BlackBerry Playbook Review

November 1, 2011

The BlackBerry Playbook is a tablet computer produced by Research in Motion (RIM).  It is a seven inch tablet that runs on the operating system QNX.  At seven inches it is a lot smaller than some of the other tablets that are currently on the market, but I found that it is actually a nice size. It slips neatly into my handbag and is very portable which is  ideal if you are on the road a lot.

The tablet is matt black in appearance.  On the top you will find the power button, the volume up and down buttons and the play and pause buttons for video playback. The volume control is raised but the power button is small and slightly indented which makes it a little bit hard to press. The headphone socket is also on the top. The bottom edge has micro HDMI, micro USB and the charging connector sockets on it. The fact that it has a micro HDMI connector is very useful if you need to connect it to a screen to show power point presentations for example.

Usability

When you turn on the Playbook you get a screen with Time and Date, Settings, wifi and battery indicator at the top and at the bottom you can choose from different menus which give you different things to choose from. If you click All you get the main range of applications.  The addition of a Help Manual is very useful and allows you to quickly look up things if you get stuck. Otherwise the range of installed applications is as you would expect, an internet browser, a picture gallery, music, videos,  kobo books, a calculator, bing maps, clock, weather, a You Tube application and access to the Music Store and the App World.  There are a couple of games installed as well. The other menus are Favourites, which you can add your Favourites to, Media which pulls together all the Music and Video Apps, Games and BlackBerry Bridge which I will mention later.

Navigation around the Playbook is done by a series of swiping actions. This took a bit of getting used to at first but once you get the hang of it and remember what action to use it is easy.  You can easily move from one app to the next using a sideways stroke to the left or the right.  This scrolls though the apps that are running and you can choose one by tapping on it bringing up to full screen.  This multitasking is a great feature and easy to use.

If you are inside an app and swipe down from the top of the screen it brings up extra menus and finally if you swipe diagonally across the screen it brings you back to the home page.

It is worth noting that the internet browser supports Adobe Flash which is a definite plus as this is a standard in many web pages these days.

BlackBerry Bridge

This is used to pair up the BlackBerry Playbook with a BlackBerry phone running OS 5 or 6. The phone also needs to be running the BlackBerry Bridge App.  The Playbook and the phone then connect via Bluetooth and you can then access your email, contacts, calendar and BlackBerry Messenger data. You also get new features enabled on the tablet. This is great if you use a BlackBerry phone. If you don’t then it will not be of interest.

Camera

There is a 3MP camera at the front and a 5MP camera at the back. The camera includes the ability to shoot video at 1080p in MPEG4 format.  The camera takes reasonable pictures but does not have flash so you will need reasonable lighting conditions.

Applications

The range of pre-installed applications is useful and includes some good productivity tools for work. The range of applications available for the BlackBerry is not as wide as the range available for other makes of tablets.  If you want to get an application you need to go into the App Store which is easy to use and browse.

Specifications

OS  QNX
Chipset  1 GHz Dual Core Processor
Display   WSVGA, 1200×600
Camera  3 MP Front Camera, 5 MP Rear Camera
Video   MPEG4, WMV, and H.264
Battery  5530mHA
Dimensions  194 x 130 x 10 mm
Weight  425g

Summary

The BlackBerry Playbook is a nice portable size and an easy tablet to use. It does take a bit of getting used to the use of gestures on the tablet, instead of just finger presses but this is a powerful feature. It handles multi-tasking with ease and the addition of an HDMI connector makes it a great work tool. For general users it is let down by the lack of applications but this is something that will be rectified in time.

2 responses to “BlackBerry Playbook Review”

  1. Ian R says:

    And once more Alison comes
    In her noble quest to enlighten
    And gives us a dose of dragons and dust
    With which our dull day to brighten

    But in one respect, alas
    Her post doesn’t quite cut the mustard
    She fails to say that despite the name “berry”
    It doesn’t go well with custard.

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