I wanted to do a hands-on review of the Blackberry Playbook tablet that I recently purchased. To sum it up: I love it.
I’ll start out by saying that I have been an iPad owner for the past 5 months, and the Playbook has now completely replaced by iPad and I use it much, much more. I’ve owned and used the Playbook for about one month now, and I wanted to make sure I had time to properly use it and experience it before writing my review.
The Blackberry Playbook is a really beautiful device. It is the perfect size, small enough to hold and read comfortably with one hand, but still with a large screen to enjoy videos, browsing, photos and more.
I have read many criticisms of the screen because it does not go all the way to the side of the screen, but after using it for a month and comparing it to the iPad… I actually like it better. When holding the iPad, you tend to accidentally click things on the screen or cover up text by holding the device. The Playbook has a nice “safe” border where you can hold it.
The borders themselves are actually touch-sensitive, so you use them for navigating around the device. For example, to turn on the device or go to the home page, simply swipe with your finger upwards from the bottom border. To multitask, swipe left or right to change programs. You can see in this image that I have the camera on (live!), a game open, and Facebook. I can toggle seamlessly between them just by swiping the left or right border. I love being able to pull down a menu at any time either in a program, or to view settings when on the home screen. I can quickly lock the orientation or access important functions of a program (very similar to the “menu” button on a Blackberry phone). I really prefer this system to the iPad and find it much more intuitive.
By far, my FAVOURITE thing about the Blackberry Playbook is the ease of typing. You can comfortably hold this in your hands and type with both fingers, rather than typing with one finger on the larger screen of an iPad. I took a picture of Allan typing on the Playbook (it’s hard to take a picture of yourself typing!) but you can see he can comfortable reach any letter on the screen with his thumbs. I find my typing speed on the Playbook has almost tripled compared to the iPad.
Of course, being able to view any web page with Flash is a huge bonus. I sorely missed this on the iPad and found I was constantly running to the computer to view certain web pages when I couldn’t see them on the iPad. No longer! Flash is fully functional and awesome in its full glory on the Playbook.
I am a Blackberry phone owner, so for me, this tablet is ideal. It’s less useful if you don’t have a Blackberry phone, but you can still enjoy the many features on the tablet. If you don’t have a Blackberry phone you can’t access the email or calendar functions, although I heard this is coming in an update soon. However, for Blackberry owners, being able to view all your messages and BBMs on the tablet is amazing. I just leave my phone in my purse for the most part now and do a lot of my email reading and writing from the Playbook on the couch.
One of the raddest features is using the Blackberry Bridge Browser. YES! Recently on a trip, Allan and I were frustrated because we couldn’t use the iPad for internet since there was no WiFi and we only had a WiFi iPad. Using the Blackberry Bridge Browser, you can tether it to your Blackberry phone and surf to your heart’s delight… FOR FREE. NO DATA PLAN!
The camera and video are excellent. Crisp images, and 1080p high def video. It also has cameras on both sides so you can easily video chat or take photos of yourself.
It’s thin and I love the rubber backing on the device. It feels bomb proof.
You can see that the Playbook and my phone both fit comfortable inside my very small purse (most of my friends make fun of how small my purse is)… the size is perfect for me. I bring it everywhere!
Summary: Overall, I really love the Blackberry Playbook and I find it is perfect for what I use it for: e-mailing, using social media, browsing the internet, taking photos, traveling, and talking to friends. Although it is light on the apps side of things, I find that for myself, I am not missing any apps as that’s not what I use this tablet for. The size is great, the navigation is extremely intuitive and smart, the device is fast, great form factor and fantastic for typing on. It’s a keeper for me, and I’d highly recommend it, especially for Blackberry phone owners.
Note: I was not paid or asked to do this review in any way. I purchased the Playbook with my own money and wrote the review of my own accord.