Motorola Droid Xyboard 10.1 Review
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The first tablet to run on Android Honeycomb was Motorola’s Xoom which although had an attractive user interface, it failed to impress due to its high price tag, bulky design and the choppy performance. A new model coming from the same company is the Droid Xyboard 10.1 which can be considered as a thinner and lighter successor of the Xoom, offering support for Verizon’s 4G LTE, along with universal remote control capabilities and a powerful TI OMAP 4430 dual core processor clocked at 1.20 GHz with 1GB of RAM. However, the price tag remains quite steep as on Verizon’s 4G LTE network it will set you back at least $529 for a two-year contract.
This would have to be one of the thinnest and lightest 10-inch tablets available on the market today as it measures 9.9 x 6.8 x 0.3 inches and weighs just 1.2 pounds. This means that it is 0.1 pounds lighter than the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. It’s a lot thinner and lighter than the Xoom which measured 9.8 x 6.6 x 0.5 inches and had a curb weight of 1.6 pounds.
The unique chassis of the Motorola Droid Xyboard 10.1 adopts angular and square corners, while the bezel is surrounded by the rubber edges, wrapping around the back which makes the tablet quite easy to grip. The back of the device is made from a sturdy piece of aluminum and has a matte gray middle area where you’ll notice the company’s logo while at the sides and the bottom it has rubberized areas. The lens of the rear-facing camera is surrounded by the raised plastic box that holds an HD silver logo which means that this camera is capable of recording 720p videos.
Motorola has fitted this tablet with a 10.1-inch touchscreen display that has a resolution of 1,280 x 800 pixels. It has to be one of the most colorful and brightest tablet screens we’ve seen so far, while the images are smooth and crisp. In addition, the viewing angles are impressively wide so two or three people can see perfectly what’s on the screen at the same time.
The back-mounted speakers of the Xyboard 10.1 are very good and these have enough oomph to fill even a larger room. The sound coming out of those stereo speakers is clear and crisp, while their placement on the back top of the tablet is very good since there is a low risk of covering them while you are holding the tablet, regardless if in landscape or portrait mode.
The tablet comes with no less than four virtual keyboards to choose from. The first one is the traditional Android 3.2 stock keyboard which is the same one you will find on other tablets that are running this version of Google’s mobile OS. This has a QWERTY layout and consists of dark-gray keys that have a large size.
Also on board is Swype which allows you to form the words by tracing the lines between the letters. Another way to go would be by using SwiftKey X which is capable of providing better autocomplete functionality in comparison to other keyboards. It also has a nice split-keyboard mode where the left and right sides are holding the letters while in the middle is the numeric keypad.
Instead of the traditional QWERTY keyboard you get the MyScript Stylus that has a drawing area which can be used for writing letters either with the active stylus that comes with the tablet or by using your finger. MyScript is capable of transforming your handwriting into regular ASCII text and it does this in a pretty accurate way.
While Lenovo and HTC are selling stylus separately for more money, Motorola has decided to include the active stylus in the retail package of the Droid Xyboard 10.1 so that you won’t have to pay extra. The bad news is that the quality of this stylus is not that good as it provides an uncomfortable feel and has a weak performance most of the time. In addition, there are only a few pen-friendly applications that come as standard with the tablet. This is a little bit larger than most of the stylus pens we’ve seen from other manufacturers while when you are writing on the screen you will notice a considerable amount of lag.
The five megapixel camera sitting on the back of the tablet has to be one of the best we’ve seen on such a device as the pictures are colorful and sharp, with a great amount of detail and minimal image noise. It can also record 720p HD clips which have a similar quality, with the camera remaining in-focus even if you pan around rapidly. There’s also a front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera that has a decent performance even in a low light room.
The only app, aside from the MyScript stylus keyboard, which works natively with the stylus, would have to be Skitch which is a basic drawing app which allows the user to make simple sketches as there are only a few colors, letters and arrows to choose from. Also on board are Evernote and ColorNote for taking notes, but neither of these two offer support for the stylus. Other preloaded applications worth mentioning include Quick Office HD, Citirix Receiver (connecting to virtual machines) and also Polycom RealPresence Mobile. There are also trial versions of Madden NFL 12 and Let’s Golf 2, along with the Blockbuster and Amazon Kindle apps.
When it comes down to charging the battery of the tablet, you might want to know that it takes about five hours for a full 100% charge if you don’t use it during the charging process. A representative from Motorola said that it can take longer if you use the tablet while the battery is charging. With a full charge during the LAPTOP Battery Test it lasts for almost 6 hours which is a lot less than the aforementioned Xoom that can survive during the same test for 8 hours. We remind you that this test consists of doing web surfing over a Wi-Fi network with the brightness of the screen set at 40%.