Motorola Xoom 2 Review - Touchscreen, Display and Browsing Review

Like every Android Honeycomb tablet, the Motorola Xoom 2 uses a capacitive touchscreen. And like almost every one of these touchscreens, it’s responsive and a pleasure to use. It can sense up to 10 different points of contact at once, making it among the top capacitive touchscreens around. And it would take quite an imagination to come up with a reason to need more than 10.

The screen is topped with Gorilla Glass. This is also a common feature in Honeycomb tablets, but remains worth noting. It’s highly scratch-resistant and feels great under your finger. Hard plastic alternatives just can’t match a good glass surface.

Sharp, but you can see the pixels if you try hard enough

This surface is highly reflective, though, making reflections problematic as soon as you step outside with the device, though this is of course a problem with all glass fronted tablets. More of an issue is it also seems to be much less oleophobic than the iPad 2’s screen – as in it picks up greasy finger smudges very easily, and is less keen to let them wipe away. Within a couple of minutes of use, it was a bonafide smudgefest.

Under all the greasy smudges and high-quality glass is a 1,280×800 pixel 10.1in IPS panel. This supplies superb viewing angles, good contrast and fairly vivid colour. Its maximum brightness isn’t a patch on the IPS screen of the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime – although it is on a similar level of performance as the original Asus Eee Pad Transformer and other IPS-equipped tablets.
Xoom pics 7
No greasy crisps were consumed to produce this image

The screen represents a significant upgrade over that of the first Xoom. It didn’t use an IPS panel, and viewing angles suffered accordingly. However, within the next 12 months we’re likely to see tablet screens take a big leap forward, with much higher pixel density top of the wish list. While the 149dpi of the Xoom 2 seems plenty sharp enough for now, and is noticeably sharper than the 1,024×768 screen of the iPad 2, you can bet we’ll look down upon it as antiquated by this time next year. Then again, the same could be said of all the current crop of tablets.

One area where the limitations of a 149dpi display become apparent is browsing. Zoom out and you’ll see that tiddly text isn’t all that smooth – although less so than on an iPad 2. Nevertheless, the Xoom 2 excels in this web-connected area. The built-in browser is quick, supports Flash 11 following a quick trip to the Android Market app store, and text rescaling is super-fast. Adobe has announced that it plans to stop development of Flash for Android, though, so this notable advantage will wither and fade over the next year.

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