BlackBerry PlayBook out of box experience

Summary:RIM's PlayBook tablet just went on sale yesterday and the company sent me a tablet to take for a spin. I'll need to spend more time with the slate so until then here are some thoughts about the PlayBook and the experience right out of the box.

RIM's PlayBook tablet just went on sale yesterday and the company sent me a tablet to take for a spin. It's only been here for a few hours and I'm getting pinged constantly with questions, showing just how much interest there is in the PlayBook. I'll need to spend more time with the slate to give a full review so until then here are some thoughts about the PlayBook and the experience right out of the box.

The packaging is typically RIM, with no waste in the box. Once the device was out of the box, I was surprised with how comfortable the PlayBook feels in the hand. This is due to the light weight, and the soft rubbery coating on the back of the tablet. This covering makes the PlayBook feel better in the hand than any tablet I've tried, including the popular Galaxy Tab, Motorola XOOM and the iPad 2.

Check out BlackBerry PlayBook photo gallery with comparison to the Galaxy Tab


Image Gallery: Check out BlackBerry PlayBook photo gallery with comparison to Galaxy Tab.
Image Gallery: PlayBook
Image Gallery: PlayBook

The first power-up of the PlayBook initiated a brief setup process which included setting up the WiFi connection to get online. Once it was connected to the web the PlayBook found a system update from RIM and instructed me to plug it in for the update. The update procedure took a full 20 minutes, including download and installation. This brought the PlayBook up-to-date, as the BlackBerry Bridge app some reviewers reported was not included was indeed available at the end.

I will have a full review soon, and here are my first thoughts about the PlayBook. I must admit I am liking it more than I thought I would.

First Impressions:

  • The device is light and comfortable in the hand.
  • Construction is very nice.
  • Rubbery coating on the back makes it a delight to hold.
  • The browser is very good.
  • Not as much lag as Android tablets I've tried.
  • The PlayBook interface is better for me than that of Android (Froyo or Honeycomb).
  • Interface is intuitive and very fluid.
  • Power button is as bad as you've heard. It flat doesn't work.
  • HD video plays very well.
  • Lack of apps is troubling.
  • Gmail in the browser works very well.

Topics: Hardware, BlackBerry, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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