BlackBerry PlayBook: Great Tablet, But Not Much to Play With
3 February 2014
Excerpt: Once an industry darling, Research in Motion (RIM), the company that makes BlackBerry devices, has lately been navigating stormy seas. RIM’s market share has fallen in key markets like the US thanks to smartphones powered by a visibly aging OS and almost obsolete hardware specs when compared with other top-of-the-line competitors.
Summary: When we reviewed the BlackBerry PlayBook back in April , we couldn’t help feeling the device’s insides didn’t match its outsides. The PlayBook is a well-built, good-looking device, but its software was buggy, frustrating, and frankly unfinished. There was no email or calendar app (yes, really), and few apps of any kind to speak of. PlayBook 2.0, a software update released this week, is RIM’s attempt to solve many of those problems.
Pros: Much improved performance, Email, calendar, contacts apps are finally native, Smart UI enhancements
Cons: Still some bugs, particularly with scrolling, Android app selection is weak, Email app could be better
Conclusion: What the PlayBook can do, it does very well. We thought this would be the dry middle-aged tablet, but we’ve been impressed by how well it’s been able to handle video, music (through the great 7Digital music store) and the internet browsing experience. But it’s what the PlayBook can’t do that lets it down. The apps section, one of the core parts of the tablet experience, needs strengthening- a lot. No embedded email client?
Summary: The PlayBook might be the ultimate diamond in the rough. It features fantastic hardware and great stock features, but with a disappointing app selection and a handful of weird bugs thrown into the mix. I can't recommend this tablet to the average consumer at its $499 entry price. But it may end up worth that a month or two down the line when (if) RIM gets a handle on their app situation.
Pros: +Great form factor, +Fast and very powerful multi-tasking, +Excellent camera and file storage
Cons: -Terrible at sharing media, -Buggy browser and mixed flash support, -No meaningful app selection
Summary: Right now, the BlackBerry PlayBook is ideal for a BlackBerry smartphone user looking to purchase a tablet. This is mainly due to the BlackBerry Bridge sync option. However, even then we would advise potential buyers to wait it out till there is a respectable apps eco-system. Current apps in the App World are nothing to write home about. RIM had announced that Android apps would soon be ported to the BlackBerry App World, but that has yet to happen.
Pros: Excellent multitasking, Brilliant display, Flash and Adobe AIR support
Cons: Limited number of apps, Biased towards BlackBerry smartphone users, Poor implementation of the power/sleep button
Conclusion: Getting right down to the nitty gritty, can we say we’d recommend the PlayBook to anyone? In all truthfulness — not at this point. RIM simply left out or failed to develop various key areas of the PlayBook including several major marketing points. The simple fact is this: RIM should not have released the PlayBook until all of the marketed features/services were fully operational and meticulously tested.
Conclusion: The PlayBook is not an “iPad killer,” whatever that means. We doubt that anything can kill the iPad right now, just as nothing seems able to kill the iPhone. What RIM has done is widen the category, proving that a 7-inch tablet can be useful and offer up an experience as unique as the iPad’s.
Pros: Great design and sharp screen, Unique OS, Fun, intuitive gestures, Android, Java app support coming, Great keyboard, Best in class browser
Cons: Launch apps plentiful, but lacking quality, Screen size may be too small for some, BlackBerry Bridge has limitations, No native email, calendar apps
Excerpt: When BlackBerry released the original PlayBook it had some curious issues. Native email, contacts and calendar apps were missing, the app store was barren, and the price matched the iPad at £399. BlackBerry has addressed all these problems in the PlayBook 2.0, making this budget tablet a far more appealing option. The PlayBook OS 2.0 operating system incorporates the missing apps, there are more apps to choose from, and the price has been cut aggressively.