Camera:

Mostly clutter free and giving its attention primarily to its viewfinder, the PlayBook’s camera interface is limited with the amount of settings and options it has to offer.


Surprisingly enough, the PlayBook produces some passable photos despite lacking modern amenities like auto-focus and an LED flash. However, the only gripe that we have with it is the almost 2 second delay from the time we press the shutter key to when it actually shoots and saves the image. Unless you want blurry looking shots, you’ll need to keep steady for a little bit to get some detailed photos. Mainly because of its lack of auto-focus, close-ups tend to come out fuzzy looking, but for nearly everything else, the results are average with its neutral colors and average details. However, indoor images under low lighting are grainy with some evidence of digital noise popping up to reduce its output.



Still considered to be a rarity amongst today’s modern devices, the PlayBook has the ability to shoot full 1080p high-definition video at 30 frames per second. As usual, close-ups tend to look out of focus, but it delivers a resounding amount of detail, buttery smooth capture, and distortion-free audio recording that concretely provides balance to its overall quality. Furthermore, the front-facing camera even manages to do wonders with shooting video as well – but make sure there’s plenty of lighting seeing that it’s less sensitive in picking up details if they’re not sufficiently lit.

RIM BlackBerry PlayBook Sample Video 1:



RIM BlackBerry PlayBook Sample Video 2:



Scratching our heads in disbelief, we finally realize that the PlayBook doesn’t have any video chat service from the get go.  At launch, there is no support for it, so the only thing useful about the front-facing camera is to capture the puzzled look of your face in trying to fathom why it lacks one.

Multimedia:

Even though TAT’s presence is once again felt with the look and feel of the Pictures app, there is absolutely no other function with it aside from being the centralized hub for your photos. Regretfully, there are no sharing or editing functions whatsoever with it, and instead, you can basically set it to play a slide show of your stored photos. Sure you’ve got some nice looking overlays when swiping between photos and smooth pinching gestures when zooming, but the fact that there is no added functionality, it simply goes to show at how infant the platform really is.


Precisely coming in with a relatively bare bones music player interface, its presentation is nothing short of being plain and ordinary. Naturally, it’s more than functional, but considering the dreamy fast dual-core processor under the hood, we were hoping to see some fancy looking visuals of some sort. Rather, we’re presented with its album cover, track listing, and on-screen controls when a song is being played. With its quaint appearance, one would suspect to find ineffective speakers, but interestingly enough, they pack a substantial amount of power to take anyone by surprise. However, there is an occasional crackle at the loudest setting – but it’s nowhere close to the point of being irritating to the ear.


Our eyes have fallen in love with the PlayBook’s brilliant display, but when it comes down to watching videos, this is probably where the PlayBook shines the most. Able to handle the usual assortments of 720p videos we normally test, we’re enthralled by the sheer magnificence of the PlayBook’s ability to smoothly play detailed 1080p videos with no problems whatsoever. Even more, the experience is quantified and exposes its full fidelity by connecting it to a high-definition television with an HDMI cable.


As noted on the specified tablet, the PlayBook is available in either 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities – with no external storage support. In terms of cost, its starts at $500 for the 16GB model and goes up by $100 for each consecutive capacity.

Software:

Looking into the available preloaded apps with the PlayBook, the listing is of course limited with things like YouTube, Kobo Books, Bing Maps, Tetris, and Need For Speed Undercover. Although most of them barely touch up on the advanced features of their counterparts on other platforms, we’re happy to see that RIM included Data Viz’s Documents to Go suite. Essentially, you can start up a new Word document or Excel sheet directly on the PlayBook, but it proves its worth in bundling together the host of editing tools you’d commonly find with their full desktop versions. Thinking about it more, this is undeniably something that would particularly attract business end users to the PlayBook.


