BlackBerry PlayBook (16GB)
Manufacturer: BlackBerry Part number: CNETBLACKBERRYPLAYBOOK
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CNET editors' review
price range: $94.99 - $199.98
- Reviewed by: Donald Bell
- Reviewed on: 04/14/2011
- Released on: 04/19/2011
The good: RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook is a fast, powerful 7-inch tablet with HDMI output, advanced multitasking and security, and a browser that integrates Adobe Flash 10.2 for a desktop-style Web experience.
The bad: The 7-inch screen cramps the powerful browser; the wake button is difficult to push; and app selection trails the competition.
The bottom line: The BlackBerry PlayBook ably showcases RIM's powerful new mobile operating system, but its middling size diminishes many of its best features.
Great, but greater with a smartphone!
by FreddieGTX on February 23, 2012
Pros: 1) Main interface is very clean and pleasing to use
2) Web browser is very easy to use
3) Dual speakers, sound quality is good
4) Top-notch build quality
5) Great display quality
6) Real Multitasking, very useful!
Good camera and video
Cons: 1) ON/OFF switch could be better designed
2) Number of Apps available is smaller than Android or Apple
3) No native mail etc.
Summary: Before I get started I would like to point out that I am already a Blackberry phone user for at least a year but I will try my best not ...
Summary: Before I get started I would like to point out that I am already a Blackberry phone user for at least a year but I will try my best not to be bias in order to write a fair review,
I had already bought my second Blackberry smartphone (Bold 9900 - Excellent phone by the way) and so when Christmas came around the Playbook seemed like a natural companion for it, having read various reviews and watched plenty of youtube reviews I took the plunge. Upon unboxing I found the setup process to be very quick and easy, even a mandatory software update meant that overall it only took 15 minutes or so.
The main interface is very clean and pleasing to use, the numerous gestures are far more enjoyable than pressing buttons, the true multi tasking is a joy to use after years stuck with apples so called 'multitasking' which is in fact just pausing apps. In true Blackberry style there has been a few, very small glitches, like notifications not going away and getting stuck and icons disappearing, nothing a reboot can't fix.
The physical appearance of the device is again very pleasing and the matte finish on the back is extremely grippy so it feels stable in your hands, also having the camera in the middle means your fingers won't be able to smudge it like when you hold an iPad 2 in portrait. The ports are well set out along the bottom, my only gripe is the power/lock button on top, this is not as bad as other reviews make it out to be, but I often find myself pressing one of the volume buttons instead due to them being a lot larger in comparison. This is no big issue but still worth noting.
The web browser is very easy to use and the tab bar is a very welcome addition after using iOS's Safari, my only slight problem with it is when you use Blackberry bridge you get a second web browser, called 'Bridge Browser' this is the one you have to use when your not connected to a WiFi network. It means it has separate settings and bookmarks to the normal browser which can be annoying as you essentially have to fill in settings twice and bookmark pages on both browsers. Apart from that it is very quick, a real step up from the Blackberry smartphone web-kit browsers and the dual-core processor has no trouble loading flash content.
Bundled applications include Need For Speed: Undercover and the full Office to go suite, a nice touch from RIM. The app store is small but basic apps are there and with the promise of the android app store it should be greatly improved in the coming year.
So minus a Blackberry smartphone, you have a small, portable tablet which is quick enough to handle speedy web browsing and graphic intensive games. However when you do use the Bridge application with a Blackberry phone, the Playbook really comes into its own. Firstly you get the use of a whole new array of applications, emails, calendar, reminders, bridge browser, bbm and memos. After using a Blackberry phone with a tiny screen, the 7" Playbook really makes sending emails a joy and the way the calendar is setup is also very attractive. My phone and Playbook are nearly always connected, I have found this has a negligible affect on the battery life of both devices. There are clever features such as when you receive a call to your phone, it pops up on your Playbook to let you know.
