• Responsive and fast processor
• Quick multitasking
• Excellent user interface
• Fruitless app store
• Small screen
• Doesn’t support BlackBerry messenger
• BlackBerry phone is essential for some features
The business smartphone company have entered the tablet market in the same direct sense they did the smartphone one, with a perfect business model, filled with features for the business man, but missing all the fun and innovative features that make the iPad 3 and Tab 10.1 top tablets.
BlackBerry’s RIM have entered the tablet market with a stylish 7-inch tablet, sporting all the necessary business features to keep anyone happy, but does the lack of any fun applications and that BBM, the messaging service that made BlackBerry such a unique social device, not available, still make it a top runner?
The BlackBerry’s clear display was unmatched, even defeating the illustrious iPad 2, but then the iPad 3 retina display just clinched the 1st place. Still, BlackBerry’s 7-inch display is crisp and the high-resolution naturally adds more colour to the tablet.
The touchscreen performance went well too, with excellent responsive speeds, kudos need to be given to the processor on this front too.
There is still the argument between which tablet size is better, many are in favour of the 10-inch tablet that the iPad 3 and Tab 10.1 sports, but others find the smaller tablets, like the Kindle Fire and our very own BlackBerry Playbook, more easy to use and less hassle when it comes to taking photos.
The 7-inch BlackBerry Playbook is the most business-like design I’ve seen – with a black metal/rubber chassis which seems to be coated in something that makes gripping the Playbook simple, it’s one of the best looking 7-inch tablets, an industrial beauty.
Weight-wise, the Playbook fits in at 0.9 pounds, lighter than the iPad 3 but a bit more heavy than the very thin Tab 10.1 – it doesn’t feel like it’s going to slip out your fingers, nor does it feel too heavy to handle.
We found that unlike the other tablets, that try to fill the front with as much screen as possible, the Playbook has a lot of chassis surrounding the screen. While this does make the screen seem smaller, we didn’t see it as a massive issue.
RIM (Research in Motion), the developers of the BlackBerry, seem confident in their OS system, even though it has come under some criticism on BlackBerry smartphones.
It seems again, we have had problems with the OS that RIM has put forward to its users – the main problem is the “bridge”, which is a portal to your G-mail, contacts, calendars and all other important productivity applications. The idea that all BlackBerry phone users will purchase the tablet, or that every Playbook user will get a BlackBerry phone, is abominable on RIM’s part.
Taking away that bit of untidiness the Playbook has, there are some very good features on the tablet, even though you get the feeling RIM have just looked at all different tablets on the market and stole a piece from their OS.
Multi-tasking features are quite good and you can easily use them – we are happy to say that BlackBerry is still holding on to that very powerful and fast management smartphone ethic on their tablet.
One area where the BlackBerry did seem a little odd was their touch-screen, even though it’s responsive, it seems to be overly responsive, to the point you are flying through your applications and missing the one you want.
You would think that the Samsung or Asus markets are a bit barren at the moment, considering that they’ve just started importing apps, well, looking at the Samsung Tab 10.1’s app store, it seems fruitful compared to BlackBerry’s app store, if you can even call it a store.
While you may find one or two apps that you want, there is no Facebook or Twitter application, no Dropbox, no Evernote, nothing that most every tablet and smartphone has and has had for quite a while.
It is quite astonishing to think RIM have put out a tablet with such little quality apps, but they have been adding, slowly. Hopefully, we will see a dramatic increase soon enough.
Even though the processor is only a dual-core at 1.0GHz, it runs very fast and the time speeds are incredible, this is helped by 1GB of RAM, but we found that testing it against the iPad 3 was an even race, and the iPad 3 has a quad-core processor. Obviously, RIM has done a great job at keeping the processor and the OS in sync with each other.
The Playbook’s browser is, like most of the tablet, extremely fast, and can be pushed to limits like no other tablet. We tried opening 8 or more tabs, and still found performance to be high.
There is an understanding that Playbook will get 4G connections when 4G becomes more available, although there are already people using 4G connections with the tablet.
We had the simple 3G connection and found it to be very good, working well wherever we went. It was simple to load up a few internet tabs when we were bored and just wished we could use more apps.
A front facing 3-megapixel camera was what really got us excited with this tablet, it was a shame that Skype wasn’t available on the app store and BlackBerry didn’t include any worthwhile video-conversation apps – still, guess it’s okay if you are a frequent vlogger. We found that the 3-megpixel front more than welcomes video and photos, although they can get a bit blurry.
We’ve always debated whether it was really necessary to talk about rear cameras on tablets; because most all the time they are awful and we would much rather you use a phone or camera.
The five-megapixel rear camera on the Playbook isn’t any different, it produces quite dull and uninspiring photos, colour seems flushed and you find low-light photos have no sense of colour. One positive is that it isn’t as awkward to take photos as the iPad or Tab 10.1.
If there’s one thing you can rely on BlackBerry for, it’s performance, we found that the Playbook more than excelled when it came to battery life, lasting a gracious 12 hours when we were using the little apps we could find and watching some videos. Of course, using the tablet more frequently resulted in a drop to around 8 hours, which we still found better than most tablets.
The BlackBerry does need improvement on the app front, but for the first in the series RIM have done a good job in creating a powerful business tablet, capable of managing many tasks.
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