Channel 5

BlackBerry PlayBook

Monday 30 May 2011


Rating of 3

The basics

We're more used to seeing business orientated smartphones from BlackBerry, but RIM – the company behind BlackBerry – wants the new BlackBerry PlayBook to take on Apple's iPad head to head.

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Check out our full iPad 4 review here!

The good

One of the things we love about the BlackBerry PlayBook is the fact that it's among the smaller tablets, with the 7-inch screen making it portable enough to take wherever you go. The compact screen also leads to a light weight, with the 425g body easily light enough to hold comfortably in one hand for long periods of time.

Despite having a compact screen, the BlackBerry PlayBook goes one better than a lot of its 7-inch rivals, boasting a sharp 1200 x 600-pixel resolution. There's easily enough space onscreen to view webpages without having to zoom out or scroll.

The BlackBerry PlayBook is also a capable device, with its 1GHz processor making light work of most tasks, and even being capable of playing back 1080p video.

The bad

The biggest problem with the BlackBerry PlayBook is a lack of apps. The Apple iPad 2, RIM's biggest rival, features loads of apps specifically designed for the tablet form factor, and the PlayBook really struggles to compete without them.

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The bottom line

The BlackBerry PlayBook is a neat, compact and capable tablet. We like it, but sadly that isn't enough, as the lack of apps severely lets it down. Without apps, you'll often find yourself wondering what to do with this tablet – a problem you'd never have with the iPad 2. That said, it's still a good option if web browsing or flicking through your photographs sit at the top of your requirements.

Buy now on Currys

BlackBerry PlayBook is tagged with BlackBerry PlayBook, Blackberry and tablet. Select a tag (BlackBerry PlayBook, for example) to find everything on The Gadget Show about the subject.

User comments (32)

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the problem is app but android app will be available for it in the future probably the end of this summer

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Nick Southorn

This is a fairly weak review it has to be said. In fact the main 'bad' point is soon to be sorted by the compatability of Android apps later this summer. It wont be the full Android experience but developers are lining up to make PlayBook specific apps via the Android platform. Some have complained that the lack of a native e-mail or calender is also a major fault but if you bridge it to your blackberry smartphone this is sorted. Also, for those who wanted 3G - well you can teather it to your phone and away you go - saves £100 on the iPad equiv 3G version. I also hear that native e-mail and calender app are on the way too. It still lacks the 'funky' factor that the iPad has - but as for power and functionality this is the tablet for you. Essentially, this has certain teething issues that need to be ironed out. I'm not a BlackBerry addict but I have made the change from iPhone 4 to the BB Torch and found it to be a whole better experience, plus I'm not suffering from the Apple withdrawal symptoms that stops most people going cold turkey from Apple.

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Seriously....... the advert for this thing says it all...... the only point they make is it plays flash!!!! Whats the point, Flash is being phased out anyway on websites!

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chris parsons

I like your program

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The playbook is initially a wow due to the slick interface and beautiful graphic capabilities. Then you wonder what to do with it as here are few apps. however that is changing fast. every day now there are more and more apps, and the price of the tablet just dropped by £150.00. Time to buy a playbook folks. i love mine.

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I love my playbook I take it with me everywhere and having it link with my blackberry bold is a bonus Im writing this review on it,I like the keyboard and the glass screen I can store music and photographs surf the internet what more could you ask for oh! it also has two camera's as well.

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does anyone know if it costs any extra on your mobile price plan to use the internet on the playbook through your phone

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Got one for Xmas :) Would love to know how to get the android apps on it!? Also interested about mobile charges..... Happy playbooking people :)

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i have a blackberry playbook infact i posted this comment using it, and i think that it is a functionall compact tablet.

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@Gina the android apps are in the new update in febuary and @Alex it only cost the same as if u were using the internet on ur phone

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I'm waiting for mine to come through the post looking forward to it was thinking of the ipad but its cheaper for the playbook looking forward to use it, and blackberry app world are getting more apps for it so its just a atter of them coming but the android games on the playbook is a massive bonus

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I love my playbook. I've been a devotee of all things mac for years. I wanted a tablet for studying and tried all sorts, including the ipad 2. I always thought I'd go for an ipad, but after trying the playbook and seeing the price of only £170 it was a no brainer. Yes the ipad will always have more apps, but it's a quality machine with good performance and os2.0 is phenomenal. Just get one. They're superb.

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HI, Anybody have spotify running on the playbook?? or streaming music from pc?

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I've just been given the playbook as a present, and it's soo good, the quality of product is great, my father has sold his IPADS for one, who ever said the gaming functions were bad is idiotic, the addition of android apps is awesome!

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Im on mine now and ive got to say im never goingnto get an ipad. What they forget to tell you is that the price for a 32gb is £150. Ive got 3g where ever i go as i have linked it with my phone and also ive linked bbm email phone calls, and soon to be texts.theyhave faster internet than ipad 2s and a also much better cameras. get one if you have the money!!! The only issue is the apps, but they still have all the essentials like angry birds and cut the rope. But you can go on the internet and play games from there aswell so it doesnt need the same amount of apps.

