Motorola XOOM review: The Big Bang

GSMArena team, 26 May 2011.


With a primary 5 megapixel camera and a 2 megapixel front-facing unit, the Motorola XOOM seems fit to meet the average smartphone user photography needs. It probably wonít produce the stunning shot to hang up on your wall, but it will do for the occasional snapshot.

After all, taking photos with a tablet is hardly the most comfortable thing so we doubt any of the potential owners cares all that much about it. As long as the two cameras are there to provide the functionality needed for video-chatting and some augmented reality apps or games, itís all fine. The possibility to snap a label or two as a memory aid comes as a welcome bonus.

Thatís why we arenít going to take any points away from the XOOM because of the over-simplified interface. You get flash settings, white balance, color effects and scenes on a convenient dial as well as resolution settings, picture quality, focus mode and exposure compensation in the extra settings menu.

Motorola XOOM Motorola XOOM
Motorola XOOM Motorola XOOM
The still camera interface

There are also shortcuts for switching between the two cameras and alternating video and still camera modes. Few users are ever going to need more than those available settings and shortcuts anyway.

Unfortunately, the image quality is average at best even if you only consider the 5 megapixel league. We arenít particularly impressed with the amount of resolved detail and the colors are not particularly precise either. Dynamic range seems pretty limited too and generally the low noise levels are one of the few good things to say about the image quality.

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Motorola XOOM Motorola XOOM Motorola XOOM Motorola XOOM

Photo quality comparison

After saying this, itís hardly a surprise that the XOOM didnít quite impress in our lab conditions photo quality comparison. It managed to keep pace with its Atrix cousin, but the iPhone 4 just blew it out of the water when it comes to image quality.

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Motorola XOOM in our Photo Compare Tool

Video recording

We find the fact that the Motorola XOOM is unable to record 1080p video slightly puzzling. After all, the Optimus 2X does it with the same chipset so it should be technically possible. Yet, weíll let that one slip once again on the argument that tablets arenít meant as imaging devices.

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Motorola XOOM Motorola XOOM
The camcorder interface is pretty similar

You can record 720p videos with both cameras so itís not too bad. Of course the quality will hardly blow your mind, but it should be good enough for the occasional YouTuber. Just make sure you have a place to rest your arms against or you are certain to end up with really shaky videos with a tablet that heavy.

And hereís untouched video sample taken straight from the XOOM camera for you to enjoy.

Video quality comparison

Entering the XOOM into our video quality comparison tool revealed that the slate does worse in terms of resolved detail than the Atrix and even the iPad 2. The differences diminish in low light conditions and the XOOM even goes slightly ahead with its lower noise levels, but we really expected better.

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Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II in the Video Compare Tool