Aftershokz Aeropex Headset review

As always this will be a down and dirty type of review. It will be based in real world terms, not fancy marketing hype. Ready or not, here we go.

Common background information: I work-out a lot, I sweat profusely and I have shorted out at least 4 dozen headsets in my pursuit of sweat-proof earphones/headsets to use while I run, lift, and bike. If you have read my previous reviews, you will remember that I reviewed other Aftershokz products. Well my friends, we find ourselves here again, another Aftershokz review. I am happy to say that I have found another great headset that I can recommend. Like their predecessors these are a bit different than standard headsets/earphones in that they are an open ear, bone conduction type of headset. That means they sit on your cheekbones and send sound to your inner ear, not like traditional headsets that go in your ear. So without further rambling, I present the Aftershokz Aeropex

If you are unfamiliar Aftershokz, read on and maybe find a new must have. Read my previous reviews of their products, or visit their website. If you’re a return Aftershokz fan, welcome back. When I first came across Aftershokz, I was looking for bone conductive headsets. I knew they were out there but hadn’t ever found any Bluetooth ones before. Anyone who knows me knows I HATE, and yes that is a strong word, but I absolutely hate wired headsets and earphones when I exercise. My gorilla arms tend to flail about and get tangled up in the wires and rip things off my head/out of my ears. I was happy to find that someone had stepped up and created a Bluetooth BCH and couldn’t wait to try them out.  I have never looked back and this headset is no exception to that rule.

Good:

Comfort: Like their predecessors, the Aeropex headset is ultra-comfortable. For these new headphones, the engineering wizards have once again managed to make them more comfortable than any other previous headset they have made, including the Air which are fantastic.  I cannot stress this point, enough, because they do not go in your ears, but rather sit on your cheek bones, they are extremely comfortable; and with the new vertical design, they almost disappear when you are wearing them. I have used this set for a total of about 10 hours and just like the previous model, I almost forgot they were there, except for the constant rhythm I had reverberating in my head. Amazingly these are even lighter than the Air model. the Airs weighed in at exactly 1 ounce (30 grams), these come in at an astounding 26 grams (.9 ounces). They are so light that you can literally forget that you are wearing them.

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As you can see from teh pictures, They are barely visible on my head

Fit: The Aeropex fit like, most other wrap behind headsets, but because of the titanium wire-frame design they have a naturally snug feeling. If you’re worried about them falling off while you work-out, you can stop, because they will stay on in even during the most vigorous of workouts. I know some of you out there are going to be like, “But I really workout hard/fast/violently/whatever…” Yeah I do too. In the course of my workout my head gets flung into many different positions, sometimes with a fair amount of force. Guess what, they stay in place just fine. They fit securely in front of your ears and follow the curve of the ear, to help ensure a good fit. The titanium band is very flexible and acts like a spring holding them snug to your head. They have stayed in place so far for me, in excess of 10 hours of workout time so far. If you’re wondering, YES, they are glasses and helmet friendly, I’ve worn them with both my sunglasses and my bike helmet simultaneously with no issues whatsoever.

 

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Sound Quality: As with all bone conduction headphones; if you’re looking for a headset that can be an audiophile’s wet dream, I’m going to ask you to kindly stop reading right here, as these are not the headphones you are looking for.  If, however you are looking for a headset that has great audio, phone capabilities, and decent battery life, I’m talking to you. I was surprised by the sound quality of the Aeropex, even though previous models had larger batteries, they have been going for 11 hours on their initial charge. They do a great job of reproducing the sounds that you would normally have going into your ears. The bass was bassy but not overbearing, the mids were plump and the treble was represented well. If you have them cranked all the way up you can hear the music coming out of them from a distance, but if you set them down on a hard surface they will shake and rattle all over the place, letting you know it’s vibration that you are hearing. They have once again improved on the “Leak Slayer” feature, which helps cut down on audio leakage, which was an issue for all previous models, and while you’ll never get rid of it completely these are once again a step further in the right direction. As far as call quality I have made a few calls with them, using various phone apps like messenger, skype, google voice, fongo, and the phone app of the phone and people say they can hear me clearly and I can hear them very well too. They have an additional microphone for noise reduction, and it appears to work as advertised.

