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---why we chose the Blackberry---
Both my son and my husband own this tablet and they were both purchased in 2012. My soon chose his for taking to Uni lectures for note taking and general research. After seeing and playing with my son's Playbook, my husand began to like it, so my kids clubbed together to buy it for him for christmas. The lack of apps was a worry, but as , at the time, my techno-phobe husband didn't even know what an app was, it wasn't a problem.
The Playbooks we own are both the 32GB version, wih a 1GHZ dual core processor with 1GB of RAM. They have fantastic 1080p screens which give crisp a super clear images for watching filsm or catch up TV.
The forward facing camera is 3mp and the backward one is 5mp. both take very clear images, even indoors with no flash.
The operating system uses QNX which means the amount of apps is pretty limited.
Although it is supposed to be android compatible, many android apps don't work properly or even, indeed download, and you cant access the google app store for the full range of apps available.
The advertised 8 hours battery life is not exaggerated, indeed the Playbook will play videos or surf for hours on end.
The range of apps available for this machine is severely limited. Although you can get some android apps, you can't access the google app store. Skype, lovefilm or anything google based will not work.
We have found that, when away from home, my tiny samsung 3.5inch tablet will pick up a wifi signal way before my husbands Playbook. We have been in many a hotel room, where I have full wifi access, but he has to go down to reception in order to log on and access his emails.
The playbook has a functional, unexciting design, due to its matt black cover and almost squared off corners. It is around double the thickness of an Ipad or samsung, which makes it look a bit clunky, but actually is comfortable to hold, and has a well built robust feel. Both of our Playbooks have been dropped at times and no damage so far.
When we purchased our Playbooks they were 130 pounds at PCWorld which I think is fantastic value for a 32GB tablet
For our purposes, the Playbooks were a good choice. My son wanted to study, take notes and research on line. My husband wanted to generally browse online, check emails and watch videos and catch up TV. So for these reasons the battery life and memory capacity of the Playbook was perfect. If you like your apps then the limited apps available on this machine would not be for you.
Around October 2012 my dad told me someone from work bought a Blackberry Playbook, I assumed they would have been around £300 - £500 from the features it had but he told me they had been reduced to £130 (for the 64GB model), I then decided I would ask for one for Christmas.
I received the Blackberry Playbook on Christmas morning and within minutes of using the tablet everything else went out of the window (not literally of course), my brother also received the same tablet as he had seen me watching videos on YouTube demonstrating what the Playbook could do, my sister also received a Blackberry Playbook the following day as her android tablet turned out to be faulty.
---- Features ---
The playbook has a 3 mega pixel HD front facing camera and a 5 mega pixel HD rear facing camera, I have found the picture quality is excellent especially when the photos are transferred across to a computer and viewed on a large screen, the photos I've taken look like they've been taken on a proper digital camera when viewed on the tablet or a computer screen.
It also has a high quality video camera built in, I have been able to record videos in a 1080p resolution which I believe is HD, I haven't used a the front facing camera for more than just taking photos so I'm not able to comment on the quality of the front facing camera for video recording.
It also has a Micro HDMI port built it which allows you to connect it to a TV with a HDMI port with the correct cable (not included with the playbook unfortunately), having the Playbook connected to the TV allows you to view the tablet screen on your TV in Mirror Mode as it's known on the tablet.
This also allows you to view the camera feed through your TV screen; I haven't had the chance to test this out properly beyond messing about.
If you do a lot of presentations these can also be displayed through a TV screen to allow for better reading (I believe it has a "Presentation" mode), plus your fingers won't get in the way when moving to the next slide.
It also has a built in Micro USB port built in which is handy for transferring files from a PC or Laptop, the only annoyance about transferring files via USB is that it doesn't show up as a USB Storage device, only as a network drive so is usually slower than USB (at least in my experience anyway).
