Apple IPad 2 vs Motorola Xoom

Which Is Better -- Apple IPad 2 or Motorola Xoom?

Apple iPad 2
The Apple IPad 2. Photo from Amazon

New versions of iPad come out almost yearly, such as the iPad Mini, but older products are still available. Motorola kept pace in the market for a while with Xoom, but it has discontinued this Android tablet. This ​doesn't mean it's no longer popular and still available, however. Specs here pertain to the second generation iPad and the Xoom MZ601, contemporaries in the market.  

Hardware Specs

You get a dual core processor and front- and rear-facing cameras with the iPad. You also have a dual core processor and front- and rear-facing cameras with Xoom. The iPad has better battery life at 10 hours compared to Xoom's eight. Xoom has a better front-facing camera, and both have 5 megapixel rear cameras. They're both capable of capturing 720p HD video, and both the Xoom and iPad can output video through HDMI. The Xoom has a built-in flash, but the iPad does not. The edge here goes to Xoom.

Form Factor

The iPad 2 weighs 1.3 pounds, compared to 1.6 pounds for the Xoom. The iPad is also thinner. The screen on the iPad is slightly smaller at 9.7 inches, while the Xoom is 10.1 inches. Keep in mind that screen sizes are measured diagonally, so when you compare a Xoom to an iPad, they're very close in size. The Xoom is slightly wider and shorter than the iPad, and it has slightly better screen resolution with more overall pixels. The Xoom is also thicker, although neither tablet is particularly bulky. And for original iPod fans, the iPad now comes in white. This is a tie because it depends on your preferences for a bigger screen or lighter tablet.


Both iPad and Xoom offer 16, 32 and 64 GB storage models. Xoom's storage can be expanded via SD card. The iPad does not offer any SD storage. The edge here goes to Xoom. 

Wireless Access

Wi-Fi access is virtually identical between the iPad and Xoom, but the 3G Xoom has built-in hotspot sharing ability which is not available in the iPad. Both support Bluetooth and offer GPS. The iPad supports corporate security for wireless better than the applicable version of Android Honeycomb. Verizon Wireless offers its own version of Xoom. 


The accessory king is still iPad, hands down. Both iPad and Xoom offer wireless keyboards and cases that allow you to balance the tablet on a table, but Apple offers a slick "smart" case, and as a market leader, you'll find a lot more third-party accessories like cases and skins available for iPad.


Again, there's not much contest here. There are far more iPad apps available than Android Honeycomb apps, as in thousands compared to dozens. 

The other major difference here is that Android supports Flash. Indeed, the dual core processor in the Xoom has built-in hardware acceleration for Flash. 

User Interface

This is hard to judge, but I'd say the winner is Xoom. The iPad is essentially an enlarged version of the iPhone interface. It works. It's easy to understand for iPhone users, but it's also limiting. The iPad interface will always be the thing that holds your icon buttons rather than a rich experience.

The Android Honeycomb interface differs a bit from the Android phone interface, but not in ways that don't make sense. Interactive widgets and navigation buttons are always at the bottom of your screen, and easy access to the settings and other menus make Honeycomb tablets a great experience without launching apps.

I've handed my kindergartner both my iPad and my Xoom, and he had no problem launching and using apps on either tablet. I will note that for people who don't want their kindergartners handling their tablets, iPads are easier to lock down for restricted kid use and they offer a lot more kid-friendly iPad apps. 

The Bottom Line

The iPad has historically dominated the tablet market even if it doesn't win on all comparisons. The iPad 2 lacks some nice features of the Xoom, but it's a lighter tablet with a lot more apps, better battery life and accessories. It has very similar hardware specs, even if they're not identical to the Xoom.

If you're looking to buy a new tablet and have your heart set on Android, you might consider Samsung, Toshiba, Asus and LG. If your tax return is burning a hole in your pocket, go for one of the more recent generations of iPad.