Looking to the future, it’s stated by RIM that there will be approximately 3,000 apps available at launch, but after taking a peek at the available offerings in the BlackBerry App World, we’re not all convinced yet that developers have taken a grasp of the platform’s potential. After downloading a few free titles, we quickly realize that they’re simply touching the surface and not showcasing any potential. However, you shouldn’t fear about whether or not we’ll see a healthy community with the PlayBook because it’ll support Android apps down the road via an emulator. If something doesn't go wrong in the last minute, that is.

FEATURED VIDEO

23 Comments

1. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

I think the playbook was ok at the beginning, but some sort of failed due to the way the company decided to work on some points. there is now doubt QNX is a powerful OS but being tied to another device is not nice, and also.... it runs android apps! why not just work a way to attract devs into programing for QNX instead? most android apps may not even have its full functionality on the OS

2. jwl3429

Posts: 36; Member since: Sep 28, 2009

The PlayBook takes 1080p video not 720p

3. Seylan unregistered

I was expecting a higher score... "A bit pricey for its set of features.." What? It has a really high end spec sheet! Video chat support will come soon...

4. davecann2

Posts: 460; Member since: Mar 15, 2011

In the beginning I really doubted the Playbook. Along the way I thought to myself "This would be a great business devise" just like my current BlackBerry I use for work. But after reading this article and seeing the lack of email, contacts, and calendar support this is nothing but a pricy toy that can’t keep up with the big dogs! RIM should have waited a month or two and got these drawbacks up-to-speed to justify a 7" tablet at a whopping starting price at $500 bucks! Looks to me that most people will just forget about this device and choose an ipad or Android devise. Especially once the new 7" Samsung Galaxy Tabs come out with their latest and greatest. Playbook = Fail Sorry RIM, I guess it’s back to the drawing board.

5. TabletNetbook unregistered

Just jumped to the video review and as always it was a well done review, objective and non-biased--the reason phonearena is still in my reeder! The PlayBook OS has some maturing to do. . . no doubt, it's a new OS and as OSNEWS put it, when did we start to expect new operating systems to be "complete" at launch and have tons of apps? It's a bit absurd for anyone to think that a *NEW* OS will be perfect at launch. It needs to be released so they can get devs going and work out the kinks. That's just the reality of it. Nonetheless, I really like the direction they've gone with this OS. I really like the gestures = maximizes the screen while still being very flexible and great at multitasking. You don't need a blackberry phone for this device. Their are 3rd party email clients and RIM will have a dedicated email client, calendar, etc by summer--they just need to make sure it's as secure as their traditional email. Killer app at this point for the PlayBook is presentation mode--you can output anything to HDMI and set it to presentation mode, not just mirroring, and then use the playbook for other things. This is very handy for watching movies while using the device and also doing complicated presentation. Hopefully devs will take to this OS because it looks like it has lots of promise and RIM said they will release other sizes which will be nice.

6. Kjayhawk

Posts: 294; Member since: Oct 07, 2010

I'm not a CEO or nothing but seriously I think if Blackberry were to just wait 1 more month and get a facetime app and an email app I bet it would have gotten a higher score like an 8, and reviews wouldn't be so disappointing.

7. Gawain

Posts: 441; Member since: Apr 15, 2010

PhoneArena, how can you honestly review this unit without showing off the BlackBerry Bridge (quite an amazing feature)? Second, I'll agree that it is inconvenient that there are no PIM apps on board yet, but then you praise the browser, and you don't even mention that Gmail is full HTML5 and you should see how amazing that looks on this device. You also note how it shares a lot of qualities with webOS, a platform this site has stated to be among the best, then complain it's not like some spotty fragmented build of Android? Sorry, but that was a half-hearted review.

8. bummy unregistered

Google has the full calender + email suite in the browser. Do we need an app for that? Hey look, there's no E-Mail App on our PC. What a fail.

16. Billybob14922222 unregistered

there is an email app on EVERY PC...its called windows mail...on a Mac its called Mail...you mean to tell me you go to each individual email account that you have, instead of having them all come to one application ?

