Showing posts with label Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reviews. Show all posts

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Motorola Droid Xyboard 8.2 Review

The Motorola Droid Xyboard 8.2 finally lands in the US, after being released in Europe last month as the Motorola Zoom 2 Media Edition. We don’t know why the name is different, but the hardware is almost identical. I say almost because this version is powered by Verizon’s 4G LTE network, which has no equivalent in Europe. Beyond its mobile broadband capabilities, Motorola pitches this device as being “tough”, praising its materials as “a force field of protection”. But this is not an armored tablet: it weighs 0.85lbs (13.75oz) and is equipped with an IPS LCD display and virtual surround sound, says Motorola. This sounds good, but I’m going to tell you how it feels to use one in the real world… ready?

Technical highlights

8.2” LCD IPS display, 1280×800, 16M colors
Android 3.2 (Honeycomb)
Dual core, 1.2GHz, TI OMAP 4430
1GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage
5 Megapixel camera with LED flash (back), 1.3MP camera (front)
216 x 139 x 8.9 mm, 13.62 oz (386 g)
3960 mAh battery
micro-USB 2.0
4G LTE (Verizon), WIFI A/B/G/N


We all perceive the gadgets usefulness differently depending on our lifestyle, so let me tell you where I come from. Most of my (computing) time is spent using a powerful desktop computer (a PC) with large displays. If I need to get some real work done outside of the office, I use a laptop (Macbook Pro + Win7). On the go, I keep track of emails with a smartphone, but I tend to reply only moderately from it because typing long emails is a bit painful on a touchscreen. With the tablet, I check news websites and social networks a lot, and I often use a laptop or tablet on my couch.
Because tablets have such a long battery life, I have been searching for ways to use them as laptop replacement in some situations like trade shows and meetings where I don’t do anything drastic like programming or video-editing.

Design (very good)

Droid Xyboard 8.2 ReviewThe Motorola Droid Xyboard 8.2 has a clean design which feels substantially less bulky than the original Motorola Zoom, not only in terms if screen diagonal, which is obvious – but also in terms of thickness and display bezel. The front is pretty much all-glass, but the back is a mix of (what seems to be) magnesium with a rubber paint, and metal. Interestingly, Motorola has decided to go “all in” with the “tough” look, showing metallic screws in the back and all. This gives the Motorola Droid Xyboard 8.2 a solid look, which is a nice differentiation form the Galaxy Tab series, which chose to aim for thin and light.
On the back, you can also find the Power and volume buttons, along with the HD camera module, complete with an LED flash. From the buttons placement, I tend to think of this device as a “portrait” device that will be used vertically, but you can use it in landscape mode without a problem too.
Overall the build quality is solid and I may even suggest that the Motorola Droid Xyboard 8.2 is a tablet that has a “professional” look. Motorola is actually promoting the fact that this is a splash & scratch resistant design. We haven’t put that claim to the test, but we haven’t heard any competitor talking about their product in this way, so keep that in mind.


In a relatively dim environment, the Motorola Droid Xyboard 8.2 IPS LCD display is great. the colors are well reproduced, it is very bright and using it on the couch or in a place is going to be a pleasure. On a sunny day, things are a bit different, and I find the screen to be a little shinier than the average high-end tablet.
This is a trade-off that is commonly seen in laptops: shiny screens make the image “pop” a bit more while indoors, but this also exacerbates reflections outside. You can crank up the backlight to compensate for that, but it affects battery life.
If you take the train, subway or use it indoors, it’s all good, but if you plan on using this outside on a construction area, or as a realtor, you may want to take a few seconds to think about it. To be fair, most tablets will have this issue to some extent, but the Motorola display looks shinier than most.


Motorola is known to put a lot of efforts on the software customization of their Android devices, and recently, I really like the Motorola Smart Actions of the Droid Razr. On this tablet, the offering is more nimble, and Motocast and Motopack are the main apps that stick out.
MotoCast is the new name for ZumoCast, a Motorola app that lets you access content from your computer over the web. Each computer that you want to access needs to have a small MotoCast client installed. From there, your Motorola mobile devices (smartphones, tablets…) can access the files over the internet. Of course, you need a password and Motorola has made things as secure as it could.
This can be particularly useful for small businesses that have someone “in the field” with the tablet, and some else at the office who either collaborates, or updates the information from the office computer. You can image other situations like this, but given that the Droid Xyboard 8.2 is a 4G LTE device, it will not have much troubles with the network speed.
Motopack is a Motorola App Store of sorts. It contains apps that Motorola has tested and certified to run well on the Droid Xyboard 8.2. You can probably find the same apps on the Android market, but it is possible that from time to time, Motorola works with a developer to get something special for their hardware. I like the visual design of Motopack which is very graphic. They can because the “pack” contains about 30 apps, so Motorola does not have to take discoverability into account.
Ice Cream Sandwich upgradeable: while it does not ship with ICS, aka Android 4.0, the Droid Xyboard 8.2 can be upgraded to Google’s latest Android. Now, it’s not clear when the upgrade will happen, but at least we know that it is technically possible to upgrade.

