Motorola Xyboards Close The Android Tablet Gap

With its new Xyboard 10.1 and 8.2 tablets, Motorola aims to hit the sweet spot between the needs of the professional and the needs of the consumer.
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Tablets aren't just for work, though. There are plenty of ways to use the Xyboard to entertain yourself.

MotoCast is the most critical, defining service offered by the new Xyboard tablets from Motorola. MotoCast allows Xyboard users to access the files stored on their home PC from their tablet over cellular or Wi-Fi networks. The service requires that you install a client on your home (or office) PC and activate it on the tablet. Once set up, you can use MotoCast to download that work file you forgot, stream music files as you browse, or watch a photo slide show.

The new Android Market is onboard the Xyboards and offers access to downloadable music, books, and movies, in addition to apps. Both the music and video apps are much more visually immersive and have fun-to-use graphics. The new Google Music lets users access music they've uploaded to Google's servers, as well as browse, sample, and buy full tracks.

Other entertainment options include Netflix, a bevy of games, Slingbox, VideoSurf, Skitch, and the Amazon Kindle app.

I was able to use the Xyboard as a mini entertainment center while I was visiting in-laws over the weekend. In fact, my nephews nearly made off with it. The stereo speakers do a fine job for moviewatching when you're in a small room, and you always have the option to plug in headphones for less intrusive entertainment.

Bottom Line

Both the Xyboard 10.1 and Xyboard 8.2 are solid entries in the Android tablet space. They boast the latest specs and features, solid industrial design, and deliver good marks with respect to performance.

The user interface is easy enough to use, though it doesn't make any great strides over the original version of Honeycomb. Hopefully both machines will receive the Android 4.0 update before too long. The number of applications preloaded on both machines is good, and there are thousands more available from the Android Market.

It's a tough call to recommend one over the other. The 10.1 has more real estate to work with, but is larger, heavier, slower, and has a lower-res display. The 8.2's smaller screen makes it more portable and it is speedier and lighter as well, but battery life isn't nearly as good as its larger brother. For the working professional, the battery life of the larger tablet may be the deciding factor.

How much will these tablets set you back? The 16-GB Xyboard 8.2 costs $429.99 with a new Verizon Wireless data contract or $599.99 at full price. The 16-GB Xyboard 10.1 costs $529.99 with a contract, or $699.99 at full price. The 32-GB Xyboard costs $629.99 with a two-year contract, or a wallet-crushing $799.99 at full price. Plans start at $30 for 2 GB and range up to $80 for 10 GB per month. Overages cost $10 per 1 GB over the monthly limit.

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