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BlackBerry PlayBook Review – The Advantages and Disadvantages of It

Updated on November 15, 2012
blackberry playbook
blackberry playbook

BlackBerry PlayBook, will you want one? Well, as a matter of fact, if you are one of those average customers out there, chances are you will find PlayBook’s competitors more attractive. What was the developer, RIM (Research in Motion), thinking when they developed this tablet computer? Yes, it’s one of its kind but that’s unfortunately what may drive most of the customers away. Unless you are business doers, you are very likely to get disappointed with what RIM can offer this time. However, if this makes you curious or if you persist to find out more about the device, the details are about to be disclosed before your eyes.

Unlike its BlackBerry mobile phones, RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook does not seem so interesting. To start it off, it lacks 3G despite the fact that 3G has become a standard for today’s handheld devices. Yet, RIM tries to keep customers happy by providing support for Flash applications.

BlackBerry PlayBook Display

The BlackBerry PlayBook comes with a capacitive touch screen measuring 7 inches diagonally backed by the black slate tablet design. The resolution that the screen can offer reaches 1024 x 600 pixels. The screen is also capable of accepting 4 different finger touches in addition to gestures. Users of the tablet from RIM can activate the gestures by means of the outer glass bezel.

blackberry playbook size compared to competitors
blackberry playbook size compared to competitors

The Size of the Tablet from RIM

The size of the tablet is also quite small making it pretty portable. As a matter of fact, it is even less thick than the iPad 2. RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook is only 0.4-inch thick. Weighing only 0.9 pounds, it is lighter than the iPad 2 as well but it still can’t beat the Galaxy Tab from Samsung that weighs only at 0.83 pound.

blackberry playbook power button design
blackberry playbook power button design
blackberry playbook power button design
blackberry playbook power button design

The PlayBook’s Power Button

On the device, users can find 4 buttons, the only buttons on the tablet offered by RIM. These are the volume control buttons, a play/pause button, and a power button which unfortunately seems too small somehow. The power button is pretty difficult to reach, let alone to press or activate. Well, you can indeed turn on the tablet screen simply by swiping your finger from one side of the bezel to the other. However, there are times when you need to turn off the tablet completely and in such cases, your only hope is the power button. Imagine how hard it can be for you to turn on the tablet then thanks to the design of the power button.

blackberry playbook applications
blackberry playbook applications

Does The PlayBook Support Enterprise Applications Only?

One aspect that is quite disappointing for the average users is the application aspect. Sure the PlayBook has games but what RIM gives more efforts on is the enterprise applications. For example, the BlackBerry PlayBook is a wonderful device when it comes to presenting PowerPoint slides. It can display the presentations on an external HDMI screen and control the presentation on its own screen that displays different things. In addition to that, the tablet is also equipped with security features to prevent company data from being stolen, for example. Unfortunately, even though those are some useful features, they are not really exciting for most people.

Under the Hood of the RIM’s Tablet

To support the tablet, RIM equips it with a dual core processor running at 1 GHz complete with 1 GB RAM. RIM also equips the tablet with their own QNX operating system. With that being said, the tablet from RIM is a better choice than Apple’s iPad 2 when it comes to multitasking or gaming. For your information, the iPad 2 only has 512 MB RAM.

BlackBerry PlayBook Connectivity

Connectivity may not be a problem for the users of PlayBook. It has a micro HDMI port to send HD video to external devices such as an HDMI monitor. Other standard connectivity features include Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth.

PlayBook’s USB Problems

Unfortunately, though, this device does not know what USB mass storage is. BlackBerry PlayBook users cannot simply plug their USB flash disk into the tablet and expect to read and write files from and to the device. The way users have to use the USB storage is by mounting it as a USB drive. Unfortunately, even then, users have only few options when it comes to what they can do with the USB mounted drive. They can only access a read-only volume which has a small size. Within the volume, there is a single driver only. Then, when the driver is installed, the tablet will identify itself as a network drive.

However, the tablet supports tethering with either a Windows PC or a Mac computer or even other types of computing devices. Unfortunately, tethering with a computing device that is neither a PC or a Mac may get the users into some difficulties if it is their first time doing it, especially because the tablet does not support simple USB mass storage.

blackberry playbook battery life
blackberry playbook battery life

The Battery Life of the BlackBerry PlayBook

Now, another thing that may also determine whether customers will or will not buy a tablet computer is its battery life. Fortunately, RIM offers a pretty long battery life with its tablet computer. With Wi-Fi activated, screen brightness set quite high, web browsers running and some music playing, the BlackBerry PlayBook is capable of accompanying the users up to a couple of days without any problems.

Yet, if the PlayBook is used to play MP4 videos while its Wi-Fi is activated and its screen set to be about 65% bright, the device can last up to 7 hours and a minute before it becomes completely out of battery. Well, that’s an hour longer than Samsung’s Galaxy Tab yet an hour less compared to Motorola’s Xoom. Or, if compared to the iPad 2 from Apple, the BlackBerry PlayBook has about 3 and a half hours less battery life.


So, after all being said, if you are still interested in the tablet RIM is offering, there are quite a few options for you to choose from. You can get one with a 16 GB hard disk for only £399. To get one with 32 GB hard disk space, you need to pay about £479. Then, to get the ultimate 64 GB version, you will need about £559. You can get any of the variants from the Amazon links beside.

Yet, if you expect a tablet that will understand you as an average customer more, you are better off buying one of what RIM’s competitors, such as Apple or Samsung, can offer. After all, it is your money you are paying with and you deserve a device that will suit you best.


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Blackberry playbook doesnot have a micro sim slot and bluetooth connection to send or receive from mobile

    • profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Hello there, dguy123, thank you for the notice. I have edited the article. :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Slight oversight in the article:

      "However, your only option to disable the screen is the power button."

      This is obviously incorrect. If you press the "stand by" button in the battery display the unit goes into stand by mode (screen off). The only time you need to hit the power button is if the device is fully off.

    • profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Well, for some people, 7 inches are quite enough, though. :) Anyway, compared to a mobile phone with 4.3" screen, the resolution of a 7" screen is better and it can display more things that the mobile phone can't. :) Of course, it'll all go back to the users themselves as people vary from one another in terms of characteristics and favorites.

    • myi4u profile image


      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hm... 7-inch is small in my opinion. Yes, it is portable but so does my mobile phone. If I had a 4.3" mobile phone, I probably don't need a 7-inch tablet. Hence, the target market is narrowed. Nice review!


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