Killer Apps

Droid Xyboard 8.2 Review
Email: the email app looks very much like the normal Android 3.x email app, and although I found minor differences in terms of design, the only functionality that comes in addition to the regular email app is Motoprint. As its name indicates, Motoprint lets you print emails, Microsoft Office documents, photos or web pages on your PC printer via WiFi. It seems like a small thing, but when you need to print something, it’s not always fun to be a tablet owner.
In terms of connectivity, most email service and Microsoft Exchange are supported, so this could be used for personal and professional purposes. If there’s an IT department, you may want to check with them as they may require additional security measures such as a virtual private network connection (VPN).
Skype: Skype works both in audio and video mode. Overall, the quality is quite acceptable for a mobile device, but laptops will perform better. The audio is usually good enough so that I don’t have to worry about it. It would be nice if Skype, chip vendors and tablet makers could come up with a way to hardware-accelerate the Skype video compression.
Browser: No problem here, the web browser performs well, and the sites that we tried were rendered properly without any issues. Of course, there is still Flash support and you can visit Flash-powered sites like, which is a Flash-site about the Apollo lunar landing.
Droid Xyboard 8.2 Review
I've pre-loaded San Francisco to the local storage. No more tile downloads for a while
Maps: In terms of mapping, Android remains the best overall platform because Google has put more efforts and features into Google Maps for Android. Because the Motorola Droid Xyboard 8.2 is an 4G-LTE device, you can expect maps to load very quickly as both latency and peak download speed have been improved over 3G and non-LTE “4G” networks such as HSPA+. Note that although this unit works on the Verizon network, AT&T is also deploying its LTE solution, and Sprint has wowed to launch its own.
My favorite features of Google Maps is one of the “Labs” experiment: you can preload a 10-mile square on the internal memory and browse maps without downloading tiles over the network again. This is great because most people often use maps within the same city on a daily basis. This should be a permanent feature if you ask me.
xyboard 8.2 review
Facebook: At the moment, the Facebook app on Android is still designed for smartphones, so you get a stretched view that is not optimum for Tablets. That said, the Facebook app gets the job done.


Movie playback: I copied some 1080p movies (.MP4) to the Droid Xyboard 8.2 and they all played without any problem. One is the Gran Turismo 5 trailer, and the other is the latest Starcraft trailer. this basically means that the tablet can decode very decent video (1080p 5Mbps+) that is usually above and beyond what you will find in streaming services like Netflix, or the Android Market.
Droid Xyboard 8.2 Review
Gaming (very good): the Droid Xyboard 8.2 is not really the fastest tablet when it comes to gaming. Graphics benchmark Nenamark 2 show that while it is comparable to Samsung’s offerings with a score of about 20 Megapixels per second, it is far from the astounding 51 Megapixel/sec that the Asus Transformer Prime achieves with its Tegra 3 chip.
That said, 20 Megapixel/sec is still equivalent to graphics performance that was considered “cutting-edge” just last summer. For example, Shadowgun runs well, and it’s completely playable, but you won’t get the 60 frames per second super-smooth frame rate. Instead, you will get 30 fps, which is still very good. (note: I’m eyeballing all the FPS numbers as there are no in-game counters)
Droid Xyboard 8.2 Review
Speakers (impressive): I’m impressed by the sound quality – It is known that having the speakers on the side can produce very nice sound and it is a technique commonly used on smartphones from several brands. However, it is easy to mask the speaker with the palm of your hand in landscape mode, so you’ll have to be careful about that. If you are, the sound is very good, especially if you take into account the size of the device. I think that this is the best sound that I have experienced form a tablet. Good job Motorola!

