The iPad 2′s Smart Cover is pretty sweet, though it only protects the screen and not the entire tablet’s surface. We like the simplicity of the magnetic attachment, the auto-sleep function, and the cover’s origami-esque versatility. It’s a stand, it’s a cover, it’s a handy grip, it’s a floor wax! The Xoom’s default case is awkward to use and a little bit ugly. Even when compared to Apple’s cover for the first iPad it falls flat.
As for docks, Motorola impressed us with the Xoom’s Speaker HD Dock, whose sound quality and volume blew us away. We like that it includes HDMI output as well. The iPad 2′s standard dock is simple and minimalist — no surprise there — but does at least allow charging and syncing though the 30-pin port.
Apple offers several other accessories, including VGA and AV Adapters (for HDMI). However, these cost $29 and $39 extra, where the Xoom’s HDMI output it built-in.
Both Motorola and Apple make Bluetooth keyboards for their tablets that match the aesthetic of each and are easy to pair.
The problem for the Xoom is that third-party accessory makers flock to Apple products with much more gusto than they do to other devices. There are dozens of cases, covers, stands, keyboards and more accessories for the iPad 2 already. So far there are only a handful of accessories made for the Xoom outside of Motorola’s offerings.
Winner: iPad 2
The sea of readily available accessories, plus Apple’s well-crafted Smart Cover, cover puts the iPad 2 over the top.
Counting 3G versions available from both AT&T and Verizon, there are 9 different iPad 2 models on the market.
iPad vs Xoom Pricing
|16GB||3G (AT&T or Verizon)||$629|
|32GB||3G (AT&T or Verizon)||$729||3G (Verizon Wireless)||$599 with two year-contract, $799 without|
|64GB||3G (AT&T or Verizon)||$829|
The Xoom comes in two versions: 3G/4G (with upgrade) and Wi-Fi only. The only storage choice is 32GB.
The Wi-Fi only versions of both tablets cost the same for the same amount of storage, but the iPad 2 offers more options with a 16GB model starting at just $499 and a 64GB version for $699. The 32GB Xoom for Verizon costs more unsubsidized than the same iPad 2, but Motorola’s offering will have 4G in the (hopefully near) future, while the iPad 2 won’t have that option. But, once again, Apple provides more choices, not only with other storage sizes but with carriers as well.
|Verizon Wireless||1GB for $20/mo||3GB for $35/mo||5GB for $50/mo||10GB for $80/mo|
|AT&T||250MB for $14.99/mo||2GB for $25/mo|
If you live in an area with good AT&T coverage, AT&T’s data plans offer more gigabytes for your buck than Verizon Wireless.
Winner: iPad 2
The Xoom is on a par price-wise when you’re talking about the same amount of storage, but only the iPad 2 starts at a very affordable $499 and is available through multiple carriers.