RIM BlackBerry PlayBook Review
Don’t be fooled by this small bundle of joy seeing that it’s packing quite a wallop underneath its exterior with its 1GHz dual-core TI OMAP processor and 1GB of RAM. Combining those two specific pieces of hardware, it undoubtedly provides the horsepower needed to power RIM’s shiny new QNX based platform – and boy does it radiate a solid sense of speed with it! Amazingly, we’re mostly impressed with the near perfect operation and execution presented with the PlayBook, which gives the iPad 2 a run for its money in the responsiveness department. Not only are we greeted with eye catching visuals with basic navigational functions, but we’re utterly blinded by how it’s still able to operate at a high level when multiple apps are running – even with 3D intensive games! For a tablet that’s able to juggle multi-tasking elements like no other with little detrimental consequences to its performance, we’re just shocked to find the PlayBook at the top of its game in the speed department.
Upon powering up the PlayBook for the very first time to experience its new QNX based platform, the first thing to come to mind after a few minutes of play is its noticeable similarities to HP’s webOS. For anyone who has used webOS, you’ll quickly be able to adapt to the PlayBook’s various gestures and multi-tasking aspects. Overall, RIM has taken a radically different approach and has thrown out any remnants of its smartphone platform out the window. Gone is the menu driven interface of BlackBerry OS, and instead, we’re presented with a clean looking interface that’s minimal in terms of additional clutter aside from the top bar that displays pertinent information – like the clock and battery indicator. Although we adore the peppy and responsive nature of its platform, personalization is mostly non-existent seeing that you can only change the background wallpaper.
Generally, you can pull up the apps panel by simply performing a swipe gesture up from the bottom bezel – from here, it’s laid out in the typical grid-like view. Swiping between the four app categories is naturally smooth, but it’s unfortunate that you can’t mandate which items go to what category. Moreover, the only organization we’re presented with is the ability to rearrange the icons within the apps panel.
Selecting a specific app, it displays a small window at first on the homescreen, but soon enlarges to fit the entire display. Much like webOS, you can minimize an app by simply performing a swipe up gesture from the bottom bezel, and from here, it zooms out to give you a bird’s eye view of the app. Of course, you’ll have the ability to easily switch between various open apps once you’re in the bird’s eye view of all the apps. And if you’d rather prefer a simpler way, you can quickly do a swipe gesture from either its left or right bezels to move accordingly to the next app. Again like webOS, you can close out or exit an app entirely by swiping it towards the top bezel.
Depending on what app you’re in, doing a swipe gesture down from the top bezel will uncover additional functions related to the specific app. In the case of the web browser, it’ll show you all the separate browser tabs, while within the Pictures app, it’ll display the carousel of photos stored on the PlayBook.
Needless to say the multi-tasking aspect is top notch, much like the experience with webOS, but it’s the remarkable speed and fluidity that amazes us in fully realizing the power of the PlayBook. However, there are still some blemishes to its overall appeal from the onset – like its lack of personalization and sometimes buggy nature. Although it’s not rampant, we did experience on three occasions some lockups, but it’s something that’s kind of expected with a brand spanking new platform. Regardless, we’re still nonetheless satisfied with the quality experience seen with the new QNX based platform, but more importantly, we’ll be keeping an even closer eye on how it matures in the coming months to keep it in contention and fresh.
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- Display 7.0" 1024 x 600 pixels
- Camera 5 MP / 3 MP front
- Processor TI OMAP4430, Dual-core, 1000 MHz
- Storage 64 GB