Camera (good)

xyboard 8.2 review
Photo taken with the Motorola Droid Xyboard 8.2
xyboard 8.2 review
The Xyboard has a tendency to have a tint that is a bit off
xyboard 8.2 review
The Camera of the Motorola Droid Xyboard 8.2 is very decent and does well in most photos. However, I have noticed that out of the box, the tint is slightly off and the camera has a tendency to pick up the dominant color of the scene. Below are two examples: first, the Droid Xyboard colors go towards blue/green, probably because of that door and wall on the left. On the second photo, it picks up too much yellow. You can tell because in both photos, the concrete is supposed to be gray. I don’t know why it does that, and many people won’t notice, but I think that Motorola could tweak this.
The video recording is good, and I’m satisfied with the overall quality as it is very decent. However, it won’t equal or beat the iPhone 4S. If you want to compare different devices for yourself, we have made the original photos available on our Ubergizmo Flickr account. Check them out in their full glory, no resizing involved.

Performance (very good)

Xyboard 8.2 Benchmark
Antutu tries to measure broad system performance
Nenamark 2 is somewhat representative of a game
Performance-wise, the Motorola Droid Xyboard 8.2 does well for a current-generation tablet. As you can see, it is slightly faster than its nemesis, the Galaxy Tab 8.9 but not as fast as the Galaxy S2 (with OMAP4). However, when you factor the upcoming (Dec 19) Asus Transformer Prime, things get tougher. Because it is powered by a next-gen Tegra 3 quad-core processor, the Transformer Prime easily wins in both benchmarks.
Yet, there is currently no 8” tablet that offers that kind of performance, so for the time being, the Droid Xyboard 8.2 is the fastest tablet in that category. It will be up to you to decide if you like the 8” form-factor, or the absolute performance better.
When not using extreme performance applications like games or imaging, the difference in terms of user experience isn’t so noticeable. In the grand scheme of things, the Droid Xyboard 8.2 is very good, but the scale for “excellent” has just been raised.

Battery life (below average)

In a standard video playback test, the Motorola Droid Xyboard gets about 5 hours of video, which is “OK”, but far from the 10 hours that the iPad 2 or the Transformer Prime would get. While we could blame that on the smaller form-factor, we keep in mind that tablets like the Playbook or the Galaxy Tab 7+ get 7hrs or so, so in the grand scheme of things, this could be better.
I consider the video test as some sort of “worst-case” scenario that can be applied to most tasks because the display (one of the most power-hungry element) is ON at all times. Even if video-decoding is not considered to be “intensive” (it’s mainly done by a small co-processor), it still is more intensive than email, and many other things that you may do.
Only gaming and image processing remain a special category of apps that can deplete the battery much faster than this, and how fast really depends on the application, but polygonal 3D is expensive.

Conclusion (competitive in the 7″to 8” category)

xyboard 8.2 review
In its own 8” category, the Motorola Droid Xyboard is a great competitor to the Galaxy Tab 8.9. Both share a comparable footprint, and both can differentiate themselves: the Droid Xyboard feels more solid and is a bit more compact and fast. The Tab 8.9 feels lighter and thinner but also feels a bit “plastic”.
Now, if you omit the size, it is clear that the Asus Transformer Prime is much faster, but unfortunately, it does not have a 4G LTE option despite customers clamoring for at least a 3G option. If you ask me, this comes down to the form factor. If you really care about compactness, then Droid Xyboard 8.2 is a very good option.
If a 10.1” tablet works for you, it becomes a matter of needing mobile broadband or not. If you need fast broadband, a Droid Xyboard 10.1 or a Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE will get the job done. If 3G/4G is not needed, getting a Transformer Prime is a no-brainer. Some would say that WiFi can be a good alternative to mobile broadband but I disagree: in my experience, there’s almost never a hotspot when I *really* need one.
I hope that this review has given you an idea of how it feels to use the Motorola Droid Xyboard 8.2 [product page]. If you have questions that I have not covered, please drop a comment, and I’ll try to address them ASAP. If you find this review to be useful, please “like it”, share it or drop a comment. We’re here to help.

[Via: Ubergizmo]

Motorola Droid Xyboard 10.1 Review

When the Motorola Xoom was launched with Honeycomb, I was slightly disappointed by its hardware design and the below average quality of the display. Consequently, I was happily surprised when I saw the Motorola Droid Xyboard 10.1 for the first time, the chassis design is sleek and elegant and the IPS display offers high contrast and great color accuracy.
The Droid Xyboard 10.1, known as Xoom 2 outside of the US, has the advantage to offer Verizon 4G LTE connectivity, a convenient feature for road warriors who are tired to look for WiFi hotspots while on-the-go. With a 2-year contract, you will be able to purchase the 16 GB version for $529.99 and the 32 GB version for $629.99.
Now, let’s see what the Droid Xyboard 10.1 has to offer in terms of design, software and performance.


