BlackBerry PlayBook video chat hands-on: Best in class?

BlackBerry PlayBook video chat hands-on: Best in class?

Summary: The BlackBerry folks proudly announced the Video Chat app for its PlayBook tablet this week. Today I got a chance to put the video calling to the test, and am duly impressed with how good it is.

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The BlackBerry folks proudly announced the Video Chat app for its PlayBook tablet this week, and users were delighted to find it appear in the BlackBerry App World shortly after. Today I got a chance to put the video calling to the test, and am duly impressed with how good it is.

The PlayBook Video Chat app is free in the App World and can make audio and video calls to other PlayBook users once their BlackBerry ID email address is manually entered into the contact list. Calls are easily started by tapping the contact in the list, and only take a few seconds to connect.

To test the app I made several video calls to colleague Jason Perlow of Tech Broiler (the handsome guy in the screen snap above) and we were both impressed with the quality of both the audio and video in the calls. The entire 7-inch screen of the PlayBook is used to show the other party during calls, with a small window in the corner of the screen displaying your own video. During the test calls we experienced consistent quality from start to finish, with no glitches commonly seen in other products.

It is possible to toggle between the front and back cameras on the PlayBook during a call by tapping the screen which shows a menu at that bottom of the screen, and then tapping the camera icon. Jason was able to read a Tweetdeck screen displayed by the rear camera on my PlayBook when we tested it, as the quality was good.

Jason and I wanted to test the app using real mobile settings, so one of the calls was made over LTE on my end of the call. I used the Droid Charge as a mobile hotspot and connected using this for a video call. We were not able to detect any difference in either video or audio quality during this call compared to the other calls using fast broadband. I was particularly impressed to see no audio/video sync issues using this app, compared to other methods I have used.

It is fair to say that Jason and I were both duly impressed with the quality of the calls using the PlayBooks and the Video Chat app. This could be a viable method for business video calls, as the experience is both good and consistent throughout the calls.

Topics: BlackBerry, Hardware, Mobile OS, Mobility

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  • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook video chat hands-on: Best in class?

    You mentioned having to manually enter an e-mail address into the contact list. Any word if this will be simplified if it is tethered to a BB phone? I know that the contacts system is somewhat dependent upon the phone, at least for the time being...
    jglopic
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook video chat hands-on: Best in class?

      @jglopic I suspect this will change when native contact handling comes to the PlayBook this summer.
      JamesKendrick
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook video chat hands-on: Best in class?

        @JamesKendrick
        I've had FaceTime for a while and used it once... are you really going to use this daily??
        Hasam1991
      • Message has been deleted.

        nomorebs
  • RE: How Much is Blackberry Paying you to Promote?

    I was wondering how much the Blackberry people are paying you to continually promote their product? Did they give each of one? How many more "articles"? I love the way Mr. Kendricks says "My Playbook" in the so called "article". All this about a tablet with no apps.
    Mr. Nick
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook video chat hands-on: Best in class?

      @Mr. Nick
      I don't understand why the ipad cult take such offence when someone gives a favorable review of the playbook. Is it really such a crappy machine? I think it's by far a better machine than the ipad even if it's app-less. But all of the ipad cult seem to forget that the playbook supports flash. So when you consider this fact, is the playbook really app-less?

      Oh, and I forgot to mention that the android emulator is coming this summer. I've seen a demo of it on youtube and it rocks. So it seems to me that a combination of a Great machine + Flash + Tons of apps = Dead ipad.

      Oh I also forgot to mention that the 10" playbook is coming for the holiday season. So if the 7" does not deliver a knockout the 10" will.
      nehmeg
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook video chat hands-on: Best in class?

        @nehmeg

        Have you found a Flash email client yet?
        alsobannedfromzdnet
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook video chat hands-on: Best in class?

