Nexus 7 vs. Playbook [Honest Review]
I recently sold my Playbook and purchased a Nexus 7 as I lost no money in the process. It was a difficult decision but I am needing to use Skype more in the upcoming months along with a number of productivity apps that I just could not use on the Playbook (Netflix didn't hurt either). Here is my comparison.
The Build and Feel
The Playbook certainly does feel more solid and I personally liked how it felt in the hand better (ergonomically speaking) than the Nexus 7. I always loved the all black look and soft touch but the Nexus 7 does have a very nice textured soft touch back that makes it easy to keep in hand. The Playbook's weight was never an issue for me but I now definitely prefer the slightly lighter Nexus 7 for longer holding sessions. Absolutely no tablet has speakers that come close to the Playbook and those are sorely missed but the Nexus 7 speaker suffices for personal use. Although, no longer will I use my tablet to fill up a room with music while having people over.
Hardware and OS
The Playbook is a fully featured tablet. The Nexus 7 does not have a back camera or a micro hdmi out. This is disappointing but for me I almost never used the back camera and never used the micro hdmi (used my laptop at home). Although, this could be a deal-breaker for many, for most it won't be. The screen on the Nexus 7 is sharper at 1280x800 as opposed to the Playbook's 1024x600. THIS MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE. Especially on a 7" tab. Magazines pull up much better and everything overall is much easier to read. Although, the Playbook does rival the Nexus 7 still in regards to color reproduction, viewing angles and brightness.
It is a joy to have come in contact with QNX. It is a highly advanced OS and I love the simplistic bezel features of it and how it utilizes RAM and processor power so efficiently. Out of the box, QNX trumps even Jelly Bean in regards to simplicity, style and optimization. Unfortunately, the Nexus 7 is a down-right beast at that price point due to it's tegra 3 quad-core processor, which trumps the Playbooks more dated OMAP dual core. Chrome handles browsing MUCH BETTER than the Playbook. There are no checkerboards, that I have yet to see. Additionally, almost everything loads much faster. As I am a computer-nerd, I have rooted my Nexus 7 and installed a custom ROM gaining full tablet features (including flash browsing). Additionally there are great programs such as gmd-gestures that allow multi-finger screen gestures much like the iPad and even similar to QNX. Once you have gotten comfortable with Jelly Bean and your gestures, Jelly Bean starts to feel just as impressive as QNX, if not much more at times.
This is what has systematically killed the Playbook and the main (if not only) reason I had to give it away. The Nexus 7 has almost every app one could want and more. There is nothing missing. I first like the QNX's app focused experience as opposed to the widget multi-screen focused experience of Android but now that I have all my main app widgets on my screens, it has become much more convenient to get quick information without most of the time even launching an app (evernote, calender, gmail, etc).
If you're not needing, or foresee yourself needing, a back camera or micro-hdmi out, the Nexus 7 is a much better tablet. Out of the box, this is more debatable but once it's rooted and optimized with gestures and the correct widgets, a Playbook owner will really fall in love with it. If RIM could have upped their game in regards to apps I would have probably kept it. Additionally, if RIM (according to most information) wasn't presenting such a pathetic follow up with the Playbook 4g, I might have actually just waited and gotten that (granted the app situation was resolved by then).
I used to defend the out of my Playbook to friends and colleagues but RIM has not made it impossible for me to win that argument.
Last edited by JerryButtons; 07-30-2012 at 04:31 PM.
- 07-30-2012, 04:34 PM #2
A few points I'd like to add:
RIM's speciality. An updated PB can't be rooted, I don't believe there is anyway to get past a password without completely wiping the device. Android has weaker security in comparison. Especially on a Nexus device, where the bootloader can very easily be unlocked, allowing for subsequent rooting, and then potentially pulling all files etc. off the device, regardless of PIN code or password. [Can't confirm this is definitely true, unlocking bootloader may also wipe device; but from my experience with Android, when I have unlocked bootloader it didn't wipe my device]
Android trumps QNX by far. You can change almost the entire interface without even rooting. With root, you can change pretty much everything with themes. It's a much more tweak friendly OS.
