Motorola Xyboard 8.2: Good tablet, bad price [Review]

Motorola Xyboard 8.2: Good tablet, bad price [Review]

Summary: Motorola's latest tablets are good devices held back by painful price tags.


Motorola's oddly-named Xyboards are tragic products. Released without much fanfare or publicity, the tablets make their appearance soon after the release of the Kindle Fire and shortly ahead of the appearance of Asus's Transformer Prime. So it's fair to say that the tablets have their work cut out for them.

Well designed...

I had a chance to play with the 8.2-inch version of the tablet and the device is really quite nice. At 390g, the Xyboard 8.2 somehow manages to be light without feeling cheap. Its back is edged with a rubber boarder, which makes holding the tablet a whole lot easier. On the internal side, Motorola furnished the device with all the necessary components--dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 1GB RAM, speedy LTE radio, etc.  In short, it's a solid piece of hardware.

...but with a catch

But that doesn't mean that it's not without its faults. High up on its list of issues is the placement of its power button. Taking a cue from the Xoom, the Xyboard's power button and volume rocker are both located, of all places, on its backside. This may not seem like a big deal, but its not until you are forced to flip the tablet upside down to see which button you're pressing that you realize just how strange the placement is. It's a head-scratching design decision, and one that makes turning the device on and off far more of a chore than it should be.

Potential buyers should also take note that the Xyboards are equipped with Honeycomb, not Ice Cream Sandwich, though the upgrade will come eventually. So keep that in mind.

The pricing problem

The Xyboard 8.2, unsurprisingly, isforced with contend with the same issue of pricing that plagued Android tablets in 2011. Proving that LTE comes at a price, Verizon sells the device on contract for a maddening $429. At $30 a month that two year contract will add an extra $720 to the device's price tag, making the grand total ring in at over $1000. While the Xyboard is a nice bit of hardware, that asking price is far, far too steep for a device that will probably be replaced in a few months. Perhaps the inevitable Wi-Fi version will make the Xyboard a bit more palatable.

Bottom line

Don't pick this one up if you are worried about the long-term commitment, or if you are worried about Motorola announcing something bigger and better at CES next month.

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility

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  • Wifi-only tablets make more sense

    $449 with no contract would be perfectly reasonable, but I'd still rather pay more for a Transformer Prime with no built in option for LTE.

    Note to carriers: flexible wifi tethering options is the key. Allow customers to use their 2-4GB smartphone data plans as they wish, they paid for it after all. Use tablets to attract and retain customers rather than going for the double play.
    • RE: Motorola Xyboard 8.2: Good tablet, bad price [Review]


      Not likely to happen, but we can all keep hoping. Best hope is tht one of the smaller guys like Sprint or T-Mobile will cave on this as result of desperation.

      And while it's true they paid for it, I'm willing to bet that they agreed to the carrier's restrictions on use, whether knowingly or not, when they accepted the T&Cs of their contracts. As long as customers continue to blindly agree to the T&Cs, this isn't likely to change. Not criticizing the average joe who just accepts the contract, anyone who has ever tried to read a software licensing agreement or a telco's T&Cs is overwhelmed with 20 pages of legal jargon, 95% of which is basic stuff, but the stuff you really carry about (like tethering) is buried within.
    • RE: Motorola Xyboard 8.2: Good tablet, bad price [Review]

      @bstringy I think you just gave great idea to carriers on how to NOT make money. Why would they do that?
  • RE: Motorola Xyboard 8.2: Good tablet, bad price [Review]

    I'm tired of giving Verizon all of my money. I have to pay over $220/mo. to keep the family happy now. As soon as I find an alternative, I'll be gone, just like I did to the banks with their monthly fees, and cable with their ever increasing premiums. Enjoy your profit margins while you can big phone companies, cause I have faith someone will be out with a less expensive alternative soon, and I'll be gone. You've almost bled me dry, and I have NO sense of loyalty!
    • Virgin Mobile

      Unlimited web, messaging, data and 300 anytime minutes $35 per month. Unlimited everything $55 per month. Not a big choice of phones.
  • XOOM 2

    Why didn't they keep it named Xoom? That is what this is. The Xoom was a good tablet and so is this one.