At 1.3 pounds and 9.5 x 7.3 x 0.3 inches, Apple’s sequel is thinner, lighter, and sleeker than the Xoom (9.8 x 6.6 x 0.5 inches/1.6 pounds). The iPad 2’s other design features are unsurprisingly minimalist. The single port on the bottom, single Home button on the front, Power button on top, and easy-access volume controls and lock switch make for a sleek and accessible package.
Since Honeycomb is designed with on-screen controls in mind, the Xoom doesn’t have physical buttons for Home, Menu, Back and Search. We like the feel of the Xoom’s rubberized surface on the back, but positioning the power button there was an awkward design move. The Xoom includes a proprietary power jack, but also a microUSB port for syncing and a mini HDMI port.
Winner: iPad 2
A 0.3 pound difference doesn’t sound like much, but when you get these devices in your hands it’s easy to tell which one is easier to carry and use for long stretches comfortably.
The Xoom’s display is bigger than the iPad’s both in size and resolution: 10.1 inches/1280 x 800 vs. 9.7 inches/1024 x 768. As it turns out, this resolution advantage doesn’t mean a lot in day-to-day use. When we looked at both screens side by side, the Xoom’s picture looked muddier than the iPad 2′s. As you can see from the above photo, the iPad 2′s display is brighter and showed much whiter whites when viewing the same web pages.
The iPad 2 also has wider viewing angles. Up close users won’t notice much difference. But when gaming—especially with titles that require you to move the device—sharing the screen with others, or setting it on a cradle for viewing, the difference is clearer. We also noticed that fingerprints were more of an issue on the Xoom, and that the tablet kicked back more reflections.
Winner: iPad 2
The Xoom sounds like it should win on paper because of it’s higher resolution, but the IPS panel on the iPad 2 provides a clearer picture, superior viewing angles, and less glare.