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BlackBerry PlayBook review

6.5/10 AVG.
RATING



6.5/10
Informr score
The BlackBerry PlayBook currently has an Informr score of 6.5 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 30 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The BlackBerry PlayBook is RIM's latest foray into the tablet market, going for a practical business look rather than focusing on fun. It comes packed with some of the fastest hardware available in a tablet and features a very sleek and smooth design.

The biggest strength of the PlayBook is its ability to handle corporate and enterprise tasks. It is by far the most complete tablet on the market today if your primary need is for business. The keyboard is slick to use and the touchscreen is responsive. It displays Powerpoint presentations in all their glory and has enhanced security features to keep your sensitive data safe.

BlackBerry did not compromise when choosing hardware for the PlayBook. It features a 1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and three levels of storage to choose from (16, 32, or 64GB). This leads to an enjoyable experience as apps load nearly instantly and multitasking does not slow the PlayBook down much at all. Battery life is good overall, but not the best. Expect around seven hours between charges compared to ten hours on the iPad 2. Unfortunately, memory management issues come up every now and again and need a reboot to fix them.

The controls on the outside of the device are a low point. The power button is the only way to disable the screen and it is in a rather annoying place and requires too much pressure to activate. The PlayBook is also missing many apps that are available on Apple and Android tablets. If you are buying a tablet for fun and not for business, you might want to look elsewhere.

Need to Know: BlackBerry PlayBook

1. Second to none when it comes to business and enterprise work. RIM has this part of the market well in hand. (The Good)

2. Impressive hardware specs make for an enjoyable user experience. (The Good)

3. Lacks apps that Apple and Android users take for granted. (The Bad)

4. Memory management issues can slow the device to a crawl at times. (The Bad)


Operating system
BlackBerry
Processor
1 GHz
Screen Size
7"
Camera
5+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


Tech Advisor

RIM's revised BlackBerry PlayBook addresses all the original tablet's shortcomings.

- Martyn Casserly, Tech Advisor
V3

The much needed software upgrade for the PlayBook tablet does make it a lot better in a number of ways. The three main apps significantly improve the PlayBook and RIM has done a great job of including good features and making them work well.However, we can't bypass the fact that these should have be...

- Chris Martin, V3
TabletPCReview

Without a doubt, every Tablet OS 2.0 change and addition makes the PlayBook a better tablet. The email app and its calendar, contacts and social media integration may have arrived too late for iPad owners to ditch Apple’s tablet for a PlayBook, but the new clients are certainly not too little....

- Jamison Cush, TabletPCReview
The Verge

It may be labeled version 2.0, but this is the operating system the Playbook should have shipped with. It’s relatively complete, mostly bug-free, and though it’s filled with plenty of oddities, quirks, and issues none are hugely problematic. The additions are smart ones, the new apps are...

- David Pierce, The Verge
Pocket-lint

Ultimately, it’s early days for the PlayBook, if RIM can live up to their promises this is one tablet that could be the main set for businesses everywhere. But if those promises aren’t kept and the apps fail to materialise you’ll be left with something that’s really only good...

- Stuart Miles, Pocket-lint


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Quick view

Screen Size
7"

The BlackBerry PlayBook's screen size is 7 inches with x pixels resolution.

Processor
1 GHz

There is a OMAP4430 1 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The tablet runs on proprietary operating system firmware.

Camera
5+ MP
You can take photos or capture video with the tablet's onboard 5+ megapixel camera. There is also a secondary front facing camera with 3+ megapixels resolution.
Storage
32/64 GB

Internal memory is 32/64 GB. No external card slot is available for expansion.

Battery
5300mAh

The tablet is powered by a Lithium Polymer (Li-Pol), 5300 mAh battery. BlackBerry's performance ratings are 13 days standby time, 8 hours Wi-Fi surfing.

BlackBerry PlayBook Specs

Overview
Release date April 19, 2011
Regions available USA, Canada
Networks
No cellular data
SIM card No
Dual SIM No
Operating System

