Product Type: Blackberry Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
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Could have been so much better
Blackberry PlayBook 32 GB
Member Name: jipp05
Blackberry PlayBook 32 GB
Advantages: Lightweight and portable, really powerful, great screen
Disadvantages: The lack and expense of apps
I've had a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 which was the original Galaxy Tablet to come out for a while now and I have been generally happy with it but with advances happening every day in the world of tablets I thought it was time to move on to bigger and better. I have been lusting after an Ipad for ages but I have been resisting because of both the price and because I have a hatred for Itunes. I had originally looked at the Blackberry Playbook when it first came out a few months ago but had dismissed it as it was far too expensive at nearly £500 and seemed to be more limited in what it could do than either the Ipad or Samsung tablets. However the Playbook has recently had a massive price reduction and can now be bought for only £169 for the 16GB version or £199 for the one that I have which is the 32GB version. Because of this massive saving it made me look again into the possibility of getting one and in the end I decided that although it maybe didn't have everything that the Ipad might have it was too much of a bargain to pass up on.
~~~~~~~~~~ Form factor ~~~~~~~~~~
The Playbook is a totally different beast to most other tablets since it is a 7 inch tablet rather than a 10 inch like the Ipad and Galaxy tab 10.1. This does of course make it more portable than a 10 inch tablet and for me is almost the perfect size. In a perfect world I would prefer another inch of screen but for most things I use the tablet for it is absolutely fine and the fact that it fits inside my inside jacket pocket means that I can take it pretty much anywhere with me.
The design of the Playbook is a little uninspiring as is the dull black colour of it and it won't be winning any awards for its looks but it does look sleek and professional if that is what you are looking for.
It is a little thicker than I would have thought too given just how slim most tablets are but it does feel comfortable to hold and is really well constructed and has a reassuringly solid feel to it.
~~~~~~~~~~ Specs and performance ~~~~~~~~~~
The Playbook has 32GB of internal memory and a 1GHZ dual core processor with 1GB RAM. If you don't know what this means then basically the 32GB is how much memory it has for storing things like movies, photos and apps and is quite generous. I can store several movies and TV shows on it at any one time along with music, apps and photos and so far I haven't encountered any problems with needing more storage space.
The 1GHZ dual core processor and 1GB RAM makes everything run smoothly on the Playbook and I can definitely say that I have noticed a big difference between the performance of this and my old Samsung Tab. The Samsung would play films etc but not HD and there would be lag on quite a few things especially on more intensive programmes. I haven't once noticed any slowdown whilst using the Playbook and everything zips along nicely even when I have several windows open all doing different tasks.
The screen on the Playbook has a 1080p HD display and this is absolutely gorgeous. Films and TV shows look amazing on it and transferring them is easy with the micro USB connector. There is also the option of transferring files wirelessly and again this works seamlessly.
The Playbook also has the added benefit of having a micro HDMI port meaning that I can take this to friends' houses and connect it to their TV's to watch movies or show them something that I have stored on it.
For those people who are used to using Android or IOS then the Playbook's QNX operating system will take a little bit getting used to as it is very different than these two. However it operates along the same lines so after a few hours of playing around with it you should have the hang of it. The same goes for the touch screen gestures needed to switch between apps etc. this did cause me a bit of confusion to begin with but I soon got the hang of it.
There are two cameras on the Playbook. A front facing 3mp camera which is used as a web cam and a back facing 5MP one which is used for taking pictures. Although I haven't really taken a lot of pictures with the Playbook the ones I have taken have all turned out well. They are nowhere near as good as either my phone or my dedicated camera but in a pinch they would be fine and to be honest using this to take pictures would look less daft than taking them with a 10 inch tablet.
Battery life is fantastic and the Playbook can easily last a whole day of near constant use with no problems whatsoever and when I am using it I am quite a heavy user using internet, watching movies, playing games etc. I would say it lasts me about 8 hours of near constant use and longer if I am only using it sporadically throughout the day.
~~~~~~~~~~ How I use the tablet ~~~~~~~~~~
I mainly use the Playbook as an entertainment device and this means I watch a lot of films and TV on it whilst I am on the train or in bed etc. I also use it to surf the internet which I have to say is a pleasure to do. Web pages render really fast and I can use my phone as a WIFI hotspot so I can access the internet wherever I am. It also supports flash which may not seem like a big thing but it is surprising just how many websites actually use flash. I also play some games on it which it handles great and again there is no lag or stuttering with it and even the most graphically heavy games I have tried work perfectly on it.
~~~~~~~~~~ Blackberry Bridge ~~~~~~~~~~
Blackberry Bridge is something which I have no experience of but thought I better include some basic details about it for those people who will be interested. Blackberry Bridge is an app for those people that have a Blackberry phone and can downloaded from the Blackberry app store. It then connects your phone to the Playbook by Bluetooth so that you can access your messages, contacts, calendar, memos, BBM messenger and files that you have on your Blackberry phone. As I don't have a Blackberry phone I haven't tried this out myself but Blackberry seem to be making a big deal out of it in their marketing of the playbook.
~~~~~~~~~~ The playbooks downfall ~~~~~~~~~~
There are so many good things about the Playbook that it is a shame that there is one major flaw with it which does make it pretty much useless to the majority of people interested in buying a tablet computer and that is the lack of apps.
Now I am an app fiend and had literally hundreds on my Galaxy Tab and on my phone. Sure some of them are useless but some of them are genuinely handy and things which I use on a daily basis. The Playbook app store is not only expensive but it has a woeful selection of apps available for the Playbook. Now I am not just going on about silly apps like angry birds (which incidentally is actually one of the few apps available) but even apps for email like my Gmail which I used constantly on my Galaxy tab isn't available. It means that whenever I want to check my email I have to go into the browser and do it manually. This is a bit of a faff especially when I have been so used to receiving my emails automatically and being able to read them at the tap of a button.
There is also no kindle app which is a shame as I love my kindle and have loads of books on my account that I can't access. Other apps missing include basic apps for amazon and ebay.
It may sound churlish complaining about apps but they are such a big part of owning a tablet and the fact that the Playbook has so few really does make it less of a bargain than the price might have you believe especially when Android and Apple have so many of them.
~~~~~~~~~~ Recommendation ~~~~~~~~~~
Well as I said there are so many good things about the Playbook but due to the lack of available apps for it all it is really useful for it browsing the internet and watching movies on the go. As I already have my phone and a laptop to do this on I really have no need for the Playbook and after the initial excitement of playing with my new toy wore off it has pretty much lay neglected as I have no real use for it.
If Blackberry had waited to launch this with some more apps in the store then I would be highly recommending it but as it is this fact just makes the Playbook a tad useless as a tablet and I will be selling mine on ebay and saving up for either the Ipad or the Asus Transformer Prime.
Summary: Could have been so much better
|Ease of use:|
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