Since I was not really happy of the way nanoblogger handles the input of blog entries (ssh to the server, nb add entry, use vim …) I installed wordpress until I happen to have time to write my own blog in ruby and cassandra.
So I own this Motorola Xoom (the WiFi only vesion) for a little over six weeks and would like to share my review of this tablet. It’s not like there wouldn’t be enough reviews, but most of them don’t point the finger where it hurts and don’t look like they come from real usage.
- 10-finger multitouch
- nice UI, needs some accomodation time though, I was always trying to hit a physical button where there wasn’t.
- good battery lifetime. Doesn’t apply when you leave your device on stand-by for a few days, the battery will be empty.
- only three physical buttons
- speaker quite good for their size
- fits in most iPad sleeves (well at least in a softshell one)
- encryption with boot-lock, if your device gets stolen the thief will have a very expensive salver.
- gmail, maps and talk do rock with the honeycomb UI
- ConnectBot does fine
But as always there are some serious downsides:
- hard to type fast
- only a few honeycomb UI adapted apps are available in the market.
- preinstalled keyboard fails when you had a trackball before, there are no arrow keys to move around in connectbot. I had to install hackers keyboard, now I miss often the shift key.
- video codec support is ok, but does not play MKV natively, needs MoboPlayer which does perform badly with 720p MKV (those I got from the usual torrent pages like vodo). It simply doesn’t support the High Profile, as far as I can tell it does only support the Main Profile, but this is subject to further investigation.
- does not support files bigger than 4GB.
- connectors for earphone are at the top; very weird.
- does NOT charge when connected to USB, only with separate charger (sucks when leaving for holiday, need too take separate charger)
- reader, google+ and many other often used apps by me do not have a honeycomb/tablet UI yet even though created by Google. When you point the browser to Google+ it will only load the mobile version. Sorry Google, but here I expected more. You actually have to type “about:debug” (without the “) in the address bar, then go to settings, debug and select ‘desktop’ in the UAString entry. Then you’ll be able to switch over to the desktop version of Google+ and many other websites which force you to use their mobile view.
- the browser does not cache the website for later offline read nor does it allow to change UAgent by default, stuck in mobile mode (see above how to fix this).
- no stand, it is very annoying to read with the xoom when it lays flat on the table. I bought a little stand which does perfectly fine, even on my knees.
Yes, it is harder to find good apps which do take in account the bigger screen. That’s why I share my list of apps I found:
- Aldiko, a very good eBook reader, does epub and PDF. No surprises here.
- Angry Birds Rio, one of the most addictive games out there. Superbe graphics!
- Evernote, a very good note management, syncing and writing app. It has a very clean and clear interface and allows to put shortcuts of often used notes to the “desktop”.
- ezPDF, one of the rare application I bought, it is a quite powerfull PDF annotating application, the best I found so far.
- FBReader, also a good eBook reader, personally I prefer Aldiko.
- File Manager HD, a file manager with an adapted interface for tablets.
- Google Docs, the app for Google Docs. No surprises here neither, it feels like a mobile web app. Editing doesn’t work really well. For correcting a few typos and add two or three sentences it’s ok. But not much more.
- Google Earth, makes me feel like a CIA agent running around with his tablet and have all sensitive mission data and maps at his fingertips. This application is fast!
- GMail, with its new honeycomb interface writing emails is now fun.
- KeePassDroid, it is not adapted to the bigger screen but since I store all my passwords in the encrypted file it is handy to have it installed.
- Moodwriter, when you need a simple and easy to use writter app, try this. It’s actually just a texteditor but sometimes you just don’t want more.
- Reader HD, since the Google Reader is not really cool on honeycomb I bought this one. It has the classy two-column view, syncs very fast and works for offline reading.
- ReadItLater, this app is not really adapted for honeycomb. It still looks very good and I couldn’t find any issues, I installed it to be able to read websites offline. And it does work as expected.
- SketchBook Express, when you want to doodle, draw, sketch etc. go with this. I recommend to buy a pen, it’s easier to draw than with your fingers.
- Youtube, makes fun again to watch youtube videos on your mobile device.
Of course these are not all honeycomb-able apps avaible, I just don’t use all of those avaible. But if you happen to come accross some good code editor with syntax highlighting or a good git tool, let me know!