What a pleasant surprise the Motorola Droid XYBoard 10.1 is! I say that because the Motorola Xoom, the world's first Android tablet, traveled a hard road. At first it was the darling of the Android world because it was the first Android Honeycomb Motorola Droid Xyboard 10.1 feels like an amalgamation of all our favorite Android tablets of 2011 and is endowed with 4G LTE compatibility from Verizon.Design:The Motorola DROID XYBOARD 10.1 isn't overtly big, coming in at 6.8"H x 9.9"W x 0.34"D, but does feel a bit heavy at 1.3 lbs. The device appears well built, almost like a tank, using premium materials, which gives it a nice sturdy feel. It has angled corners, just like the DROID RAZR smartphone, which give it an aggressive styling, and we welcome the soft-touch coating on the back edges.Display:Click to EnlargeThe Xyboard's 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 screen is one of the brightest and most colorful we've seen, measuring 405 lux on our lightmeter test, comfortably above the 370 lux tablet average and on par with the 396 lux offered by the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.
When we streamed an HD YouTube trailer for The Avengers on the Xyboard 10.1, images were crisp, smooth, and colorful, even at extremely wide viewing angles to the left and right.Battery Life and Charging:The Droid Xyboard 10.1 is one of the slowest-charging devices we've ever tested. Even after being plugged into an AC outlet for 5 hours, the tablet had only gone from a 15- to 90-percent charge, and then it got stuck at 90 percent and would not charge all the way to 100 percent. Though the device is supposed to charge all the way to 100-percent capacity, a Motorola representative confirmed that charge times of 5 hours are typical and it could take even longer if you use the tablet while it is the bright side, unlike most tablets, the Xyboard can charge when connected to your computer's USB port. However, it charges much more slowly, if at all. We used the tablet for 2 hours connected to our PC's USB port and the charge level remained at 40 percent the entire time.Audio:Believe it or not, you can almost use the Xyboard 10.1 as a mini stereo, because the back-mounted speakers are just that good. When we streamed Everlast's "What It's Like" from Slacker and played "Forget Me Nots" from YouTube, the music was loud enough to fill a large room and rich enough to match at least a bookshelf stereo.
The speakers are conveniently mounted on the back top of the device, a spot you're unlikely to cover when holding the device in either landscape or portrait mode.Operating system:Despite Android 4.0 being available, the Xyboard 10.1 still runs on Android 3.2. This isn't a huge deal as the operating systems look quite similar, but there are a few nice enhancements that should come to Xyboard owners when Motorola finally releases an update for the tablet. Being able to swipe away running apps, track data usage, more easily place widgets, and access an improved unlock screen are a few of the outwardly visible enhancements.Android Honeycomb has always been kind of a bore to use since its debut. It has a bland Tron look to it and doesn't utilize touch in unique ways by allowing swiping or other intuitive gestures. Mostly, you end up tapping the screen a lot. Motorola has made some minor changes to the user interface (UI), sprucing up the onscreen navigation and clock fonts and including some of its own widgets.
But like all Motorola and Verizon devices, the Xyboard is loaded with dreary grey and red backgrounds and widgets. Seriously guys, there's nothing wrong with colors that aren't dull and bland. Luckily, you can change the background if you'd like.Camera:Click to EnlargeThe 5-megapixel back camera on the Droid Xyboard 10.1 captured sharp, colorful images that had no trace of white washing like we've seen on some other tablets such as the Toshiba Thrive 7-inch. Pictures of a cityscape taken in mid-afternoon light were extremely detailed, and colors--such as the green on a roof--really camera shot equally colorful and detailed 720p video. When we captured a clip of the same cityscape, images were just as crisp; the camera remained focused even as we panned around quickly.Verdict:The Droid Xyboard 10.1 is a vast improvement over the Motorola Xoom. It's dramatically thinner and lighter, offers a much better display, and boasts best-in-class sound. We also appreciate the super-fast 4G LTE speeds and this slate's ability to double as a remote control for your TV