After struggling for a few minutes, I eventually found the on/off button at the back of the Motorola XOOM tablet. Being accustomed to having the power button on the front or side of a device, it was a bit annoying at first. However, at least my two-year-old was unable to turn it off while I was working on it.
So after locating the power button and watching the flashy animation of the XOOM as it booted up quickly, I was faced with my next challenge: unlocking it.
I turned, I tapped, I went around in a circle on the screen, but it just wouldn't unlock. At this point, I felt rather silly and frustrated. All my boasting about loving gadgets and I could not unlock a tablet. Just then, my finger slipped over the lock image and voila! It unlocked itself. Note to self: move the circle over the lock. Check!
The XOOM's big, clear and very responsive touch-screen is exactly what you would expect from such a sleek-looking device. And this polish extends to the cameras too.
The 5-megapixel camera puts this tablet in line with most other phones and tablets with its excellent image quality, except that I don't really want to be pointing a 10.1-inch device at someone when taking a picture or video. That's a bit awkward.
The 2MP front-facing camera on the other hand is very useful for Skype and IM video calls, although the former isn't fully supported out of the box.
The speakers, which sit at the back, aren't really useful unless you're in a quiet area. The sound quality isn't bad, but don't set your expectations too high and always keep your earphones on hand.
With accessories like a wireless keyboard, a standard dock, a camera connection kit and portfolio case, it is easily integrated into your daily routine.
As with most Android devices, it's boring until you make it your "own" and with the 32GBs of storage space, downloading apps from the Android market and customising the tablet is no problem at all.
I was also pleasantly surprised at how fast it was, but with its dual-core 1GHz Tegra 2 processor, I wouldn't expect anything less.
The WiFi reception on the XOOM is also remarkable, connecting without hassle. I drove home from work with the WiFi activated and it picked up nearly all the hotspots on the way, refreshing quickly.
With the battery life of most smart devices being so poor lately, I was very impressed with the fact that I only needed to charge the XOOM every second to third day.
Another neat feature is the SIM card slot on the right side of the tablet. By inserting a SIM, you instantly have access to 3G if not connected via WiFi.
The tablet did however have a browser bug which I found very frustrating. I would be busy on a particular site and at random it would automatically go back to the set homepage.
Fortunately it kept me logged into whatever site I was busy on, but any typed/entered information was lost. As with your PC web browser, the XOOM also offers tabbed browsing and other computer-like features, but the cherry on the cake is definitely the browsing speed.
Though the tablet can be used in both portrait and landscape orientation, it's clear that it is designed and manufactured for landscape use only.
The power and volume control buttons are at the tip of your fingers and because the weight is more evenly distributed, I can hold it on either side. When in portrait, I tend to put one hand on the top left and other at the bottom right, which is very awkward and I end up not being able to use it at all.
The XOOM is rather heavy and after carrying it for a while, you do tend to suffer from some arm fatigue. As a female, there's always room in my bag for another gadget or item, but a man-bag or carry case is a must if you're a male.
In a nutshell, the Motorola XOOM has definitely positioned itself as a competitor for the iPad. I definitely want one and I can't wait to see what the next versions will bring.
Score: 7 out of 10