BlackBerry PlayBook review

Multi-tasking powerhouse still needs an interface boost

Blackberry Playbook
Our in-depth BlackBerry Playbook review

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The BlackBerry PlayBook is certainly a more refined tablet now that it has its OS 2.0 update, but it only really worked to bring the tablet closer to the standards of its rivals, rather than offering something you can't get elsewhere.

The Amazon Kindle Fire offers a similar form factor with a much better media ecosystem, if you want to watch video on your tablet.

The iPad also offers a superior media experience, and the best tablet apps. Android tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 offer the kind of flexibility in multitasking and apps that the PlayBook wants to offer, but can't yet.

We liked

The design of the new apps is strong, and the BlackBerry PlayBook overall is fairly quick to use, although it takes a small amount of learning at first. The web browser is fast and fairly smooth, too - interface niggles aside.

The speed of the operating system is great, even if apps can be less responsive. The screen is great as well, making the BlackBerry PlayBook a pleasant device to use, and not bad for its cheap price. Certainly, it's better than many other cheaper tablets out there - although the Google Nexus 7 is top of the budget pops at the moment.

We disliked

There's still a lot missing from the BlackBerry PlayBook, and the main part of it is apps. Perhaps adding support for Android apps will solve this eventually, but it hasn't yet. There are still huge holes when it comes to services that are rapidly becoming standard for tablets, both for fun and productivity. Where are Dropbox and Netflix?

From RIM's comments, it sounds like standalone BBM support is on its way, but it's still a big sticking point for BlackBerry regulars. Across the board, the BlackBerry PlayBook is full of parts that are good, but those parts are too few. Its limitations mean that it's not up to par as either a productivity tablet or a fun one.

Final verdict

The BlackBerry PlayBook's price is easily its strongest point. If you want a small web browsing tablet and won't pay too much money, the BlackBerry PlayBook is a strong choice: it's light, its internet performance is good, and the screen is high quality.

But if you want a media or work tablet, you should probably look elsewhere. With weak battery life and a severe lack of the apps that we now consider standard, it just won't satisfy many users, regardless of price.