BlackBerry PlayBook Review

Posted by on August 31, 2011 at 12:18 am

This has been a long time coming, mainly because I don’t like to talk bad about products but I finally made myself write this review. I’m not saying this is the worst thing in the world. In fact this tablet could be on my favorites if they just fixed some issues.

Lets start it of with the easy stuff. The first thing that I noticed was that it felt solid. It doesn’t feel cheap or air-y (don’t know if that’s a word) it has a great grip surface and looks sexy as hell. The speakers are on the front of the device, set up like stereo, which I love. This to me is the best speaker placement on any tablet. The frame of the device is used for gesturing which may sound a little complicated at first but in five minutes you’ll figure it out and love it. packed with a 1 GHz processor, 1 GB of ram, 5 megapixel back camera (capable of shooting 1080p) and a 3 megapixel front camera this bad boy is pretty well set.

It has a 7″ screen at 1024×600. No bad, that’s widescreen enough for me. One issue I found was that the back-light would stay on while it was charging when the device was off. This was fixed later in one of the many software updates (more on that later). The camera is decent during the day but it better be lit well or the pics will turn out grainy. The shutter speed is way slow, to slow.

I didn’t charge it that much and the battery… I’m terrible at trying to remember how long it lasted so a good while will have to do. One thing that really bothered me was plugging in the USB cable to my computer and the thing not charging. What, I have to use a wall charger to charge the damn thing? Turn off, just saying.

The PlayBook seemed to run the OS without any real problems, no sluggishness or anything that I noticed.

This is really where the PlayBook fails in my eyes. I will say that I was able to figure out the frame gestures like swiping down from the top to see the options menu, swiping to the left or right to change apps really easily and fast. One thing I don’t understand is releasing an OS when it’s not done yet. There was an update to the software every other day. It was very annoying and all the updates were hundreds of MBs. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to connect to my iPhone via wifi, is this disabled or what?

Software Pros

  • Multitasking. This was the coolest feature. you can minimize an app like the browser and the video will still be playing in the small thumbnail. Just click the X button to close out the app or click the app you want to maximize and jump right it. It was great!
  • Scrolling was smooth. Not as smooth as the iPad but a hell of a lot more smooth than any Android device.
  • Orientation. Again this was pretty smooth, there is an orientation lock but I didn’t need to use it because it never accidentally changed orientation on me.
  • Notifications we’re not intrusive. It’s just a red border and exclamation mark in the top left corner, click it see what’s happening.

Notifications were cool.

Software Cons

  • No native email client? WTF! (I failed the device right then) I have to use BlackBerry bridge to check my email? Why should I even own this tablet then? I don’t have a BlackBerry phone so I was out of luck. There is Office on it though…
  • When software updates were applied, apps (links to AOL mail, Yahoo mail, etc) that I deleted would come back. I deleted them for a reason, stop putting them back!
  • Where is the changelog on apps? I don’t like to just install updates without knowing why I’m updating.
  • LACK OF FUCKING APPS! (I know they can use Android apps soon/now but not when I reviewed it)
  • No predictive text or spelling corrections on the keyboard. Maybe I’m lazy now but I’m used to spelling half a word and then the rest popping up. Also I try and type fast and know I make mistakes and would like them to auto correct like iOS.
  • The browser is not compliant enough for me. Our website looks like shit on it. I was even trying to modify some stuff on our site to make it look better. See We have a minimum width set to 1100px and since the screen on this is only 1024px it wanted me to scroll left and right. Why can’t you just zoom out like Android and iOS?
  • Little bugs in the UI. Click an already clicked button and the button fucks up (see below).
  • Flash was really shitty on here, especially watching YouTube videos. Trying to maximize videos or minimize is damn near impossible. No Silverlight (expected).

 Where is the rest of the website?

 This is that button issue. It adds extra padding to the right if you click an active button.

 Hulu says suck it.

 Netflix doesn’t care, hates everyone the same.

In conclusion don’t buy this right now. When they get a native email client and update the software so it doesn’t suck as much, fix apps that are “native”, Facebook worked for a little bit then stopped, then you have my blessing. Hell I might even get one. This is one of those things about first generation products, they always seem to suck. You know what, just hold out for the next version. That is with everything going on at RIM that there will be a next version and the fact HP just dumped their tablets.

There was one other upside to the PlayBook. It provided me and my cat with entertainment, I had a video and after showing it off I deleted it off my iPhone. It was funny as hell though, the cat was scratching the screen and doing so was opening apps and probably buying all kinds of things with my credit card. I guess I’ll find out when the bill comes in though!

Don't Keep This a
Secret, Share It

  • Good review.  Pretty much agree.

  • Amritha

    [stupid link without any context]

    • I never said anywhere that the iPad was better…