There is no shortage of enterprise tablets. From the PlayBook to the ThinkPad Tablet to any number of Windows slates, business users have plenty to choose from. Though it seems like a slick consumer device, the Droid Xyboard 10.1 is Motorola's attempt to tap into that market.
Featuring a larger form factor than its companion, the Xyboard 8.2, the Xyboard 10.1 has 4G connectivity, houses a suite of business-friendly apps, and comes packaged with a capacitive stylus. Do enterprise users have the device of their dreams on their hands? And how does the Xyboard 10.1 fare in other areas besides being business-ready?
Build & Design
With tablets that are anywhere around the 10.1-inch range, it's something of a given that they will be a little unwieldy and uncomfortable to hold with one hand. Nevertheless, I was surprised by how heavy the Xyboard 10.1 was at 1.33 pounds and how quickly I would grow tired from holding it with one hand. Perhaps making this even more puzzling is the fact that the Xyboard is not particularly thick, measuring 10 x 6.83 x 0.35 inches. The tablet is just dense, so I was caught a little off-guard when I first started handling it. But at least it's an improvement over the Xoom, which had a smaller screen but weighed more at 1.6 pounds.
It also has an odd shape that may appeal to some, but not to this reviewer. Its corners are cut off, leaving angles that give the tablet a hexagonal shape. This seems like an unnecessary alternative from the usual rounded corners (or even perfectly rectangular tablets); if anything, it just seems like an attempt to stand out in the crowd in a completely meaningless way.
That being said, what I did enjoy about the build was the fact that it has rubberized material on the back?well, part of the back, at least. The rubberized casing wraps around to the rear where it comes in about an inch on either side on the short ends, enough to give your fingers a place to rest on the back when holding the tablet in landscape mode. I would have preferred that the entire back of the casing be covered in rubberized material, that way I could enjoy it when holding the tablet in portrait mode too (or to provide comfort and grip to those who have longer fingers than I do). Still, the rest of the backing is made from aluminum, so at least it doesn't have a cheap feel to it.
Down towards the bottom of the front of the device is the Xyboard's built-in microphone, and in the middle of the bottom edge of the device, you will find a microUSB port (used for charging) as well as a microHDMI port. To the right of those two ports, there is a covered slot for a microSIM card, but unfortunately there's no microSD card slot. The top edge of the device, meanwhile, has an IR blaster and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Xyboard's front-facing, 1.3-megapixel camera is centered on the top frame of the device (when held in landscape mode), while the rear-facing, 5-megapixel camera is centered at the top on the back. The speakers are also located on the back of the Xyboard, but also near the top so they aren't covered by your hands when you're holding the tablet.
The only other controls on the Xyboard 10.1 are the power/standby and volume up/down buttons, and they are designed in the same atrocious manner as the ones found on the Xyboard 8.2. They are placed way too closely together on the back of the right short side of the tablet, with the distance between volume down and up being the same distance between volume up and the power button. As such, it's virtually impossible to tell which button you're pressing just by feel without looking. And not only are the buttons located on the back, they're barely raised, so they're more or less flush with the surface of the device. So even if you are lucky enough to find the button that you want without having to stare at it, it's not particularly easy or comfortable to press it.
Screen and Speakers
The screen on the Xyboard 10.1 certainly looks crisp enough, given its 1280 x 800 resolution, but I will admit that it looked better on the Xyboard 8.2 thanks to the greater pixel density (it had the same resolution, but on a smaller screen). Still, the viewing angle is very wide, colors looked vivid, and HD video was a pleasure to watch on the display.
Aside from the fact that they're rear-firing, I think that the speakers are well-placed up towards the top on the back of the device, since they have no risk of being accidentally covered. They are surprisingly powerful too, but just because they can be loud doesn't mean that they're of good quality. Like 99% of tablet speakers, it's not like you'll get any rich-sounding audio or bass out of them; they're still tinny and flat-sounding.
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