It can also be set up to transfer files via wi-fi which can be handy at times when you can't find the USB cable, transferring files by wi-fi is usually slower than USB but is more convenient than trying to find that USB cable, it can also randomly disconnect from the wi-fi, this hasn't happened to me as I've only tested this feature by transferring a small file onto the Playbook, it can also be a little bit of a pain to set up as you have to assign an IP address for it and then access it on the PC using that IP address, I also found that it doesn't work properly if I set a password up for wi-fi file sharing (I got an access denied message)
The playbook also has a large amount of internal storage of either 32GB or 64GB (mine is 64GB) so I can fit a lot of videos and music on the playbook, the videos also don't have to be converted either as I believe it is compatible with most video formats such as 3GP, AVI, ASF, F4V, MOV, MP4 and WMV which means I can play most video files on them without having to convert them to a compatible format, I believe most pictures can be viewed on the playbook too but I don't transfer many photos to it.
The video player as mentioned above will play most video formats without having to convert them to a compatible format, this is also another handy feature for having the playbook connected to a TV as you can play the video through the TV (and carries the sound too I believe from personal experience).
The Playbook also has flash built in so you can go straight on websites such as YouTube without having to use an app unlike other tablets.
I also find the battery life very good as I've had it last for days before having to charge it up again and only takes about 2 hours to charge if you have the rapid charger
There are also two or three different chargers available at different prices, the most basic one is the standard USB charger you get with the Playbook and usually charges in a few hours (I can't remember the exact time it takes).
There is also a charging stand which I believe uses the USB port just like the standard charger, this charger will block access to the ports at the bottom of the Playbook from what I've read online.
There is also a rapid charger (costs around £20 well worth this price), this one is connected via the magnetic port to the right of the USB port (the port with 3 round pins), this charges a lot quicker than the standard USB charger and the charging stand and is recommended rather than using the USB to charge it as the USB port is very fragile (which I will mention shortly).
And finally onto the disadvantages, as it uses the blackberry app store there is a distinct lack of apps available, although you can download the apk file for free android apps and convert them to blackberry format (this only works for the free apps though not the paid ones).
It also has a very frail USB port, the pin is very weak and can be damaged when plugging the charger into it, this is why I usually use the rapid charger so I don't have to keep plugging USB cables in all the time, and when browsing the internet you can't access drop down menus on websites for some reason (the menu doesn't stay up when you tap on it).
The Playbook, one of the least anticipated mainstream tablets of all time, has its reasons to be the least anticipated mainstream tablet of all time. I bought it because it was cheap, and when it arrived, I wasn't instantly disappointed, but that feeling came very quickly through my experiences with it.
The first thing I noticed when it arrived, was its bulkiness, it is very thick, and the bezel is enormous. I switched on the device, to be nicely greeted with a five minute boot up, to the set up. This device is not intuitive, it took me a while to actually work out how to go the next setting. Once all that trauma was over, I began exploring the device. The UI, once used to it, is very nice, beautiful even, and very simple, with a home screen which displays a live array of thumbnails, displaying open apps. It is very good at multitasking, I must admit.
The camera is simple, but very high quality for a tablet of its type. But, after regular use I found three massive problems, among others.
One is that it can be very laggy and unstable, it forces closes apps, the frame rate drops massively at random times, and sometimes it may stop working all together.
Two is the limited app support, out of the little apps it has, the majority are very low quality, incomparable to the likes of Android and iOS.
The final one is the battery life, and the UNBEARABLE boot up sequence.
I would not recommend this to anyone, if you are looking for a cheap tablet, opt for the Nexus 7, or the upcoming HP Slate 7.
The Blackberry Playbook is an excellent tablet PC which although the app store does not currently have as much games and other apps. Because you can use android apps on the playbook if you convert them first which allows you to use some of the apps from android although not all of them are guaranteed to work.
The touchscreen i easy to use and because the bezel is touch interactive this means that this can be used for touch events such as bringing down the tab bar in the internet browser and minimizing active apps. you can also swipe from one side of the screen to another to switch to the next open app. you also have the ability to connect the playbook to a computer via wifi. This allows you to transfer files to your playbook without going through the hassle of constantly connecting a usb cable into the device.
One of the problems that i can see currently with the playbook is the fact that the micro usb port can be damaged easily because of the size of the connectors. i would recommend that you use a screen protector with the playbook so that you can protect the screen from damage. The colours on the playbook are clear and vibrant and the ability of the camera to record HD video is very useful.
