RIM BlackBerry Playbook Review - HotHardware

RIM BlackBerry Playbook Review

11 thumbs up

When we first picked up the BlackBerry PlayBook, we were struck by how small it felt in comparison to some other tablets we've recently reviewed, including the Motorola Xoom. Indeed, one would expect a tablet with a significantly smaller screen (7-inches versus the Xoom's 10.1-inch display) to be quite a bit smaller and weigh quite a bit less, but the difference is more noticeable in person than in examining specs alone.

The BlackBerry PlayBook measures 5.1x7.6x0.4 inches, giving it a footprint that's roughly equivalent to a paperback book. Additionally, it weighs less than a pound (about 0.9 pounds to be more specific). The majority of the front of the tablet is consumed by the PlayBook's 7-inch display that supports a resolution of 1024 x 600.

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Although the screen did attract some fingerprints during the course of our review, they never appeared to affect performance. Viewing angles on the PlayBook's display were excellent. In fact, we were still able to read the PlayBook's display at nearly a 90 degree angle to the screen.

In terms of design, RIM has taken a "less is more" approach, which gives the PlayBook a nice clean look and feel. In fact, there are no buttons on the front, sides, or back of the PlayBook. Instead, RIM has placed the Power button, volume rocker, a multimedia Play button, and headset jack on the top edge of the PlayBook. One note about these buttons: they're small. In particular, the Power button is especially small. Also, because the Power button is nearly flush with the edge of the tablet, we had a very difficult time pressing the button. On a somewhat better note, you can wake the tablet by swiping your finger upward from the bottom bezel to the screen. Without this functionality, we often found ourselves frustrated while trying to wake the tablet.

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Click to enlarge

On the bottom edge of the Playbook, you'll find a microHDMI port, microUSB port, and charging contacts. Above the display, you'll find a notification LED as well as the front-facing 3 megapixel camera. On both edges of the tablet, you'll see speakers. When you flip the tablet over, you'll see the rear-facing 5 megapixel camera. There's also a metallic BlackBerry logo on the back of the PlayBook. We should also note that the back of the PlayBook has a soft, rubbery feel.

You can use the BlackBerry PlayBook in either portrait or landscape modes, but the native orientation is landscape mode. Most, but not all, apps will automatically rotate when you change the orientation of the tablet.

Currently, there are 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB versions of the PlayBook available. Since the PlayBook lacks any form of memory card expansion slot, you'll be forever limited to the amount of storage available on the tablet you choose to purchase.

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We have one at the main display in my store and it was pretty responsive. Just like you said though the exclusion of an sd card is a big letdown for me.

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This tablet is definitely missing a few things, but some of those can be resolved with a software update. Overall, the look and the feel of the tablet seems attractive. The OS looks pretty sweet too. I'll be anxious to see what RIM has to offer with the future software updates. Hurry up RIM!

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I wont lie...from what ive seen in reviews, not only here but also other sites, i kinda want one. The main reason is the interface, it looks awesome. The only two things that would be nice is a lower price (Ain't it always the case), and better support for Android apps. Theres also the whole lack of email apps and what not but thats just because the tablet was a bit premature, seems to happen alot lately...*cough* Xoom *cough*.

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@pwrntspd I would check one out at your local Best Buy, they should displays of various tablets out. It would be a good way to comparison shop. While I was impressed with the hardware, I didn't like the size. It seems thick and the 7-inch screen was awkward.

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This tablet is amazing. I really appreciate how much work blackberry put into its first of many tablets. Normally when people think of tablets they think of i pad's or the i pad 2's but the playbook is the way to go. In my eyes this is way more practical than the i pad. Seriously who carries around 9.7inch i Pad 2 just waiting to be dropped when they can carry around a 7.0 inch Playbook which is easily protected in much less bulky cases and can be concealed as-well. Even though the 3G and 4G models are in development this is still a fantastic tablet. And anything that apple can do better now will be soon outdone by the latter developments of the playbook. Besides this is just the first model and there is always place for improvement and development cant wait to see what comes next. Thanks for the review =)

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I have the Playbook since it came out. There have been some very good improvements in the OS since I bought it. I like how it works and what it does for me. I use it both tethered and bridged to my Blackberry Torch.

I use the bridge feature for client type email. I can also log on line to my ISP email account, or Hotmail, or Gmail just like any laptop or computer using tethering or WiFi to the net. Hotmail is able to POP my ISP email, and I can get it from that. Most other public email services can also POP email accounts from ISP services.

As for security, I can do banking, stock trades, make purchases, and etc, and I know with the Play Book it is very safe, as just like the Blackberry phone.

If you are using the Play Book and the Blackberry phone for business where high security is necessary you would be careful about the applications you install. Many of the free and non approved applications could have spyware code.

I avoid using public WiFi hotspots unless I am very sure about who is administrating the service, and access is very limited. So far I have not heard of any problems with security using Blackberry products, but I have read a lot of articles conserning the other types.

IT security people love the Playbook because it does not hold any critical data files unless the user copies the data in to a folder in its memory. Everything works out of the phone which could be passworded, and could be on a secure VPN or some other type of private secure network.

As for the policies of RIM, they should have put more effort in to developing a product for the average type of younger generation user, who likes a lot of features and addons. Then maintain a level of product for the business users. This way they could have the best of both types of markets.

I personally think RIM should have done more with the user software and OS of the Play Book, and make it more refined before bringing it to the market place to satisfy more of the average type users.

Jerry G.

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