Well not a full review as there’s plenty of them out there now but more of an extended summary. I’ve been putting off getting a tablet for a long time now. I didn’t see the need for one what with already owning a smartphone (BB9900), a laptop (Alienware m14x) and a netbook (Lenovo s9e). I couldn’t see how the cost (in and around 500euro for something decent) could be justified for any supposed benefits but when BlackBerry (who we all know have been struggling recently) decided to cut the price of their PlayBook tablet (16GB) from 499euro to 199 euro I thought why not. Sure thats 30 euro cheaper then my iPod touch which has a 4inch screen and only 8gbs of memory.
I’ve had it now for a week and (cant believe I’m admitting this) can now see the advantages of a tablet over netbooks/smartphones. So why the change of heart? Well firstly the price is a bargain at the moment as RIM try to move some inventory and get the devices out into the ether to encourage developers to make some apps for it. But after using it for a while now I can see many advantages. It’s a 7inch screen which for me is a nice size. Dont think I’d like the anything larger as I think it would be a little unwieldy. It’s blistering fast (1GHZ dual core processor) and is truely amazing at multi tasking. I’ve played around with both iPad 1 and 2 and the samsung Galaxy tab 10inch and I think in terms of speed and navigation the PlayBook is a better device. The DPI on the PlayBook is higher then both the iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy tab 10inch and so offers sharper images which is great for movies and ebooks. Now of course for many it has a huge problem…apps. Well yes there are considerably less apps in the BlackBerry appworld then there are in Android Market or iTunes Store but personally this doesn’t bother me too much. The browser fully supports flash so for me this more than makes up for any gaps in the apps area and the apps I need are already available although I do hope SugarSync release a PlayBook app soon (are you listening?).
When the device was first release early last year many people said it was missing a PIM (Microsoft Outlook style program) but to be honest email could be accessed through the browser if needed. Since then BlackBerry have been listening to the criticism and are launching OS 2.0 for the PlayBook in February. At CES 2012 (well put together a summary of the best of CES later in the week) this year CrackBerry got a look at this new OS and what it can do (video below is well worth a look). It’ll bring an integrated PIM app which will allow you to do all your email and social feeds (twitter, linkedin, facebook) from one location. The multi tasking will work within the app so you can read and edit emails at the same time without exiting and re entering the app. You’ll also be able to control your PlayBook from your BlackBerry device too which from the look of the video below is very smooth.
Video playback on the PlayBook is excellent. It’s well able to handle full 1080HD films and it’s two cameras (5mp front and 3mp back) can also record in full 1080. Unfortunately as of yet there is no support for Netflix which will disappoint many but there are workarounds which we’ll publish soon.
So who should consider the PlayBook? Well if you’re already using a BlackBerry device you’ll really enjoy the integration the PlayBook will offer ( I even get notification of incoming calls to my BlackBerry via my PlayBook) but for those none BlackBerry converts? First off there’s nothing lost in owning the PlayBook along with an iPhone or Android device. You’ll be able to tether if you need access outside a wifi zone (The PlayBook is wifi only) but the real reason you should consider it is the price. Let’s be honest BlackBerry are selling these below cost as they’ve already taken the write down. It’s not too often you get a premium product at a great price and BlackBerry are committed to supporting the PlayBook for some time. The release of OS 2 this February is an example of that but also the PlayBook is running the new BlackBerry OS, BB10, which will be the new OS for their smartphones launching later this year. Many blogs have been railing on RIM recently and unfairly I think. It seems they are only to happy to see RIM fail but I think they are moving in the right direction (2012 will be a make or break year for RIM). The PlayBook OS is the breeding and testing ground for the future smartphones coming from BlackBerry. I for one am very impressed with what I see and cant wait for the launch of BB10 smartphones from BlackBerry. Heck I may even give up my physical keyboard for a touch screen one.
The PlayBook is available in PCWorld (instore and online) for
219.99 299euro (16GB) or 329 (64GB) or the Carphone warehouse for 199euro )16GB).
Did you get a PlayBook? What do you think of it? Sound off in the comments section below.