The BlackBerry PlayBook is the tablet from RIM. The Canadian company are most famous for their BlackBerry mobiles. The PlayBook is seems mainly intended as a business tablet and it could very well serve as a general purpose tablet too.
So I recently borrowed a friends playbook to write this review on it. So enjoy.
The PlayBook comes with a impressive 7-inch touch sensitive display (although smaller than the Apple Ipad). It looks like a thin black slab with rounded edges and has 4 small buttons (power, play/pause, volume up and volume down) on the top and a camera each on the front and rear. A touch sensitive frame surrounds the touch screen display (which let’s you power it up on the lock screen). The headset jack is located on the top and speakers are located on right and left side of the front. The PlayBook’s back has BlackBerry logo and a soft rubbery feel that feels really good to touch (and useful as it acts as a non slip cover)
Press the small power button on the top and the PlayBook springs to life in about 40-50 seconds (fairly quick compared to their phones). I have heard many people complaining about the power button being too small, but I haven’t had any difficulty using it and all it needed was a soft push. You will need to connect to Wi-Fi to proceed through the initial setup. The touch gesture required to proceed through the setup was a bit confusing in the beginning. The PlayBook’s screen display’s two swipe gestures, one from top to mid-way and the other from bottom to mid-way, but the gesture required to proceed through the set-up is none of them. You will need a small swipe from right to left at the bottom of the screen to proceed through the setup. After connecting to Wi-Fi, the latest updates are downloaded and the PlayBook restarts and you are all set to go and have a play.
The processor on the BlackBerry PlayBook is a dual-core 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor. The processor is super fast and very responsive. The apps open in an instant and switching between multiple apps is a breeze (even better than a Ipad I found)
The display is a 7-inch WSVGA capacitive touchscreen with 1024×600 screen resolution. The display is crisp and the clarity is very good. HD videos and images are a pleasure to look at on the PlayBook (It even has a mini HD cable output). The PlayBook also offers great viewing angles under bright light.
The PlayBook has a 5 MP camera on the rear and a 3 MP camera on the front. The cameras are capable of recording 1080p HD videos. The image and video quality of the rear camera is quite good. The front camera is OK for chat sessions, but do not use it for recording self videos as the video quality is not up to the mark.
The PlayBook connects to your internet network through Wi-Fi 802.1 a/b/g/n. Unfortunately, the PlayBook lacks 3G connectivity (but you can use blackberry bridge to get round this). This tablet can connect to other mobile devices through Bluetooth. There is also a Micro-USB port on the bottom through which you can charge your PlayBook and also connect to your desktop. The PlayBook also has a HDMI port on the bottom through which you can mirror HD videos directly on your large HD television (I love this as I travel a lot and can watch films in the hotal room)
Well, I haven’t continuously used the PlayBook and drained it out to give the exact battery life, but I can say that the battery life is quite good. I have used it for browsing, games, videos and music and it survived for two days based on not so heavy usage.
The Operating System on the PlayBook is BlackBerry Tablet OS. The OS has a fresh look and is very easy to use. The OS is very refined and I couldn’t really find any glitches. The home screen looks good and you can access all your apps right on your home screen. There’s a notification bar on the top left hand corner.
The PlayBook comes pre-loaded with Video Chat, YouTube, Kobo Books, Bing Maps, NFS Undercover, Tetris, Adobe Reader, Word To Go, Sheet To Go, Slideshow To Go, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter apps. There are a limited number of apps available in the App World and the numbers will increase over time. Good news is that RIM has already announced that it will bring Android app compatibility to the PlayBook this February in a update.
The browser on the BlackBerry PlayBook is fast and the webpages load fast. Adobe Flash 10.1 is enabled and flash heavy sites also load well.
When the tablet is held horizontally, the keys are well spaced and is very convenient to use. Alphabets are displayed by default and the numbers and symbols can be accessed by pressing 123 sym button on the keyboard. The keyboard is not as good when held vertically and you will need some precision to hit the right keys.
Gestures play a very important part in the PlayBook. The PlayBook has various touch gestures for various functions. An upward swipe from the center at bottom returns you to the home screen and a downward swipe from the center at top displays the additional options for the app. Swipe across the screen and you switch apps. Make an upward diagonal swipe from the left-hand bottom corner and the keyboard is displayed. A downward diagonal swipe from the left-hand top corner shows you the notification bar.
With BlackBerry Bridge you can connect to your BlackBerry mobile and access your contents on the tablet screen. Such as the messager and email.
Well I’m a keen user of the blackberry mobiles and every now and again blackberry bring out something they promise to be the next big thing.
And in this case its ‘Blackberry Messenger Music’. The whole point of it is that you get 50 tracks to pick and to share with your blackberry messenger contacts and the more contacts you have the bigger your play list is (as every contact you have on the app gives you access to their music).
This is all good and great when you have a massive contact list but your relying on your contacts to have the same liking music as you. Many a time have I been listening to the player while on the train and Justin bieber comes on (quickly skipped thro in my defence). But the large amount of my contacts have some good music (best was eye of the tiger coming on while I was out running).
I’ve find the whole app to be good and worthwhile especially being able to store your tracks (and your contacts) music on your blackberrys SD card for when you have no network.
But now for some bad points. For a start you pay £6 a month to have just 50 tracks you can pick at any one time. Thro you can swap up to 25 tracks a month from your playlist. But still your relying on your lists to have music you would listen to.
But still its worth having a play while its free (blackberry are giving a six month trail)