Compare BlackBerry Tablets

Secondary OS No
Processor OMAP4430 1 GHz
Internal Storage 32/64 GB
RAM 1 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Digital compass Yes
Flightmode Yes
Hearing Aid Compatible No
TTY/TDD No
SAR Unknown
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Data Cable, Manual
Power & battery
Type Lithium Polymer (Li-Pol)
Battery Capacity 5300 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Battery Charge Time 4 hours
Video Playback Time Up to: 6 hours
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 8 hours
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Reading Time Unknown
Standby Time Up to: 13 days
Physical Characteristics
Material Unknown
Colors Black
Dimensions [H x W x D] 13.0 x 19.4 x 1.0 cm (5.1 x 7.6 x 0.4 in)
Weight 425 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD (TFT)
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution x pixels
Pixel density Unknown
Size 7 inches
3D No
Sensors Ambient Light, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive Touchscreen
Input / Navigation
Touchscreen Yes
Sleep / Wake Key No
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Predictive Text Entry No
Physical keyboard No
Text-to-Speech No
Screen Reader No
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling No
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) No
Contact List Capacity Unknown
Multiple Numbers Per Contact No
Contact Groups No
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client No
Email Protocols No
Additional Email Features -
Messaging No
Connectivity
USB No
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth 2.1
Bluetooth Profiles DUN, HID
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot No
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot No
Expansion Slot Info No
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out Yes
DLNA Support No
NFC No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
Unknown
Resolution
5+ megapixels
Dual lens
No
Zoom
Yes
Flash
No
Additional Main Camera Info
White balance
Video Recording Formats
H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV, DivX
Video Recording Parameters
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
Resolution
3+ megapixels
Zoom
1x optical
Additional Front Camera Info
White balance
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats MP3, AAC, WMA
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV, DivX
Mobile TV No
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Stereo
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar No
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer Yes
Viewable document types BMP, DOC, DOCX, GIF, HTML, JPG, PDF, PPT, TXT, XLS
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad No
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable, Pre-installed
Apps Downloadable, Pre-installed
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): BlackBerry BlackPad, BlackBerry Surfbook

Related Links Manual (PDF)
BlackBerry PlayBook Reviews
Where to buy BlackBerry PlayBook
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Critic Reviews


Tech Advisor

A lovely device to hold and use

from Tech Advisor

The BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 is a lovely device to hold and use. It’s small and light enough to carry anywhere, and the display is impressive. If BlackBerry could entice more developers to transfer their apps to the platform then it would be truly excellent. At £169, it’s the definition of a bargain.

Read full review

The BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 is a lovely device to hold and use. It’s small and light enough to carry anywhere, and the display is impressive. If BlackBerry could entice more developers to transfer their apps to the platform then it would be truly excellent. At £169, it’s the definition of a bargain.

Read full review

Less

V3

Good integration with social networks, video chat is restricted to PlayBooks

from V3

The much needed software upgrade for the PlayBook tablet does make it a lot better in a number of ways. The three main apps significantly improve the PlayBook and RIM has done a great job of including good features and making them work well.

However, we can't bypass the fact that these should have been present when the PlayBook was launched last year, so they hardly make the tablet leap ahead of its rivals. These basic features should have been there from the start and the PlayBook OS 2.0 should have been something completely different....

More

The much needed software upgrade for the PlayBook tablet does make it a lot better in a number of ways. The three main apps significantly improve the PlayBook and RIM has done a great job of including good features and making them work well.

However, we can't bypass the fact that these should have been present when the PlayBook was launched last year, so they hardly make the tablet leap ahead of its rivals. These basic features should have been there from the start and the PlayBook OS 2.0 should have been something completely different.

There's still progress to be made with the App World and apps like Video Chat.

However, the fact that the PlayBook has struggled has meant the price has dived to way under £200. Now that it has the PlayBook OS 2.0, the tablet could be a good budget purchase for those who are looking for a useful tablet but can't afford an Apple iPad 2 or Asus Transformer Prime.

Read full review

Less

TabletPCReview

The software update gives the PlayBook a breath of new life

from TabletPCReview

Without a doubt, every Tablet OS 2.0 change and addition makes the PlayBook a better tablet. The email app and its calendar, contacts and social media integration may have arrived too late for iPad owners to ditch Apple’s tablet for a PlayBook, but the new clients are certainly not too litt...More

Without a doubt, every Tablet OS 2.0 change and addition makes the PlayBook a better tablet. The email app and its calendar, contacts and social media integration may have arrived too late for iPad owners to ditch Apple’s tablet for a PlayBook, but the new clients are certainly not too little. The PlayBook hardware also still holds up. It is still very stable and fast, and the front-facing speakers are some of the best on any tablet I’ve tested. For business users, particularly BlackBerry handset owners, it’s a different story. The PlayBook is one of the most productive mobile tablets I’ve ever used thanks to Docs To Go and BlackBerry Bridge. The email, calendar and contact apps only add to it, and I certainly will be packing my PlayBook for all future business travels. I’ll just have to Skype and watch Netflix with my netbook.