 

Packaging/Accessories: when most companies are trying to give you as little as possible when you buy their products, it’s refreshing to see one going a bit better. Like the previous models, the Aeropex are packaged well in a nice box. Inside that box is a soft touch rubber carrying case with a magnetic closure, a pair of charging cables, a warranty card, a quick start guide, a multi lingual instruction sheet and the ear plugs (for when you are on a plane or train, and can block out all noise). Unlike some of the other brands that give you throw away packaging and the headset, it’s nice to get the little extra touches with these.

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Controls: Like their older sibling the Aeropex use the same simplified button set, consisting of just three buttons. They are: power on/volume up, volume down, and a multi-function button. The power and volume buttons are rubber coated/booted physical buttons. They work as intended and are easy to use, though they are bit more cramped as compared to the Trekz Titantiums, however they are a bit more spacious than the Air model. To answer a call you press the multi-function button on the left “ear” piece (when you are wearing them), this will pause any media you have running. To end the call you press the button again. To make a call a double press of the button gets you into the dialog for that. To play/pause your music you single press the multi-function button. Dead simple.

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Battery: They claim a 6-8 hour battery life. I am at 11 hours as of this writing, and they just started telling me to charge them. The first couple of hours were at about 70-80% volume, while the rest has been at 50-75%. I’m not sure what volume they have their number spec’ed for but, as always, your mileage may vary.

Multipoint Connectivity: Like the Airs, multi-point connectivity is present on this model as well. Unfamiliar with the term? It means the headset can be paired to more than one device at a time. Previous models could only be paired to one, like your phone. If wanted to use it for your computer or tablet as well you had to go through the pairing process every time you switched devices.

USB connector: In order to maintain the Water resistance/Sweat Proof-ness they have made a radical shift in the connector for the Aeropex. Previous models had a little flap over a micro USB port. This model adopts a new (and proprietary) connector that is both magnetic, and liquid sensing. This means no fumbling around trying to determine the orientation for the connector and they will not charge if the connection senses liquid, so no shorting out.

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Waterproofing: The Aeropex have upped the waterproof rating to IP67 this time around.  IP is the name of the standard that was drawn up by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) to determine how resistant an electrical device is to fresh water and common raw materials – like dirt, dust and sand.

The first digit after IP is the rating the IEC assigned a unit for its resistance to solids. In this case, it’s six – which means no “harmful” dust or dirt seeped into the unit after being in direct contact with the matter eight-hours.

Solid Protection
IP Code Protection
1 Protection from contact with any large surface of the body, such as the back of a hand, but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part
2 Protection from fingers or similar objects
3 Protection from tools, thick wires or similar objects
4 Protection from most wires, screws or similar objects
5 Partial protection from contact with harmful dust
6 Protection from contact with harmful dust

Next, we have the water resistance rating.

There are two leading ratings at present – seven and eight, with the former meaning that the device can be submerged in up to one meter of fresh water for half an hour, and the latter up to 1.5 meters for half an hour.

Moisture Protection
IP Code Protection
1 Protection against vertically dripping water
2 Protection against vertically dripping water when device is tilted at an angle up to 15 degrees
3 Protection against direct sprays of water when device is tilted at an angle up to 60 degrees
4 Protection from sprays and splashing of water in all directions.
5 Protection from low-pressure water projected from a nozzle with a 6.3mm diameter opening in any direction
6 Protection from water projected in powerful jets from a nozzle with a 12.5mm diameter opening in any direction
7 Protected from immersion in water with a depth of up to 1 meter (or 3.3 feet) for up to 30 mins
8 Protected from immersion in water with a depth of more than 1 meter (manufacturer must specify exact depth)

And that’s how IP ratings are formed.

To recap: IP67 means the unit can be dropped into a body of water up to a meter deep for half an hour. Let’s be clear here: the rating the International Electrotechnical Commission assigns is strictly for fresh water. That means it doesn’t guarantee protection from submersion in other liquids – beer, coffee, salt water and soda, to name but a few and you shouldn’t go around submerging them just because. Basically you can run in pretty much any conditions and not worry about them dying on you.

