December 12, 2011 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
(Blogger’s note: This isn’t a review of the Xoom’s tech specs and other things I don’t understand. This is all about how the Xoom integrates into food-related tasks. For more high-tech info and a review, give CNET a click.)
The nice people over at Guthrie/Mayes Public Relations in downtown Louisville had a good question for me:
“Do you want to test the Motorola Xoom tablet on Verizon’s 4G network to see how useful it is in the kitchen?”
You had me at Motorola Xoom, Guthrie/Mayes.
Before I used the Xoom, I had never had any intimate times with a tablet. I wasn’t sure how useful a tablet could be in my life when I already use a MacBook and a smartphone.
After a couple of weeks with the Xoom, I discovered that the device is a nice addition to the life of a techie cook like me.
I used the Xoom for three main purposes: cooking, grocery shopping and blogging here at Ashlee Eats. Here’s a breakdown of how the device performed in each category:
The Good: This is where the Xoom performed the best. It was easy to pop up a recipe from the Internet, sit the Xoom on its stand (sold separately, but definitely a necessity) and turn the device into a modern cookbook. It takes up less room than a laptop, which is the device I usually use to call up recipes I find on the internet. For optimal use, I changed the sleep settings on the Xoom so the screen would stay active for 20 minutes at a time, eliminating the need to constantly touch the screen and leave smudges while cooking. I cooked this Moroccan beef stew recipe using the Xoom.
The Bad: I mainly use Pinterest to mark recipes I find online, and the mobile version of this site doesn’t even compare to the full version. It’s hard to access all of your pins, so I found myself Googling the recipes I wanted to access.
The Good: The strength of the Xoom in grocery shopping depends on what app you use to keep track of your grocery list. I discovered and fell in love with Out of Milk, an app that allows users to keep multiple shopping lists, a list of pantry items and to-do lists. There is also a barcode scanning feature that makes compiling a grocery list a matter of pointing the Xoom and letting the app do the work. I also never had any connection problems accessing my apps on the Xoom once I got inside of stores, a problem I sometimes have on my smartphone.
The Bad: Boy, is this thing bulky when you are trying to grocery shop. It was hard to balance this 1.6-pound device in one hand while grabbing cans and cartons with the other. The tablet’s size (the screen is about 10 inches) also puts in a category of being too big to fit in a purse, but too small to fit in a computer bag. Since I didn’t have a case, I found myself cradlingbthe Xoom and shopping in fear that I would drop it.
The Good: I got to use a Bluetooth keyboard with the Xoom, which made blogging from the tablet even better than using my laptop. It was easy to include links and switch between different screens and applications because of the touchscreen, and the keyboard allowed for traditional typing.
The Bad: You have to buy the keyboard separately, or face a lot of blush-worthy autocorrects if you’re a clumsy touchscreen user like me.
Overall, I really liked the experience of using the Motorola Xoom. Service was fast, it was easy to use, and it was great for using to cook. But the $499 price tag, the need for so many accessoriea and the inconvenient size make me hesitate to buy one for myself.