Finally Blackberry have released a Tablet PC. Here's the only Blackberry Playbook review you need. Read our review to find out more.
By Chris Messenger | Published 16/08/2012
Small and portable. Easy to carry
Flash support works flawlessly
Amazing clarity for videos and images
Clever use of multitasking with apps
Lacks micro SD slot for storage expansion
Camera lacks flash and autofocus
Video calls only work between playbooks
Far fewer applications than competitors
A 1GHz processor is pretty average for top-level Tablet PCs, as is the 1GB of RAM you’ll get as standard.
Let’s be honest, we all knew that Blackberry would make a Tablet PC. You didn’t need to visit a palm reader or eat your weight in fortune cookies to find that out. The question is: does the Blackberry Playbook live up to its promise? We take a look at what’s hot and what’s not so hot about Blackberry’s new baby.
Once we go ‘under the hood’, to borrow a line from the motoring world, we start to find out what’s so special about the Playbook and why we think you’re going to really want one. A 1GHz processor is pretty average for top-level Tablet PCs, as is the 1GB of RAM you’ll get as standard, but the hard drive is capable of storing up to 64GB of memory. This is a lot more memory than the average Tablet has and really sets the Blackberry Playbook apart as a truly top-level machine. This, then, is the business-friendly Tablet that can also be used as a lifestyle peripheral, especially when you take in to account its small, lightweight portability.
The Playbook runs on its own operating system, the Blackberry Tablet OS.
An unfathomably large hard drive stashed away in such a light and portable case is a definite addition to the ‘pro’ column. Measuring just 194mm x 130mm x 10mm and weighing a neat 425 g, the Playbook can be carried around almost anywhere.
Like most of the bigger name Tablets, the Playbook makes use of a 7-inch screen, which features 600 x 1024 pixel resolution. It is a popular configuration in the Tablet world, but that doesn’t mean that all Tablet PC displays are the same. Probably. Still, the Playbook has a wonderful screen that is perfect for watching downloaded content and/or viewing photos.
When this review was initially written, the Playbook was less than £200. Now, however, it is even cheaper, at £159. At that price, the Playbook represents incredible value for money.
The Playbook is fast, highly responsive and its Flash playback is flawless. It is, in short, one of the best options on the Tablet PC menu right now. Blackberry is a proven brand, as the Blackberry Smart Phone can attest, and users familiar with that gadget will be well advised to look up the Playbook when they go Tablet shopping.
As always, there are some low points to this Tablet (albeit not nearly as many as usual). Chief amongst the negative points is that video calling only works between Playbooks, meaning that if your significant other (or business associate) has an iPad or an HTC Flier, you can simply forget video calling them. This addition is little more than shameless profiteering on the part of Blackberry, which actually makes life difficult both for their own customers and the people who might want to contact them.
Running on its own operating system will require the user to learn the ‘rules of the road’ rather than simply dive in headfirst the way an iPad or Android user can. However, if you’re already using a Blackberry (i.e if ‘Ping’ is already a part of your daily vocabulary – somebody offered to ‘Ping’ me the other day and I said ‘no’ on the grounds that it sounded rather unpleasant), then this will pose very few problems in the long run.
In addition, the App store is, at this time, sorely lacking in options, especially when you consider that the iPad has access to some 65,000 applications.
The Playbook is fast, highly responsive and its Flash playback is flawless. It is, in short, one of the best options on the Tablet PC menu right now.
What Other Users Say
The response to the Playbook over on Amazon.co.uk was largely positive, though perhaps not as enthusiastic as I was expecting. Most of the reviews are 3/5 or 4/5 rather than being extremely opinionated. One review I found helpful was posted by ‘W. Tatum’, I will share some of it here as I think it summed up the Playbook as ‘Lifestyle Peripheral’ rather well:
“I am 60 years old and this is my first tablet, I own a high end laptop so know my way around without being an expert. This Playbook is an excellent product. After two days use I am very pleased with it. Set up was fine and was achieved with a free phone call to excellent Blackberry support”. He goes on to talk about the ease of use and the versatility of this device. I suggest you read before buying.
At less than £200, the Blackberry Playbook is an absolute steal. It is advanced, powerful and runs like a dream. This is, in many ways, a better machine than the HTC Evo View or the HTC Flier and costs over £100 less. Frankly, It’s even worth the lack of video call options. How badly do you really need to talk to your Blackberry-less friends anyway?