Processor: OMAP 4 Dual Core 1.2 GHz
OS: Android 3.2 software (Honeycomb)
Display: 10.1” 1280 x 800, IPS LCD capacitive touch screen, pinch to zoom, light responsive, with stylus support
Connectivity: 4G LTE, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, Micro USB, HDMIout, 3.5 mm jack – data transmission rate: USB 2.0
Multiple Networks: WCDMA 900/2100, CDMA 850/1900, GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 4G LTE Band 13, HSDPA 21.1 Mbps (Category 14), CDMA EV-DO Release B/LTE, EDGE Class 12, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
Camera: backside 5 MP camera AF with LED flash and digital zoom– frontside 1.3 MP camera (webcam)
Video: 720p HD video capture – 1080p full HD video playback – playable formats: AAC, H.263, H.264, MP3, eAAC+, OGG, MIDI, AMR NB, AAC+
Flash support: Adobe Flash Player
Memory: 16 / 32 / 64 GB built-in, 1GB RAM
Sensors: accelerometer, gyro, compass, barometer, ambient light, AGPS (autonomous)
Battery: 7000 mAh Li Ion
Battery Life (manufacturer estimates): browsing over WiFi, aprox 10 hours – Video Playback
Weight: 603 grams
Size: 253.9 x 173.6 x 8.8 mm
Thinness comparison: Xoom 1: 12.9 mm – iPad 2: 8.8 mm – Galaxy Tab 10.1: 8.6 mm – Asus Transformer Prime: 8.3mm
Weight comparison: Xoom 1: 730 grams/1.6 lbs – iPad 1: 680 grams/1.5 lbs – iPad 2: 590 grams/1.3 lbs – Asus Transformer Prime: 586 grams


We always have a hard time ensuring objectivity in our reviews, since different people use electronic devices in drastically different ways depending on their needs and lifestyle. By telling you how I use a tablet, it will be easier for you to decide which aspects of this review will be useful for you to help make up your mind. I have used the Motorola Droid Xyboard 10.1 for a few days as an additional device to my desktop computer, my MacBook Pro (running Windows), my Macbook Air (running Windows) and my Smartphone. Since I have bought the Macbook Air, I do not use a tablet for meetings as much any more, it has become more of an entertainment device from which I watch movies in my bed or in the plane, read news and books, play with apps (ie Angry Birds, Music Sreaming apps), Skype/chat with friends, check Facebook updates, play music on a mini Bluetooth speaker.

External design (good)

Motorola Droid Xyboard backside
I am pleased to see how well the second 10-inch tablet from Motorola has been improved compared to the first bulky Xoom, the device features the same thinness as the iPad 2.
The chassis looks sleek and elegant and gets a unique design with its angled corners, offering a refreshing differentiation in a world full of black flat screens under 9 mm thick. Overall the built quality is solid and
The start screen’s preloaded wall paper is easy on the eyes and consistent with the robotic-inspired graphic style of the Droid branding. The Droid Xyboard 10.1 is narrower and a hair wider than the iPad2 for a comparable weight, it features similar proportions as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.
Personally, I am not a big fan of the back cover made of two different materials, in the center, a gray brushed metal rectangle with rounded corners is encased in rubberized edges. The rubberized outer rim offers a good grip and a soft touch, which feels good in the hand, however the color combination is not very elegant. The design attempt of combining two different textures and colors is better done on the Droid Xyboard 8.2-inch version because the shapes are symmetrical.

Display (very good)

This time, Motorola got it right on the display side, the company has surely learn its lesson from the first Xoom which featured a super reflective and below average display, an unfortunate design decision knowing that tablets are primarily content consumption devices.
The touch LCD delivers high contrasts, accurate and bright colors, similarly to top tablets on the market such as the iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. However, it is a little bit more reflective than other high-end tablets in direct sunlight, which could be annoying when you watch dark background screens while outdoors. To be fair, most tablets will have this issue to some extent, but the Motorola display looks shinier than most.

Audio (very good)

The two speakers are located at the rear of the device close to the top. When I played the first video, i was instantly surprised by the good audio quality compared to other high-end tablets. The sound is more powerful and clearer than on the Samsung Galaxy Tabs or the iPad. I tested all devices with the volume set to the maximum. We have noticed that Motorola usually delivers good audio quality on its mobile devices.