Warranty: They come with a 2-year warranty, that covers defects in workmanship and sweat damage. As a side note, they truly stand behind their products. I destroyed 12 pairs of the original Bluez, about that many of the Bluez 2 headsets, 8-10 pairs of the Titanium, and 4 of the Air models with my overactive sweat glands. They happily replaced them no questions, no qualms. They even interviewed me about my experience with their customer service. This is a company that I can say honestly, really cares about their customers. The customer service staff that I have worked with have all been great. Always courteous, always genuine, and always eager to help me get my issue resolved.

Neutral:

Sound Quality: I know I just said this was in the good column, but there is something I need to tell you about that is neither Good nor Bad when it come to the sound quality. Remember these are an Open Ear style headset. That means you can still hear outside sounds/noise when you use them. For me this is a good thing, I often run along roads and busy streets, and being able to hear approaching traffic is always good. Also being able to hear your breathing and your foot falls while running can aid in your training efforts. While I enjoy the solitude that my in-ear headsets give me, the safety factor takes precedence when running outside. Being able to hear ambient noises can be a strange experience at first, but you’ll adjust quickly. Also I use an App called Zombies, Run! which is an immersive audio based running game, having the ambient sounds of the outside world adds to the realism of the experience. Having said all that I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that these do have the best over all frequency response of any headset they have made to date.

 

Price: The Aeropex have a MSRP of $159.95 USD/209.95 CAD. The price point is not too outrageous for a Bluetooth stereo headset of this quality, but I know not everyone can shell out this kind of money for a headset.  To date these are the highest quality Bone Conduction Headset I have had, eclipsing even the Airs, which were my favorites. You can determine what your budget will allow, but the old adage of “You get what you pay for” is generally true for things like this.

BAD:

Comfort: Again, I know I just said this was in the good column, just hear me out. I had no discomfort with the Aeropex but the following goes out to anyone who is new to bone conduction headsets. You will likely have no discomfort while wearing/using them. You may notice a strange sensation when you take them off. After being on your head for a long time, you may notice a weird tingling sensation on your face (no doubt from being subject to vibration for an extended amount of time.) and you will also likely notice a sense of relief when you take them off. Because they put pressure on your face, it apparently builds up after a while. I only noticed it after taking them off and only the first few times I ever wore them. These days I am so accustomed to them that I never have any discomfort or after effects.

Conclusion:

 

TL;DR:

  • Bone conduction technology delivers music through your cheekbones, ensuring ears remain completely open to hear ambient sounds.
  • Lightest bone conduction headphones to-date, weighing less than 1 ounce (26g).
  • 8-hour battery life for music, calls, audiobooks and podcasts, or 10 days of standby time.
  • Complete wraparound titanium design provides a flexible fit for unnoticeable all-day comfort and stability.
  • Fully waterproof (IP67 rated) to welcome intense workouts and extreme weather conditions.
  • Bluetooth v5.0 offers reliable connectivity for up to 33 ft (10m).
  • PremiumPitch 2.0+ delivers wide dynamic stereo sound and louder volume.
  • Re-angled transducers with significantly reduced vibration and enhanced sound quality.
  • OpenFit™ design ensures maximum situational awareness and comfort during long-term wear.
  • Dual noise-canceling mics minimize surrounding noise, effectively enhancing speech for the call recipient.
  • Charge fully in 2 hours with magnetic charging cable. Moisture detection alert included for safe charging.
  • Audrey Says™ voice prompts guide users through power, pair, play and talk.
  • Hassle-free 2-year warranty included.
  • Speaker type: bone conduction transducers
  • Frequency response: 20Hz~20KHz
  • Sensitivity: 105 ± 3dB
  • Microphone: -38dB ± 3dB
  • Bluetooth version: v5.0
  • Compatible profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP
  • Wireless range: 33 ft (10m)
  • Battery: lithium polymer
  • Continuous play: 8 hours
  • Standby time: 10 days
  • Charge time: 2 hours
  • Weight: 0.92 oz (26g)

Conclusion: The Aeropex are a good buy, even at full retail price. They have performed well for me so far and will be my daily driver (replacing the Air model) for working out and running, assuming I don’t destroy them with my over abundant sweat. If you are in the market for an open ear headset, (and you really should be if you exercise anywhere that situational awareness is a factor) give these a try. If the price point is outside your budget, there are several models available that are less expensive.