I bought my Playbook back in May or June. My laptop was really playing up and as I run my own very small online business I felt it important to have decent internet access at all times. I did look at new laptops but money is tight and I was yearning for a tablet so I opted for this in the end. I paid £179 for a 16GB Blackberry Playbook from Very. However, since then I have seen that prices have reduced with one with a much larger memory available for just £129 from Currys over Christmas.
==Setting it up==
To set it up you simply press the on button on the top of the tablet and it then boots up. You are asked a few simple questions such as language and your registration details but for me this did turn out to be a small issue as I couldn't get the keypad to appear on screen therefore could not enter my details. Being the impatient person that I am I decided to start to whole thing again by either rebooting the whole thing or taking the battery out but neither of these were possible! In the end I googled on my mums computer and learned how to get the keypad up on screen when it wasn't appearing on its own.
After this, the Playbook was set up swiftly. As soon as I had put in my details I was taken to the homepage where I could immediately get online (after setting up the wi-fi), type documents etc. I was pleased at how quickly I managed to set this up after the keypad saga and there really wasn't any fuss. I often have a bit of a nightmare setting up the wi-fi on anything, I don't know why. However, as I was at my mums I set it up with their wi-fi which worked perfectly but then when I got home I set it up with my own wi-fi and this worked perfectly too.
The tablet is 7 inches long and 5 inches tall. The actual 'screen' of the Playbook is about 7 inches when measured diagonally. The depth of the tablet is less than a cm. It is black in colour and currently black is the only colour available. The front of the tablet has a glossy finish and there is a 'border' around the screen which is a more solid black. The back and edges of the tablet are also black but they are a softer finish to make it easier to grip so they are more of a matt black. There is a silver Blackberry logo at the bottom of the screen and a larger 'B' on the back of the tablet. There are a few buttons at the top - the power on button and volume. The bottom is home to various connection points including the charger and any headphones you may wish to use.
The Playbook can be used without downloading any additional content and there are various apps already preloaded onto the tablet. The apps already on the tablet included Messages (though you will need to set up your email accounts to work with this), Contacts, Browser, Calendar, App World, Pictures, Music, Camera, Videos, Music Store, Video Chat, You Tube, Kobo Books, NFB, Print to Go, Adobe Reader, Docs to Go, File Manager, Calculator, Bing Maps, Facebook, Help, Need for Speed Undercover, Tetris, News, Press Reader, Clock, Weather, Voice Notes, Accessories Store and Setup.
If you want more apps then there are numerous free ones available from the Blackberry App World and others that charge a minimal fee (usually £1 or £2). Free ones I downloaded include Twitter, Daily Express, Wikipedia, New Magazine, Star Magazine, BBC news, Sudoku and Ocado. I paid £2 for a game but was pleased with the selection of free apps available to me. Free games aren't quite as readily available and often they are trials for the full version but there are still a good amount available for nothing.
You will need an App World login to download anything. This does not cost you anything and just needs an email address and your name etc. This is fast and easy to set up and can be done on the app world itself or if you already have a Blackberry phone its likely you will have already set one up.
Of course, one of the main reasons why I bought the Playbook was so that I had a reliable way to connect to the internet at all times. The browser is opened easily and rather than having a homepage you are taken to a bookmarks page which you will need to fill yourself. You simply type the address in the top bar and away you go. It is easy to add pages to favourites or the homepage and it is easy to find pages you have visited previously too.
Pages load quickly and easily and I have never had a webpage that doesn't work. If a website has a special mobile page then you are usually taken to this page but if you would prefer to go to the normal page then there is usually an option at the bottom of the page to do this.
I don't have any issues with the size of the font on the page but if you do need to see anything up a bit closer you simply drag your thumb and index finger away in opposite directions from where you wish to zoom and it will begin to zoom. In order to zoom out you simply pull your thumb and index finger back together to zoom back out. Sometimes I do end up clicking on the wrong link because the type is so small but this can usually be rectified by quickly clicking on what you actually wanted to click on.
I do find browsing the internet easy with the playbook but if I want to do lots of things I do tend to use the laptop just to put less strain on my eyes.
