WiFi-Only Motorola Xoom: 10 Reasons Not to Buy It

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-03-16 Print this article Print

News Analysis: The Motorola Xoom will be launching on March 27 for $599. But should the average consumer buy it? Not a chance for those looking to get the best value for the money.

Motorola is planning to release the WiFi-only Xoom on March 27 for $599. The device, like the WiFi-only iPad 2, is the same basic product as the 3G version, but won't allow users to connect to a mobile carrier's network.

It's likely a fine option for those customers who want to be able to test the tablet waters without getting bogged down into a two-year commitment or paying more than they would like for the 3G option.

But perhaps now the question is whether consumers and enterprise customers should even consider buying the WiFi-only Xoom. Sure, the device is essentially the same as its 3G counterpart, less the 3G connectivity. But there are several other products on the market that might deliver a greater value proposition. More importantly, is the $599 WiFi-only Xoom really worth the money? It's tough to say.

For now, it seems that most customers would do better to forget about the WiFi-only Motorola Xoom and opt for another device.

Read on to find out why:

1. The 3G version is the same price

Let's not forget that the 3G-compatible version of the Motorola Xoom retails for $599.99 when customers get into a two-year commitment with Verizon. Granted, there are monthly data charges on top of that, but if the upfront cost is an issue for customers and they don't mind paying monthly data fees, why would they even consider choosing the Xoom?

2. It matches iPad 2 pricing

Motorola might have made a mistake by offering the WiFi-only Xoom for $599. The 32GB version of the WiFi-only iPad 2 retails for the same price. In other words, Motorola's option is being put on a level playing field with Apple's tablet. Considering the hype that the iPad 2 is enjoying and the fact that the Apple tablet sold out in its first weekend of availability, Motorola might not want to put its WiFi-only model on an even playing field with its chief competitor.

3. A tablet is about mobility

Although Apple has enjoyed some success selling the WiFi-only versions of the iPad and iPad 2, it's the 3G-compatible models that make the most sense. Let's face it: Tablets are designed to be mobile companions when consumers or enterprise customers are on the go. Sure, some Xoom owners might be content to use their tablets at home or on a public WiFi hot spot. But an essential requirement for achieving full-scale mobility these days is the ability to connect to a 3G network. The WiFi-only Xoom won't do that. That should turn some customers away.

4. Say goodbye to 4G

One of the key selling points of the Motorola Xoom is that its 3G option will be upgraded to connect to Verizon's 4G network. So, customers in cities that have 4G available will be able to connect to WiFi, 3G or 4G, depending on where they are and their desired connectivity speed. The WiFi-only Xoom won't have that flexibility. It's unfortunate. And it's a black mark on the device.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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