        @nehmeg
        Are you being honest?
        "I think it's by far a better machine than the ipad even if it's app-less."
        While in high school I had a friend that thought his Volkswagon bug was a better car than the big American Cars of that time. The truth is that his car got better gas mileage, but that was about as far as it went... nothing else was even close to being equal.
        Your assessment of two tablets seems quite a bit like his car assessment did.
        camcost@...
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook video chat hands-on: Best in class?

        @nehmeg<br><br>1) You CAN run flash sites on the iPad<br>2) "I've seen a demo of it on youtube and it rocks. So it seems to me that a combination of a Great machine + Flash + Tons of apps = Dead ipad."<br><br>Wanna bet? As in for real. Put your ACTUAL money where your mouth is.
        DeusXMachina
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook video chat hands-on: Best in class?

        @camcost<br>That's a funny analogy. But did you know that no other car had sold as many as the volswagon beatle did? I guess you just shot yourself in the foot!<br><br>@deusXMachina<br>I don't know where you get your info from but if your talking about flash sites with a broken link here and a missing link there then, yes, I guess the ipad can do flash sites with the flash missing.<br>I would bet you my playbook but what would you do with such a crappy machine?<br><br>@alsobannedfromzdnet<br>For blackberry users the bridge is there and for the rest of us the email client app is coming soon. For now I can use the flash capable browser on my playbook to get emails.
        nehmeg
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook video chat hands-on: Best in class?

        @nehmeg
        "I would bet you my playbook but what would you do with such a crappy machine?"

        Really?

        iSwifter app.
        Now pay up. You can contact me here for my address to send the Playbook.

        "@alsobannedfromzdnet
        For blackberry users the bridge is there and for the rest of us the email client app is coming soon. For now I can use the flash capable browser on my playbook to get emails."

        Not anymore. It is not your Playbook.
        DeusXMachina
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook video chat hands-on: Best in class?

        @nehmeg

        Hello?

        Flag me all you want, the OP still owes me his Playbook.
        DeusXMachina
    • Fragile ego?

      @Mr. Nick

      Wow, you are easily threatened. Maybe you should consider finding ways to boost your self esteem, and worry less about other people who may have different views, needs or preferences than you do. Do you need the rest of the world to validate your choices?
      Economister
  • Can you video chat between a Playbook and an iPad?

    Or, for that matter, between a Playbook and an Android tablet?

    Or, is this a feature that works only between Playbooks?

    One more question, please. Can this video chat capability include more than two sources during the same video chat?
    kenosha77a
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook video chat hands-on: Best in class?

      @kenosha7777 This is only between PlayBooks, and only between two currently.
      JamesKendrick
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook video chat hands-on: Best in class?

      @kenosha7777 just use skype
      pupkin_z
  • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook video chat hands-on: Best in class?

    @nehmeg, Thanks for the heads up! A 10" tablet is better than a 7". But it's not the size, it's how you use it! I don't have an IPad, never will. I do have a Malata Z-Pad T2, CPU is a Dual Nvidia Tegra 2 ARM Cortex-A9 (T20 dual core), 1 GB DDR2, 16 GB storage + mini SD port. 10.1" Multi-touch capacitive screen, using Android 2.2, very fast and very nice. There are currently over 100,000+ apps available for Android. It comes with Flash 10.1 loaded, 3G support, WIFI, GPS, LTE (optional), and more. Plus I don't need to connect to my Blackberry to use the video option.... Blackberry ,"Best In Class?" I don't think so......But have fun with that!
    Mr. Nick
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook video chat hands-on: Best in class?

      @Mr. Nick "best in class" refers specifically to the video chat feature, and it is the best method I've tried so far.
      JamesKendrick
      • I think that was rather obvious....

        @JamesKendrick

        from the title, but some people have trouble escaping from their myopia. :-)
        Economister
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook video chat hands-on: Best in class?

      @Mr. Nick <br>The machine you have sounds like a nice machine.<br>The playbook is The Best In It's Class hardware wise and OS wise. App wise? by summer it will be a formidable competetor.
      nehmeg