The BlackBerry Playbook recently went on sale last Friday, November 18th 2011 and will be ending Monday, December 5th 2011. Many retailers are expecting a big rush thisВ Black FridayВ andВ Cyber Monday. I got an email from RIM Sunday night announcing a sale that will put the 16GB PlayBook atВ $200. This was $300 off the original price! I went on AIM and told Len about it. The next day, he bought me one! He treated me to an early birthday gift. I was blown away! We had been talking about getting a PlayBook ever since it came out. The only thing stopping us was the price. Even though I got it as a gift, $200 is still a great deal compared to theВ Amazon Kindle FireВ and theВ Nook Tablet.В After we had coffee, I went to my room and did a quick unboxing video. Check it out. While youre at it, read my initial impressions below.
Onto the PlayBook. Right when I turned it on, it asked to install software updates which I allowed. The first boot up took a while but Ive noticed all other boot ups afterwards were much quicker. I did an un-scientific boot up test with my stop-watch and it got to the home screen in 1 minute and 18 seconds. Not bad from a cold boot. RIM makes you go through 2 short introduction tests to get you familiar with the device. These consists of using the bezel gestures and multi-tasking. The interface is slick and smooth. The home screen is very responsive.
Part of the initial installation allowed me to connect my PlayBook to my BlackBerry via BlackBerry Bridge. The PlayBook gave me a QR code to scan but I had to download the BlackBerry Bridge app manually. After that was done, I was able to connect my PlayBook to my BlackBerry and get all my messages from my phone on my PlayBook. I can even use BBMВ on my PlayBook.
My initial thoughts of the PlayBook were very positive. The home screen is very smooth and responsive. The bezel gestures took a few hours to get use to. One thing I wished the PlayBook had that was familiar on the BlackBerry was a universal menu. On the BlackBerry, one of the best features is being able to use the menu button to do everything. From any app, you can hit menu while viewing a video or picture and share it via bbm or email. It appears that gesturing the PlayBook from the top bezel down takes you to a settings menu which seems to work fine but not all apps have them and the look varies from app to app. For example, the YouTube app doesnt even have a settings menu. The YouTube app is okay and it work well but without a settings menu, I cant share a video. Using the browser for YouTube is much better as you can log in, rate, comment, and check your subscriptions. This is also apparent on MemoPad. On the BlackBerry, I can easily send a memo to an email. There is no option to do this on the PlayBook.
AsideВ from not having a universal menu system, multi-tasking is beautiful. BlackBerry Bridge is very well thought out but it needs some polishing. Ill talk about this in a future review. The browser is excellent delivering full flash content. I had a chance to test out video chat and it works surprisingly well. Theres a few thing off the top of my head Id like to see on the PlayBook. A universal menu and auto-text. Oh and they have the QWERTZ and AZERTY keyboards but not Dvorak and Colemak? Good impressions so far. Stay tuned for a full review.