 

US Readers can use the following link and code to get a discount on previous models:

https://bit.ly/2UPYV2f

The discount code is SHOKZSTAR55

Canadian Readers can do the same here:

https://glnk.io/4w4/rowald

The code is: ROB65

 

 

 

 

 

Aftershokz Trekz Air Headset

Another bright Idea

As always this will be a down and dirty type of review. It will be based in real world terms, not fancy marketing hype. Ready or not, here we go.

Disclaimer: This headset was provided to my free of charge, as a product ambassador for Aftershokz.

Common background information: I work-out a lot, I sweat profusely and I have shorted out at least 4 dozen headsets in my pursuit of sweat-proof earphones/headsets to use while I run, lift, and bike. If you have read my previous reviews, you will remember that I reviewed other Aftershokz products. Well my friends, we find ourselves here again, another Aftershokz review. I am happy to say that I have found another great headset that I can recommend. Like their predecessors these are a bit different than standard headsets/earphones in that they are an open ear, bone conduction type of headset. That means they sit on your cheekbones and send sound to your inner ear, not like traditional headsets that go in your ear. So without further rambling, I present the Aftershokz Trekz Air 

If you are unfamiliar Aftershokz, read on and maybe find a new must have. Read my previous reviews of their products, or visit their website. If you’re a return Aftershokz fan, welcome back. When I first came across Aftershokz, I was looking for bone conductive headsets. I knew they were out there but hadn’t ever found any Bluetooth ones before. Anyone who knows me knows I HATE, and yes that is a strong word, but I absolutely hate wired headsets and earphones when I exercise. My gorilla arms tend to flail about and get tangled up in the wires and rip things off my head/out of my ears. I was happy to find that someone had stepped up and created a Bluetooth BCH and couldn’t wait to try them out.  I have never looked back and this headset is no exception to that rule.

Good:

Comfort: Like the Titaniums, the Air headset is ultra comfortable. For these new headphones, the engineering wizards have managed to make them more comfortable than any other previous headset they have made.  I cannot stress this point, enough, because they do not go in your ears, but rather sit on your cheek bones, they are extremely comfortable. I have used this set for a total of about 11 hours and just like the previous model, I almost forgot they were there, except for the constant rhythm I had in my head. These are 20% lighter than the Titanium model. the Airs weigh in at exactly 1 ounce (30 grams). They are so light that you can literally forget that you are wearing them.

Fit: The Air fit like, most other wrap behind headsets, but because of the titanium wire-frame design they have a naturally snug feeling. If you’re worried about them falling off while you work-out, don’t. I know some of you out there are going to be like, “But I really workout hard/fast/violently/whatever…” Yeah I do too. I do 45-60 minutes of weight training followed by 60-90 minutes of trail/road running. In the course of my workout my head gets flung into many different positions, sometimes with a fair amount of force. Guess what, they stay in place just fine. They fit securely in front of your ears and follow the curve of the ear , to help ensure a good fit. The titanium band is very flexible and acts like a spring holding them snug to your head. They have stayed in place so far for me, in excess of 7 hours of workout time so far. If you’re wondering, YES, they are glasses and helmet friendly .

 

 

Sound Quality: As with all bone conduction headphones; if you’re looking for a headset that can be an audiophile’s wet dream, I’m going to ask you to kindly stop reading right here, as these are not the headphones you are looking for.  If, however you are looking for a headset that has great audio, phone capabilities, and decent battery life, I’m talking to you. I was surprised by the sound quality of the Airs, even though previous models had larger batteries, they have been going for 11 hours on their initial charge. They do a great job of reproducing the sounds that you would normally have going into your ears. The bass was bassy but not overbearing, the mids and highs were there and represented well. If you have them cranked all the way up you can hear the music coming out of them from a distance, but if you set them down on a hard surface they will shake and rattle all over the place, letting you know it’s vibration that you are hearing. They have once again improved on the “Leak Slayer” feature, which helps cut down on audio leakage, which was an issue for older models. As far as call quality I have made a few calls with them, using various phone apps like messenger, skype, google voice, fongo, and the phone app of the phone and people say they can hear me nice and clearly and I can hear them very well too. They have an additional microphone for noise reduction, and it appears to work as advertised.

