Product Type: Blackberry Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
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A host of features for a very reasonable price
Member Name: lyndsey1989
Advantages: Boots up quickly, brilliant for internet browsing, good price
Disadvantages: Some aspects wont work (ebay), kobo books isnt great, typing is hard
==Setting it up==
To set it up you simply press the on button on the top of the tablet and it then boots up. You are asked a few simple questions such as language and your registration details but for me this did turn out to be a small issue as I couldn't get the keypad to appear on screen therefore could not enter my details. Being the impatient person that I am I decided to start to whole thing again by either rebooting the whole thing or taking the battery out but neither of these were possible! In the end I googled on my mums computer and learned how to get the keypad up on screen when it wasn't appearing on its own.
After this, the Playbook was set up swiftly. As soon as I had put in my details I was taken to the homepage where I could immediately get online (after setting up the wi-fi), type documents etc. I was pleased at how quickly I managed to set this up after the keypad saga and there really wasn't any fuss. I often have a bit of a nightmare setting up the wi-fi on anything, I don't know why. However, as I was at my mums I set it up with their wi-fi which worked perfectly but then when I got home I set it up with my own wi-fi and this worked perfectly too.
The tablet is 7 inches long and 5 inches tall. The actual 'screen' of the Playbook is about 7 inches when measured diagonally. The depth of the tablet is less than a cm. It is black in colour and currently black is the only colour available. The front of the tablet has a glossy finish and there is a 'border' around the screen which is a more solid black. The back and edges of the tablet are also black but they are a softer finish to make it easier to grip so they are more of a matt black. There is a silver Blackberry logo at the bottom of the screen and a larger 'B' on the back of the tablet. There are a few buttons at the top - the power on button and volume. The bottom is home to various connection points including the charger and any headphones you may wish to use.
The Playbook can be used without downloading any additional content and there are various apps already preloaded onto the tablet. The apps already on the tablet included Messages (though you will need to set up your email accounts to work with this), Contacts, Browser, Calendar, App World, Pictures, Music, Camera, Videos, Music Store, Video Chat, You Tube, Kobo Books, NFB, Print to Go, Adobe Reader, Docs to Go, File Manager, Calculator, Bing Maps, Facebook, Help, Need for Speed Undercover, Tetris, News, Press Reader, Clock, Weather, Voice Notes, Accessories Store and Setup.
If you want more apps then there are numerous free ones available from the Blackberry App World and others that charge a minimal fee (usually £1 or £2). Free ones I downloaded include Twitter, Daily Express, Wikipedia, New Magazine, Star Magazine, BBC news, Sudoku and Ocado. I paid £2 for a game but was pleased with the selection of free apps available to me. Free games aren't quite as readily available and often they are trials for the full version but there are still a good amount available for nothing.
You will need an App World login to download anything. This does not cost you anything and just needs an email address and your name etc. This is fast and easy to set up and can be done on the app world itself or if you already have a Blackberry phone its likely you will have already set one up.
Of course, one of the main reasons why I bought the Playbook was so that I had a reliable way to connect to the internet at all times. The browser is opened easily and rather than having a homepage you are taken to a bookmarks page which you will need to fill yourself. You simply type the address in the top bar and away you go. It is easy to add pages to favourites or the homepage and it is easy to find pages you have visited previously too.
Pages load quickly and easily and I have never had a webpage that doesn't work. If a website has a special mobile page then you are usually taken to this page but if you would prefer to go to the normal page then there is usually an option at the bottom of the page to do this.
I don't have any issues with the size of the font on the page but if you do need to see anything up a bit closer you simply drag your thumb and index finger away in opposite directions from where you wish to zoom and it will begin to zoom. In order to zoom out you simply pull your thumb and index finger back together to zoom back out. Sometimes I do end up clicking on the wrong link because the type is so small but this can usually be rectified by quickly clicking on what you actually wanted to click on.
I do find browsing the internet easy with the playbook but if I want to do lots of things I do tend to use the laptop just to put less strain on my eyes.
I have encountered one problem with the Playbooks browser - ebay. Whilst it is fine to buy, browse, relist and use the messaging system I cannot upload any new items which is a nuiscance because that means if I want to do this I need to use the laptop.
The camera is definitely not brilliant. If you had a Curve 8520 the camera is about the same quality as this one was so its really not too special but it is ok, there is no flash and it is quite a blurry picture but for taking a quick snap of something it is fine. There isn't a snazzy photo editor on the Playbook so if I want to edit photos online I have to do it on a photo edition website. There is also a front camera for video calls but I have never used this so cannot comment on the quality but I imagine it is similar to the back camera.
