The BlackBerry Playbook tablet was a much anticipated tablet. But when it came into the market, it didn’t generate the demand that it promised. Therefore, the Playbook is rumored to be an underachiever.
Many felt that this device was the next baton-change for the iPad (although it is from Apple). Although the takeoff was fine, the Playbook did have a rocky landing. Meaning, it failed at attract customers. Part of it can be blamed on the marketing mix that is required to create the purchasing sentiment.
On first impressions, the Playbook does not defy its brand architectural design characteristics. It is black. The styling is dark. For some reason, the look is intentionally kept nondescript. The only interruption to the sea of blackness is the chrome logo of BlackBerry. Now if this design inspires you, it may not attract several others. At the end of it all, it is purely subjective whether you like the design or not.
The BlackBerry Playbook feels like a solid mass of solid slate. The rubberized chassis provides better grip. And it is slim too. At 0.4 inches, this device is reasonably thick. Being lightweight at about 0.9 pounds, you have a heady combination of sleekness and weightlessness.
But here’s the real deal. The Playbook is compact and small. Therefore, you can safely tuck it into your hand and roam about without being wary of dropping it.
As with anything, there’s a central component or theme that runs the whole affair. Talking about the Playbook tablet, it is obviously the processor. The device is powered by a dual-core, 1GHz processor. The operating system is QNX. The 1GB RAM is decent. The device comes in three variants of internal storage – 13GB, 32GB, or 64GB.
The QNX operating system is the talk of the town. The user interface is intuitive and extremely user friendly. You can multitask. You can easily end an application without waiting for it to close. This applies to when you are opening an app too. There is minimal latency in a variety of user actions.
Graphics rendition is good on the BlackBerry Playbook courtesy the PowerVR Design. The PowerVR Design operates by partaking graphics rendition from the main CPU. This enables the CPU to focus more on video output. For instance, you can feel the difference when watching a high definition video on your HD TV via the Playbook’s HDMI port.
Reviews have indicated no issues of pixilation at all. The response time is brilliant. You can multitask when rendering videos. This is a remarkable feat considering that earlier versions of the Playbook had issues with memory management.
Now this issue seems to have been sorted. The keyboard on the BlackBerry Playbook is wide, ergonomically spaced and allows for non-cramped typing. If you want that kind of typing experience, then orient the keyboard in landscape mode.
Playbook is not marketed as an app-verse like the iPad. But the quality of apps you get on the Playbook is good. As a Playbook owner, you can expect newer additions with each upgrade. You can access the Android App World through the BlackBerry App Market.
What’s not so great?
When you are with a tablet PC, you could be tempted to use apps. But on the Playbook, there are very little of those. Lack of apps is a stark contrast when in comparison to Apple’s iPad. Additionally, Apple iPad apps are built for tablets.
So it is not an aberration to say that the Playbook is an empty cupboard waiting to be filled with apps. RIM should concentrate more on engaging the developer community to start building apps for them.
Although the keyboard is good, it lacks functional depth. Numbers and special keys are packed into special sections. For instance, you could have a hard time figuring where the exclamation mark is or the question mark key is.
The only thing that you’d find quickly is the period key. Apart from that, everything is find and find. For instance, to insert an apostrophe, you ought to hit the symbols key and fetch this sign. There seems to be no auto-corrective system activity. Alternate keys don’t show up on long presses.
The keyboard can be really annoying. But if you can get used to it (which you will have to), you can use it to a certain degree of efficiency. This aspect is something that BlackBerry Playbook has to better design. Customers just stop using tablet PC and smartphones if they don’t provide a good typing experience.
The Playbook has formidable performance specifications. The 1GHz dual core Cortex A-9 processor is good. But it does not matchup to the processing capabilities of the iPad2. Although multitasking is available in theory, some apps take longer than usual to load.
A big setback for the BlackBerry Playbook is the camera. At 5MP, you are getting an unnecessary mole called the camera. True to say, the inclusion of the camera seems to be an afterthought. Or a reluctant attempt of including something that should have never been present in the first place.
Vs. Google Nexus 7
The Google Nexus 7 has better processing capabilities. It has a quad core processor. But there seems to be no HDMI output port. And no camera too. But these are no brownie points to rule out the might of Google Nexus over the Playbook.
Vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab 2
There’s nothing much to choose between these two tablets. The only difference is that the Tab 2 supports 4G network connectivity.
Vs. iPad 3
The iPad3 has plenty of apps built for tablet PCs. It has a high pixel density of 250ppi. If you are looking for more apps, better screen resolution, and a brilliant user experience you choose the iPad 3.
Vs. Amazon Kindle Fire HD
This is one device that the Playbook fares better against hands down. The Kindle Fire does not have a camera and inbuilt GPS. If this is reason enough for you to choose the Playbook, then it’s a good deal.
The BlackBerry Playbook has a lot of things going for it. The processing capabilities of the device are good. The 7” form factor is attractive if you are into BlackBerry devices. The construct and build quality of the tablet PC is excellent.
But surely, this is not the tablet PC which will make the queue at the nearest Apple store wane away. For BlackBerry Playbook has a lot to catch up with the likes of the iPad. Connectivity is abysmal for a tablet of this stature. There is no 3G option present even when low-end budget phones are including them.
At this moment, the Playbook is definitely facing an identity crisis. Although it has nothing different to offer, it is still worth a buy. If you are not in a hurry, then the only suggestion would be to wait. RIM is still on the curve. With future editions, you can expect a lot of improvement on the BlackBerry Playbook.
Price and availability
The average price that BlackBerry Playbook is sold at numerous stores is Rs. 12580. This price could vary by online store. You could easily walk into a BlackBerry retail outlet and buy this device. Alternatively, there are plenty of online stores such as Tradus, HomeShop18, and Greendust to name a few that sell this device at a discount and also provide free shipping.