 

Packaging/Accessories: when most companies are trying to give you as little as possible when you buy their products, it’s refreshing to see one going a bit better. Like the Trekz, the Airs are packaged well in a nice box. Inside that box is a soft touch rubber carrying case, a charging cable, a warranty card, a quick start guide, a multi lingual instruction sheet and the ear plugs (for when you are say, on a plane or train, and can block out all noise). Unlike some of the other brands that give you throw away packaging and the headset, it’s nice to get the little extra touches with these.

IMG_20170912_181922

Controls: Like their older sibling the Airs use the same simplified button set, consisting of just three buttons. They are: power on/volume up, volume down, and a multi-function button. The power and volume buttons are rubber coated/booted physical buttons. They work as intended and are easy to use, though they are bit more cramped as compared to the Trekz Titantiums. To answer a call you press the multi-function button on the left “ear” piece (when you are wearing them), this will pause any media you have running. To end the call you press the button again. To make a call a double press of the button gets you into the dialog for that. To play/pause your music you single press the multi-function button. Dead simple.

 

Battery: They claim a 6 hour battery life. I am at 11 hours as of this writing, and they just started telling me to charge them. The first couple of hours were at about 80% volume, while the rest has been at 50-75%. I’m not sure what volume they have their number spec’ed for but, as always, your mileage may vary.

Multipoint Connectivity: Like the Trekz titantiums, multi-point connectivity is present on this model as well. Unfamiliar with the term? It means the headset can be paired to more than one device at a time. Previous models could only be paired to one, like your phone. If wanted to use it for your computer or tablet as well you had to go through the pairing process every time you switched devices.

Warranty: They come with a 2 year warranty, that covers defects in workmanship and sweat damage. As a side note, they truly stand behind their products. I destroyed 12 pairs of the original Bluez, about that many of the Bluez 2 headsets with my overactive sweat glands. They happily replaced them no questions, no qualms. They even interviewed me about my experience with their customer service. This is a company that I can say honestly, really cares about their customers. The customer service staff that I have worked with have all been great. Always courteous, always genuine, and always eager to help me get my issue resolved.

 

Neutral:

Sound Quality: I know I just said this was in the good column, but there is something I need to tell you about that is neither Good nor Bad when it come to the sound quality. Remember these are an Open Ear style headset. That means you can still hear outside sounds/noise when you use them. For me this is a good thing, I often run along roads and busy streets, and being able to hear approaching traffic is always good. Also being able to hear your breathing and your foot falls while running can aid in your training efforts. While I enjoy the solitude that my in ear headsets give me, the safety factor takes precedence when running outside. Being able to hear ambient noises can be a strange experience at first, but you’ll adjust quickly. Also I use an App called Zombies, Run! which is an immersive audio based running game, having the ambient sounds of the outside world adds to the realism of the experience

Price: The Trekz Air have a MSRP of $149.99. The price point is not too outrageous for a Bluetooth stereo headset of this quality, but I know not everyone can shell out this kind of money for a headset.  To date these are the highest quality Bone Conduction Headset I have had.

 

 

BAD:

Comfort: Again, I know I just said this was in the good column, just hear me out. I had no discomfort with the Trekz Air but the following goes out to anyone who is new to bone conduction headsets. You will likely have no discomfort while wearing/using them. You may notice a strange sensation when you take them off. After being on your head for a long time, you may notice a weird tingling sensation on your face (no doubt from being subject to vibration for an extended amount of time.) and you will likely notice a sense of relief when you take them off. Because they put pressure on your face, it apparently builds up after a while. I only noticed it after taking them off and only the first few times I wore them. These days I am so accustomed to them that I never have any discomfort or after effects.

