My review of the iPhone 4 and the iPad were probably 2 of my most popular posts on my blog last year, and this year when I got my iPad2, I figured it was so similar to the original iPad that I didn't even bother posting on it. I was eager to get my hands on the Blackberry Playbook but knew of quite a few people in Dubai who'd already managed to get their hands on one from other countries so didn't quite think people would be that curious to see what I had to say about the product... that is, till I got my piece to review. I hooked it up with my Blackberry phone (more on that later) and in a few minutes, I was good to go! I got on my BBM (Blackberry Messenger) on the Playbook and changed my status to "On the Playbook" and within MINUTES got bombarded my messages asking what I thought of the device, whether I liked it and most importantly, whether it deserved to be bought or not. "Wait for the review"I said in response to the queries and for the past week, have been playing with the Playbook, gearing up this review.
I'm going to go first with the assumption that you've heard very little about the Playbook, or not at all, and will get into this review that way rather than trying to dispel the rumours that surround the device. The Playbook is a small and cute device which is a lot smaller than the Apple iPad. I turned on my device (which is a prototype and on loan to me) and saw the basic apps I would expect like Browser, Pictures, Music, Camera, YouTube, etc, and a few others that I didn't expect like Video Chat, Word To Go (as well as Sheet and Slideshow To Go), Slacker Radio, Twitter and a few others. Ok, you're thinking, this is a Blackberry Device, let's talk about Email and BBM. Here is where I assume you've heard nothing of the device- Unless you're using Email on your Browser (like Gmail for example) the Blackberry Playbook does NOT allow for Push Email coming directly onto your device, neither does it support BBM... UNLESS you own a Blackberry Phone that the device is hooked up to via an App called "Blackberry Bridge." There are a few reasons why RIM have chosen to set up their Tablet this way and I'm guessing Security is probably on the top of that list! A lot of companies will choose to let their executives have the PlayBook and not have to worry about security on yet another device, as email hooks up flawlessly on the Tablet given that it is in the connectivity range of your phone. Leave your phone in the other room? Your Tablet can't hook up to it and you can say Bye to your email connectivity too. The good news? Lose your Playbook and nobody else can connect to your email without your phone or your contact list on BBM. This has lead to nasty rumours about the Playbook being useless to those without a BB phone. There is a very interesting article that I'd read when I was researching the device that does a fabulous job of dispelling this myth that can be found here which I urge you to read. It does a fab job of explaining exactly WHY lack of email connectivity is really not such a big deal! The Playbook does come with WiFi and it's performance on that is great. Another reason that makes the Blackberry such a popular device with Executives is the Global Roaming packages that are available with all the BB Service providers world over. I haven't tried this (I'm leaving town tomorrow but unfortunately the Playbook was only on loan to me for a week) but I do believe that a huge advantage of using the Playbook if you already own a BB phone is the ability to hook it up and be able to surf on it while traveling. Yes the iPad has 3G, but I really don't know anyone crazy enough to try to use the 3G and pay crazy roaming rates while out of the country.. do you? I could be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure the Playbook allows for that connectivity at no extra charge.
So you're thinking of getting the Playbook and want to know the pros and cons of the actual device. The keyboard is very quick and responsive and I actually probably like it better than the iPad keyboard. Maybe it's because the device is smaller and thus easier to type on.. I'm not too sure.
Also the advantages it has over the iPad.. it has Flash! It handles Flash heavy websites with ease and also does Multitasking very well. I think the poor device has received a lot of flak for what it CAN'T do that very little focus is put on what it CAN. Ok instead of trying to explain a lot of the stuff to you, I figured I'd just do a very short video review and show you guys the basics of running the device-
Hope you liked it and it helped give you an idea of what the Playbook is like! I'm holing the device and filming on my iPhone which is kinda hard, and it's 11 at night and I'm in my room which is dark so please excuse the light overhead! I'm leaving town early tomorrow and need to send the Playbook back so am trying my best to show you as much of the device before I go. I actually do love it and wish I was able to travel with it to see how it handles, but hopefully after it launches I can get my own and take it for a full spin.
Let me know if you have any more questions. Ooh and do let me know if you enjoy my video review as I can then start doing some more of them too!