BlackBerry PlayBook review and tests

The first impression of the BlackBerry PlayBook is that it does not feel like a regular BlackBerry device. Don’t get this wrong, it still has a BlackBerry standart look and familiarity about it, and the hardware has the BlackBerry quality , but if you just touch the screen with your finger you could tell this was really a different new BlackBerry device. Within BlackBerry 6 was OS 5, and within 5 was 4.5 and within 4.5 was 4.2, etc. While the graphics got prettier, the camera megapixels went up and the experience got snappier, it was largely the same BlackBerry experience. The good things were always good about BlackBerry and the bad things were always bad about BlackBerry.

The BlackBerry PlayBook is different. There is no longer any BlackBerry baggage of the past. RIM got 10 years out of the old BlackBerry OS and they’re setting up this QNX-based OS for the next ten years of BlackBerry. It’s still in its infancy, and there are a lot of things in the works and still to come, but RIM’s future is looking much brighter now in my opinion.

The BlackBerry PlayBook really does feel just awesome while you hold it in hands. It’s not too heavy, not too light, it really is just right. BlackBerry has always had a knack for making their phones feel nice to hold, and they’ve done the same with the PlayBook tablet. The back of the PlayBook has a nice rubber-touch finish to it that makes it easy to grip. There are very few buttons on the whole device, which is very un-BlackBerry like but works with the BlackBerry Tablet OS experience.

BlackBerry PlayBook specifications:

  • 7″ LCD, 1024 x 600, WSVGA, capacitive touch screen with full multi-touch and gesture support
  • BlackBerry Tablet OS with support for symmetric multiprocessing
  • 1 GHz dual-core processor (Cortex A9 Processor), w/ GPU
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Memory: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions to be available
  • 5300mAh battery
  • Dual HD cameras (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing), supports 1080p HD video recording
  • Video playback: 1080p HD Video, H.264, MPEG, DivX, WMV
  • Audio playback: MP3, AAC, WMA
  • HDMI video output
  • Wi-Fi – 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • Connectors: microHDMI, microUSB, charging contacts
  • Open, flexible application platform with support for WebKit/HTML-5, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Reader, POSIX, OpenGL, Java
  • Ultra thin and portable:
  • Measures 5.1″x7.6″x0.4″ (130mm x 193mm x 10mm)
  • Weighs less than a pound (approximately 0.9 lb or 400g)
  • Additional features and specifications of the BlackBerry PlayBook will be shared on or before the date this product is launched in retail outlets.
  • RIM intends to also offer 3G and 4G models in the future.

Performance – the BlackBerry PlayBook is seriously snappy, thanks to its dual core processor, and seems to be very stable, thanks to its QNX OS. Unlike the traditional BlackBerry OS, which tends to have a bit of a glass jaw (it’s fast until something glitches or hangs up), you can tell the QNX OS has a stableness about it. The current PlayBook device was still running some unfinished apps, but you could tell any glitches weren’t going to slow things down or cause a hiccup.

Display – the 1024×600 display looks really great, colors are bright, the touchscreen performance is amazing, super smooth and fast. It’s very iPad like in terms of the feeling of use. It doesn’t feel like it’s translating your finger’s touch into an input and then moving the display – it feels like it moves with you. Part of this smoothness must come from the GPU on the processor, and it sounds like RIM is going to open that up to developers as well to take advantage of. It should make for a great UI experience everywhere.

Battery Life – RIM is targeting 8 hours of battery life with the PlayBook tablet, so it should have plenty of power.

Storage memory – the PlayBook will be available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB configurations, all of that memory is shared, you could use it all for apps, or music, movies and whatever you need.

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