USB Flap: In order to maintain the Water resistance/Sweat Proof-ness they have a small flap that covers the USB port. It’s made of plastic and is held in place with a welded joint. Just like previous models, I would have rather seen a flap with a slightly more rubber-like consistency, as opposed to the plastic they are using but that is neither here nor there. It has been fine so far but we will see how it holds up. All of the previous models have been surprisingly resilient, so I expect no less of this model.

 

Conclusion:

Conclusion: The Aftershokz Trekz Air are a good buy, even if you have to pay full retail price. They have performed well for me so far and will be my daily driver (replacing the Titanium model) for working out and running, assuming I don’t prove the sweat-proof claims inaccurate. If you are in the market for an open ear headset, (and you really should be if you exercise anywhere that situational awareness is a factor) give these a try. If the price point is outside your budget, here’s a link to get 30% off any other model of Aftershokz (but not the Airs), look at the previous models. The Titaniums, Bluez 2S or Bluez 2 are readily found for a fair amount less than these, while still providing the open ear benefits.

Motorola Xoom: My thoughts and review on the device

So I have had my Motorola Xoom for a while now and decided to share my thoughts on it thus far. As with any review the bias will be my own, based on how I use the device, your mileage may vary. This will be a simple good vs. bad list.

Good:

Battery life: Battery life on the Xoom is amazing. I’m not a true “power user” but I do use my device a lot. It gets put through the paces. I received my Xoom on Friday 2/25 @ 11am; it arrived with 85% charge on the battery. I used it for several hours on end, then several times throughout the rest of the day until about 10pm. Installing apps, synching Email, and contacts, playing a couple of games (including downloading all the data files for dungeon defenders HD). When I plugged the beast in the for the night (about 10-10:30) it still had 40% battery left. I used it as my primary computing device on Saturday, composing emails, tweeting, facebooking, RDPing to my server, viewing office documents, etc. I unplugged it at 5:45am and used it all day (again until about 10pm) and when I plugged it in that evening it still had about 30%battery life.  To me that is amazing.

Charge time: It takes roughly 1.5 hours to go from 30% to 100% for charging times on the included charging adapter. Not too shabby considering the run time you can get out of the battery.

Screen size: 10ish inches to me, is the perfect size for a tablet device. I find that 7” screens are a bit too small for true usefulness as a business device. The screen resolution is 1280×800 which surprisingly is easy on the eyes. I am able to open office docs and view them with ease. The included Quick Office HD makes for easy reading and editing of documents, and on a 10” screen so much more effective than on the 4.3” screen on my phone.

Connectivity: Being an early adopter, I have the 3G version of the Xoom, I opted to buy a 1GB prepaid data plan just to play with it. It turns out the Xoom is pretty darned intelligent about when to use the 3G. I added my Google account to the Xoom, and since I use the restore feature for my Droid X it restored all my Wi-Fi connectivity information to the Xoom. Yep that’s right I didn’t have to re-enter any of my Hotspot info, thanks to good ole Google. The Xoom defaults to Wi-Fi when you are in range of a remembered hotspot. You read that right, it defaults to Wi-Fi when it can use a in range hot spot. That is awesome. So it automatically saves your 3G data for the last resort connection, that is great. The Wi-Fi radio is dual band as well picking up both my 2.4 and my 5 Ghz hotspots with ease.

Performance: performance is great, as you would expect. The tegra processor is a beast, and Honeycomb is designed to exploit multi core processors. This makes for a smooth, lag free experience. Nothing more really needs to be said about it, other than : you will not be disappointed by the processor in this device.

Overall Size/Weight: The Xoom is almost the same size and weight of the iPad, which makes it a winner in terms of size. It has a relatively small bezel area and plenty of screen real estate. The weight of 1.1 pounds gives it a good feel, without being overly burdensome. The device has a great study feel to it, with very little flex. It appears to have the same gorilla glass that the Droid X has, which is a plus. I could carry this with me all day long and barely notice it among my other notepads, and paperwork.

Portability: The size and weight of the Xoom lend it to be ultra portable. It feels like carrying a notepad. You know those old school things with paper and sheets… Yeah it’s a bit heavier than a traditional notepad, but not by much. It would slide into a briefcase, backpack, or purse with no effort at all. That being said, being ultraportable does not mean flimsy. This device is solid.  “Gorilla” Glass on the front & a metal casing make it very rigid. It has a decent amount of heft (1.5 pounds approximately) which also makes it feel very solid and sturdy when you’re holding it.

