BlackBerry PlayBook out of box experience

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.

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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, Laptops, Mobility, BlackBerry, Tablets

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18 comments
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  • Given your knowledge in the mobile arena

    Which one gives the better overall user experience:
    Xoom
    iPad2
    Playbook
    other

    ?
    Michael Alan Goff
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook out of box experience

      @goff256 I need more time with the PlayBook to make that call. I am finding the PlayBook UI to be better thought out than most.
      JamesKendrick
      • Alright

        I should be getting a tablet next month, given that my spending money doesn't disappear through a freak accident, and I don't know which one to get. If, before 5/11, you could email me at JediMasterGoff@gmail.com with your advice.<br><br>Please?
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook out of box experience

        @JamesKendrick
        The only thing i see with UX is going back to home screen from an app or other windows. You have swipe up from bottom to go back and other stuff make you to learn the UI, it is not out of the box experience though.
        Ram U
  • Being a loyal BB user, I like this idea ...

    Is it true that it requires a BB phone for apps?
    Noel249
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook out of box experience

      @Noel249 No it's not. You do need a BB to access the phone's email, contacts and calendar information. RIM is releasing a native PlayBook app for this function soon.
      JamesKendrick
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook out of box experience

        @JamesKendrick
        Yes, you are 100% correct about it.
        Ram U
  • Alright James. I have a question for your future tablet review

    Given your heavy bias towards the seven inch form factor, please include in your future tablet evaluation a hypothetical seven inch iPad 2 tablet.

    I'm curious about that hypothetical assessment.
    kenosha77a
    • So when Apple may be at even a slight disadvantage

      @kenosha7777

      you want him to make up an Apple product to compare it to something else? It's also a review based on personal preference, sorry it bothers you he likes a smaller screen. Perhaps someday Apple will decide its users would like another size iPad and then you'll get a real review.
      LiquidLearner
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook out of box experience

        @LiquidLearner

        A fair point. But my objective for that request was not motivated by my personal "feelings" in this matter. (at least not in the way you implied).

        In fact, if anything, had a respected professional blogger of James's caliber stated that a hypothetical seven inch iOS based tablet could become a viable product than perhaps Apple might listen and reconsider such a prospect.

        As it is, another respected ZDNet blogger has gone on record as stating the Playbook's QNX OS is superior to the iPad's iOS.

        By comparing the strengths and weaknesses of both platforms under the same seven inch form factor, I had hoped to gain an independent opinion on the merits for each individual product and their ecosystems. By suggesting that comparison, I also hoped to facilitate a "Apples to Apples" comparison, so to speak.

        That, and I was just curious over a response from James on this matter.

        By the way, I'm sure readers would care to know if the Playbook can print content much like the iPad can do now using AirPrint. The ability to print content should be a requirement for any enterprise level device. I really don't know if the Playbook can print content or how easy it can do that function.
        kenosha77a
  • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook out of box experience

    My out of box experience wasn't that good. The unit I bought from Staples had a really old OS so I had to plug into a PC (not a Mac) with USB to download updated OS. i was on the phone with support for over an hour, but thankfully the device is now up and running. I give the phone support good marks. The Blackberry Bridge is up and running on my Torch and i like it!
    Taxman45
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook out of box experience

      @Taxman45 I did too but it didn't require a PC to get it updated. It did it OTA.
      JamesKendrick
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook out of box experience

        @JamesKendrick My OS build didn't have any option to do an OTA upgrade. The menu options that tech support wanted me to select didn't show up on my device.
        Taxman45
  • Finally, someone else is NOT impressed with Android

    James' first impressions sound reasonable to me. If I had one to review, my own opinions just might align with his. At least he shares my feelings (are him and I the only ones?) that Android's interface is not what it could be?
    camcost
  • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook out of box experience

    ( http://urltwit.com//4rc0 )

    ( http://urltwit.com//4rc0 )

    ( http://urltwit.com//4rc0 )

    ( http://urltwit.com//4rc0 )
    beibei41
  • The size is right.

    Big enough to read a webpage or a powerpoint preso. Small enough to not totally dominate a desk like an iPad does at a meeting. Big enough to carry a full-day battery. Small enough to carry for a full day.

    When the Mail/Calendar/Contact apps arrive, when it comes with a phone and bluetooth with voice control for the phone, it will meet the spec I layed out for such a device in 2001. I honestly didn't think it would take 10 years to get here, though.
    panzrwagn
  • Good review James

    But I do take issue with the power button comment. This is a TABLET. It's not meant to turn on/off every time you want to use it. Left on its own it sleeps after 30 seconds (user changeable) and you wake it up by swiping from one bezel to the next (i.e. top to bottom, bottom to top or from side to side). The ONLY time you should use the power button is to do a hard reset which is precisely why it is small and hard to press accidentally.

    I've had mine since the am of the 19th and have pressed the power button ONCE go turn it on. I've already been through two OS upgrades even.

    If you use this thing all day, come home and throw it on the charger, you probably will never need to use the power button. Its not like an iPad where you use the power button to bring it alive again.
    mapsonburt
  • good idea about android

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