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Blackberry's attempt at making breaking the tablet market was not very successful, it's tablet, the Playbook was originally priced at the high end to compete with Apple's iPad. This pricing strategy resulted in mostly derogatory reviews, where the Playbook's features couldn't justify the cost. Fast forward to today and we can see that the tablet is still on sale, but at a much cut down price. In fact it is easily called a budget tablet now.
Let's delve in. The Playbook is a 7 inch screen tablet, black in design with a soft touch rubbery backing the screen has quite large bezel round it which we will come to later. There are two speakers either side of the screen and on top, a power button, volume up, down and a play/pause button. On mine, the power button is not very prominent and is hard to press, I have to try and use a fingernail to poke it, this is a common complaint, but there is no real need to use it regularly. The small form makes it easy to handle and I can fit it into most large pockets of coats, and even the back pockets of some jeans.
The bottom of the Playbook has three connectors, a proprietary slot for Blackberry's fast charger and stand, a mini USB port for PC connectivity and regular charging and a mini HDMI slot to connect to your TV. With the latter, you can connect to a TV and stream HD videos up to 1080p.
The bright screen is highly polished, so expect a lot of reflections on screen, as usual with devices like this, if you turn up the screen brightness, you can counteract this issue. The glossy screen is also an easy magnate for greasy fingers and is quickly smothered with oil so have a wipe handy or wear a sweater to use the sleeves.
Blackberry Playbook has a very different user interface to Apple and Android offerings. For a start, it is a true multi-tasking able tablet. You can run videos in the background while searching the web and writing an email and switching between them is with a simple swipe across the screen. This brings me onto the brilliance of the software. The Playbook is all gesture controlled. What this means is that you should never need to use the physical buttons, you can simply swipe away on the screen. All the gestures start at the edge of the screen on the surrounding bezel, where it is sensitive to user input. Each action such as swiping up, down, or diagonally will each perform an action such as bringing up a menu or keyboard. This is truly a great system that is employed. It will take time to learn the actions, but once there, you begin swiping your other touchscreen devices before you remember they can't do the same.
I primarily use this to surf the web and watch videos on the move and as mentioned, it can play upto 1080p videos stick with 720p ones and you can fit more movies onto the Playbook, even with its large 64GB capacity. There is never any stuttering with the movies and sound through the speakers is decent in any room. With web browsing, another feature you won't see on other tablet's is actual support for Flash websites. This is a massive bonus as although Flash is slowly being superseded on the web, there are plenty of Flash websites out there and it is a nuisance not being able to access those.
If you know someone else with a Playbook, you can use the Video Chat feature. This is like other services but I have found it to be of far superior quality, it has much smoother video especially if there is motion than using Skype, which incidentally isn't available for the Playbook.
The tablet can last a day with average use, watching a movie I can get about four hours at which point it is close to 20% battery life left. Thankfully charging is quick, the micro USB charger supplied, just four hours will make the Playbook go from flat to full.
The downsides of the tablet are; there is a poor app store, so don't expect to be downloading many apps like you would be able to Apple and Android markets. The Playbook does feel sluggish now, it is probably all millisecond timings but in the face of today's competition it is slow and there is no way round it. The same goes for transferring files, copying music and movies onto the Playbook takes stupidly long, there must be a design fault here. These are the only down points, but they are major ones.
In conclusion, I find the Playbook a decent tablet, whether or not you buy one should depend on what you intend to use it for. Movies, music and a bit of web browsing and this may be the perfect budge device for you, especially with the large memory capacity. If you require more, such as games or large app store market then look else where. So for me and my requirements, this is a 4 star device.