I have encountered one problem with the Playbooks browser - ebay. Whilst it is fine to buy, browse, relist and use the messaging system I cannot upload any new items which is a nuiscance because that means if I want to do this I need to use the laptop.
The camera is definitely not brilliant. If you had a Curve 8520 the camera is about the same quality as this one was so its really not too special but it is ok, there is no flash and it is quite a blurry picture but for taking a quick snap of something it is fine. There isn't a snazzy photo editor on the Playbook so if I want to edit photos online I have to do it on a photo edition website. There is also a front camera for video calls but I have never used this so cannot comment on the quality but I imagine it is similar to the back camera.
The Playbook does have the facility to type documents and save them. It is a basic typing programme and you cant insert pictures or anything but I occasionally write a review on there and it is ok. However, I find that it takes much longer to type anything than it does with a regular keypad. Because the keypad is touchscreen and the letters are quite close together I sometimes find I'm pressing the wrong buttons but more often than not mistakes happen when the Playbook 'corrects' what I've written. On the laptop I tend to touchtype but on the Playbook I find I have to check every word so it does take longer. The standard font on the programme is Times New Roman and it is presented in a good size.
I have occasionally used the Playbook for music and I was surprised at how good the sound was for such a little thing. I also watch tv programmes occasionally but in all honesty I find that sometimes videos will be a bit of a nightmare with buffering or freezing etc.
The Kobo app is ok. It is very difficult to find any free books so I tend to use the browser to go onto the actual website and then download them that way. However, I still find it very difficult to find any free books to my taste and I must say that the Kindle Store is much much better. However, when it comes to reading the books this is simple, pages are turned easily and the font is clear to see.
==Facebook and Twitter==
The apps for Facebook and Twitter are very good actually and I find them easy to use and it is simple to browse and either tweet or update your status.
You can set up as many email addresses as you like on the Playbook and can choose to view just one inbox or all of them together. You can also find your junk emails, sent emails etc. Sending an email is simple and it is easy to upload attachments too. When you receive a new message the Playbook will flash red just like the phones do.
Blackberry Bridge allows you to link the Playbook with your Blackberry phone. I have a Blackberry phone so I did do this and then it allowed me to use BBM, access my emails, contacts etc. However, I rarely use this function as my phone tends to be nearby anyway so I really have no need.
==Using the Playbook==
Initially I did find it a little difficult to use the Playbook but this really didn't last long and now I find that I can use it quickly and with ease (as long as there isn't too much typing involved!) I find it brilliant for browsing the internet and it is much easier to boot up than my laptop. You can put the Playbook either on standby or turn it off completely. I tend to put it on standby and when I do this it is really simple to get it started up again you simply swipe the screen.
I find the touchscreen easy to use and the orientation lock is brilliant as even if I lie down using this I don't end up with the screen flipping everywhere.
The battery life is brilliant and it probably lasts for at least 8 hours of browsing, a little less if listening to music or watching video. You can adjust the brightness of the screen, I always keep mine on the lowest setting because bright screens give me headaches and make me get very tired eyes but this is fine for me and I can always see everything perfectly.
The Playbook has never frozen on me which is brilliant because it has been on nearly every day since I got it, often for 10 hours a day. The internet does occasionally stop working but by turning off the wi-fi capability and then turning it back on (this usually takes around 10 seconds) it starts working perfectly again but in all honesty this is a bit of a nuiscance.
I love how portable the Playbook is and I regularly take it in my handbag to my parents and as I have it set up with their internet it is really simple to use at their house. I also find that its brilliant for just having a quick look - because it can load up really quickly its brilliant for just checking the lottery numbers or seeing if someone has emailed back.
I like the Playbook and I do think it is a good budget option however it isn't any cheaper than similar models offered from Google, Samsung and now even Amazon. I think the Playbook is very good for browsing the internet and I do use mine pretty much daily and often for hours and hours at a time. The only preference I would have really would be the way my ebay wont let me upload new items for sale because my other minor problems such as the difficulty to type long documents would also be relevant on other tablets but of course now you can get the tablets with the click on keyboards so these would conquer all issues but of course make them larger. I imagine you can get a keyboard for the Playbook but this wouldn't make it portable but it would be brilliant for review writing or my Open University course.