Software / OS (good)

Android 3.2 and Motorola design customizations
Motorola Droid Xyboard Quick Access
The Quick Access is the original from Android, only the font has been customized
The Droid Xyboard 10.1 runs Android 3.2 and features a few design customizations on the OS side. The Browser, Email, Contacts, calendar, Gallery,Camera and Settings icons has been redesigned to be consistent with the ones found in the Motorola smartphones. The system icons (bottom left corner), and the Apps icon on the action bar (top right corner) have been redesigned as well.
The Tron-style typeface and icons seem to be highly disliked by design team across the industry, just like Samsung did, Motorola has replaced it by a more neutral font. Other than that, the quick access panel that pops up at the bottom left corner with settings access and notifications looks to be the original one featured in Honeycomb.
In case you would like to know more about the Android 3.2 update, read the official page on the Android site.
No Pre-loaded Task Manager
I wish a task manager would have been pre-loaded. Samsung offers in its Galaxy Tab tablets, it is accessible from its TouchWiz Mini App tray, the ability to close the apps from the Recent Apps tray is not available on Android 3.2, Asus made the customization in its Transformer Prime. (comparison picture). I advise you to download a free task manager app from the Android Market, we usually like to get Advanced Task Killer from Rechild.
Motorola and Verizon Custom Software
Motorola is well known for its software customization of Android, which genrally add great features on the user experience side, think Motoblur or the most recent Motorola Smart Actions developed for the Droid Razr.
On the Droid Xyboard 10.1, custom software has been kept to a minimum with the MotoCast and the MotoPack applications.
MotoCast is the new name for ZumoCast, a Motorola app that lets you remote access content on your computer over the web. Each computer that you want to access needs to have a small MotoCast client installed, and you need to create an account (a MotoCast ID) with password protection. From there, your Motorola mobile devices (smartphones, tablets…) can access the files over the internet. This would be particularly convenient for road warriors or small businesses with employees dispatched in the field with 4G-connected tablets.
When I tried the application I had issues to make it work on the tablet, I was able to successfully install the PC client and register my account on the website. I will have to take a second look and I will update the review.
Motorola Droid Xyboard MotoPack
Motopack appstore with beautifully designed user interface - it could be more responsive
MotoPack is the Motorola app store that features a very small number of applications certified by Motorola. The user interface is graphically beautiful although a bit slow. The app store is supposed to hsot 30 apps, but it looked like my version displayed only six. (to verify)
Verizon V CAST Apps: The Droid Xyboard 10.1 is a Verizon 4G LTE tablet, and the carrier could not resist to pre-load its own app store as well. You will find it as a shopping cart icon labeled “Apps” in the app section, oddly, when the splash screen launches, the complete app store name is V CAST Apps. I like the user interface a lot, it is graphically appealing and makes it easy to search a few applications by category. Similarly to the Motorola app store, all the apps featured in V CAST Apps can be found in the Android market, Verizon made it easier for regular people to get the most useful and well developed ones. The application is slow and the user interface is not fluid.
Other Verizon applications: Verizon Media Manager and VZ Navigator
Pre-loaded applications
It is always interesting to look at the pre-loaded application list, since people might rely on the manufacturer and its good judgement to select the most useful software for its users.
Preloaded apps list include: Amazon Kindle, BlockBuster, Dijit (universal digital remote control), Evernote, Fuze meeting, Citrix receiver, GoToMeeting, Netflix, Polycom (porfessional video conferencing), Quickoffice HD, Skitch (photo editing), VideoSurf (video discovery) and SlingBox.
Games: Let’s golf 2 and Madden NFL 12.
Google Apps: Talk, Books, Music, Maps, Navigation (beta), Latitude, Places, Voice Search.

