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Blackberry Playbook - Initial Impressions.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Decided to pull the trigger on one of these. $225 after taxes from Bestbuy for the 16GB model. I have 14 days to try it, and I figure I'll either keep it or try and import a Kindle Fire. The Playbook is the better device by a wide margin, but the Fire is running Android. The Playbook does have the ability to run Android apps though.


In case anyone else is wondering about the Playbook I figured I'd post my experiences. I'm not going to go full review, so this will just be a point form chronological list.


- Initial impression: this is a sexy device. Everything is sleek, refined, and very solid. There's only 4 buttons on the entire device, and they've raised the power button since it first launched. The old one was hard to press, but this one is easy.

- First boot is a bit of a pain. It requires wifi, and wasn't working with the McDonalds wifi. I had to manually input the SSID before it would work.

- The actual wifi config menu is fantastic though. It will automatically detect whether or not you need to enter additional login info and will pop up a window that lets you enter it, so you don't have to manually go into your browser. There's also a tool that will let you ping an address to see if your wifi is indeed working. I know it seems small, but this is the best thing about the tablet IMO.

- After the initial setup it still wouldn't let me in, because it started a mandatory update to 2.0.1. A 500MB update that took 30 minutes to install including several reboots. What is this, Windows?

- While we're on the subject of booting, it takes a while. Much longer than Android and even iOS 4 on my ancient iPod Touch 2G.

- The actual OS is very nice. Once you get used to the swipe gestures you begin to wonder why we're using buttons.

- Multitasking is fantastic. Makes both iOS and Android seem like they're 10 years old.

- The browser is amazing. It might not be the fastest (it slows down a little when the content is heavy like on the OCN homepage) but its incredibly smooth. Its as smooth as Safari on iOS while supporting flash out of the box. And even more unbelievable: Flash works better on the Playbook than it does on Android. I'm watching a live stream of the Penguins and Flyers game in fullscreen and its perfectly smooth with responsive controls.

- Blackberry App World is useless. Completely useless. Not only is it incredibly small, its also incredibly overpriced. Angry Birds: $5. Are you kidding me? Now, apparently this is because the OS lacks a native dev kit, so all of the apps have to be made in either Adobe Air or HTML5. RIM is working on this problem and there should be a native C++ SDK coming later this year, but is it too little too late?

- The saving grace however is the Android Player. You can run Android apps simply by converting them from a .apk file to a .bar file (or using existing .bars) and sideloading them using a simple tool. All I've installed so far is Moon Reader, but looking at this site: http://playbookbars.com/ it looks like compatibility is pretty good. The integration is pretty tight too. You can hardly tell the difference between Android and native apps. Swipe down from the top for menu, swipe up to switch apps, and swipe diagonally for back.


The one thing I'm worried about is the upcoming 2.1 update. They are removing app sideloading, so in the future the only Android apps available will be the curated ones in App World. Playbook sales have surged since they let users install Android apps, and now they are shooting themselves in the foot again. If I do return the Playbook, this will be why. I might keep it and just not update until someone figures out how to reenable sideloading, but given Blackberry's reputation for enterprise security this might not be easy.
    
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post #2 of 9
its junk drop it
post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfxwood View Post

its junk drop it

Have you ever used one? And the OP seems to like it so let him keep it. I have used the playbook for a short amount of time and it is one of my favorite tablets. Multitasking is awesome.
Edited by SalisburySteak - 4/18/12 at 8:19pm
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post #4 of 9
I feel bad for BlackBerry. The only thing they've mastered - security - is the only thing holding them back. Throw security to the wind like every other company and their business will boom but the major part of their customer base that cares about that security (like myself) will no longer be interested in their products. Catch 22.
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post #5 of 9
After using my HP Touchpad with ICS and my iPad 2 I tried the Playbook and I wasn't too impressed, especially because the HP Touchpad can be had for so cheap cheers.gif

OP It seems like you're enjoying it. Hopefully if you keep it better app support comes to the platform.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Enjoyment factor is slipping somewhat. I still have yet to download an app from app world because they're all atrocious or overpriced.

Android support isn't exactly flawless either. Some apps won't run, and I just had to restart my Playbook because Android Player froze, and the OS tries so hard to make you think you aren't actually running Android apps that there's no way to kill it or access the settings. Its made even worse by the fact that it takes three and a half minutes to reboot.


The Android apps are also all lumped together, so as nice as QNX's multitasking is you can't use it to switch between Android apps, and I think that's the killing blow for me. If I could get proper integration I'd keep it, but what's the point of having nice multitasking when the only native Blackberry app I'm running is the browser?
Edited by nathris - 4/18/12 at 10:21pm
    
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post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
And just won a new Kindle Fire for $150 off of eBay. Goodbye Playbook.
    
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post #8 of 9
Playbooks are for people who have never tried a real tablet. Get a Prime.

We set these Playbook POS' up for work and they are HEAVY and useless.
    
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post #9 of 9
given this forums bias, most people are only ever going to say:


"GET THE BIGGEST FASTEST THING POSSIBLE, MAKE SURE IT HAS 100% GEEK APPROVED E-PEEN FACTOR "

"THEN ROOT IT AND PUT THINGS ON IT THAT DON'T WORK PROPERLY AND COMPLAIN WHEN IT STALLS"


fyi The transformer isn't perfect either, no tablet is as by design they are restricted like a disabled laptop with higher battery life and thats by design.

A decent lightweight laptop with a solid GPU is a better bet, perhaps though for those who have overcome the whole touch screen thing.
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