I think that for the price paid the Playbook is very good. For the recent price of £129 for a larger memory model it is really giving excellent value for money. It isn't the best tablet out there but the price reflects this and I was surprised at how good the Playbook was. You cannot find a laptop for under £300 really and phones are also much more expensive so I do think it provides lots of features for the money paid. Its certainly not for people who need a computer for work but as I said I do use mine for work but I also need to supplement this with my laptop.
Overall I am impressed with the Playbook and would recommend it and probably would buy another if mine were to break. It is best for internet browsing and is easy to use. Apps make it easy to keep up with the world whether it be news, weather, twitter or facebook and it is fun to use.
This Christmas there has been one item on the top of everyone's list: a tablet. My mother feels left out withone, my hairdresser is buying one for his daughter and my 10 year old cousin has requested one from Santa - but are they really worth it?
Tablets are not new technology. They've been around for years, but it's only recently that they have been priced reasonably enough to afford (unless you're the type that has iThis and iThat, in which case, you have an iPad). Indeed, this item is going around the shops at around £130, which is only a little more than a Kobo or a Kindle.
Tablets have obvious advantages over a desktop (and even a laptop); they are portable and dynamic and they make you feel kind of cool likes James Bond. However, so does the average smartphone, and there is little a Blackberry Playbook can do that your Blackberry can't (or iPhone, or Android phone, or Galaxy Nexus phone...) - from taking photographs to playing games to reading books.
Considering that there are some disadvanges to add along to this delicious recipe, like the extra knob of butter you don't want to think about, or why there must be so much salt when you make brownies, it may cause you to reconsider.
The main disadvantage is power. A Playbook simply cannot multitask operations as a laptop would - meaning you can't listen to music on Youtube while you write up a quick review for Dooyoo, lounging in a jacuzzi full of cherry cola while manservants feed you samosas, as indeed every Dooyoo reviewer does (and I am doing right now). Going about checking emails or Facebook, my Playbook generates a lot of heat, and is in effect, a bloody expensive handwarmer. However, battery life is surprisingly good. I leave my Playbook on standby so that I can instantly access everything as soon as I need it, as opposed to waiting for my old faithful laptop to load, and even factoring in that aspect, I only need to leave my Playbook on charge for a few hours a week. The screen is also HD, great for zooming in on facial abnormalities of friends in Facebook photos. The 'pinch' technology is great for this, and I would go so far to say that the touchscreen technology is kid-friendly.
So...to buy or not to buy? Considering the new Kindle Fire has everything a Playbook has and cheaper, I would say opt for that instead. But ask yourself, if you have a smartphone and a laptop, do you really need this expensive new gadget? Is the novelty of playing Tetris on the toilet really worth that much?
I bought my Playbook over 12 months ago, back when it was over £300. And even now, with it being priced at around £150, I still don't regret paying so much for it. Before, it was reasonably priced, now it's a ridiculous bargain! I'll review the individual features, to make things easier:
Screen and tablet itself:
The screen is very clear, especially for a tablet released 18 months ago. It can run full HD videos/games without a problem. Also, the touch screen is very sensitive and accurate. Using the on-screen keyboard feels very natural, especially in portrait mode (using thumbs). The tablet's gestures are brilliant too - swiping down from the top of the tablet brings down any menu your current app has, swiping from the bottom up brings up the home screen/multi-tasking window, and swiping from the side of the screen swaps between apps.
The 1GHz processor and 1GB of ram provide the Playbook with a lot of power and speed. It's incredibly rare to come across any lag. With the 4G Playbook that has just been released, the tablet is even more powerful - with a 1.5GHz processor.
Multi-tasking on this device is amazing. Unlike tablets like the iPad, or Android/Windows tablets, apps don't simply run in the background, they all run in real time! For example, if you're browser is open on a youtube page listening to music, you can then switch to, say, Kobo (an e-reader) and the youtube video will continue to run - allowing you to listen to a music video while reading!
