UI of the OS quite a lot.
    • The multi-tasking is really working.
    • You get used to the idea that apps don’t need to be closed after a while.
    • It’s made my Google Reader unread items count go down a lot.
    • I like to keep it next to the bed, because it starts so much faster than a PC coming out of hibernation.
    • Google Chat and Google Mail apps are fantastic.
    • The HDMI output is great for presentations.
    • Battery life is about 2 days with my usage pattern.
    • Camera quality is light-years ahead of the iPod camera.


    • There is no good IRC app.
    • It does not charge over USB. I now have yet another charger.
    • Some apps don’t know how to cope with the screen size (Caltrain!)
    • The web browser frequently stops loading things, reboot is the only fix I’ve found.
    • No netflix app.
    • The Skype app doesn’t have video.

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