Vital Applications

Motorola Droid Xyboard emaill application
Emaill application with MOTOPrint - in the blue nav bar, see the printer icon
The email application look similar to any other Android 3.x email app, and it now features search (it was not the case at Honeycomb launch). The nice addition offered by Motorola is the ability to print via MOTOPrint and compatible shared printers over a WiFi network or Ethernet with a WiFi access point. MOTOPrint lets you print other documents stored in your tablets such as Office docs, photos, web pages and more…
Most email services are supported, and setting up Exchange is quite easy when you know all your account specifications (domain name, user name, password).
Virtual Keyboard
The Android keyboard is the default input method, and the Droid Xyboard 10.1 comes with Swiftkey Tablet X and Swype directly available in the settings. Personally, I like the easy access to Swiftkey since this particular keybaord application deliver awesome predictive capabilities, can learn your typing habits from your Facebook, and Twitter updates, and above all features, can handle simultaneously three languages, a most needed feature for me.
The Droid Xyboard comes with a stylus, I have not had the time to try it yet, I will update this paragraph when I do.
Video calling is possible with Skype for Android 3.x, and the quality is acceptable for a mobile device, the application delivers better result on a desktop or a laptop computer. When it comes to video calling on Android you can try alternative application such as Tango.Hopefully the video quality for mobile calling will be enhanced in the near future.
Motorola Droid Xyboard browser
As you may know, I have a slight preference for the Chrome-based browser featured in Honeycomb over Safari in the iPad, thanks to its handy tabs and its sleek interface. On the performance side, the websites I tried loaded pretty rapidly, with a comparable speed as any high-end tablet we tried. Flash is still supported, so if you are a fan of the conquest of space you can visit Flash-powered sites like and play with Apollo.
The Google Maps app on Android devices packs more features than on iOS, which is understandable on a business angle, Google is pushing its own mobile platform. The user interface is very responsive as well as moving the map around.
The layers feature is great, it allows it adds tons of information on top of the map including traffic, terrain, transit lines and Wikipedia information. When you click a Wikipedia icon on the map, you get a pop up window with a description and additional information about the of the point of interest and you can get access to Street view or directions from your current location at the click of a button.
The Facebook app for Android is the smartphone version and has not been optimized for tablets yet. It get the job done, but honestly, using it is not fun. The user interface, the aesthetics and the navigation could be a lot better.


I played some 1080p movies (.MP4) that I have stored on the Droid Xyboard 10.1, and the video playback was fluid with a great audio quality. One is the Gran Turismo 5 trailer, and the other is the latest Starcraft trailer. This basically means that the tablet can decode very decent video (1080p 5Mbps+) that is usually above and beyond what you will find in streaming services like Netflix, or the Android Market. Additionally, it is important to note that the display offers good color restitution and high contrast for the video playback.
Netflix comes pre-loaded in the Droid Xyboard 10.1, which is a good idea knowing that 10-inch tablets are perfect for watching video. I tested it over WiFi, although you can try it over 4G, it is recommended to use WiFi, depending on your plan and the bandwidth limitation per month.
Netflix delivers a fluid HD video experience overall with a good image and audio quality.
The YouTube application was revamped for the Honeycomb launch on the Motorola Xoom in April 2011, I have described it in the review and you can check out our video demo. To make sure the Xyboard 10.1 would play well HD video from YouTube, I tried it with the Avatar HD trialer and the result was perfect. Again, the audio quality and the display high contrast makes the experience enjoyable.
The Droid Xyboard 10.1 is not really the fastest tablet when it comes to gaming. Graphics benchmark Nenamark 2 show that while it is comparable to Samsung’s offerings with a score of about 20 Megapixels per second, it is far from the astounding 51 Megapixel/sec that the Asus Transformer Prime achieves with its Tegra 3 chip.
However the gaming experience tested with a 3D game is fine, we tried it with ShadowGun, the rendering is fast at 30 fps, but upcoming tablets like the transformer Prime can reach 60 fps.

Camera (good)

Motorola Droid Xyboard Camera
The backside 5 MP camera with AF and LED flash of the Motorola Droid Xyboard 10.1 is very decent and does well in most photos.
The video recording is good, and I’m satisfied with the overall quality as it is very decent. However, it won’t equal or beat the iPhone 4S, and the Galaxy S2.

Photo taken with the Droid Xyboard 10.1

Photo taken with the Droid Xyboard 10.1

Performance (very good)

Antutu tries to measure broad system performance

Nenamark 2 is somewhat representative of a game
Performance-wise, the Motorola Droid Xyboard does well for a current-generation tablet. As you can see, it is slightly faster than the Galaxy Tab 10.1 but not as fast as the Galaxy S2 (with OMAP). However, when you compare to the upcoming (Dec 19) Asus Transformer Prime, things get tougher. Because it is powered by a next-gen Tegra 3 processor, the Transformer Prime easily wins both benchmarks.
When not using extreme performance applications like games or imaging, the difference in terms of user experience isn’t so noticeable. In the grand scheme of things, the Droid Xyboard 10.1 is very good, but the scale for “excellent” has just been raised.

Battery life (average)

Charging time (long)
The charging time is similar to what is available on high end thin tablets, after two hours the Xybard was charged at 40% which is equivalent to the Samsung Galaxy Tab’s charging time (10.1 and 8,9 versions). The iPad also requires a long charging time.
Battery life (average)
I still need to test the battery life further, we expect it to be 7 hours of video playback,.

