Photo: Colbert Nation
As the tablet wars heat up this year, there are only two that matter right now: The iPad and the Xoom.With about a year head start, the iPad still trumps the Xoom in several key categories that make it a better tablet.
Here’s our take on why the iPad is a better choice than the Xoom.
The only Xoom model available right now is a 32 GB, 3G model for $800. That's $70 more than the 32 GB, 3G iPad 2. You also have much more choice with iPad models, with the cheapest one starting at $499. It's true that you you can get a Xoom for $600 with a two-year data contract from Verizon, but that means you're stuck paying at least $20 per month with no way out.
As far a value goes, the iPad is a no-brainer.
You may say 'give it time,' but right now there are at least 60,000 apps optimised for the iPad. The Xoom has about 100.
Even when the iPad first launched last year, it had a much better selection of quality apps like Netflix, ABC Video, Yahoo Entertainment, and New York Times. (Just to name a few). The best Xoom has to offer right now are a few quirky games like Gun Bros and the CNN app, which is almost a direct port of the iPad version.
We had a lot of problems with Honeycomb. Apps were unstable. The browser had trouble handling some websites. The Android Market is glitchy, and it often takes a few tries to get an app to download properly.
On the other hand, iOS on the iPad continues to run smooth. Everything is stable, and app crashes are few and far between. Apple is notoriously thorough before releasing a product, and iOS has always been reliable.
No Netflix. No Hulu. No Amazon Video On Demand. Nothing. If you want to watch, listen to, or stream something on your Xoom, you're out of luck. Instead, you'll have to download content to your desktop and drag and drop the files to your Xoom. Syncing with iTunes is much easier and all the content you could want is right there.
Even more frustrating is that there's no native video player on the Xoom, meaning you have to scour the Android Market for a decent one.
The design of iOS is impeccable, making it much more user-friendly and easier to navigate. Web pages render nicely, and don't revert back to the mobile version like many do on the Xoom. Everything is clearly labelled and simple to use right out of the box.
On the other hand, it will take most people a while to get used to Xoom's interface. It requires a lot of guessing and checking to figure out what everything does. Unless you're pretty tech-savvy, the iPad will be a much better user experience.