Motorola Xoom vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v vs Acer Iconia A500: Android tablet showdown

Are you in the market for an Android tablet? Which is the better pick out of Motorola's Xoom, Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 or Acer's Iconia A500?
Android 3.0 'Honeycomb' is Google's tablet operating system

Android 3.0 'Honeycomb' is Google's tablet operating system

Apple's iPad 2 may be the dominant player in the tablet market, but the coming months will see the release of a plethora of Android tablets equipped with Google's latest 'Honeycomb' operating system. Three of the first are the Motorola Xoom, which will launch exclusively through Telstra in May, the Vodafone-exclusive Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v, which hits the shelves on May 4, and the Acer Iconia A500, which is currently available through major retailers.

Read our comprehensive Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v review and Acer Iconia A500 review, along with our detailed Motorola Xoom preview.

All three of these Android tablets run Google's latest Android 3.0 'Honeycomb' operating system, which has been specifically designed for larger screened tablet devices. With each of these devices running virtually identical software, how do the Motorola Xoom, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v and the Acer Iconia A500 compare when it comes to specifications?

Motorola Xoom vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v vs. Acer Iconia A500: Specifications

Feature Motorola Xoom Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v Acer Iconia A500
Display size 10.1in 10.1in 10.1in
Display technology Capacitive TFT Capacitive TFT Capacitive TFT
Display resolution 1280x800 pixels 1280x800 pixels 1280x800 pixels
Multitouch Yes Yes Yes
Front camera 2 megapixels 2 megapixels 2 megapixels
Rear camera 5 megapixels, dual-LED flash, autofocus, geotagging 8 megapixels, LED flash, autofocus, geotagging 5 megapixels, LED flash, autofocus, geotagging
Video recording Yes, 720p HD Yes, 1080p HD Yes, 720p HD
GPS Yes Yes Yes
Internal memory 32GB 16GB 16GB or 32GB
Expandable memory microSD None microSD
Dimensions 249.1 x 167.8 x 12.9mm 246.2 x 170.4 x 10.9mm 260 x 177 x 13.3mm
Weight 730g 600g 730g
Processor NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core (1GHz) Samsung dual-core (1GHz) NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core (1GHz)
RAM 1GB 1GB 1GB
3G networks HSDPA 850/900/1900/2100 HSDPA 850/900/1900/2100 Wi-Fi only
Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n 802.11a/b/g/n 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP 2.1 with A2DP 2.1 with A2DP
HDMI-out Yes No Yes
USB port No No Yes
Quoted battery life Up to 10 hours Up to 10 hours Up to 10 hours
Adobe Flash support Yes Yes Yes

Software and performance

The Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v and Acer Iconia all run the same software, so the end user experience is almost identical. Key features of Android 3.0 'Honeycomb' include an 'action bar', a contextual option group displayed at the top of the screen, five customisable home screens with a big emphasis on widgets, a recent apps list for easier multitasking, a redesigned on-screen keyboard, a new browser and improved copy and paste. If all that isn't enough of a tongue twister, Android 3.0 Honeycomb also offers support for tabbed Web browsing, and 3D graphics. Overall, the Android software for tablets is a huge improvement over earlier versions; tablets running earlier versions felt more like overblown smartphones.

The software on all three of these tablets is a 'vanilla' version of the Honeycomb OS, so there is no UI overlay or enhancements slapped over the top of the standard Android interface. However, Acer includes a few small hubs to store and sort downloaded apps on the Iconia A500. These include social, eReading, Game Zone and Multimedia — they are merely a fancy bookshelf background where you can group application shortcuts, and don't add much to the overall user experience.

Acer includes a few small hubs to store and sort downloaded apps on the Iconia A500. These include social, eReading, Game Zone and Multimedia.

All three tablets offer a slick Web browser that is fast and displays Flash content, most of the time with minimal delay. They also support tabbed Web browsing, and the entire browsing experience is as close as you'll find to a full desktop or notebook computer. The on-screen keyboard on all three devices is spacious and comfortable to type on once you get used to its layout.

The handling of notifications is excellent, and the recent apps list also makes flicking back and forth between recently used programs a breeze. We love the flexibility of live widgets; they are particularly useful on a tablet that has much more screen real estate than a smartphone.

