Motorola Xoom 2 pictures and hands-on

Motorola has announced the Motorola Xoom 2, an update to their existing Motorola Xoom, boosting specs and altering the design. We were on hand at the UK launch of the new Android tablet to have a play with the new tablet and bring you our first impressions. 

There are two Xoom 2 tablets: here we are looking at the Xoom 2 10.1-inch model, a direct update to the existing Xoom. We have looked at the 8.2-inch Xoom 2 Media Edition separately.

The original Xoom found itself quickly bettered by rivals such as Asus and Samsung after launch and the Xoom 2 goes some way to correct that. The original was a little fat and heavy, the Xoom 2 is 100g lighter at 599g, with better edge design.

It feels nicer to hold thanks to the sculpting of the edges, which have a softer, more tactile, feel to them than the original. The design is more eye-catching too, fusing that central backplate with the grippy edges. The Xoom 2 measures 253.9 x 173.6 x 8.8mm.

The power/standby button is still on the rear of the tablet, now joined by the volume controls. The speakers sit on the top edge and from what we heard of them they sound pretty respectable.

Like the Sony Tablet S, you'll also find the Xoom 2 equipped with an IR transmitter supporting the Dijit app, so the tablet can be a universal remote. 

The screen of the original Xoom was ok, but wasn't the brightest around. It was already an HD display at 1280 x 800 and Motorola haven't revealed exactly what the resolution of the new tablet is: we can't say we noticed that it was any sharper, but it is IPS, with noticeable punch to colours and better viewing angles.

In terms of software, the Motorola Xoom 2 looks to be running a native Android 3.2 build with minimal customisation. Motorola have committed to an Android 4.0 update within 6-weeks of them getting the code from Google, which should be fairly soon.

With few tweaks to differentiate the Xoom 2 from other Honeycomb tablets, Motorola have turned to pre-installing some apps. These have a leaning towards business, with the likes of Citrix, Fuse Meetings and Quick Office HD, along with Motorola's MotoCast software, which will let you access content on your PC back home after you install the server software.

Internally you'll find the Xoom 2 has a Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 processor clocked at 1.2GHz, bringing a boost to performance, along with 1GB RAM. In our exploratory pokes it all seemed to run smoothly, but this being a pre-production device with only limited content, it's difficult to gauge what the final performance will be like.  

The Xoom 2 in the UK is being sold as Wi-Fi only, but interestingly the pre-production device we saw today had both a SIM and microSD card slot under a flap on the bottom. A Moto Agent told us that these were disabled, the 3G radio not included, but there could be potential to activate the microSD card slot down the line.

We got the impression that that wasn't on the immediate agenda, so you'll be looking at 16GB of internal storage. Motorola told us they were looking towards cloud solutions via MotoCast, rather than seeing users fill the device with lots of content.

In terms of physical connections you'll get Micro-USB and HDMI and we saw the Xoom 2 connected to a huge Samsung screen and we have to say the quality of the mirroring was very impressive, ideal for showing off photos or movies.

Our time with the Motorola Xoom 2 was brief, but it looks like good solid Honeycomb device. There isn't a huge amount that makes it stand out, but we do like the new design, with those grippy edges and cut-off corners.

The Motorola Xoom 2 will set you back £379.99. We'll be bringing you a Motorola Xoom 2 review as soon as we can.