Should I buy a PlayBook for $299?

Should I buy a PlayBook for $299?

Summary: NO!


RIM drops the price of it's beleaguered PlayBook to $299 (64GB, 32GB and 16GB models) ... should you buy one at this price?


Why? I can give you a list of reasons:

  • The PlayBook OS was never finished, still missing key features like an email client.
  • Apps will dry up ... and getting Android apps to work on the tablet is painful to say the least.
  • Think for $299 the PlayBook will make a decent 'couch surfing' device? Will you still think that when there are no more security updates?
  • $299 is a long way off the $99 tht HP's TouchPad ended up at when it went into its final death spiral.
  • Spend you money on a Kindle Fire instead!

So no, don't even think about picking up a PlayBook for $299 ... you can do better, a lot better!

[poll id="742"]

Topics: Security, Mobility, BlackBerry

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • How about USD$199.00 Adrian? That OK?

    Did that before Thanksgiving at Best Buy for a 16 GB model.
  • Brought to you by Apple's marketing department

    Thanks Adrian, nice advertisement.
    • Seconded

      @toddybottom I got the 32GB version. Fantastic machine. I hope RIM can weather the transition.
    • Paranoid?

      The article mentions the Playbook, Android, and the Kindle Fire. It even recommends the Kindle Fire. The word 'Apple' didn't come up until you (predictably I might add) mentioned it.

      This article has nothing to do with Apple, it's drawing conclusions from the Playbook's reality which (unless you've had your head in the sand) we all know to be grim to say the least.

      So, go get a Fire, or a Nook Tablet, and be happy. Or continue to use the iPad2 you have claimed to own. Or (more likely) you can just troll the blogosphere looking for any excuse to take pot-shots at your favorite "I love to hate it" brand.
    • Um nobody mentioned that "OTHER" company except

      @toddybottom ... you my friend. So thanks for the plug:)

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
  • RE: Should I buy a PlayBook for $299?

    You???re going to have to save up for Microsoft???s latest ???God-phone???. Microsoft has been hammering the Help forums over at If you???re a Windows Fan-boy you must help in the holy war, There is one OS to rule them All. Remember your oath
    [b]one world, one company, one OS!!![/b]
  • RE: Should I buy a PlayBook for $299?

    RIM looks like it will be getting a management change soon and who knows where the Playbook will fit in after that. I took a chance and bought one for $199 but never at $299.
  • RE: Should I buy a PlayBook for $299?

    I bought the playbook when it came out, specifically as a better ebook machine than the nook I had (I read a lot of history books and needed a quick web access). I also bought the fire for the same reason because the KOBO ereader on the PB is much worse than even my original nook. Now Amazon knows how to do an ereader, so really happy with the fire, but beyond ereader, the fire's operating mode is really a klunker relative to the PB. The PB works well and the finger moves are a lot better than the fire.
    But even though I would rate the PB better than the Fire, without market drive, support, and etc, my guess is that it will die and it just may take RIMM with it. Again, a shame as for a time, they had a great product.
    O, how fast the market can change and strangle off the slow movers.
    • Thanks

      That was incisive and useful. It's nice to hear from someone with experience using the product(s) give an honest appraisal.
    • RE: Should I buy a PlayBook for $299?

      Too bad you didn't just get an iPad. Then you'd have one Tablet, which does the job for you.
      Of well there's always a next time !

      Yes the PB has work to be done on it; the risk is will RIMM develop the PB further and update the current models.
      • RE: Should I buy a PlayBook for $299?

        I actually tried the ipad - I found it tiring to hold, again, that is as a book reader. For we primary book folks, and then do something else, the size of the PB, Fire, Nook, and all works so much better than the ipad.
      • For book reading

        For book reading I will always prefer my e-ink Kindle. The big downside is that most publisher's of illustrated books don't do a good job of converting pics to black and white so the don't look as good on the Kindle. I still have Kindle apps on my phone, my PC, and my Macs that I can use for photo viewing. Since most of my reading (other than sailing journals) is text only, this is a small concern.
  • Lame much Adrian?