Overall the Playbook is a fantastic tablet and certainly an iPad killer, the fluidity of the OS mixed with the solid design make it a joy to use. However the purpose of the Playbook was to entice non-Blackberry users to buy it, it seems RIM have done the exact opposite, with out a Blackberry phone I struggle to recommend this tablet over an iPad or any other tablet for that matter. But when you link it with a Blackberry phone it doubles it's capabilities. One way to think about it is as an extension to your Blackberry smartphone, a second, bigger screen if you like. It allows for the accelerometer powered games that just aren't possible on Blackberries and multi touch gestures. When you purchase some of the accessories like the official rapid charging stand, it really enhances your user experience.
So overall, if you own a Blackberry smartphone, buy this table, as the 16GB version is little over $200 it is very affordable and it will make your whole Blackberry experience doubly as good, just don't forget the accessories when you go to the checkout! If you don't own a Blackberry smartphone its hard to recommend the Playbook over the iPad 2 based on features, however when you look at prices, the base model Playbook is half the price of the cheapest iPad which in my opinion is very good value and it doesn't have a massive opportunity cost and is still worth seriously considering. But going back to my first point of this conclusion - If you own a fairly recent Blackberry smartphone, buy this tablet, its very affordable and added features will greatly improve the experience from the Playbook.
But, before you're will buy this Blackberry Playbook, I suggest you have to compare prices before you decide at: Prices-comparison.info/Blackberry-Playbook
Enjoy with your Playbook!
18 out of 19 users found this user opinion helpful.
Used it, Loved it, This is the Tablet to beat!
by VZW_rep on April 8, 2011
Pros: True Multi-tasking instead of app pausing, full 1080p HD recording, 5MP in back and 3MP in front, the price point, and the new QNX tablet OS, fully touch-operational bezel, Android applications in summer '11, and Blackberry Bridge.
Cons: No expandable memory, Wifi only.
Summary: I was skeptical of the entire package before I was able to get my hands on it and learn about it in depth. This is the tablet to beat this ...
Summary: I was skeptical of the entire package before I was able to get my hands on it and learn about it in depth. This is the tablet to beat this year. Never mind the small package and picture-frame like design of this tablet. It all works toward why this will be the best on the market in 2 short weeks.
True Multi-tasking is something we have yet to see. Sure, we have application pausing on Android and iOS. But that's all they do. They pause the application state in the background until you are able to get back to it. This is able to run multiple (as many as you want) HD videos, songs, pictures, Flash based websites, etc. in the background without lag or pixelation. The multi-tasking works similarly to a Palm device with windows through which you can swipe back and forth.
Full 1080p recording is a dream and the tablet brings out the full colors of wherever you are. I viewed several recordings of a pro basketball game from courtside. Without the obvious stability stemming from the handling of the device, it looked like a clip from ESPN. The 5- and 3MP cameras are stunning. Again, they capture the true colors of everything they capture. We were able to video chat with the other Playbook at the other end of the room without issue.
The price point is huge for this device. It is competitive with the iPad at $499, $599, and $699 for the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models, respectively. This device has the capability to store and play anything you would want. Although make sure you get the correct size as memory expansion is not possible. But with the ample space available in the 32GB and 64GB versions, it should be enough for even the most hardcore media fanatic.
There is a lot to say about the QNX tablet OS that Blackberry is using for this device. It is meant for pure multi-tasking. It is meant to never crash, never slow down, and always keep going. Scenario: You're on your laptop working an excel spreadsheet, music, and a website in the background. Your music malfunctions and leaves you with a frozen laptop to the point where you have to reboot or wait forever for the OS to fix the issue. You're obviously not running a QNX OS. With QNX, it immediately identifies a risk to the integrity of the OS, shuts down the risk, and re-runs it in a more stable state until everything you need is running. It does this all while you are running everything else unimpeded in the background. They don't believe that one bad egg should ruin the carton. This OS is the same used in most vehicle navigation systems, at NASA, on the space shuttles, to run and monitor utility grids, and nuclear power plants, to name a few. QNX has been using multi-core processors for years and this is their bread and butter. This is serious business to tablet fans. Although it seems like a serious task to learn, it isn't and it is the most fun I've had with a device since the current generation touch screen.
