BlackBerry PlayBook review

Multi-tasking powerhouse still needs an interface boost

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Our Verdict

A strong choice for those that like email and web browsing on the go - but there are better options out there.


  • 1080p HD video playback
  • Fast dual-core processor
  • Bright screen
  • Super cheap


  • Too few apps
  • Small screen
  • Clunky interface
  • Weak battery

Update: With more price drops for the BlackBerry tablet, we've taken yet another look at the Playbook to see if it's finally worth the cash, in light of a 4G PlayBook coming later this year.

It's probably fair to say that the BlackBerry Playbook had something of a rocky start to life. Hailed by many as as the first worthy successor to the iPad when it was announced, it eventually arrived with a bit of a crash landing, pulling in average reviews and failing to really attract customers.

In no small part, the problem was that it didn't come across as the kind of complete package that the iPad 2 - released about the same time - did. Its lack of third-party apps was a shame, but the fact that it lacked its own email and calendar apps, relying on a BlackBerry phone to provide this functionality, really dragged it down.

BlackBerry PlayBook review

That error was made all the more disappointing by the fact that it boasts a dual-core 1GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, powerful multitasking features and crisp 1024 x 600 screen. At just 425g, it's nice and light, and the all-black design is comfortable and handsome.

BlackBerry PlayBook review

Whether a 7-inch screen is big enough comes down partially to personal preference, but at 194 x 130 x 10mm, this is definitely a dinky device.

BlackBerry PlayBook review

The rear camera is 5 megapixels, and capable of 1080p video recording, while the front camera is three megapixels. There's a micro-USB port and micro-HDMI port, and Wi-Fi, as you'd expect.

BlackBerry PlayBook review

RIM has released PlayBook OS 2.0 to power the BlackBerry PlayBook, which is intended to fix a lot of the original problems.

Android apps now work on the BlackBerry tablet operating system, and can be downloaded through the App World store, where they appear just like any other app.

This could really help to flesh out the range of apps available for the BlackBerry PlayBook, although the whole Android catalogue isn't here yet.

There are additional built-in apps too, including the long-awaited email and calendar apps, which are coupled with some changes to how the Home screen works.

BlackBerry PlayBook review

Now that the price of the BlackBerry PlayBook has dropped to £129 ($199) for the 16GB version, £149 ($249) for the 32GB (but still £249 ($299) for the 64GB model), does the combination of updated software and Google Nexus 7-beating price make PlayBook with OS 2.0 more appealing than ever?