- CrackBerry Genius
07-30-2012, 04:36 PM #3
- 3,211 Posts
OP: Curious, with a longer history in the market and a vast app collection, if you were dissatisfied with the PB, why did no you not buy an IPad. You say apps are so important, then. the Apple store is the grand daddy.
From your discussion, you did not consider the interface (bridge or tether) to phones either BB or other smartphones. Was this not a consideration?
- CrackBerry Master
07-30-2012, 04:51 PM #5
- 1,392 Posts
Op is a great example of how personal taste and needs define what is best for a user.... No such thing as a device trumping another..... just what works best for you..... If your device does what you want well... your device is the best....
@Sifjar - You are correct, if you are in a situation where you are needing the maximum security then the Playbook is definitely the way to go. I do feel that for most general and even heavy users, this is not the case.
@mandony - I initially bought the Playbook because I wanted a 7" tab for portability and not a 10" tab like the iPad. At the time, Gingerbread was the predominant Android OS on their 7" tabs and it pared greatly in comparison to the QNX experience. Additionally, I purchased the Playbook right before the OS 2.0 release. I, along with many others, hoped that the app situation would be resolved with that. Unfortunately, although it improved, it was not up to most people's (including mine) hopes and expectations. Still missing very basic native apps in regards to productivity and media consumption. Due to RIM's inability to listen to it's user base, I was not sitting around to be further disappointed with the official OS 2.1 release.
@pacoman03 - You are correct, the 16g Playbook is cheaper than the 16g Nexus 7. I have the 8g Nexus 7 as I only have some music (keep most of that on my phone) and only really have one or two movies at a time on my tablet. Not a pressing issue for me personally.
- CrackBerry Abuser
07-30-2012, 05:19 PM #9
- 408 Posts
A question about your rooted Nexus 7..... Do you now have the ability to connect a thumb drive via the Micro usb port??
If skype and netflix come to the playbook will you be selling your Nexus 7?"People may not remember exactly what you did or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou
- CrackBerry Addict
07-30-2012, 05:32 PM #10
- 682 Posts
Nexus 7 wins on apps which is really not even close. The Playbook has had a year and a half almost to get Skype, Netflix, etc. and has not.
But even after all this time the Playbook is a formidable tablet, especially for the price and IF the Blackberry is your phone of choice, Bridge is a great app in so many ways from sharing everything from pictures, emails, and data without a hitch.
The OP did mention the Playbook's speakers which still are a benchmark for tablets. If part of the experience is sound, then the Playbook is still an awesome experience and I use Amazon Cloud for my music collection on it, works nicely.
I have a BB Bold 9900, so the Playbook is just a better tablet for me, maybe not everyone, but for me, it is...
- CrackBerry Addict
07-30-2012, 06:09 PM #11
- 518 Posts
Before I comment, let me preface by saying I think my Playbook is a great piece of hardware. There is no way I can deny that. I would love it to suit my needs.
But months into owning it, there are still daily tasks I can't perform that I consider important due to lack of apps. They might not be vital tasks for some, but they are important daily tasks to me. I am not going to get into specific apps because lack of apps, and mobile browser versions vs. app features have been covered in a ton of threads. For some apps I use, the browser version simply is not as fully featured as the apps. The full functionality of the apps just does not exist on the Playbook at this time. This situation isn't going to be resolved any time soon.
I will hold on to my Playbook (giving it to girlfriend), but I will likely also be picking up a Nexus simply because that app situation will be instantly resolved. Back camera, HDMI etc. are all great... but for my needs they just aren't functions I use daily. The apps I'd like to use are.
Thanks for the review. I really appreciate reading reviews from owners of both products on this forum.
- 07-30-2012, 06:22 PM #13
I have owned Android tablets every few operating systems since the beginning, including a 7" Ice Cream Sandwich tablet. I have worked with computers for over 30 years and have no problem tinkering with things, I enjoy it. I still find Android frustrating, from the inability to upgrade your OS on most devices to "we have released Netflix, but so far only for these six phones, wait six months" to apps crashing to most apps being phone apps and not designed to work well on tablets. I will keep trying, I'm sure I will wind up with a Lemon Meringue Pie tablet or whatever they call it when the time comes.
