Final details include a five megapixel camera (capable of recording 720p video) paired with an LED flash on the back, while a 1.3 megapixel unit peers through the bezel on the front. An LED indicator light is also situated there in the glass, which will blink plaintively at you whenever you have a message waiting.
Performance and battery life
The Xyboard still suffers from the sort of annoying stutters and hang-ups while browsing that have plagued seemingly every Honeycomb device known to man.
So the Xyboard 8.2 is definitely a tablet that we like holding, but it wasn't universally fulfilling when it comes to performance. The thing absolutely feels much more sporty than the Xoom that came before, apps loading quickly and games running smoothly, handling HD video playback without issue and generally trucking along as it should. That said, it still suffers from the sort of annoying stutters and hang-ups while browsing that have plagued seemingly every Honeycomb device known to man.
Webpages quickly render and appear almost complete, tempting you to interact with them while the last remnants of content are still loading. But, do so and you'll experience sluggish response and excessive tiling. You're best off having a bit more patience.
Ignore that annoyance for a moment and look to the benchmarks to find some quite acceptable scores -- and by "quite acceptable" we mean "these would have been fine before the Transformer Prime sauntered into town." Sadly for Motorola, this device is living in a post-Prime world and it just can't compete in terms of sheer number-crunching ability, which is important if you're planning on doing some gaming on your tablet.
They Xyboard falls behind the Prime when it comes to battery life as well, clocking in at five hours and 25 minutes in our standard battery rundown test, which entails a looping video with the display set at a fixed brightness. Note that this was with CDMA enabled but LTE disabled, so that score would surely go up should you be silent running with this, but surely down if you raise the LTE periscope.
The Xyboard had no problem making and keeping a solid LTE connection on Verizon's network and, once locked on, put down some connection speeds that warmed our jaded hearts.
And that, of course, is the one area where the Prime can't compete with the Xyboard 8.2. The Xyboard had no problem making and keeping a solid LTE connection on Verizon's network and, once locked on, put down some connection speeds that warmed our jaded hearts. Now, your mileage will certainly vary here depending on local network conditions, but testing near Palo Alto, California saw average downloads of around 18Mbps and uploads at about 16Mbps -- very nearly synchronous.
When compared against an LTE phone at the same location the Xyboard uploads were consistently a bit quicker, while downloads were about the same. With pings under 50ms this could be a refreshing new way to host a Counter Strike
server wherever you happen to be.
There's not a lot to add here to what we said about the Xoom 2
. What you have here is a virtually unmolested version of Android 3.2 Honeycomb that, if you squint, might be mistaken for Ice Cream Sandwich -- which won't actually hit this tablet until sometime in 2012. Motorola has thrown a few choice apps on here, like MotoCast for streaming media and Quickoffice HD for attempts at productivity, while Verizon has added a few of its own, like My Verizon Mobile and its own little Apps store. The offending apps are few and, thankfully, far between.
We won't spend a lot of time here going over the camera performance as these are, as far as we can tell, the same camera units found in the 10.1 inch model we've so recently reviewed
. The five megapixel shooter on the back produces acceptable images that will certainly capture whatever you're looking at but won't exactly do so in a particularly endearing way, with muted colors and soft imaging. The lack of tap-to-focus is also a bit of a bother, leaving you hoping the tablet chooses to clarify what you'd like it to. When it does focus it does so a bit slowly, but that's still a big, big improvement over the slow shooter Moto put in the Droid Bionic
. The 720p30 footage is similarly adequate, so long as you aren't trying to track any fast-moving objects.
It is worth a mention, however, that the camera placement on the back-left was a constant bother for us. Hold the tablet in landscape orientation, as you're likely to do when taking a picture, and it's incredibly easy to put your left hand right on top of the lens. In fact it's incredibly difficult to not
put it there. That's a definite annoyance.