The bezel is something completely unique to the Playbook. Similar to the rest of the touch screen, and to Palm devices with their navigation strip below the screen, the bezel is an integral part of this tablet. Swipe upward on the bottom of whatever orientation your using to activate the keyboard, swipe left or right on any side and scroll through whatever your doing. There are others that were not given demos, so I was told. This bezel is fully functional in applications, and specifically in the Android applications coming to the OS in the summer.
Now the part you may have been waiting for. The Android applications will be available sometime in summer (TBA). They hinted at June-July. Something needs to be clarified with this announcement as many people don't understand why this will be possible. Android and QNX OS use the same code as far as development and programming. This is why every app that is available for Android will be compatible for QNX. All you will need to do is download an approved, Blackberry provided patch (application player, as they called it) at the time of release to play the Android apps, which will be downloaded out of the Blackberry Appworld. The application player will be free.
The final main point of this device is the Blackberry Bridge which allows you to seamlessly integrate your contacts, e-mail, text messages, and BBM (among other things) from your Blackberry smartphone running OS 5.0 or higher to your QNX powered Playbook. You do this by linking each other via Bluetooth. It's that simple. Speaking of linking, being that this device is Wifi only, one can tether via USB, a dedicated mobile hotspot, or Bluetooth to any device which accepts connections via methods previously mentions.
With all the positive notes and few, but manageable negative notes, the Playbook will be the tablet to beat in 2011 and it will set a foundation for a line of products who could threaten Apple's iPad. No one can know at this time if the iPad will be ousted. Realistically? I doubt it. But that is not any other tablets' fault. It is the Apple fanboys (and girls) who have been stuck in the mud too many years. To the rest of you, give this a chance and you won't be disappointed.
25 out of 38 users found this user opinion helpful.
I want to comment on one aspect of the article.
by zyxxy on April 14, 2011
Pros: The QNX/Neutrino OS.
Cons: I cannot say since I haven't used it.
Summary: RIM did not create the OS for the playbook. It is running QNX Neutrino. An excellent embedded OS with years of deployment in several industries. I had the pleasure of ...
Summary: RIM did not create the OS for the playbook. It is running QNX Neutrino. An excellent embedded OS with years of deployment in several industries. I had the pleasure of developing applications for Neutrino about ten years ago. It was a great development environment with robust multitasking and robust multiprocessor support. Even device drivers run in user space, so badly behaved devices cannot crash the kernel.
15 out of 19 users found this user opinion helpful.
Can't wait for the release
by sambooka1 on April 14, 2011
Pros: Perfect for Corp users
Cons: No expandable memory
Summary: I fully understand that the IPAD users will rip on any other tablet but the bottom line for a product to be good or bad is if it meets the ...
Summary: I fully understand that the IPAD users will rip on any other tablet but the bottom line for a product to be good or bad is if it meets the users needs. Many people love their IPAD and they should. It is a very good product. There is also a very loarge group of users that have black berries- normally for work! Their work provides the Blackberry mail servers. This is the target market for Blackberry. I work for a very large corportation that supplies Blackberrries to a lot fo the employees, the Play book fits our needs and with work supporting it fully, this is the way to go for most of us. I also like the idea that I can use my work Black Berry's data plan and not have to have a data plan (con for IPAD and other tablets). As for the size, I carry enough stuff now.
For me, I have been waiting 6 months. Have mine on reserve. The intergration with work mail and other systems is what matters for me.
15 out of 21 users found this user opinion helpful.
It´s the real iPad rival!
by marcosluparia on April 14, 2011
Pros: Multitasking, 1080dpi, 7 inches, Webrowsing, Flash Support.
Cons: On/Off pres boutton, No SD slot, Android based apps (They need devoloped native apps for Playbook and futures Blackberries Smartphones...)
Summary: I don´t kow why everybody sees the 7 inches format something bad... (The Samsung Galaxy Pad have the same measure and it have selling 2 million of devices, that ...