Conclusion (good)

What’s good
- 4G LTE
- Delivers good video playback experience and decent gaming experience
- Overall performance is very good
- Custom design of the default wallpaper with the Droid-style, it looks great
- Custom design of the Android apps and system icons
- Build quality is great, the rubberized edges feel good
- Audio quality is very good
- IPS display quality is good, with bright colors and high contrasts, which is a nice upgrade from the previous Motorola tablet
- WiFi printing capability with MOTOPrint
- Remote control of your home or office computer via MOTOCast
What could be better
- the display could be a bit less reflective
- the Motorola applications and the Verizon app store could be more responsive
- a pre-loaded task manager would be great

[Via: Ubergizmo]

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

HTC Rezound Review

The HTC Rezound is not the nicest HTC device to have been released thus far to the market here in the USA, but it certainly does have all the features that make it one of the best smartphones on Verizon, and certainly one of the top two LTE devices today. In the following review I’m going to prove to you why if you’re in the market for an HTC LTE device, this is your very best choice, that if you’re in the market for the best HTC device on the market, you’d better go with the Sensation, and finally why if you want the most iconic, memorable, and well supported devices on Verizon you may well be better off going with the DROID RAZR.

Before we continue, note that we’ve got reviews of each of the devices mentioned above that you ought to take a peek at since they’ll be mentioned below again. First there’s the HTC Thunderbolt, aka the only other HTC device on Verizon’s LTE network. Next there’s the HTC Sensation 4G, the HTC smartphone your humble narrator still calls the most perfect total package in an HTC device to date. Finally there’s the DROID RAZR by Motorola, the Verizon LTE device that I’m voting as the top choice for an Android smartphone running on Verizon’s LTE network today. You can also find a hands-on video review of the device in the text review here.


What you’ve got here is one of the thickest smartphones on the market at 13.65mm, with the other dimensions at 129mm tall and 65.5mm wide. Inside this rectangle you’ll find a 4.3-inch 720 x 1280 pixel resolution S-LCD display, one that’s certainly up for battle against the highest resolution smartphones on the market if you just consider the pixels per inch. While the iPhone 4S has 329.65 PPI, the Rezound has 341.54 PPI. The Rezound’s main contender, the DROID RAZR, has 256 PPI but does have a Super AMOLED display meaning you’ve got an obvious difference in the device’s capacity for brightness, as shown here, noting the Rezound is on the left and the RAZR is on the right:

The Rezound has the superior pixel density, but the brightness and the inability of your average everyday user to see the difference between the pixel differences without holding both next to one another make the RAZR have the upper hand here. Also see how the display is a visible amount closer to the glass than the Rezound is, this making the whole situation seem more up close and personal. There it something to be said for how wide both devices are, noting here that the Rezound will be able to fit in more normal-sized palms better than the above-average wide chassis on the RAZR.

That brings us to the appearance of the device – as the Rezound looks to be continuing where the Incredible 2 left off, we’ve got a phone that both does not stick out in a crowd but feels rather solid. The red ring around the camera lens on the back, the red capacitive buttons on the front and the read speaker face above the display all make one feel like they’ve got something special, and the Beats “b” logo on the back seal the deal, but you won’t get the “oohs” and “ahhs” you would with the RAZR or the HTC Sensation. If you take the time to hold both the HTC Sensation and the Rezound in your hands, you’ll like the Sensation better – I certainly do. The trade-off here is in the audio quality (no Beats!), the slightly less impressive processor (not by a whole lot), and the lack of LTE (Sensation is T-Mobile), but the chassis are as close to perfect HTC has ever gotten on the Sensation, it feels so sweet.

That said, if you’re upgrading from anything less than a 720p display from any other HTC device, you’ll be utterly pumped by the upgrade to the Rezound. The same goes for a person upgrading from a lower-grade display on any smartphone, even more so coming from a feature phone, and if you’ve had just a single-core processor before you’ll basically have a heart attack over how slick, quick, and powerful this device is. It’s only against other top-tier devices that this smartphone has any competition.

Beats integration

The Rezound’s main value lies in its Beats branding, and it’s no joke. While HTC is scant on details on how precisely Beats is integrated here, we do know that there’s an algorithm written into the software, that HTC worked with the Monster Audio folks on the hardware to optimize the experience for Beats in and over-ear audio phones. You get a pair of iBeats in-ear earbuds with the Rezound but it’s with any piece of Beats audio technology that you’ll get a great combination for lovely audio.