I do have an iPad, which has a FAR better software base than Android. I love the 7" form factor, though, the ability to toss it in a jacket pocket is a huge plus. What I wanted was something that would serve as a portable media player, with additional functions being a plus. I wanted enough room to keep an entire TV season and a few movies on the device without having to stream.
When I looked at the Nexus 7, I realized that I would have to get the 16GB model, but the biggest problem for me was no HDMI. With the Playbook I can carry the tablet and a cable and plug into friends' TV.
I can also use it for email, Twitter, Facebook (I love the messages and contacts apps). and a few games (Plants vs. Zombies and Air Attack would be enough to keep me happy, but the bundled games and apps like Docs to Go are useful). The ability to shoot 1080p video is also useful in an emergency, and I have the ability to connect to Dropbox, Box, SugarSync, Evernote and Springpad.
There is an awful lot it can't do - but I can use the iPad for those things. As a first tablet I might prefer the Nexus 7, but as a second one for me, the Playbook was better. I haven't tried to sideload apps like Skype and Kindle yet, as I am waiting to see if 2.1 makes more Android apps available.
Oh yes, since this is a tablet that has failed in the marketplace, there are deals to be had. I have seen mew Playbooks as low as $170 and refurbs as low as $125, and in my case, I bought a used 64GB Playbook for $200, the same price as an 8GB Nexus 7.
Last edited by bdegrande; 08-01-2012 at 12:25 PM.Podcaster, host of The DexterCast, an introcast for the Showtime series Dexter. Two of us have seen Dexter before, the other two are watching for the first time.
- 07-30-2012, 06:34 PM #14
I have to to do more than just play with a tablet to get a real feel for it. So I bought a Nexus7 9 days ago. I like it but still am more comfortable with the PB. The email app on the playbook is much better than that on the NEXUS7. The Crackberry app on the Nexus7 is not nearly as good as the one on the PB that I am now using. Fun to talk to the Nexus7 browser and have it bo the search for you sometimes with hilarious results. One can also use this capability for dictation although I haven't tried that out yet. I'm happy that I bought the Nexus7 but will still use my PB for many things. I plan to keep both.
- 07-30-2012, 07:43 PM #16
I have the playbook and the Galaxy Tab and I find the playbook to be more stable and user friendly than the galaxy. I also find more apps crashing on the galaxy then ever before so my opinion the playbook wins!
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- 07-30-2012, 08:09 PM #17
Skip the Nexus 7...It's Build Quality is Garbage
Skip purchasing the Nexus 7 if you must have an Android tablet, and buy an Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 instead. It is the best Android tablet EVER. I'm guessing that most of you on this forum can afford the extra $250. I too got caught up in all the Nexus 7 hype, but sold it on eBay after a week. I felt the build quality was garbage. I doubt a Nexus 7 will last more than a year of daily use.
- 07-30-2012, 08:50 PM #18My website http://papped.webatu.com
- CrackBerry Abuser
07-30-2012, 09:57 PM #19
- 398 Posts
I like how this thread maintains a decent level of civility and respect for each other, even while discussing other viable options to RIM devices.
OP, I think it boils down to what's suits your needs best, ultimately what you need trumps everything.
- CrackBerry User
07-31-2012, 03:20 AM #20
- 61 Posts
My wife got my cast off PB about 4 months ago, I gave up with it.
She was fairly happy with the PB. I could see her itching for a Nexus 7 and she's had it a week.
the Nexis is way better.
No checkerboarding, way faster, can download and upload to our NAS (no PB app can do this, and android apps kept messing permissions up), connectivity, much sharper screen, a bit smaller for her to hold - she's small ;-) and substantially lighter. Longer range for the wifi, no black spots in the house. Apps she actually wants and that work very well, streaming from the NAS reliably, reliable and fast large PDF viewing. I could go on and on. They look and feel like they are from different planets.
