The Good, The Bad & The Pretty ~ DROID XYBOARD Review

Big kids or little kids, we all love playing with new toys, and I have been having such fun with my new toy – the DROID XYBOARD. I’ve been a proud owner for nearly a month now, and I have learned the good and the bad with this little device. Overall it’s a great gadget, and I find myself reaching for it throughout the day, but there are a few flaws that I find frustrating.

Before I go on with my review, I want to point that while many of my comparisons are to the iPad (because I own one), I am not an Apple gal. The iPad is my first and only Apple product. (Nope, I’ve never even owned an iPod.) It’s just my frame of reference. On to the XYBOARD.

The Hardware

I love love love the size of this little guy. As a mom who carries a big purse (diaper bag) the eight-inch (8.2 to be precise) Droid XYBOARD is just the right size to slip into my bag to take with me anywhere and everywhere. It is slender and light, and comfortable in my hands. In fact, I often use it one-handed while nursing my daughter. It might not seem like a big difference, but I find the iPad heavy when using one handed, the XYBOARD is just right.


The screen is so pretty. I know that isn’t very technical, but it is. I am in love with “live wallpapers.” I currently have a fish tank swimming on my screen. If you aren’t familiar with live wallpaper, they really do swim all over my screen. Very cool! (Note, I know I know. I still haven’t peeled off my screen protector…)


Speaking of pretty, the XYBOARD also has an HD camera built in for video and pictures. (Yes, the iPad 2 has a camera, but I have a first gen – no camera.) The new iPad will also house an HD camera as well, but for now the XYBOARD has the iPad’s camera beat.

Spill proof and scratch resistant! The Droid Xyboard is built with durability in mind. A fancy nanocoating keeps my tablet safe from little spills and Gorilla Glass protects that pretty picture by making the screen scratch proof. (Guess that means I should take off that screen protector.)

Whoever decided on the placement of the on/off button must not have tested it’s usage on a regular basis. In all honesty, this is my number one pet-peeve about the device. The button is located on back of the device on the upper right side (when held vertically). The problem is that since the XYBOARD  has a self-orienting screen that allows the screen  to be upright no matter how you hold the device, I never know where that silly button is. Back to the iPad, the button is located on the top edge of an iPad. Yes, the iPad has the same self-orienting screen, but you can easily feel the button by running your finger along the edge. The Xyboard button is nearly flush so it hides from me. Even when I do find the button, it is right next to the volume so I usually end up messing with the volume instead of turning the device on or off. Not a deal breaker, but a frustration nonetheless.

The Software

Here’s where I get a bit technical. I have gotten pretty used to my DROID RAZR, which runs the Gingerbread OS (operating system). The XYBOARD on the other hand runs the Honeycomb OS. I am not a Honeycomb fan. It’s the little things that make me nuts, mainly the keyboard. On my RAZR, the Numlock key is on the bottom with Shift on top, on the XYBOARD it is flip-flopped. That may not seem like a big deal, but going back and forth between one and the other means that I am constantly changing to the wrong keyboard when typing. If you ask me, they should be the same. (The iPad, by the way has the same  placement as my phone, which is also the same placement as my old phone. So I see it as a Honeycomb problem.) My husband, the tech guy that he is, says this problem can be easily solved by downloading a different keyboard that would make me happier. I will probably have him do this for my sanity, but unless you have a technical husband (or you are a techy yourself) this is not an option for everyone.


Droid RAZR

A new OS is rumored to be out there, Ice Cream Sandwich, which is a meld between Honeycomb and Gingerbread and will run on both phones and tablets, but it’s not available for the XYBOARD at this time. So until that comes along, it’s Honeycomb.

Honeycomb also dictates how apps and widgets are added to the screen, that part doesn’t bother me. It is different, so I had to learn it. But it only took a moment, and it is actually pretty cool.

The Android Market is not the vast array of apps that iTunes is. Even more unfortunate for XYBOARD owners, most of the apps are designed for the phones. While they can be used on tablets, they don’t look right. The apps have some catching up to do!


Oh. My. Love. Hands down, the best part about my XYBOARD is the 4G LTE. My little iPad only has WiFi, so to be able to use the 4G Internet service wherever I am – so cool! I use it running errands, I use it at dance class, I use it… everywhere. (Another reason I love the size because I can take it anywhere.) Blogging on the go rocks when you can connect to the Internet with 4G speed anywhere. My favorite is in the car (while hubs drives). When the new iPad arrives on the market, it will have the ability to connect with 4G speed (and on the Verizon network no less), but for now the fastest tablet is the XYBOARD .

Best use ever — when coming back from visiting Mickey Mouse, baby girl was overly tired and wouldn’t stop crying. I whipped out my XYBOARD, connected to the Netflicks app and soothed her by playing a baby cartoon. Ahhhh peace and quite…


Remember I said, I am not an Apple gal. I am a PC gal. That said, my XYBOARD is buggier than my iPad. (I blame Honeycomb.) There have been several times I have had to force shut down the whole device because it froze up on me, something I don’t think I have ever done with my iPad.

Final Thoughts

As a klutzy mom who tends to drop and spill things, I love the spill-proof, scratch-proof features of the XYBOARD. It makes me feel more comfortable using it and letting my daughter use it. Button-placement and keyboard frustrations aside, this tablet is great. I cannot say enough about the 4G speed and ability to connect on the go. Of course, that speed comes with the additional cost of a monthly data plan, but if you use it often it is totally worth it. Compared to my iPad, there are things I like about both devices and things I don’t. If durability, speed and size are on your priority list – the XYBOARD is the way to go.

Next on my list… ripping off the band-aid (the screen protector).

 Verizon Wireless Ambassador

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