    Really poor article.<br><br>You probably know that OS 2 is publicly announced for next month (February 2012) and will have an email client, among other things.<br><br>Also, the hardware is more than twice the specs of a Kindle Fire.<br><br>A 64GB Playbook for $299 soundly trumps all comers, and you've done your readers a disservice with a knee-jerk article.

    You can do better, a lot better!
    • RE: Should I buy a PlayBook for $299?


      How about we'll see. That OS update has slipped twice. Never buy a device for with it *will* do. Buy it for what it does.
  • Lenovo IdeaPad A1 - $239

    I got a Lenovo IdeaPad A1 16gig and am pleased with it. It is OK for couch surfing. It is kind of toy computer though, for getting real work done.
  • Where to begin

    For me, these points are meaningless.

    A Kindle Fire is useless to me. It only operates in the United States.

    I have a Blackberry and Gmail, so what do I care about it having its own email client? In any other respect worth noting, the QNX Neutrino operating system running on it is considerably more "finished" than Android is, by any stretch of the imagination!

    As for apps, the thing runs Flash, and better than a Windows desktop does. If I was interested in games (which I'm really not) there are five million of them on the web.

    Other than that, I'm fine with EverNote and the Office to Go suite (the latter of which came installed.)
    • RE: Should I buy a PlayBook for $299?

      @rbethell Couldn't agree more.<br><br>The Fire and Nooks of the world do not work outside of the US in any meaningful way (for the masses). They are really a non-starter for anyone who does not reside in the US.<br><br>ZDNet and tech journalists in general are doing the Playbook a real disservice. Our family has an iPad, an ASUS Transformer and, *gasp* the Playbook (16 GB). I was able to pick up the PB for $199 in November for my wife. For $199 this thing is a beast. The 7" form factor is lovely to hold and carry around (wife can put in her purse, cannot do this with our other tablets), works great as an ereader, has some fun games, productivity suites are nice and the PB is the BEST at browsing. It's like being at your desktop. The Transformer and iPad don't even compare. Using the PB really is a slick and enjoyable experience. <br><br>Even if RIM does fail in the next two or three years, the PB will manage to be an excellent device throughout that time period and then, well, it's getting close to upgrade time anyway so make your next choice at that time. $199 or even $299 for a wonderful machine that will last at least three years is good enough bang for my buck for me. You can get two or three of these for the price of one of the other tablets.<br><br>I recommend buying one from a retailer that will allow you to return it within a certain grace period. Give this thing a real try. Youll see.<br><br>Of course, if I lived in the US I'd probably try out the Fire purely for its connectivity to Amazon media.
      • RE: Should I buy a PlayBook for $299?

        Bingo. All this bashing (and that's exactly what it is) is tiresome and flat out unfair. THe PlayBook is a powerful, fun and easy to use "beast" as you so aptly put it.
  • Tech Blog hacks

    I really wonder if any of Zdnet actually use the Playbook? The way you write about it, it must be the worst device every released?

    QNX is further along then Android's tablet offering. Is everything now really just about an App perspective? Without Apps = it sucks? Everyone gets the need for native email / PIM but web based does work quite nicely and the OS update will bring it so people can shut up about it.

    OS 2.0 Android support thus far seems to work quite nicely. RIM cannot MAKE developers port their App, those that do will reap the profit as Blackberry users are second to Apple's for actual App purchases. Those that don't want to convert (the process is quite easy) there is a robust homebrew effort to convert Apps. Not everything works as a number of API are closed and only Google holds the hooks for them. What other tablet will be able to run multiple OS in a quasi virtual environment? The QNX kernel is impressive.

    Again you compare a firesale to a price incentive. RIM is not blowing out Playbook inventory as they are leaving the market. They are selling stock as a new model is due. What other tablet is at $299 offers the hardware Playbook has? 64gb, HDMI out, HD camera's, 1gb Ram. Kindle Fire is a joke. It's lacking in storage (8gb), memory (512k), no Cameras, no HDMI.

    The bias on ZDnet is getting to be too much. Why doesn't other tablets get called out for their shortcomings? Why is Apple never grilled for issues with their devices / OS?
    • "RIM is not blowing out Playbook inventory"

      @MobileAdmin ..the point is that they should be.. the device and the company are dead men walking...