9. cheetah2k

Posts: 2271; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

It goes to show just how deep the BIAS runs with Apple here at iPhonearena. The original Apple iFad got 8/10, and it lacked decent storage, front facing cameras, and apps that made use of the larger screen at the time of release. The iFad couldn't even play 1080 video for God's sake, let alone record 720 video at 30FPS. It seems to me that at iPhonearena its all about how big your dick is...er I mean, how many apps are available as to who wins. After handling both Xoom, Samsung Tab 10.1 just recently, these tabs were generally laggy and still lacking in apps that supported the larger resolution, as well as the fact that Honeycomb is still in its infantcy as well. So the question has to be asked. Why didnt the Playbook get at least an 8??

12. Hallucinator

Posts: 391; Member since: May 24, 2010

The Original Ipad was also the first tablet in this market and had Zero competiiton. There is now a floodgate opened and a new tablet comes out every other day. You have to compete in the market. BB is a little behind.

10. luis_lopez_351

Posts: 951; Member since: Nov 18, 2010

Give it time and the 7 will be a 9/10 C:

11. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Too little, too soon. Now RIM has to scramble to fix the software omissions. It is all about the software....

13. bi-winning unregistered

You guys don't get it. The idea is a unified business experience so having it tethered to your blackberry is a huge plus and allows you to have one contract. The only thing they should have done differently is time it better with some new phones. If you review this thing as a stand-alone for people without blackberry devices you are missing the point. If your using a tablet when you don't have your cell on you then buy an Ipad.

14. IOS5 unregistered

its a nice tab but still cant compete with ipad 2 only in 3 things the web browser with full flash, the fablous multitasking and 1080p video shoot that even better than LG optimus 2x and galaxy s2!

15. bud unregistered

whatever u sayy..blackberry playbook is the BEST ever tablet ....^ ^

17. bossmt_2

Posts: 459; Member since: Oct 13, 2009

I don't get why you bash pricing. it's the same price as the iPad, which the pricing point was a pro.

18. azeemuddin

Posts: 1; Member since: May 04, 2011

i want this for free transport to this address #23 7th a cross someshwaranagar jaynagar 1st block bangalore 560011

20. Clown unregistered

Ok one of the BGR editors said this is his favorite tablet..really??? So thank god you guys gave us the proper perspective. The Playbook is basically a web tablet...nothing more. Not having core apps like email, contact and calendar is very foolish. Many say the gmail experience via the browser is great (HTML 5) and that is fine however unless you leave the browser open and watch it, there is zero notification once it is closed. No background services on the playbook for this matter. This might explain why it is so fast. Add a robust notification system and we will talk. It isnt there yet! But moving on this mean no notification for calendar events either. And honestly people use more then just gmail. Many companies have OWA or even a crude horde webmail client. Does hotmail throw up notification, yahoo when new emails arrive? Answer is no. This device is also heavy compared to its larger competitors. Yes it is build nice but at the expense of weight. Also battery life is great for once again the fact about no notification system due to the lack of an integrated email, and calendar app. IM app? There is so much missing from this device that is why I call it a web tablet. It might be fast, it might be smooth, it might have great battery but all the core key features that the other tablets have and lets see how good the battery is, how fluid it runs etc. This tablet looks promising but without these key features it isnt even in the same league as the other.

21. kentuckyloan

Posts: 7; Member since: Jun 28, 2010

If you have a blackberry phone, pair this to the playbook. Awesome experience.

22. HTCiscool

Posts: 449; Member since: Jul 16, 2011

These people diss the Touchpad and Playbook purely because of the lack of apps available. The playbook has top hardware, good screen, nice design, and portability. No email app and no other apps are a problem though.

23. H unregistered

this review was written april 2011. more than 6 months later, still no video chat service? skype? or ym?

24. Piotrek007

Posts: 119; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

How about 90$ tablet ? I think there is no better 7 inch tablet for that price !!
PlayBook
  • Display 7.0" 1024 x 600 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 3 MP front
  • Processor TI OMAP4430, Dual-core, 1000 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB

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