Read full review

Less

The Verge

Much improved performance, smart UI enhancements, android app selection is weak

from The Verge

It may be labeled version 2.0, but this is the operating system the Playbook should have shipped with. It’s relatively complete, mostly bug-free, and though it’s filled with plenty of oddities, quirks, and issues none are hugely problematic. The additions are smart ones, the new apps...More

It may be labeled version 2.0, but this is the operating system the Playbook should have shipped with. It’s relatively complete, mostly bug-free, and though it’s filled with plenty of oddities, quirks, and issues none are hugely problematic. The additions are smart ones, the new apps are mostly good (though real, useful Android support is still a pipe dream), and the operating system generally works really well. But unfortunately for RIM, the PlayBook doesn’t live in a vacuum, and in the months between PlayBook 1.0 and 2.0, every other tablet manufacturer and software developer has been improving their game as well. PlayBook 2.0 will surely convince a lot of PlayBook owners to dig out their tablet, update it, and give it another whirl (if only to play Cut The Rope). At $199, it's also now a decent competitor to the Kindle Fire — it's more capable and powerful than the Kindle Fire, though it doesn't function quite as well or have anything approaching the same number of apps or content options. Still, I can’t imagine a new buyer would choose the PlayBook over an iPad 2 or Transformer Prime, update or no update.

Read full review

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Pocket-lint

Well built, has masses of potential, but it’s not quite there yet

from Pocket-lint

Ultimately, it’s early days for the PlayBook, if RIM can live up to their promises this is one tablet that could be the main set for businesses everywhere. But if those promises aren’t kept and the apps fail to materialise you’ll be left with something that’s really only good for surfing the web....

More

Ultimately, it’s early days for the PlayBook, if RIM can live up to their promises this is one tablet that could be the main set for businesses everywhere. But if those promises aren’t kept and the apps fail to materialise you’ll be left with something that’s really only good for surfing the web.

 

 

Read full review

Less

Pocketables

There are a few flaws, but they're mostly software

from Pocketables

The PlayBook is awesome. There are a few flaws, but they're mostly software. That means that once RIM understands the importance of releasing fewer, but meatier, updates, the PlayBook will be even more usable than it is now. And it's already quite the useful piece of hardware. It's slowly been re...More

The PlayBook is awesome. There are a few flaws, but they're mostly software. That means that once RIM understands the importance of releasing fewer, but meatier, updates, the PlayBook will be even more usable than it is now. And it's already quite the useful piece of hardware. It's slowly been replacing my MacBook Pro for web browsing and media enjoying, as well as some work tasks. I'm still a long ways away from totally replacing my desktop setup for something like the PlayBook, but we are definitely getting closer. RIM will definitely help lead themselves and the competition in the right direction.

Read full review

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Ubergizmo

Hardware is very good, software offering is not complete though

from Ubergizmo

I love the Playbook interface, the device elegant form factor, the great display, the compact size and the performance. However, the lack of exchange support and the absence of native email, calendar and contact apps is an adoption roadblock for non-BlackBerry users. Messaging and emailing is one...More

I love the Playbook interface, the device elegant form factor, the great display, the compact size and the performance. However, the lack of exchange support and the absence of native email, calendar and contact apps is an adoption roadblock for non-BlackBerry users. Messaging and emailing is one of the regular activities that almost everyone performs on a tablet. RIM has a short window of opportunity to make its offering better, and they are probably working hard on it. The Playbook hardware deserves it.

Read full review

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PhoneArena

The PlayBook and iPad 2 offer greater value for money

from PhoneArena

We’ve gone through in explaining which devices excel in specific categories, but it’s still rather difficult to concretely say which one is ultimately the cream of the crop. Naturally, there’s a host of other factors that come into play that would make one more highly prized tha...More

We’ve gone through in explaining which devices excel in specific categories, but it’s still rather difficult to concretely say which one is ultimately the cream of the crop. Naturally, there’s a host of other factors that come into play that would make one more highly prized than the other, like pricing. Taking that into consideration, the two cellular enabled Android tablets currently sport no-contract price tags of $750 and up – making them super pricey! Chiming in at a more reasonable starting price of $500 for their base Wi-Fi only models, the iPad 2 and PlayBook offer plenty of bang for the buck, and if you want to add 3G connectivity to the iPad 2, it'd still be more affordable than the Honeycomb-rocking alternatives. In any event, there’s no denying we’ll still be hearing all four of these tablets in the coming months, especially when they’re setting the pace for all others to come out after them.

Read full review

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BitBitByte

A heavy flogging in hopes of discovering every nook and cranny this device and new OS have to offer

from BitBitByte

Getting right down to the nitty gritty, can we say we’d recommend the PlayBook to anyone? In all truthfulness — not at this point. RIM simply left out or failed to develop various key areas of the PlayBook including several major marketing points.