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

Good Gear Guide
Topics: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Acer Iconia, Vodafone, Android 3.0 Honeycomb, tablets, motorola xoom, Android tablets, Telstra

Comments

Topryder

1

It seems like not enough work was done on honeycomb as they must have been in a big rush to release it!
There are very few apps fitted to the tab & they can't be resized to fit the large screen. Also when browzing through the apps of which there may be several hundred if you select one to read more about it & then return you are sent right back to number 1 so you have to rescroll right through the lot to get back to where you were! This is very irritating & time wasting! Flash player 2 doesn't install! This software strikes me as being without any polish or finesse. It is very rough & not a pleasure to use!

Top XCars

2

Android Honeycomb is the perfect OS for tablets. It is so cool to use it. It has so many features. It may be a little not user-friendly. Acer Iconia A500 is the best.

Henry

3

Top Ryder, you couldn't be more wrong. There are already hundreds of apps tailored specifically for honeycomb. And less than 10% of the ones I have on my phone fail to work on my tablet. I also have an ipad and an iPod.... the discrepancy was far larger going from iPod to ipad.

And while I still enjoy my ipad, mostly due to iTunes, I have to say that the Xoom actually has a much nicer tablet interface. The web browsing, notifications, and email are hands down better on the Xoom than my ipad! And even better, with 3.1 all of my music from iTunes was automatically sync'd to my Xoom without me ever having to connect it to the computer! I can't even do that on my ipad or iPod yet!

Google has been far more innovative in the tablet arena my friend.

idiotphone4lover

4

Acer Iconia A500, just $567 at Officeworks no more to pay.

Troyau

5

Actually the Iconia is $527 at Officeworks. http://www.officeworks.com.au/retail/products/Technology/Computers-and-Notebooks/Tablets/ACITA50016

Ron

6

Awesome article. I'm considering buying a tablet and this comparison was what I needed to make my decision. The acer is amazing bang for buck and people have been buying it for as low as $400 which is an absolute steal. No big deal about wifi only, I'll just tether my legend to it.

People should also realise that apps can't just be made overnight. The ipad had the same dilemma and now there is a ton of apps available. All in time.

Can't wait to buy mine

Larry

7

Motorola Xoom in Australia does not have the SD card yet, in the present model, telstra said next model in a month or so

Mel

8

You can buy the wi-fi Xoom (just make ur iPhone a hotspot) from B&H in the US for $500US - which is about $500AU!!!

Also, now that Honeycomb 3.2 is out the SD on the Xoom is up and running my friends.

Richi

9

Hey friends....you all are up ahead of me....i just want to ask something bout Tablet...Acer or samsung galaxy ??? dis question is making me crazy since month....Is it worth to buy Acer inconia A500..??? as i hav iPhone so i can use hotspot ...clarity and process wise is it worth to buy..??? waiting for reply

baq

10

i used wifi only tablet with prepaid pocket wifi. i just need a bluetooth keyboard to leave netbook at home

jennifer wade

11

Acer has done the perfect job, i am surprised to see their work quality. They way they have merged their skills with honeycomb. All around the globe Acer is going to dominate the platform of android devices. This year competition is going bigger & bigger as few big names like OZiTechnology.com and Amazon.com are also fully prepared to contribute big in android world.

Deen

12

Well, it forgot to mention barometer in Xoom.

Oddvar

13

I have the samsung galaxy tab 10.1v, and I am thrilled by what it can do. But the information you have given above is wrong. My galaxy has 32GB. And it is also 1GHX x2 :)

Monty

14

Love my motorola Xoom.Always wanted an ipad.Not now as the motorola Xoom is fantastic and would be lost without the abode flasher app which the ipad does not have.

Yo_Ipitydafool

15

I had the Ipad 2 for a few months before it got stolen bought the 32g for $600.00 at Walmart, I went back to buy a Motorola Xoom but very techie & knowledgeable staff told me to get the Acer Iconia 16g for $400.00 & I like the Acer better. Acer advantages: cheaper, larger 10.1 inch screen compared to 9.7, you can add 16g or 32g memory card only around $50.00 on Amazon, the processing speed is much faster than Ipad2, well built aluminum case, USB port, dual speakers, plays Flash! Disadvantages: ipad2 graphics is a little sharper, the camera/video is better on Ipad2, the music player on Ipad2 is clearer & noticeably louder. What I really like about Acer is it does not have that incredibly annoying Apple spellcheck feature! Basically Motorola & Acer identical in all aspects except Motorola is $100.00 more expensive but you do get built in 32g & Acer only has Wi-Fi version.

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