Tablets

Motorola Xyboard: Less is sometimes more

Find out why the Motorola Xyboard 8.2" has officially become Jack Wallen's favorite tablet, and why smaller can actually be better.

In the race to grow the biggest tablet on the market, I'm reminded of an old SNL skit where one character bragged about how small his cell phone was. Eventually, his phone was the size of a grain of rice. There was some truth to that skit. At that time, the handset market was determined to create the smallest possible device, even at the cost of usability.

Now, however, the race has changed. Mobile and tablet devices are created as large as possible, without giving up usability -- and they are winning that race. The Verizon-branded Motorola Razr (one of the more powerful and awesome handsets available) is large, almost to the point of being too big. The standard tablet size -- for Android and iOS -- is approximately 10x8 inches, but Android tablets can also be found in smaller sizes.

In fact, in some cases, smaller is better. For example, the Verizon-branded Motorola Xyboard tablet come in two sizes -- 8.2" and 10.1". The numbers may seem insignificant, but holding an 8" tablet feels significantly different than holding a 10" tablet. So, in a world where larger is better, why go with something smaller? Let's take a look.

Specs

Here are the specs for both sizes of the Xyboard.

10.1-inch
  • Network: 4G LTE and wireless
  • Memory: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB storage options
  • CPU: Dual-core 1.2 GHz
  • Platform: Android 3.2
  • Battery: 7000 mAh Li ion (claimed 10 hours wifi browsing)
  • Camera: 5MP rear/HD front with LED flash
  • Webcam: 1.3 MP P2P
  • Display: 10.1" @ 1280x800 resolution
  • Weight: 603 grams
8.2-inch
  • Network: 4G LTE and wireless
  • Memory: 16GB and 32GB storage options
  • CPU: Dual-core 1.2 GHz
  • Platform: Android 3.2
  • Battery: 3960 mAh Li ion (claimed 6 hours wifi browsing)
  • Camera: 5MP rear/HD front with LED flash
  • Webcam: 1.3 MP P2P
  • Display: 8.2" @ 1280x800 resolution
  • Weight: 390 grams

The larger Xyboard has better specs, but the 8.2" is still a rocket ship of a tablet. In fact, the smaller one easily stands up to both my Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy -- at least in power. In size? Not so much. But in this case, that lesser size is a bonus.

And now we are at the real heart of the matter. Why would less be more? Well, it all depends on what you're using the tablet for. There are some obvious applications where a larger tablet would be more useful:

  • Graphics (designing)
  • Power business usage
  • Working with larger documents

Of course, there are plenty of other situations where larger is better. But what about smaller? The iPad has its own book store, and Android has both Kindle and Nook apps. So, tablets can make great ereaders. But if you're a voracious reader, holding the larger 10.1" device can become quite the chore. In both weight and size, the Xyboard 8.2" makes the perfect ereader for those looking for more than just an e-Ink powered device.

However, it's not just about reading books. There have been plenty of times when a 10" tablet is just too much to easily carry around. The 8" tablet, on the other hand, never once had me feeling like I couldn't "grab and go." With a feather-light weight and easy-to-snag size, the smaller tablet makes mobility a no-brainer.

Since I've been using tablets, the Motorola Xoom was my king of the hill. But the Xyboard 8.2" has finally, and officially, dethroned the Motorola Xoom. The combination of this little tablet's speed, size, and function is hard to beat.

The conclusion

If you're looking for a tablet that's a true delight to travel with, has the performance of many (if not most) larger tablets, and won't have your arms and hands feeling tired after hours of ereading, the Xyboard 8.2" might be the perfect piece of hardware for you.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

1 comments
radleym
radleym

A larger screen (physically, not in resolution), a larger battery, and a 64GB option. Not much in the way of "better specs", unless you buy the bigger=better argument. Having used a 7" for a year, and played with 10" several times, I prefer my 7". "Bigger is better" is one of those blogger opinions that suddenly morphed into "fact" by virtue of being repeated by bloggers and by Apple. I disagree.

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