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Motorola XOOM Display is “Low-end” and “Poorly Calibrated” According to DisplayMate Showdown

Dr. Raymond Soneira is the guru of all things display, so when he drops a comparison or digs deep into a device, we tend to listen.  He just published his comparison of the Motorola XOOM, Asus Transformer and iPad2 which are more than likely the top 3 selling tablets on the market right now and had some not-so-pleasant things to say about the flagship Honeycomb device.  The results came out favorable for both the Transformer and iPad2, but the XOOM is another story altogether.  

Here is the quick version of his conclusion on the XOOM:

The display on the Motorola Xoom is a lower performance LCD than on the other Tablets, compounded by poor factory calibration. Colors and color saturation were much worse than the other displays. The Xoom screen has 49 percent higher ambient light reflectance than the iPad 2 and the variation with Viewing Angle is awful. The Xoom also has a Dynamic Backlight that varies the screen brightness in a peculiar fashion – it slowly dims the screen based on the Average Picture Level down to about 60 percent and then just stops. It makes dim images dimmer – it’s counterproductive and just strange display behavior… The other Tablet displays have standard Backlights, which don’t vary the brightness with picture content.

He continues on, even mentioning the “outstanding” display from the original DROID:

…the Asus Transformer, which delivers very good performance across the board and comes in a solid second, all the more impressive because it is $100 cheaper than the iPad 2 and $200 cheaper than the Motorola Xoom. And finally, the Motorola Xoom comes in a distant third and last place – it’s not a horrible display but definitely significantly below the display quality of the iPad 2 and Asus Transformer. This is all the more surprising because the Xoom is by far the most expensive Tablet, and Motorola previously included an outstanding display in the original Motorola Droid Smartphone – so they once knew how to deliver a great display. This time it seems they just settled for a cheap low-end poorly calibrated display.

I’d attempt to argue with him, but if any of you remember my instant reaction to the comparison of my XOOM to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 from I/O, you’ll know exactly how I feel.  From a non-display guru perspective, I would say that the XOOMs display is not where it should be.  As the most expensive tablet on the planet, and one that was supposed to lead the charge for Android, it has fallen short in a number of categories over the last few months.

It’s not that I already want to look to see what’s next from Moto in the tablet game because I forked out some serious cash for a XOOM just like many of you did, but as I hold my Galaxy Tab 10.1 each day, it becomes more obvious that Sanjay and the boys need to step their game up.

Via:  DisplayMate, MaximumTech

Cheers Jason!

  • USC

    time to try using a real xoom got my mz 600 and i dare anyone to try and take it away

  • Andreas Schipplock

    the display of my xoom now has a “shadow” or a “cloud” in the corner of the display. After…4 months or so.

  • Mdshullaw

    I had to say something about this review of the Xoom screen. I am a video technician, and have been for over 40 years now. The screen in the Xoom is not “low end” as is said in this review. The lower brightness and contrast is a matter of the hardware driving the display. Clearly Motorola decided to sacrifice brightness to increase battery life.  Along with lower brightness comes lesser viewing angles and less contrast. It was a design choice I would not have made, but I didn’t design it. Even with the lower brightness of the display, in my opinion, it is still lights years ahead of the Ipad in terms of speed, and features. If you want an excellent review and comparison of the XOOM to other tablets, you cannot do better than Anandtech.. Check it out!


  • Anonymous

    Just got a xoom and I am loving it but where is that wallpaper that is in this article. I really want it but can’t seem to find it anywhere. It is not found in the stock wallpaper selector. Any help? (Wifi only xoom)

  • Glend18167

    motorola xoom has many features got flash, player, camera, alot of memory but the screen is not smooth?? ipad2 is cool but it doesnt have a camera and battery and dont have a flash player too?, samsung galaxy tab 10.1 looks cool and great too but does it have a smooth surface too? it really eeeeasx my mind pls help thanks!!!!!!!!! :))

  • Glend186

    which is better plsssssssssssss motorola xoom vs samsung galaxy 10.1 tab  plssssssss i need to buy one and it’s making me confuisng plssssssssssss thanks!!!!:))

  • El Patrick-o

    What wallpaper is that?

  • Bigden75

    it would be nice if all of these aclaimed crttics compared the xoom to the iPad 32 gig 3g model which is 729.00

  • Bigden75

    it would be nice if all of these aclaimed crttics compared the xoom to the iPad 32 gig 3g model which is 729.00

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  • asus transformer is beast … ips display is amazing 

    • Anonymous

      I agree, and so does he-

      “the Asus Transformer, which delivers very good performance across the board and comes in a solid second, all the more impressive because it is $100 cheaper than the iPad 2 and $200 cheaper than the Motorola Xoom”

  • Djflan

    Despite what most comments may say, Moto is far from poor quality. 

    Yes, it is true they probably picked a cheap screen to begin with, but lighten up – this is their first tablet. Yes, Samsung and Asus seem to have a better start, but how many that bought the Xoom when it first came out can say this is a deal breaker?

    I bought the Xoom when it first came out, payed $800…and do I love it? Yes. It does indeed have it faults, and I wish there were more tablet apps, but its a start. The battery life is excellent on the device, Tegra 2 seems capable so far…

    I imagine that Moto simply signed a contract with the wrong company at the wrong time and ended up with a sub-par LCD, I’ll also bet that their next tablet will have a better display. 

  • Myamail7

    Love my xoom…. if this thing ever gets 4G it will be a monster….

  • Anonymous


  • Kepeli999

    I own a Xoom and ipad2, there is no comparison. The ipad2 screen is far superior. With that said, I use the Xoom about 90% of the time since the browsing experience is so much better. Android is simply a better OS.

  • Anonymous

    All i know is my Gameloft games (Asphalt 6 & Hero Of Sparta) look incredible on the Xoom.If you want to talk about a bad screen pick up a Dell Streak 7 lol..case closed.

    • Anonymous

      Just wait till how good they look when the tablet optimized Verizon come out. 

  • Anonymous

    I’ve played around with the Xoom and never thought that the screen was crappy.  I’ve played with an iPad 2 as well and when I went back to the Xoom, I’ve never noticed anything different screen wise..  :/