RIM’s (Research In Motion) first proper foray into the post iPad tablet era is the PlayBook, we got to give one a good going over at Flush the Fashion HQ. So here is the results.
The Playbook looks great, the smooth black border is button free and while slightly smaller than an iPad, a higher DPI makes it technically clearer, (although am not sure many people would be able to tell the difference).
It’s light (400g v 610g for an iPad), but feels very solid and will fit into your coat pocket, so it’s nice and portable too. One thing, the power button is on the small side and switching it on or off is like a WWF wrestler picking up a pin.
The Blackberry uses the QNX operating system and it’s great to see a different style of interface that actually works in real life. Dragging your finger from the edge (side or top) will take you to a menu navigational interface. You are able to navigate the various screens and have any number of applications open at once.
Scrolling between them is as easy as turning a page in a book. In a very short space of time I could find my way around to every part of the tablet, something that can take days or even weeks on some machines.
Customisation is also easy so you can get things set up how you want them, and together with Android’s Gingerbread this operating system is my favourite to play or work on.. though this leads me nicely on to my first issue with the Playbook.
If you already have a Blackberry phone full of emails, contacts and meetings in your calendar, in order to sync the Playbook with your phone you will need to use the Blackberry Bridge Application. Although an update is promised, at the moment it is not possible to use the Playbook to send and receive your Blackberry emails, update contact and appointments without a Blackberry phone.
‘Technically’ there are ways to work around this via the web, but it’s a definite disadvantage if you were looking to use the Playbook as a tool for increased workflow efficiency.
Incidentally I have noticed however a lot of places are doing a Playbook AND BB Torch (an excellent phone) on a 18 month contract, so this may be a possible short term solution.
On the positive side ‘the web’ looks excellent (especially Flush the Fashion), and there are no holes where the flash movie should be. You can pinch and squeeze to zoom in and out, and video playback, assuming you have a decent bandwidth is a flickerless, pleasurable experience with crisp colours and no movement blurs. Another cool feature is the ability to plug the Playbook to your TV via HDMI and watch downloaded movies, YouTube etc on a big screen.
Things are slowly growing at the BlackBerry Apps store. Credit to RIM for supporting developers with the right tools to build their apps and you should start to see some great Apps filter through to the Playbook, but while the quality of apps is good but choice is very limited.
There are good Photo(see above), Maps, Facebook and Foursquare apps however there is still no official Twitter Playbook App so you’ll have to buy a decent one.. for a good list of the best current Playbook Apps check out www.playbookapps.ws
Incidentally there are lots of cool games, and yes, Need for Speed and Angry Birds are two of them.
The Playbook comes with front and rear cameras, both good enough to shoot HD quality video. It is easy to use and results are good but in common with most Tablets colours can be a little dull, so don’t throw away your regular camera just yet.
Overall, despite it’s flaws the PlayBook is a very powerful machine and RIM have ‘potentially’ developed a serious competitor to the iPad. The hardware is up to it but until the App store has a chance to catch up and the connectivity issues are ironed out, what you get is exactly what it says on the tin.
A Playbook. Great for games, video and web but lacking in those productivity areas mentioned that would have made it one of, if not THE market leader.
Price from £400 for a 16gig model to £559 for the 64gig version.
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