Altogether like chalk and cheese and she's WAY happier
- CrackBerry User
07-31-2012, 05:34 AM #21
- 17 Posts
Thought I'd share my experiences. I own an iPhone 4 for personal use and my employer provides me with a Blackberry Curve 9360 for work. Having regularly found myself sitting on the sofa browsing on my iPhone I decided that there was room in my life for a tablet.
I considered an iPad, but I knew I'd end up leaving it at home most of the time because of the size, cost and relative fragility of the design.
Then I saw the announcement of the Nexus 7. This seemed to be just what I was after so I pre-ordered the 16gb model which I received a few weeks ago. My opinions of it were similar to those of the OP. The resolution of the screen is perfect for a 7-inch device, the OS is lightning fast and Chrome does a pretty good job as a browser. On the app front I was impressed at the range of apps in the Google Play store, although a lot have yet to be made compatible with Jelly Bean and Android doesn't even come close to Apple iOS for its range of dedicated tablet apps.
Unfortunately I have experienced the following problems with my Nexus 7:
- The screen is suffering image retention/ghosting.
- The display glass is separating from the body of the tablet.
- Charging is sometimes unreliable and below 15% the tablet can, and has, shut off without warning.
I have RMA'd the Nexus and it's being collected on Friday. I thought long and hard about refund vs replacement and opted for a refund until the obvious build quality nigggles had been resolved by Asus. However, I then noticed that the 32gb playbook was on sale for GBP 149. After playing around with one I decided to buy it, and here are my thoughts vs the Nexus:
- Build quality is a lot more solid.
- OS feels just as smooth as Android on a quad core, though things like browsing are a little slower.
- It's nice to have Flash support in the native browser without rooting the device. iPlayer is way better on the Playbook, especially with the great speakers.
- Blackberry Bridge is amazing. With no 3G connection (I don't have a tethering contract) and no way to access my work emails/calendars the Nexus 7 was a distraction on my desk. The Playbook is fantastic - I can call up my calendar and emails in meetings and read presentations on the train home, knowing that if I lose my Playbook none of that sensitive data is stored on it. Being able to use the bridge browser over 3G is great too. This will definitely enhance my productivity and is ultimately what convinced me to buy the Playbook. Neither Apple/Microsoft/Google has anything like this.
- The built in mail/contacts/calendar apps are great. Way better than anything on iOS or Android.
- The built-in music and video apps do just as good as job as the Nexus when I drag some files over.
- The only downside is the availability of apps, but I was well aware of that when I bought the Playbook and the ability to sideload Android apps is useful, though I feel that they don't run quite as well as they would on an Android tablet. Rather than discounting the tablets so much I feel that RIM would be better off paying Skype/Flickr/Spotify/Dropbox to develop apps for QNX/BB10. I don't care about the latest games, but it is a shame that we don't have access to the most popular cloud-based services.
In all I'm very happy with my purchase - it's a seriously underrated piece of kit.
I really hope RIM has the ability to survive the next few years in its present form. If BB10 is anything like QNX in a phone-sized form factor then it will be fantastic as a work phone and I'd happily consider replacing my iPhone with one. If large firms, such as the one I work for, invest in BB10 devices then hopefully the apps will follow. As we saw with Palm, having a good OS and reasonable hardware just isn't enough.
- 07-31-2012, 05:44 AM #22
- 07-31-2012, 06:27 AM #24
- CrackBerry User
07-31-2012, 06:46 AM #25
- 67 Posts
I hate this thread! I've been sitting on the fence about selling my 32G PB and buying a Nexus 7 with some of the proceeds, and all the posts make me even more unsure what to do. The PB pros are that the hardware is solid, and the obvious con is that we have very few applications.
It's times like these which really make me wish that the PlayBook's bootloader was unlocked. I'd gladly contribute cold hard cash to a project which cracked the bootloader and ported Cyanogenmod 10 (Jelly Bean) onto the Playbook. For me this would be a win-win - quality hardware (ok, not as fast as a N7, but the speakers & HDMI out are worth it, in my opinion) and the app experience I crave!