The world is abuzz with all things iPad right now, following the official unveiling of the iPad 2 in the US yesterday.
The device, which was launched with all the sheen and professionalism expected of Apple and Steve Jobs, certainly looks a good upgrade, but the market isn’t the one horse race it was last year when the original device was announced.
Today the tablet market is awash with devices that feature seriously impressive hardware and if the iPad 2 wants to reach the dizzy heights of the tablet tree it’s going to have to surpass these devices
In order to test the new iPad 2 to the limit of its potential and ascertain whether it’s capable of hanging on to Apple’s commanding tablet market share, we’ve decided to put it up against a device that packs a pretty big wallop: Motorola’s Xoom. But which of these super-slates will emerge victorious? Let’s see!
Apple’s iPad 2 features a 9.7-inch backlit-LED IPS display with oleophobic coating and scratch and fingerprint resistance. If that sounds mighty familiar that’s because it’s the self-same screen that debuted on the original iPad nearly a year ago. If we’re being subjective we would agree that It’s aged well, but a Retina Display it most certainly is not.
Motorola’s Xoom features a standard 10.1-inch TFT display which is nice and responsive, and ideal for watching movies and surfing the web, but it does suffer from the odd legibility problem under bright light, and doesn’t boast the same kind of viewing angles as Apple’s IPS enabled screen, meaning it plays second fiddle to the iPad 2 in this category.
Winner -Apple iPad 2
As expected Apple opted to fit the new iPad 2 with its own dual-core 1GHz A5 chip, which reportedly offers nearly ten times the graphical performance of its predecessor.
Similarly Motorola’s Xoom is imbued with plenty of speed and power, thanks to its 1GHz dual-core Tegra 2 CPU, which also allows the device to handle the multi-tasking that its Android 3.0 OS allows it to undertake.
The Xoom also features 1GB RAM, which gives the device a real snappy edge when moving in and out of applications and surfing the web.
There’s no word on RAM size for Apple’s new device yet, but judging by the speedy interface we’d expect at least 512MB, possibly even more. But we aren’t dealing with speculation here so, thanks to its honesty, we’re giving this round to the Motorola as we always like to know where we stand when it comes to installed memory.
Winner – Motorola Xoom
Yes, we’re talking about and iPad and discussing cameras! Mr Jobs and his colleagues at Apple listened to what people wanted and have acted accordingly, although what they decided to fit in the new device begs the question ‘Were the listening hard enough?’.
The device features dual cameras, with a 0.7-megapixel primary, capable of 720P movie capture, and a VGA secondary, to take care of FaceTime™ duties (or any other video-calling, for that matter).
While it’s nice to see cameras being added to the iPad 2 it feels a bit like too little, too late as the Motorola Xoom weighs in with a 5-megapixel rear-facing, with dual-LED flash and autofocus plus a 2-megapixel front-facing device to handle video conferencing.
As you’d expect the rear-facing camera also offers 720P capture, making the optics on offer pretty impressive and up to muster. Which is more than can be said for the iPad 2.
Winner – Motorola Xoom
Design & Build
Say what you like about Apple devices but there’s one thing you can be sure of getting when you put your hand in your pocket, and that’s top quality design and the iPad 2 doesn’t disappoint. Measuring an impressive 241.2×185.7×8.8mm, and crafted from high quality materials, the iPad 2 looks and feels premium.
In the hand it feels solid and comfortable and the new thin size will definitely pay dividends for those users that spend a lot of time on their feet.
Motorola’s device is similarly well constructed, with that nice sized 10.1-inch screen sitting atop a robust chassis that doesn’t creak or groan under duress.
The Xoom’s statistics are quietly impressive for a relatively big tablet too, with the device coming in at 249.1×167.8×12.9mm. This round’s a tough one to call but we think that Apple has edged it, thanks to its ongoing dedication to design genius.
Winner – Apple iPad 2
If there was one thing the original iPad lacked it was connection options, so imagine our disappointment when we took a gander at the iPad 2, only to see the same glaring omissions as the first device. No MicroSD slot for expansion, no card reader, no USB connection; is this really how Apple plans on corralling people into using iTunes and nothing else?
On the positive side the iPad 2 does feature Wi-Fi a,b,g & n and Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP and EDR, and also sports a mirrored HDMI-output, so you can enjoy your iTunes content on your home TV. Motorola’s Xoom has none of the drawbacks of the iPad 2 in this category.
The device features MicroSD support, Micro USB connection, HDMI-out, Wi-Fi a,b,g & n (dual-band) and Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP and EDR, so you’ll have no trouble accessing content on this Android 3.0 powered device.
Winner – Motorola Xoom
So, it’s two straight defeats for Apple’s newly announced baby. While the device looks great and will undoubtedly sell by the truckload, it just can’t hold its own against the Xoom, which ceaselessly impresses with its top quality hardware and stable, open OS.
In fact it’s hard to see the iPad 2, which will likely feature a pretty hefty price-tag when it goes on sale on March 11th, competing against many of the top-tier Android devices that are coming to market in the next few weeks and months.
Sure, it offers some great apps and a nice, snappy UI but is that going to be enough to sway people into overlooking devices that can do more and offer them more freedom of use? We aren’t sure.