RAM: 1GB, more memory is always better than less, and the Xoom has plenty of RAM to spare, 1GB of memory in a device like this gives it the ability to handle multiple open applications/files with ease. I installed a memory manager just to see how much memory I had available at any given moment, and it turns out that with everything open that I use I still had about 300MB of memory available at any given time.

Video performance: Videos play smoothly, and look great on the Xoom. I saw no lag or stuttering while watching HD video. I watched both local and streaming video on the Xoom and both types looked great. This device is not lacking on the video performance area at all.

Unlockable: The Bootloader is unlockable, now if you’re an average user this means nothing to you, but if you’re a tinkering type, this is awesome news. It means you can get custom ROMS and root access with relative ease. Just know that unlocking the bootloader will instantly void your warranty. So be sure you want to do it.

Bad:

No SMS: Yep no SMS capabilities. Which was a bummer for me, I would have loved to have had the ability to text from this device. I’m not sure if it’s because the phone functions are not present in Honeycomb, or some other restriction that is in place, but hopefully some resourceful developers will get this remedied.

No Gvoice: You can’t install it from the market, and if you restore it from a backup it will just force close over and over, so no Gvoice for SMS either, again hopefully this will be a problem that is fixable in the near future, though as a work around you can always access the web version which works just fine from the Xoom.

Glossy screen: Yeah Glossy screens are overrated. I would have preferred to have a matte screen on this puppy or at the very least a less glossy screen. Glossy screens look pretty but cause lots of glare in a lot of different lighting conditions. The color saturation is great on the Xoom, but having to adjust the device to various angles to avoid glare can be a pain in the behind. Fortunately the device is small enough that this issue isn’t a complete tragedy.

Price: one word: OUCH. Yeah I paid full price so as not to have a contract, and it’s a steep price indeed. With taxes, delivery, a one month prepaid data plan and a couple of accessories (screen protectors, and the portfolio case) the total out the door for me was $900. Which I would never had paid, if it wasn’t a work expense. We are looking at getting a few of these for trade shows and presentations on the go, so the device for me is a legitimate piece of research. I think if the off contract price was about $600 this device would sell like hotcakes, because it is an awesome piece of equipment. The WiFi only version has been officially announced at $599 If you don’t need 3g/4g connectivity, that is your winner.

No Charging via USB: Yeah you read that right, the USB port does not allow you to charge the device, instead you have to use the proprietary charging port, which means yet another wall wart, and car adapter, this is a failure on Motorola’s part in my opinion. I get it, the beast needs more power than a USB port provides, how about the ability to trickle charge it via the USB port, sure it may take me 8-10 hours instead of 2 to fully charge it, but you know, I’d like to have the option at least.  Having to have yet another set of chargers is not a good thing for mobile professionals.

No SD card access (yet): As of right now thje micro SD card slot is not usable. I know it’s just a matter of time before it is useable, and having 32GB of onboard storage should be enough for a while, but I feel like the device is somewhat neutered by the fact that I can’t access the SD slot yet. I know it will be accessible in the future (it says so on the SD card dummy in the device) but this should have been addressed before releasing it in my opinion.

No Flash (yet): Like the SD card this is a fail in my opinion. Again, I know it’s coming soon, but it should have been included at launch. While it’s not a huge deal, it’s a pain in the butt, seeing as lots of sites employee flash.

So over all I can say I would recommend the Xoom. I feel the “goods” outweigh the “bads”. The device could be a great companion device to have at the office, on the road or at home. Will it completely replace your computer? Not likely, unless you are a really light user, will it be better than a laptop on a plane, or even on the couch, it sure could be. I used it as my primary surfing device over the last weekend and it worked great. I can say that if all your activities are encompassed by checking email, surfing the web, and social network updates, this device could be your daily driver. If I had to assign a numerical value on a scale of 10,  I’d give it a 8.75. When the SD Slot and Flash Issues get resolved it will be above a 9.