Summary: I don´t kow why everybody sees the 7 inches format something bad... (The Samsung Galaxy Pad have the same measure and it have selling 2 million of devices, that mean there is a market for 7 inch factor). I can´t wait for buy one of these rockets. I think that the first gen is awesome! I love my blackberry curve, cause it´s cheap (in Argentina, an iPhone cost four times more than a Blackberry) and I use a maximum of 30 apps that are very useful (for me, it´s stupid have 300000 apps, all foolish). The only negative thing I see in the Playbook is the lack of native e-mail, BBM o Calendar (Only trough a Blackberry) but I think that is something to fix in the next generation of Playbook. For me is simply amazing....
10 out of 14 users found this user opinion helpful.
Love it - beats my iPad
by Naeglm on April 17, 2011
Pros: Powerful OS, real multi-tasking, great UI, fantastic screen and HD video, great browser, the web actually works (flash. HTML), access to MSFT office and Adobe, free data service by tethering to blackberry (why pay $25 a month to ATT?)
Cons: Only 4000 apps so far (more to come), if you don't have a bbery, you won't have native email (they saying it's coming "very, very soon"), 7" screen (althouhgh makes it ligher and portable)
Summary: I have been using since Friday. QNX and the new UI are now the standard. The multi-tasking is a huge difference maker and with this device you can actually use ...
Summary: I have been using since Friday. QNX and the new UI are now the standard. The multi-tasking is a huge difference maker and with this device you can actually use the web! (flash), this is the best mobile broswer out there. THe HD video on the screen is amazing, and you can use the device as a camera/video player since it is light and only 7 inches. Plus I save $25 a month by tethering to my blackbery using bridge. In one year I save $300! on fees. For those without a blackbery, it will be disapponting not to have native email out of the gate, but tihs is coming very soon. Developers, start building apps as this is going to be the #2 player in the tablet world to the ipad.
8 out of 12 users found this user opinion helpful.
Been using it for 2 days now...
by NOCARRIER_416 on April 15, 2011
Pros: Absolutely love this device. I agree the 7" display makes web browsing a bit difficult, but I did find myself taking it more places than I did my original iPad. (i.e. I'd carry it with me to the kitchen or bedroom or bathroom.) It's just ultra portable
Cons: The web browser is buggy still. RIM pushed an update to the device last night over WiFi and most of the problems seem to have been resolved though.
5 out of 7 users found this user opinion helpful.
Using it right now...
by llamos on April 29, 2011
Pros: I love the size, that it tethers to my Blackberry, the browser speed and the screen clarity.
Cons: Needs the track button Blackberry perfected on its most recent smartphones. Does not have some of the speed text functions Blackberry users are accustomed to (double space gets you a "." and capitalization).
Summary: First, I love not having a separate data plan. My 64gb Playbook tethers effortlessly. I got the speed charger, which tops off my charge in about 45 minutes. Not sure ...
Summary: First, I love not having a separate data plan. My 64gb Playbook tethers effortlessly. I got the speed charger, which tops off my charge in about 45 minutes. Not sure why men have reported difficulty pressing the "off" key--works fine for me (never heard of a woman with this complaint). May be a function of finger size...or frustration from believing that it should be larger. About the size of the unit, I can hold it on the sides by my fingers and quickly thumbtype. The sound is amazing and when I use my headphones (Bose noise canceling-because I know it makes a diff) the sound is stunning.
4 out of 5 users found this user opinion helpful.
Pure Awesomeness!! Very happy with my purchase.
by six4seven on April 21, 2011
Pros: Ultra-lite, portable, speedy, and it plays FLASH like my PC.
Cons: No native blackberry messaging app (not yet).
Needs more apps.
Summary: If you want something that can provide you with the full web without compromise, then this tablet if for you. Also, if you want something that is great for a ...
Summary: If you want something that can provide you with the full web without compromise, then this tablet if for you. Also, if you want something that is great for a productivity and not purely media (ipad), then the Playbook is a real winner.
I had the ipad 2 and after playing games and downloading endless apps that I didn't use, I realized that what I really needed in a tablet was a real web experience that gave me access to my virtual servers and networks while on the go (which no smartphone or iOS device could offer me). The playbook meets all of my small business needs in a sleek little package.
