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BlackBerry PlayBook review

Multi-tasking powerhouse still needs an interface boost

Our Verdict

A strong choice for those that like email and web browsing on the go - but there are better options out there.

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1024 x 600
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • 1080p HD video playback
  • Fast dual-core processor
  • Bright screen
  • Super cheap

Against

  • Too few apps
  • Small screen
  • Clunky interface
  • Weak battery

The BlackBerry PlayBook is certainly a more refined tablet now that it has its OS 2.0 update, but it only really worked to bring the tablet closer to the standards of its rivals, rather than offering something you can't get elsewhere.

The Amazon Kindle Fire offers a similar form factor with a much better media ecosystem, if you want to watch video on your tablet.

The iPad also offers a superior media experience, and the best tablet apps. Android tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 offer the kind of flexibility in multitasking and apps that the PlayBook wants to offer, but can't yet.

We liked

The design of the new apps is strong, and the BlackBerry PlayBook overall is fairly quick to use, although it takes a small amount of learning at first. The web browser is fast and fairly smooth, too - interface niggles aside.

The speed of the operating system is great, even if apps can be less responsive. The screen is great as well, making the BlackBerry PlayBook a pleasant device to use, and not bad for its cheap price. Certainly, it's better than many other cheaper tablets out there - although the Google Nexus 7 is top of the budget pops at the moment.

We disliked

There's still a lot missing from the BlackBerry PlayBook, and the main part of it is apps. Perhaps adding support for Android apps will solve this eventually, but it hasn't yet. There are still huge holes when it comes to services that are rapidly becoming standard for tablets, both for fun and productivity. Where are Dropbox and Netflix?

From RIM's comments, it sounds like standalone BBM support is on its way, but it's still a big sticking point for BlackBerry regulars. Across the board, the BlackBerry PlayBook is full of parts that are good, but those parts are too few. Its limitations mean that it's not up to par as either a productivity tablet or a fun one.

Final verdict

The BlackBerry PlayBook's price is easily its strongest point. If you want a small web browsing tablet and won't pay too much money, the BlackBerry PlayBook is a strong choice: it's light, its internet performance is good, and the screen is high quality.

But if you want a media or work tablet, you should probably look elsewhere. With weak battery life and a severe lack of the apps that we now consider standard, it just won't satisfy many users, regardless of price.

Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Flash Memory Capacity16 GB
Processor ManufacturerARM
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
GPSYes
HDMIYes
Product FamilyPlayBook
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformBlackBerry
Processor ModelA9
ColourBlack
Operating SystemBlackBerry Tablet OS
Brand NameBlackBerry
Form FactorSlate
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeCortex
Screen Size17.8 cm (7")
Screen Resolution1024 x 600
Standard Memory1 GB
Weight (Approximate)408.2 g
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
TouchscreenYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1 + EDR
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Height129.5 mm
Width193 mm
Depth10.2 mm
Screen ModeWSVGA
ManufacturerBlackBerry
Product ModelPRD-38548-001
Product NamePlayBook Tablet Computer
Product LinePlayBook
Aspect Ratio128:75
Manufacturer Part NumberPRD-38548-001
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.uk.blackberry.com
Marketing Information

BlackBerry PlayBook - the world's first professional grade tablet
Discover a truly uncompromised tablet experience with the BlackBerry PlayBook. At less than half an inch thick, with a 1GHz dual core processor, it's both ultra-portable and ultra-powerful, so you get high performance at every turn: stunning multimedia, true multitasking, and access to the whole Internet - no exceptions.

Limited Warranty1 Year