I was happily ( and quite speedily ) typing a blog post on my Blackberry Playbook tablet during our daily train ride from Maynooth to Dublin during the Eucharistic Congress, when I realized I owed the beleagured Canadian tech firm a note of thanks.
I bought my Playbook mostly because the price finally became right ( read significantly lower than the original $500-$600 ) and I remain dedicated to my Blackberry Bold smartphone; so the tight integration between phone and tablet the Playbook offers was important to me. But life as a traveller – not to mention as a commuter – forced me to rely on the tablet more than usual, and I realized the Playbook has much more to offer. In short I really enjoyed the Playbook experience. So I thought I would combine the story of that experience with an informal description of the device for the sake of those not otherwise inclined to read technology reviews.
So, what about the Playbook? Well for starters, its 7″ form factor is a bit smaller than most tablets, but I found it just right – small enough for unobtrusive blogging on our daily train ride, and for “one handed” ebook reading on the plane trip back to Canada, but big enough to allow me to keep up with news websites from back home during our nearly two weeks in Ireland.
In fact the Playbook browser is first-rate, something I appreciated even more on those occasions when I wanted to check up on the news, or to post something to the blog while out of wi-fi range. And the tablet integrates with Blackberry’s email service as well. Indeed it integrates Facebook and Twitter notifications into its inbox, and can do the same with your contacts from those apps as well.
The Playbook can connect to the net either by means of wifi, or by sharing your Blackberry’s connection via bluetooth. It has a very functional installation of “Documents To Go”, which writes and opens MS Word Excel and Powerpoint docs. And it also has share of downloadable apps, like the WordPress blogging software I used on the train.
It has built-in front and rear-facing cameras, able to shoot stills or video, and has built in video-calling, though only with other Playbooks at the moment. I’ve grown very fond of the tablet’s touch screen interface, though if you like, you can download an app to your phone and use it as a cursor and for keyboarding on the Playbook. The tablet outputs video and audio via an hdmi output, and has the usual headphone Jack as well, so you can use it as a personal music player, or to watch movies as well ( it comes with a usb connector cable to load said movies or music).
Physically, the tablet itself is just lovely, with sleek clean lines, and bears the resolute firmness of what I call Blackberry’s “Model T” approach to colour selection ( You don’t like black? How about black? ). Perfect for a Cleric!
Overall I can highly recommend the Playbook. As I mentioned, in my experience it particularly excels in non-tradional settings travelling, outdoors etc. – but it more than holds its own as an ereader, media device and for light web surfing as well.