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 Adam Ostrow and Christina Warren co-authored a new article on Mashable.com titled “BlackBerry PlayBook Enters the Tablet Race.”  The review was based on feedback after Mashable tested the device for a week. 

The results: 

Build, Form Factor and Screen 

  • Weighs 425 grams, feels sturdy and compact
  • 7-inch
  • Resolution 1024 x 600
  • Landscape mode: feels similar to iPad; text clear, graphics bright, keyboard feels good to the touch
  • Portrait mode: reading text on most web sites almost impossible without zooming, keyboard uncomfortable
  • Screen: WSVGA rather than IPS, colors still look good, touch screen very responsive, accelerometer fast,  works in all directions

User Experience 

  • Interface: easy to pick up
  • Screen: black bezel on top and bottom is touch sensitive; swiping finger up from bottom minimizes apps and shows home screen; menu or status bar accessed by swiping down from top or diagonally from top left; swiping from lower left or right side switched between open apps  
  • Notifications: accessed by tapping on them in status bar; dismissed by swiping from left to right

Apps

  • In addition to apps built in Adobe Air, PlayBook supports older BlackBerry OS apps and (though not at launch) Android 2.x apps
  • Ships with a variety of pre-installed apps
  • To access BlackBerry mail client, BlackBerry Messenger, address book: must connect BlackBerry devices to PlayBook through a Bridge mode that allows PlayBook to access data without storing it; non-BlackBerry owners need to use a web client to receive and send email 

Browser

  • Supports Adobe Flash 10.2 out of the box, but some heavily Flash-based sites like Google Maps didn’t work well in PlayBook’s browser
  •  Facebook: user can’t get notifications from Facebook or easily accessed messages from a central location  

Connectivity and Camera

  • Both cameras have solid optics
  • PlayBook too large to act as a real optical device; should work well in the field and for video chat
  • Mini-HDMI port: allows users to interact with content, games and video on a second screen
  • Ability to sync wirelessly with your desktop or laptop computer   

Sink or Swim?

  • Appeal of PlayBook currently limited to existing BlackBerry smartphone customers as a result of email and messaging limitations
  • Lack of apps until Android apps become available on PlayBook
  • Users preferred a larger screen
  • PlayBook not recommended over iPad 2 or Motorola Xoom at this time   

  

 

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