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Joe garland

I have just bought a Blackberry playbook from Curry's it is a 64gb version for £129.99 and what a tablet it is I also own a Motorola Xoom tablet which I have had for about a year but to be honest I think the playbook is better the screen is sharper the size is great and the operating system is a dream to use. Yes there are not as many apps in the store but that is improving all the time anyway there is always another way to get what you want from the web. I have no hesitation is suggesting you buy this tablet at the new lower prices I would not have paid over £500.00 for it but at prices from £109.00 to £130.00 it bargain.

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Andrew Collins

Having bought a Playbook to replace a cheap Andriod tablet I am blown away by the quality for the price - just £129 for the 64GB version from Currys. I can run all of the Android apps I used on my previous tablet on it and the quality of the video when the Blackberry is connected to my TV via an HDMI cable is outstanding. The Playbook may not have the street-cred of an Ipad Mini but for £300 less than the Apple, I really don't care, the Playbook does all I want with a superbly beautiful colour screen and a brilliant and stable operating system driving it all.

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jordan farrer

The playbook is ok for a firsts tablet.I got mine for christmas and after 5 days the sound chip went and Gangnam style did not sound like gangnam style just a high pitched squeal.

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Anthony Wilkinson

I think Blackberry is a major con, i cannot believe Angry Birds is £4.99 and on android the same thing is absolutely free, i think Blackberry have got a cheek asking people to pay £5 for apps that are free on android

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I picked up the Playbook just before Christmas, it was going for such a low price I couldn't resist as I am a BB phone user. It is true that there is a distinct lack of apps but this seems to have improved recently with some Android apps making the move across. I would question the pricing of some of the apps which are considerable higher on the Playbook. In all other aspects this is a class tablet with a great multi-tasking OS that is slick, smooth and a pleasure to use. Email, contacts and calendar are great apps with multiple accounts working well. Great to see the ability to sync with Exchange Server accounts and not having to go through BES. I have read that BB 10 is coming to the Playbook which is great news, and I look forward to the upgrade.

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I want to add that the BB Bridge software is excellent and connects to my BB Bold, offering me mobile access to the internet and not having to take out another sim deal. The Bridge software of course goes beyond this allowing access to text messages for example through the Playbook making replying easier. The OS is stable, slick, intuitive and a welcome change to ios, and the multi-tasking is fantastic, you can see different windows continuing as you swap between them. The screen quality again is excellent and running BBC iPlayer you can see the vibrant colours with good contrast. Role on BB10 :-)

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Pat Griffin

Never too interested in tablets. Considered them too pricey and gimmicky and the lower end ones were just rubbish. Changed my mind after Xmas after I saw a 64 GB Playbook on sale in Currys for €159. Best purchase in a long time..Very good build quality...Slick interface....Good hardware...Plenty of very useful apps on the device including docs to go etc. Managed to find some more pretty good apps in the marketplace after quite a lot of searching. I also managed to sideload some other good apps to the device. So I have a quality device with 64GB and all the apps I need for €159.

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This tablet is brilliant, small enough to slip into a bag and carry anywhere, but big and powerful enough to watch TV, films, do spreadsheets, games etc. I love it and would recommend it to anyone. I link it to my BB phone and use it as a cursor with the BB bridge. You can't beat it when you take price into consideration, though mine was a gift. It looks great in the BB leather case.

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james sloan

Got one of these babies for Xmas and luv it so smooth great at multi. Tasking might get a bb phone so I can use the bridge for 3g

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jordan farrer

I posted another comments earlier on the 30 december 2012 and playing with it is a brilliant little tablet as is build quality is excellent. Screen is bril just not anough apps and £2.50 for cut the rope just to expensive.

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I have had a PlayBook for several months now and have been very pleased with its performance. Not being a gaming Nerd I am not bothered by a limit to the game apps. but have found the non-game apps. useful and well-behaved. Outside the device itself, I have had some problems with my Server in relation to email receipt and the U.K. Service Team at BlackBerry have been outstanding in their help to solve a problem which was not of their making. Their general computing knowledge has proved to be considerable allowing them to lead me to integrate my desktop machine with my PlayBook in receiving messages.. Thank you BlackBerry.

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Peter Ward

The Blackberry Playbook has been the worst decision to buy a tablet from me ever! If you have a playbook, turn it off and turn it back on and time how long this takes!! Takes a good 10 minutes to boot's like have a computer from the 60's. Chargers not the best unless you connect it gently it won't charge up and the wifi has to be logged in every time you switch the tablet off. I'm writing this from the Apple iPad now there's a tablet!!

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While i love this, i find that the power drains quickly, even with no volume and the lowest brightness.

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Since the playbook has no led flashlight ,any tips on recording and taking photos in low light would be greatly appreciated thanks

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