New BlackBerry PlayBook Review Roundup: Release Next Week

Tablet devices are the big story this year and we’ve been waiting for the BlackBerry PlayBook release for what seems like ages and at last it’s almost upon us. Earlier today we gave you pre-order details for the release next week and now we thought it was time to give you a review roundup.

A lot of people, especially BlackBerry enthusiasts are eager to get their hands on the PlayBook and as a brief recap it’s a 7-inch tablet with a 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, rear and front-facing cameras and runs on the new QNX OS. It will certainly be interesting then to see some impressions from people in the know.

Firstly we looked at a review from Donald Bell over on Cnet who states that with the PlayBook, RIM is demonstrating that “the company means business.” The PlayBook is given a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars with a score of 7 for design and also features, and 8 for performance. The PlayBook received a thumbs-up for speed and performance, HDMI-output, multitasking and security. Some aspects that earned the thumbs-down were the smaller screen not showing off the browser, the wake button being too small and recessed and the ability to use some features only while also using a BlackBerry phone.

For those of you who enjoy an exceptionally comprehensive review with every aspect you can think of studied in-depth, there’s a great example over on Laptop by Mark Spoonauer, and the overall rating given is 2.5 out of 5 stars. Pros are listed as good multitasking, sleek design, a clear display and impressive speakers and video capture at 1080p. Cons are issues with software and low-memory for messages, unimpressive apps, no video chat yet available and as Cnet mentions, having to use a BlackBerry phone for e-mail and other functions.

Meanwhile many people will take notice of the Engadget review, this time by Tim Stevens. There’s also a video to watch and the review looks at the hardware, internals, connectivity, battery life software, keyboard, browser and much more. Stevens notes that RIM is still issuing updates every day, which has made reviewing the device “like trying to hit a moving target,” and has concerns that some things are still being tweaked at this late stage before release. As a result the device feels unfinished, with decent hardware but software that isn’t up to scratch. Engadget also notes as Cnet did, the power button being difficult to use.

The last review in our roundup comes from Matt Buchanan on Gizmodo who calls it the most “thoughtful product that RIM’s put out in a long time.” Negatives pointed out were the lack of Android apps at the present time, feedback from the browser not being fast enough, and again having to use a BlackBerry device for native mail etc. Positives were the speed and power with Buchanan saying it has “tons of muscle,” and good multitasking ability, battery life and screen. Another plus goes to the “mega-awesome” camera. In conclusion the reviewer says it’s the best 7-inch tablet available but that he doesn’t recommend people purchase it until the platform improves, which sounds like pretty good advice.

On the whole we’d say that reviews are pretty mixed although all of them find things to praise about the BlackBerry PlayBook. There are plenty of reservations though but hopefully this will help you to make up your mind about whether you wish to purchase one yourself. Will you be purchasing a PlayBook, or maybe you were going to but the reviews have put you off? Let us have your comments about the PlayBook please.