Also, blackberry bridge works great and now I have one data plan instead of 2 (ipad). However, blackberry bridge has given me problems and I can't wait for the update!
4 out of 5 users found this user opinion helpful.
It does everything I need it to do as a BB Tablet!
by JimL2011 on April 21, 2011
Pros: Easy to use
Great screen resolution
Love Bridge application (storing of sent emails on BB smart phone)
Cons: Waiting for BBM support on bridge app or standalone
Some slight problems with some AJAX and ASPX pages.
Summary: I like most Blackberry users did not expect this to be an iPad. We wanted something that we can use for business. Tonight I plan to test out its ability ...
Summary: I like most Blackberry users did not expect this to be an iPad. We wanted something that we can use for business. Tonight I plan to test out its ability to do PowerPoint presentations, so I do not have to bring my laptop with me. I did not buy this for applications, I bought it for meeting my business needs. The apps are nice, but on my phone I has spent a total of $9.97 on applications. I expect to spend a little more for this tablet, but I am really using it for its ability to display Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDFs. The flash support is nice. The camera took nice pictures for our groups newsletter and website.Last Thursday I just used the Micro-HDMI for a presentation for my local Jaycee Chapter. It worked great. The only thing you may want to do check is your timeout for screen dimming. if set to short you need to wake up the screen to move between slides. Other than that it worked perfectly.
Updated on Apr 25, 2011
3 out of 3 users found this user opinion helpful.
- Manufacturer: BlackBerry
- Part number: CNETBLACKBERRYPLAYBOOK
- Description: The BlackBerry PlayBook delivers professional-grade, consumer-friendly experiences that redefine the possibilities of mobile computing. This ultra-portable tablet looks and feels great, measuring less than half an inch thick and weighing less than a pound. It features a vivid 7-inch high-resolution display that is highly-responsive with a fluid touch screen experience. It also offers industry leading performance, uncompromised web browsing with support for Adobe Flash Player 10.1, true multitasking, HD multimedia, advanced security features, out-of-the-box enterprise support and a robust development environment.
- Type 7 in,
TFT active matrix
- Display Resolution 1024 x 600
- Touchscreen Yes
- Operating System BlackBerry Tablet OS
- Processor Clock Speed 1 GHz
- Number of Cores Dual-Core
- Flash Memory 16 GB
- RAM 1 GB
- Wireless Connectivity 802.11 a/b/g/n,
Bluetooth 2.1 EDR
- Rear-facing Camera 5 megapixels
- HD Video Recording 1080p
- Front-facing Camera 3 Megapixel
- Supported Digital Video Formats WMV,
- Supported Digital Audio Formats MP3
- Type Keyboard,
Expansion and Connectivity
- Interfaces 1,
1 x Micro-HDMI
- HDMI Port Yes
- Color Black
- Sensors Accelerometer
- Features Front camera ,
Rear camera ,
Dimensions & Weight
- Width 7.6 in
- Depth 0.4 in
- Height 5.1 in
- Weight 15 oz
Specs: 7 in,
TFT active matrix - Yes,
BlackBerry Tablet OS,
Bluetooth 2.1 EDR,
7.6 in x 0.4 in x 5.1 in,
Specs: 7 in TFT active matrix - Yes,
BlackBerry Tablet OS,
Bluetooth 2.1 EDR,
7.6 in x 0.4 in x 5.1 in,
Specs: 7 in TFT active matrix - Yes,
Bluetooth 2.1 EDR,
7.6 in x 0.4 in x 5.1 in,
- Targus Truss Case/Stand for BlackBerry PlayBook - case for web tablet (34582360)19.95 - 46.99
- Targus Truss Nylon Case/Stand for BlackBerry PlayBook - case for web tablet (34832393)29.70 - 37.99
- Targus with Bubble-Free Adhesive for BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet - web tablet screen protective film (34839236)18.15 - 22.99
- Targus Zierra Leather Portfolio for BlackBerry PlayBook - case for web tablet (34557871)39.99 - 56.99