I used a Honeycomb tablet once, briefly in the form of the original Xoom, and I actually didn’t hate it. My first Android Tablet experience was the Original Galaxy Tab, and the hacked-up 2.x tablet experience was absolutely dreadful.
Honeycomb does in fact have promise for a Tablet, and I can only assume ICS will be even better.
That being said, it’s still Android. And Android is still a bit of a mess. As pretty as the UI is becoming, the UIX still isn’t quite there.
On the quad core SoC:
The Prime is something of a curiosity around these parts in that it’s the first tablet to ship with NVIDIA’s quad-core Tegra 3 SoC. Actually, let’s just call it what it is: the first quad-core tablet, period. We’ve run our usual spate of benchmarks (listed above for your viewing pleasure), and the combined scores are among the highest we’ve yet seen, handily beating the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 7.0 Plus we recently tested in most cases.
Suffice to say, all the mundane bits — swiping through menus, opening apps — run as briskly as you’d expect on a quad-core slate. The Prime’s display is as responsive as it is gorgeous, and we made ourselves at home quickly — so much so that we found ourselves tapping the screen even when we were plugged into the dock. Make no mistake: the Prime is fast, but we suspect Honeycomb’s 3D animations aren’t the best way to highlight this, given that dual-core Tegra 2 can stomach these flourishes well enough already.
You’d think that means that the OS is finally less janky and stuttery, However:
That said, we were sorry to still see some occasional stutters and hiccups from time to time, instances where the device would hesitate for just a half-second or so before responding. There are three performance modes that are easily selected between in the pop-up settings menu, but even on its highest we couldn’t get it to be a consistently smooth operator. They’re the kind of stops and starts we’ve seen on just about every Android device to date and it’s a bit of a shame that even four whopping cores running at 1.3GHz can’t do away with them.
Even with 4 cores, the OS finds a way to stutter. This blows my mind. A big part of this is that, on some level, Android’s User Interface is not hardware accelerated, meaning that user interface animations aren’t handed off to the graphics unit on the SoC; they’re handled by the regular CPU which sucks at the type of math involved in doing animations. I’m not an Android expert, by any means, but I think that Honeycomb started to introduce a limited amount of hardware accelerated graphics and I believe that ICS has a lot more to offer in that respect. But one of the reasons that iOS has always seemed so silky smooth is that the UI animation frameworks have always been hardware accelerated. And it shows.
This seems like the Android tablet to get, if you’re in to that sort of thing. But then you’d have an Android tablet.