The Playbook does have the facility to type documents and save them. It is a basic typing programme and you cant insert pictures or anything but I occasionally write a review on there and it is ok. However, I find that it takes much longer to type anything than it does with a regular keypad. Because the keypad is touchscreen and the letters are quite close together I sometimes find I'm pressing the wrong buttons but more often than not mistakes happen when the Playbook 'corrects' what I've written. On the laptop I tend to touchtype but on the Playbook I find I have to check every word so it does take longer. The standard font on the programme is Times New Roman and it is presented in a good size.
I have occasionally used the Playbook for music and I was surprised at how good the sound was for such a little thing. I also watch tv programmes occasionally but in all honesty I find that sometimes videos will be a bit of a nightmare with buffering or freezing etc.
The Kobo app is ok. It is very difficult to find any free books so I tend to use the browser to go onto the actual website and then download them that way. However, I still find it very difficult to find any free books to my taste and I must say that the Kindle Store is much much better. However, when it comes to reading the books this is simple, pages are turned easily and the font is clear to see.
==Facebook and Twitter==
The apps for Facebook and Twitter are very good actually and I find them easy to use and it is simple to browse and either tweet or update your status.
You can set up as many email addresses as you like on the Playbook and can choose to view just one inbox or all of them together. You can also find your junk emails, sent emails etc. Sending an email is simple and it is easy to upload attachments too. When you receive a new message the Playbook will flash red just like the phones do.
Blackberry Bridge allows you to link the Playbook with your Blackberry phone. I have a Blackberry phone so I did do this and then it allowed me to use BBM, access my emails, contacts etc. However, I rarely use this function as my phone tends to be nearby anyway so I really have no need.
==Using the Playbook==
Initially I did find it a little difficult to use the Playbook but this really didn't last long and now I find that I can use it quickly and with ease (as long as there isn't too much typing involved!) I find it brilliant for browsing the internet and it is much easier to boot up than my laptop. You can put the Playbook either on standby or turn it off completely. I tend to put it on standby and when I do this it is really simple to get it started up again you simply swipe the screen.
I find the touchscreen easy to use and the orientation lock is brilliant as even if I lie down using this I don't end up with the screen flipping everywhere.
The battery life is brilliant and it probably lasts for at least 8 hours of browsing, a little less if listening to music or watching video. You can adjust the brightness of the screen, I always keep mine on the lowest setting because bright screens give me headaches and make me get very tired eyes but this is fine for me and I can always see everything perfectly.
The Playbook has never frozen on me which is brilliant because it has been on nearly every day since I got it, often for 10 hours a day. The internet does occasionally stop working but by turning off the wi-fi capability and then turning it back on (this usually takes around 10 seconds) it starts working perfectly again but in all honesty this is a bit of a nuiscance.
I love how portable the Playbook is and I regularly take it in my handbag to my parents and as I have it set up with their internet it is really simple to use at their house. I also find that its brilliant for just having a quick look - because it can load up really quickly its brilliant for just checking the lottery numbers or seeing if someone has emailed back.
I like the Playbook and I do think it is a good budget option however it isn't any cheaper than similar models offered from Google, Samsung and now even Amazon. I think the Playbook is very good for browsing the internet and I do use mine pretty much daily and often for hours and hours at a time. The only preference I would have really would be the way my ebay wont let me upload new items for sale because my other minor problems such as the difficulty to type long documents would also be relevant on other tablets but of course now you can get the tablets with the click on keyboards so these would conquer all issues but of course make them larger. I imagine you can get a keyboard for the Playbook but this wouldn't make it portable but it would be brilliant for review writing or my Open University course.
I think that for the price paid the Playbook is very good. For the recent price of £129 for a larger memory model it is really giving excellent value for money. It isn't the best tablet out there but the price reflects this and I was surprised at how good the Playbook was. You cannot find a laptop for under £300 really and phones are also much more expensive so I do think it provides lots of features for the money paid. Its certainly not for people who need a computer for work but as I said I do use mine for work but I also need to supplement this with my laptop.
Overall I am impressed with the Playbook and would recommend it and probably would buy another if mine were to break. It is best for internet browsing and is easy to use. Apps make it easy to keep up with the world whether it be news, weather, twitter or facebook and it is fun to use.
Summary: A great tablet for an extremely low price, recommended
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