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As we mentioned at the outset, one major strength of the Xoom is flexibility with media. We ripped several unprotected DVD discs, including some band concerts, and saved the files as MPEG4 videos.
When you connect the Xoom to a PC, you see folders with logical names, like movies and music. The concert films played back in high-quality 1080p video on the device without any stuttering.
You can also play H.263 and H.264 video files, and the Xoom doesn't care where the videos come from -- we copied videos we recorded using a Sony camcorder, ripped on a Mac using Handbrake, and downloaded over Torrent feeds and they all played smoothly and accurately.
We had similar success with music files. The Xoom supports AAC and MP3 files, plus a few other less common formats. Importantly, playing very high quality MP3 tracks worked smoothly. Once again, the faster dual-core processor helps keep audio files clear.
The generic music app included with the Xoom is functional if a bit limited. You can scan through album covers quickly, but there is no built-in media store -- to buy albums, you have to switch over to the Amazon MP3 app. We imagine Android 3.0 apps for music playback, will make their way onto the Android Market soon.
Speakers on the back of the Xoom sounded loud and without the typical distortion of other tablets. We wish they were just a bit more powerful because the Xoom could have worked well as a kitchen-counter music player. We're sure there'll be plenty of peripherals for that, though.
The TFT LCD screen is similar to those used for laptops. At 1280x800 pixels, the screen is actually higher-res than the Apple iPad, which uses an in-plane switching (IPS) display that's better for wide viewing angles but is only 1024x768 pixels.
Of course, the one major mark against the Xoom is that there is no way to rent or buy TV shows and movies on the device. At least the Galaxy Tab has the Movie Hub app, which works pretty well.
Unfortunately, the Xoom does not yet support Flash content in the browser, which means sites like Hulu.com do not work for watching videos. Unlike the Atrix phone, the Xoom also does not support DLNA streaming from a computer.
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John Brandon has covered gadgets and cars for the past 12 years having published over 12,000 articles and tested nearly 8,000 products. He's nothing if not prolific. Before starting his writing career, he led an Information Design practice at a large consumer electronics retailer in the US. His hobbies include deep sea exploration, complaining about the weather, and engineering a vast multiverse conspiracy.