BlackBerry PlayBook

Score

Sections

View All

Pros

  • Smaller size is easier to handle
  • Elegant design
  • Feature packed
  • Theoretically fast hardware

Cons

  • Performance too variable
  • Unstable
  • Limited app support
  • Requires BlackBerry phone for email

Key Features

  • Review Price: £357.00
  • 7in, 1,024x600 pixel, capacitive touchscreen
  • 1GHz dual-core processor
  • QNX based custom operating system
  • Connects to BlackBerry Phones

Update: We’ve taken a second look at the BlackBerry PlayBook now that its price has dropped and its significant new firmware has been released. So before making your decision make sure to check that out.

The BlackBerry PlayBook is a schizophrenic tablet that will bring great joy to some users but utterly baffle others. For some tasks it outclasses almost all other tablets yet it lacks some of the most basic functions offered by every other alternative. Certainly if you’re a BlackBerry phone owner it’s going to be tempting but for the rest of us it may not be the best choice, until it gets updated.

Style isn’t something the PlayBook struggles with. The bezel round its screen may be a tad chunky but otherwise the plain black glass covered front – with its subtle BlackBerry logo – is pure minimalist class. Likewise the matt black back is a lesson in muted elegance. Yes, it’s all a bit staid but black has, and always will be, the “new black”.

It’s also a lovely device to handle. Where the iPad 2, with its 9.7in screen, feels too heavy and large for comfortable one-handed use the PlayBook’s 7in form factor is much more manageable. This is also helped by the soft-touch finish of the back, which lives up to its description perfectly.

Talking specifics, the PlayBook has dimensions of 194 x 130 x 10 mm (HxWxD) and weighs in at 425g. In contrast the iPad 2 is 241.2 x 185.7 x 8.8 mm and 601g, and the Motorola Xoom – the flagship Android 3.0 tablet – is 249.1 x 167.8 x 12.9 mm and 730g. Clearly different people have different requirements for a tablet but to our minds the size of this device (shared with devices like the HTC Flyer and Samsung Galaxy Tab) has always been more desirable both for its out-and-about portability and its general round the house ease of use.

BlackBerry PlayBook 10

Connectivity is also decent. Along the bottom – the PlayBook is designed to be held in landscape mode – are sockets for miniHDMI, microUSB and a docking port. Pleasingly, RIM includes in the box cables for both the HDMI and microUSB sockets, which is still something of a rarity. You also get a rather nifty neoprene sleeve to keep the tablet protected.

BlackBerry PlayBook 11

Up top, along with the volume and power buttons, is a headphone jack. The only missing piece is a microSD slot for expanding the tablet’s storage. This means, for instance, that you can’t use a microSD to SD adapter like the OCZ Trifecta to take photos straight from your camera and load them onto the tablet.

What you get instead is a choice of 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of inbuilt storage. Sadly, while the 16GB version is competitively priced, at £357, the 32GB is set to cost £479 and the 64GB rises all the way to £559. There’s no two ways about it; those prices are crazy! We’ll talk more on price a little later, though.

BlackBerry PlayBook 8

Getting back to the physical controls, the volume buttons are nice and responsive – though given the tablet’s landscape leanings, it would’ve been more sensible to have them on the sides, where your hands rest. Likewise, the tiny power button is a bit inconveniently placed, given it’s used to lock and unlock the screen – something you do every time you pick the tablet up and put it down. More positive is the addition of a play/pause button nestled between the volume controls, which gives you quick access to halting and commencing your tunes – it would be particularly nice to see a double-tap of this opening the music player.

BlackBerry PlayBook 9

Above the screen is a 3-megapixel front facing camera along with an oddly prominent hole for the ambient light sensor that optionally controls the screen brightness. Meanwhile round the back is a 5-megapixel camera. Both will shoot 1080p video and all told they far outclass those of the iPad 2, though are about on-par with other premium tablets. Regardless, nice to have though they are, we’re yet to be convinced of the use for cameras (particularly the rear facing one) on a tablet. Only with the application of some particularly clever apps may they come into their own, and we’re yet to encounter any.

Of course video chat is one option for the cameras and this is available on the PlayBook. However, it only works from PlayBook to PlayBook.

More from TrustedReviews

LG Q8 finally brings the V20’s promise to Europe

Atari is now in the speaker business… and the hat business

Thinner Moto Z2 Force could come with a huge trade-off

HyperLoop One

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop gathering pace as NY-DC link gets ‘OK’

N64oid

Is this proof an N64 Classic will follow the SNES?

Agents of Mayhem preview

cats 17

Why you’ll want to download this OnePlus 5 update today

Golf rory

British Open Golf Live Stream: How to watch online for free

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare for Xbox One down to under £9

Samsung Gear S3 finally gets Samsung Pay support in UK

Welcome to the all new Trusted Reviews

Netgear Arlo

Netgear Arlo Pro

Cat Amazon

Are you kitten me? Pet translation devices tipped for future smart homes

fire emblem warriors

Fire Emblem Warriors

pokken

Pokkén Tournament DX

TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb 5

TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb

Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay now lets you use your PayPal funds at the checkout

assassins creed origins

Ubisoft teases new games for Nintendo Switch, coming ‘quite soon’

amazon echo

Ask Vodafone: Mobile network’s first Amazon Alexa voice skill is revealed

Google Feed

The Google app’s new personalised feed might just drag you off Facebook

z2play 9

Moto Z2 Play

Mira Prism

For just $99 you can bring AR to the iPhone 7

Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S9 displays may be the same, save one major new feature

movie theatre

The Netflix Effect: ‘Binge-watching’ is coming to movie theatres

Porsche MIssion E

Porsche’s latest electric car chargers put Tesla to shame

EE logo

EE’s new 20GB SIM-free deal is the best value tariff you’ll see all summer

Int-Ball

These are the first images from the ISS – as captured by a zero-gravity drone

iMac 21.5-inch 4K (2017)

LG V30 case

LG V30 design ‘confirmed’ ahead of IFA 2017 launch

iPhone 7 vs iPhone SE

Waiting for the iPhone SE 2? Sadly, it could be a one-and-done

Google Glass Enterprise

Google Glass 2 has arrived, sort of

Denon AH-C621R

Denon AH-C621R

BBC Proms

Get ready to listen to the BBC Proms like never before

Fender Newport Monterey Bluetooth speakers

Fender’s new Bluetooth speakers look just like tiny guitar amps

Garmin Vivosmart 3

Garmin Vivosmart 3

airplane

Is the laptop travel ban dead? Electronics restrictions lifted by TSA but UK fails to follow suit

KitSound Immerse

KitSound Immerse Wireless Headphones

Emojis

It’s World Emoji Day and Apple is showing off all of its newcomers

Porn Block

Privacy fears as UK plans age verification for porn sites

WhatsApp

New WhatsApp feature could give Apple’s iMessage a run for its money