Motorola Xoom 2 vs Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime

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We examine Asus’ new Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet and see how it compares to Motorola’s Xoom 2.

Form

Motorola Xoom 2 – 253.9×173.6×8.8mm, 599g

Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime – 263×180.8×8.3mm, 586g

Motorola has embarked on a bold but cohesive new design with a number of its premium tablets and handsets including the Xoom 2, Xoom 2 Media Edition and Razr smartphone.

They all feature a rather dynamic looking aesthetic with tapered edges and extremely thin profiles. It’s a look we approve of as not only is it interesting to behold but also makes the brand highly distinctive and easily recognised.

According to Motorola’s official blurb the Xoom 2 sports an aluminium ‘housing’ which makes it 10 per cent lighter than its predecessor, it’s also apparently 33 per cent thinner.

In real terms it’s 8.8mm thick – which is better than many current phones, and weighs 599g, which for a 10-inch tablet is very light indeed.

We also like the spacing of the bezel around the screen which is quite flattering for the tablet as a whole. Generally we think the Xoom 2 is one seriously stylish device.

Asus’ Transformer Prime has also been on a strict diet and is again competing with contemporary smartphones with its svelte 8.3mm thick bodywork.

Likewise it also uses aluminium in its construction, though perhaps more extensively than its rival as the whole thing has been crafted from ‘spun’ anodised aluminium for an interesting textured look.

We should also mention the accompanying keyboard docking station (which can be bought separately) which is supposed to be as thin and light as the rest of the device.

Of course, being a tablet but also a laptop much of the Transformer Prime’s shape and design has been dictated by this dual role.

It’s not as distinctive as the Xoom 2 but it’s still a gracefully designed piece of kit which will wow you with its looks.

Ultimately though, the Xoom 2 has the edge when it comes to visual flair and we have to vote for Motorola’s offering this round.

Winner – Motorola Xoom 2

Display
Both devices have equally large 10.1-inch capacitive touchscreens, they’re both made from tough Gorilla Glass and sport a 1280×800 pixel resolution and a pixel density of 149 pixels-per-inch (ppi).

Each has built-in accelerometer and gyro sensors.

The Xoom 2 has multi-touch, as does the Transformer Prime but Asus’ device can boast ‘ten finger’ multi-touch capability for even more versatility.

Motorola’s device has a standard TFT screen while the Asus is fitted with an LED backlit ‘IPS +’ display.

The Asus Transformer Prime is offering a little more overall here but generally speaking these are both excellent displays and we doubt many people would be disappointed with either.

Winner – Draw

Storage

On storage, the Xoom 2 is part of a new wave of devices which rely more on cloud storage services than internal capacity – a policy which may or may not be successful and only time will tell.

As a result it packs 16GB of onboard space alongside 1GB of RAM but no microSD capability.

Instead, the tablet can connect to Motorola’s own MOTOCAST service for streaming music and video content direct from a home PC across a considerable distance, meaning you can be in a totally different part of the country and it’ll still work.

The Asus Transformer Prime takes a more conventional approach with options for either 32GB or 64GB of in-built storage and 1GB of RAM in either case, it also has microSD capability up to a further 32GB.

We don’t object to cloud-based solutions but aren’t especially fond of the mutually exclusive approach, we’d rather have both onboard and cloud rather than a predominantly cloud bias of the Xoom 2 which could potentially become a handicap in certain situations.

What’s more, cloud or no cloud we still see microSD as a useful bonus and miss its absence when it’s not there. We think the Transformer Prime has the advantage here.

Winner – Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime

Processor
Both tablets are powered by ARM Cortex-A9 processors running NVidia chipsets but they’re quite different configurations.

The Xoom 2 is dual core on the Nvidia Tegra 2 T20 chipset and clocked at 1.2GHz, it also uses an Nvidia ULP Geforce graphics processing unit (GPU).

The Transformer Prime uses the same GPU but is a quad core setup on the NVidia Tegra 3 chipset and clocked at 1.3GHz.

The thing is, both these devices are powerful enough to effortlessly deal with anything you can throw at them, there isn’t any app or game on the market currently which will cause either to break a sweat.

Because they’ll both perform so well you probably wouldn’t notice much of a difference between the two if you ran them alongside each other.

So, in the end it becomes about future-proofing, both are very well future-proofed and will continue to perform well for some time to come, but the quad core Asus will probably outlast the dual core Motorola when the rest of the industry follows down the quad core path and more demanding content emerges.

Winner – Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime

Operating System
These are both running the latest tablet-specific Android build, 3.2 Honeycomb.

Asus has confirmed the Transformer Prime will be updated to Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) 4.0, the new cross-platform build for both phones and tablets, though whether this will happen before 2012 or a short way into it isn’t clear right now.

Motorola must surely be thinking about a similar strategy having released a new Android tablet so close to ICS’s launch but there’s no definite word from the company yet.

We’re expecting it to follow suit sooner or later.

For now though, they’re both on Honeycomb, which is a pretty good system.

It’s certainly an improvement on the previous 2.3 Gingerbread smartphone build with much more intuitive control of multi-tasking and customisation and a considerably enhanced web browsing experience.

You’ve also got a huge choice of apps and games on this platform.

It’s not perfect but we find ourselves scraping the barrel for what are comparatively minor gripes.

One which actually does bug us is the touch keyboard because the close keyboard key is right next to the letters/numbers toggle, meaning you’ll continuously be closing the keyboard by accident.

At any rate, they’re both on the same platform so on a pretty even footing.

That will change with time as the Asus gets ICS but it could also change back to an equal level again if the Xoom 2 does too.

Winner – Draw

Camera
For a while now cameras have been an apparent secondary concern for tablet manufacturers, which to some extent is understandable.

However, so too is the notion of ‘having your cake and eating it too’, when it comes to consumer tech anyway.

With these two devices the cameras have received a bit more attention than many of their contemporaries.

The Xoom 2 has a 5-megapixel primary shooter at a resolution of 2592х1944 pixels and capable of 720p video capture. Features include LED flash, autofocus and geo-tagging, plus a 1.3-metapixel secondary camera.

Asus has really raised the bar with an 8-megapixel primary at 3264×2448 pixels. Video quality is 1080p and it features LED flash, touch focus, autofocus, geo-tagging and a 1.2-megapixel secondary camera.

Both are quite light on the features but decent offerings nonetheless. We think the Asus takes the lead, however.

Winner – Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime

Final Thoughts
The Asus Transformer Prime won in more rounds but ultimately we wouldn’t say it’s a ‘better’ tablet than the Xoom 2.

We think these are both fantastic Android tablets with a lot of potential to last for a good while.

For a distinction between the two we’d say that the Asus will be a more viable choice further into the future but that doesn’t mean the Xoom 2 isn’t a great c

hoice right now.