The app store isn't as large as Apple's App Store, or Google Play, but it does have a good variety of apps, and a lot of the top iOS/Android apps are actually there. On top of this, you can side-load almost any Android app, so you essentially have both the Blackberry store and the Android store.
The music player is Windows Media Player, and it's fair to say, it doesn't have many features. You have your playlists, artists, songs and album folers, and the usual shuffle/repeat etc etc. But there's no equalizer, and there's not much customisation. However, the music playback is very clear, and the sound quality from the Playbook itself is on par with low budget stereos - which for a tablet, is impressive. The video player allows for full HD videos, which makes for a very nice experience on the 7" screen!
The browser is relatively fast - speed tests put it as slightly faster than the iPad 2 (doesn't beat the third generation iPad though, of course. It is 12 months older). It also supports Flash, which means you can view almost any website, unlike other tablets. The flash player is pretty quick considering it's on a tablet, too. Although a bit slow, I was able to play a few Tower Defense games online without much hassle. The browser also supports HTML5, which will be handy in the future.
There is a 5MP camera on the back of the device for casual use, and a front-facing, 1.3MP camera for video calls. Both of these work brilliantly. Until I bought my Samsung Galaxy SIII, I preferred my Playbook camera over most others on mobile devices. Naturally, the video camera can record full HD.
The battery can give about 6 hours of video playback - longer with wifi turned off, which isn't amazing, but it's not bad at all. General browsing/listening to music gives anywhere from 8-12 hours. The device takes roughly 2-3 hours to charge from flat with a mains charger. Much faster if you invest in a charging pod.
The native email app allows for several accounts, and you have the option of looking at these email accounts separately, or you can have them all in a combined inbox. The layout is nice and simple too. My only gripe with the email app is that it is a little slow - hopefully this will be fixed with an update soon.
Overall, this tablet is WELL worth the price tag. It can do everything the higher-end tablets can do, and more. Its downsides however, are the relatively small app store, which lacks essentials like Skype and Kindle (though these can be side-loaded) and the moderate battery life. But in my opinion, the pros easily outweight the cons, and for £300 cheaper than the likes of an iPad? I won't complain!
I have had a playbook for the past 3 months now and had concerns as i am use to using apple products, however i was pleasantly surprised with many of its features. Don't get me wrong it also has its faults but what doesn't.
With legally side loading possible on the playbook there are many many cheap good and working apps now available for this tablet, not as many as for the ipad but still enough with more and more android apps coming every day!
I love the way the playbook looks it has a nice design and in my opinion is a better size when comparing it to the rival ipad. Its sleep stylish and has a professional look about it. I have yet to receive a scratch on it and cant fault its stylish looks.
Screen and sound
The screen is amazing when viewing hd films in 1080p the pictures are crisp and perfect and remain that way when connecting it to your hd tv with the hdmi mini lead. There is a good level of sound coming from the devise and a speaker is not needed if your not interested in loud booming music. The way the touch screen works is smooth and stylish too once you have got use to how t works as the frame of the screen is also touch sensitive to enable you to view settings ect. This works well for me and i find myself wanting the iphone to do the same after being on it.
The browser is relatively fast and you can view everything unlike the ipad. The pinch screen zoom works well and again is relatively fast. It allows multiple pages being ran through tabs and is easy to navigate round weather your a regular blackberry user or not.
Media on this devise is nicely set out its all clear to view and understand and with the 1080p screen the video and image viewing is a pleasant experience. It is also an advantage that you can then view it all on your tv screen in hd with just a small cheap purchase on the hdmi mini lead. This for me is amazing and i use it all the time as you can also play games this way along with browsing.
The back camera records in 1080p for amazing video recording and relatively good image taking and the front camera is also of a good standard and does not disappoint. I do believe that both cameras could be better quality when taking still images and it doesn't quite have the edge of a smartphone or a digital camera which could maybe come in a later model.
I would definitely recommend this tablet as you are definitely getting your moneys worth especially with android adding more and more apps daily. Yes other devises have more apps available but you pay for that. This has the best video playback i have seen on any other tablet and good sound quality. It loos stylish and sleek and gives off a professional look i would recommend this as i have loved every minuet of it and cant fault the price !!