I’ve personally done some very basic listening tests with combinations of earbuds and devices and have found that, believe it or not, the HTC Rezound with the iBeats earbuds it comes packaged with sounds the most amazing together. I tried a couple other earbuds in other devices and here in the Rezound and found that first of all, the iBeats earbuds bring a slightly more full sound with any smartphone than earbuds from other groups which shall not be named but are price competitors. The Rezound on its own doesn’t present a gigantic improvement in audio quality from any other current smartphone competitor with 3rd party earbuds, but when you plug the iBeats in to the HTC Rezound, you know that these two belong with one another. Listening to the song “Kush” by Dr Dre, a song which we’d certainly would hope would sound amazing on his own line of audio products, certainly does: boom, booboom chik, boom boom chik, if you know what I mean.


There aren’t a whole lot of surprises here as far as software compared to the rest of the HTC family as of late as they’ve not changed things around significantly in the past few months on any device. Here you’ve got Sense 3.5, which is the newest, but look at any HTC top-tier device from the past four months in our reviews here and you’ll find the same experience. The HTC Vivid is almost identical, for example. Have a peek at the hands-on video below to see the software in action and a rundown of what’s included in the onboard applications and version numbers.

Above you’re seeing the Rezound again next to the Incredible 2 – note how similar the UI is, with ever so slight bits of difference. Also have a peek here at a couple of benchmark tests for all your joyful number munching desires. You’ll find at the end of the review that we’re asking you if you’d like any other tests done, mind you, so if you’ve got your own benchmark you’d like us to run, let us know!

Hands-on with the HTC Rezound

Here we go through essentially everything there is to go through on the HTC Rezound in one video. Still coming up: comparison videos to the devices we’ve not yet mentioned – got one you want compared to the Rezound? Ask in the comments section below, we’ve likely got one right over here on the desk!


HTC continues to improve upon (or at least change) their camera interface with each new smartphone, and here we’ve got a perfectly capable 8 megapixel shooter with 1080p video with a complete set of funny effects and lovely looking filters. One of the more interesting additions here is a slow motion mode for video – audio not included, but it’s fun anyway. Have a peek at a few examples here and in the final gallery below as well, starting here with the 1080p video demo, the slow-motion video, and a couple of photos.

Again there are so many different ways to take a photo on this device that you’re likely to have a heart attack, but it’s an excellent shooter without any modifications when it comes down to it. Note the detail in the screen window here and the vibrancy in the bananas below. Then there’s a flash photo of a toaster taken in a nearly complete-dark situation – those dual LEDs take you to a bright place.


One of the tests I keep getting requests for is one of the battery of any device tested while the device is connected via its mobile data connection and playing streaming video. What you’re seeing in the results here is a test over a span of a few hours:

What you can see there is Netflix playing some videos using LTE only. What’s appeared is certainly a decent amount of play-time, enough to watch a movie or two at least, and an OK standby rate of battery pull as well. Without playing non-stop LTE-based streaming video the battery here has lasted more like 10 hours with a small amount of usage of the phone during the day. It appears that this isn’t the same battery destruction machine that the HTC ThunderBolt was at first, but it’s not just a whole heck of a lot better. We’re still going to go ahead and blame bad LTE handling.


If you’re not waiting for the Galaxy Nexus, need LTE speed on a smartphone, and have a strong hate for Motorola devices, buy this handset. This phone is released at a time when a vast amount of people are getting ready to switch up for their next Google hero phone in the Galaxy Nexus, so it’s not realistic to speak of another just-released device as one that’s not going to be in direct competition with said device, especially when its on the same mobile network. Remember the Beats and remain strong!

The fact that this device is not in reality sleek or unique enough to warrant calling it a hero device for HTC or Verizon shows a greater understanding by all parties involved in the power of branding. The DROID RAZR has two majorly recognizable names right there in its title, while the HTC Rezound, without even looking at the device, appears to be the next in a never-ending line of HTC devices. They’ve latched on with Beats though, and in that the Beats “b” logo is second only to the HTC logo itself on the device, we know that HTC is positioning themselves as a more brand-power group as well.

When faced with the decision between the DROID RAZR and the HTC Rezound, you’ve got to think of what I always ask anyone asking me for advice on a new device: what do you need it for? If you want an iconic device whose usefulness as a status symbol almost outweighs its otherwise still impressive specifications set, go with the DROID RAZR. If you want and HTC device and want the most superior audio quality on a smartphone your humble narrator’s own ears have ever heard, go with the HTC Rezound.
Note now that though this is the end of the Rezound review, this is not the end of the review process. If you’ve got any other questions about this device or would like us to expand in any way, let us know!
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