When BlackBerry released the original PlayBook it had some curious issues. Native email, contacts and calendar apps were missing, the app store was barren, and the price matched the iPad at £399. BlackBerry has addressed all these problems in the PlayBook 2.0, making this budget tablet a far more appealing option. The PlayBook OS 2.0 operating system incorporates the missing apps, there are more apps to choose from, and the price has been cut aggressively. See also Group test: what's the best cheap tablet PC?
The BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0's 7in screen is housed in a metal casing with a rubberised back, which makes the device comfortable to grip. Everything about the PlayBook 2.0 feels solid and reliable, from the pair of front-facing speakers which produce impressive sound quality, to the compact and well balanced chassis that’s light enough to hold for extended periods but sturdy enough to withstand the occasional knock and drop. See all tablet reviews.
The BlackBerry tablet's 5Mp rear camera is decent for snapshots, but noise spoiled our test photos. Video is captured at 1080p; it's respectable, but not remarkable. Switching to the 3Mp front-facing camera gleans acceptable results for video calling, although the absence of a Skype app in BlackBerry's App World could make this feature redundant for some people (there are alternative video calling apps, though). Group test: What's the best tablet?
The PlayBook 2.0's standout feature is its screen. It displays a 1024x600 resolution, with vibrant colours and impressive detail. Viewing angles are also excellent - an important factor on a screen this small. The touchscreen is accurate, responsive, and we love the touch-sensitive bezel which lets you swipe in from beyond the screen's edge.
Swipe up from the BlackBerry PlayBook's bottom edge and you’re shown the active applications, swipe left and right to move through them and down to access settings. In use it’s fast, simple and one of the best navigation systems we’ve experienced.
The BlackBerry's battery life was better than any budget Android tablet we've seen; we recorded 8.5 hours in our looped movie test.
Our one gripe is the dearth of apps. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, BBC iPlayer and several games apps are now available for the BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0, but if you want anything more than that - say Kindle, Skype, or decent RSS and podcast apps - then you're out of luck. This budget tablet also lacks a memory card slot, so you're stuck with just 16GB.
Read our original BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 review on the next page.