The simple fact is this: RIM should not have released the PlayBook until all of the marketed features/services were fully operational and meticulously tested. Instead, RIM felt the pressure from the iPad 2 and dozens of Android tablets and decided to act prematurely. No matter how you slice it, the BlackBerry PlayBook is half-baked in its current form. The lack of apps and inability to do simple tasks such as send/receive email without being tethered to an aging BlackBerry smartphone platform are huge knocks against RIM’s attempts to break free of their quickly dying brand reputation....

More

Getting right down to the nitty gritty, can we say we’d recommend the PlayBook to anyone? In all truthfulness — not at this point. RIM simply left out or failed to develop various key areas of the PlayBook including several major marketing points.

The simple fact is this: RIM should not have released the PlayBook until all of the marketed features/services were fully operational and meticulously tested. Instead, RIM felt the pressure from the iPad 2 and dozens of Android tablets and decided to act prematurely. No matter how you slice it, the BlackBerry PlayBook is half-baked in its current form. The lack of apps and inability to do simple tasks such as send/receive email without being tethered to an aging BlackBerry smartphone platform are huge knocks against RIM’s attempts to break free of their quickly dying brand reputation.

But don’t take these criticisms as a blatant writing off of RIM’s tablet ambitions. While we believe the PlayBook was grossly over-hyped and under-developed, we believe the PlayBook (and RIM’s tablet plans as a whole) have a ton of potential. The PlayBook hardware and underlying core software are phenomenal. The various dots which connect to form the larger picture, however, are not.

Perhaps 6 months down the road RIM will finally have all the key areas of the PlayBook’s software up to snuff. But at that point, the hardware will be 6 months old in a sea of ever-changing Android tablets. Can the PlayBook keep up? And will RIM have another QNX-based tablet in the works? That is why in its current state we simply cannot recommend the PlayBook to non-BlackBerry smartphone users. For those who do currently own a BlackBerry smartphone with which to access basic email/calendar/contact features, we just say “wait”.

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BWOne

It will be a great tablet, but right now it's just a decent one

from BWOne

The Playbook is sort of like a half-baked cookie. While a half-baked cook still takes good you don’t get the full flavor you get with a fully baked cookie.  The hardware is solid and top-tier and the OS is fun, elegance and easy to use but the lack of core features like e-mail, contact...More

The Playbook is sort of like a half-baked cookie. While a half-baked cook still takes good you don’t get the full flavor you get with a fully baked cookie.  The hardware is solid and top-tier and the OS is fun, elegance and easy to use but the lack of core features like e-mail, contact, calendar and lack of apps available in the app world keeps the Playbook from being a true competitor at the moment.  RIM has stated that these features will be coming down the line and I’m sure that in line with the 4G version coming down the line. The Blackberry Playbook will be a great tablet. The key term there is “will be” because as of right now its just a decent one.

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User Reviews


arun

Great Product.

The BlackBerry PlayBook has been the topic of conversation among many individuals. You may find yourself asking questions such as; have RIM improved on the battery life of their products? Is the PlayBook as good as many have said? Can I use BlackBerry Messenger on the PlayBook? Will the speed of the in...More
The BlackBerry PlayBook has been the topic of conversation among many individuals. You may find yourself asking questions such as; have RIM improved on the battery life of their products? Is the PlayBook as good as many have said? Can I use BlackBerry Messenger on the PlayBook? Will the speed of the internet be better than the iPad? And so on... BlackBerry’s have been compared to the products of Apple such as the iPhone on many occasions but will the PlayBook beat the iPad? Well.... The size of the PlayBook is smaller than the iPad which may seem negative but then again, it means the PlayBook will be able easier to carry around especially for people in business environments. The PlayBook allows its users to use applications that many BlackBerry users use on their mobile phones such as, BlackBerry Messenger, Twitter and so one. The product consists of good media technology such as, HDMI ports, a camera on the back of the PlayBook and also on the front, USB port and plays different format of music. The power the tablet has is that of a computer such as; 1Ghz dual core processor and 1GB RAM which will be brilliant for performance. RIM have said that the battery life of the product will be long lasting and better then their BlackBerry phones...... Finally. The PlayBook also features Adobe Flash Player, something the iPad failed to do. The speed of loading sites on the PlayBook are smoother, quicker and loaded in a more elegant way then the iPad. The sleek design of the PlayBook looks the part and also the performance of the products is much better than that of the iPad. The performance level of the PlayBook has been compared in articles and videos which are directly comparing both products, there’s only one clear winner after you have done your research on both tablet PC’s and that is the BlackBerry PlayBook. I would recommend this product for both business and personal users. Less

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