Early reviews are in for the BlackBerry PlayBook and the verdict is... eh.
It’s certainly no iPad 2. While reviewers have nice things to say about the Research in Motion tablet’s design, they almost universally pan the tablet’s software, much-touted Flash support and lack of apps. The PlayBook does not, for example have a native calendar, e-mail or contacts app.
In fact, most of the reviews say that the PlayBook just isn’t quite ready for primetime. During the review period, RIM pushed out several updates that made the tablet steadily better, but the frequency of the patches made some reviewers think RIM may have rushed its launch.
The vast majority say to hold off on buying it for now, and none say it’s a competitive product for the iPad. Basically, if you’re not a BlackBerry addict, the PlayBook isn’t for you just yet.
Here are some highlights from the reviews out there:
WSJ: Walt Mossberg does like the operating system’s user interface, but he has harsh words for the PlayBook, calling it co-dependent with the BlackBerry phone.
Bottom Line: “I got the strong impression RIM is scrambling to get the product to market, and that it will be adding other features already offered on competing devices for months, through software patches.”
NYT: David Pogue said the PlayBook has three things no one else does — an HDMI hook-up, easy file transfer and its Bluetooth link — but that a lack of apps seriously hurts the tablet.
Bottom Line: “If all of this gets fixed, the apps arrive, and the PlayBook can survive this year’s onslaught of rival tablets, then it may one day wind up in the pantheon of greats. For now, there are too many features that live only in R.I.M.’s playbook — and not enough in its PlayBook.”
Bloomberg: Rich Jaroslovsky likes the tablet overall as a way to make BlackBerry “cool again” but also says the software must catch up with the hardware.
Bottom Line: “Still, who would have thought that the maker of some of the world’s least exciting smartphones would have produced a product this slick? The PlayBook makes BlackBerry relevant again.”
Wired: The PlayBook looks and sounds great, said Wired’s Mike Isaac, but the Flash support was not so good and that it crashed every time he tried to load up a Flash-based game.
Bottom Line: “It’s a well-constructed device with great media-viewing capabilities, solid hardware specs and a price on par with the current tablet market. But with serious gaps in key areas like app selection and Flash stability, you may want to think twice before picking one up.“
AP: Reviewer Rachel Metz also liked the tablet overall, saying it looks great and has the right price tag, but is noticeably behind on apps.
Bottom Line: “The PlayBook is an impressive tablet — it has to be, considering the iPad's head start. And if RIM can ramp up its app offerings, it will be an even heartier contender.”
The PlayBook is 7-inches, has a 3MP front-facing camera, a 5 MP rear-facing camera,1 GB of RAM, a micro-USB port and a micro-HDMI port.
You can get a 16 GB model for $499.99, 32GB for $599.99 or 64GB for $699.99