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The playbook--one man's opinion, start to finish...
So...after all that, what is my verdict on the playbook?
I've been thinking of putting my thoughts down about the playbook. I've also been thinking that they added up to a negative number. But something happened recently that may have changed my mind.
At the begining...I was really really rooting for the playbook. I wanted a tablet, but I don't really like Apple products. I think they're over-hyped and over-priced. I have had a BB phone for years and I find that above all, it just simply 'works'. Not sexy mind you, but functional and I like it. I like rooting for an underdog, and, at this point, RIM is certainly an underdog. I also liked the idea of the bridge functionality, the smaller size, & the HDMI port.
So, I by-passed the Ipad2 and bought a playbook the first day it came out. At first, I liked it. The hardware was impressive. I liked the bridge. The OS was smooth and intuitive. But it had major major issues (as we all know). For me, personally, I was very very disappointed in the lack of bluetooth A2DP support. I listen to my 'background music' home stereo through my BB phone daily via A2DP and my kitchen stereo with in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. Usually I stream Pandora but also have about 5gB of music on it. I thought the PB would be a perfect replacement for music duty in the kitchen...bigger memory for more songs, bigger screen to scroll through recorded songs, pass it around when people are over so they can browse my music, better pandora interface, etc. RIM specifically said the PB would support A2DP as well. The software, as we all know, was buggy. I loved the browser, but it was buggy. The non-native email, calander, etc, didn't bother me. I had my BB and bridge and that was fine. But the non-functionality of the email editor was beyond reasonable to me. It was clearly a beta. Apps. Well, enough said. I returned my PB on day 30 of the 30 day return policy, thinking I might buy another when they came out with a completed device. At first I checked the software update descriptions frequently. They were crappy at best! I stopped checking after a few months and thought 'thank god i returned that thing'.
Enter 2.0...so, they drop the price drastically and big rumors of 2.0 are abound. I decide to take the plunge. What I originally paid $640 for (with tax), I now got tax & shipping free for $250. I figure it's worth the gamble. 2.0 (finally) comes out and...it is good, a huge improvement, but not great. To me, it is what should have been released with the device originally. The only 'extras' to me are maybe the remote control feature which is cool but not all that useful (don't get me wrong I like it). Everything else absolutely should have been there. And, there are still MAJOR issues in my mind. While A2DP is (finally) there, it sucks! With my marantz BT receiver, it constantly cuts out (sounds like a skipping record). Now, keep in mind, I stream music from 3 different sources aside from the PB to this stereo (including BB phones for years), and have never heard it do that...not once!! It is un-useable. I also have a stereo in the workshop with a BB bluetooth receiver. It seems to be more stable there...but IT HAS NO VOLUME CONTROL!!! A RIM PB to a RIM gateway and it doesn't have volume?? Are you kidding me. Fail. The browser, I still like it, but it is still buggy. I expect it to crash about once for every hour of browsing. Crazy. Apps...yup, still a giant fail. The android thing is nothing short of a disaster. You want apps for a tablet, get something other than a PB, it's that easy. The file manager is terrible. beta. fail. The bridge, well, here is where they finally hit the nail on the head. I find the data transfer actually quite fast (and free !!) They did a really, really good job here and it really separates the PB from everything else. I travel a lot and I love this feature. The native email has decent functionality (although not great). I wish they added all that functionality to the bridge email, but oh well.
So, to me, I am thinking, I hate to admit it, but the critics are right...this thing is a total flop. So, I'm flying home yesterday, and, yup, left my PB in the seat pocket in front of me (dope). I am PISSED. I start to think about what it means...all my data (didn't have PW protect enabled). Oh boy. Then, I start thinking about how much I use it. I definitely need to have a tablet...I love having a tablet. But, what will I buy...Ipad3? Android? Another PB? I start to do some math...I need to have cellular data...that means for an Ipad I'm looking at $680 + $30/month! So, for two years, I'm looking at a $1,400!!! Compared to $250 + $0/month for a PB. The PB is not perfect. Far from it. But it is a really cool little web browser with pretty functional email capabilities and very slick (and unique) communications with my phone (and FREE cellular data!). That, alone, is worth the $250 imo. So, will I buy another PB?? NOPE! why? well, they actually have mine at the airport lost and found, and I can't wait to go pick it up
- 04-05-12, 02:34 PM #2
You don't "need" a data plan for an iPad. You can create a hotspot with your cellular phone and let your iPad use the data connection. That's how I use my iPad3. While it is easier to use Internet via Bluetooth/Bridge on a PB, the cries that you need data for iPad2 and iPad3 are unfounded defenses of the PB.
- 04-05-12, 02:49 PM #4
I'm on Sprint and pay $40/month for service. Adding the hotspot adds another $30/month.
In the U.S., unless you've rooted your Android device or jailbroke your iPhone, you might be able to use a free hotspot app and hope the carriers don't detect it, at which time they either ask you to enroll or automatically do it for you.
- 04-05-12, 03:02 PM #5
I agree. I've had my Playbook for a little over a month and I really only use it to surf the web on the couch. I bridge my phone to it, so I dont have to keep picking up my phone but thats about it.
I have several Android apps sideloaded, but the player is so buggy, that I dont use them often.
Im a little disappointed, but because I only paid $199 no tax, im not too upset.
I was looking for an extension of my phone. My blackberry is limited with apps, but thats okay because I like that it works as an actual phone.
The Android player sold me, but its been pretty disappointing so far.
If Apple releases a 7" iPad for under $300, i would probably buy that.
- 04-05-12, 03:07 PM #6
I agree that there are many flaws...
but there are A LOT of apps that you can get. I spent an hour looking through the App World 'Utilities' yesterday and found some pretty cool things to test the PBs functioning and ability. You also have to remember that because the browser is very good you can do A LOT of things with it that you think you would need apps for.
Do you want to watch videos off of a sports site? use the browser
Do you want to play lots of games? use the browser on any site that has flash games
Do you want to use RDP or Cloud sites? USE THE BROWSER!
I agree 100% that you can also use hotspot with the iPad (although you may be charged in certain places), but if we want to be 100% honest then we also have to admit that the 'no apps' argument is not really what people are making it out to be. YES there are A LOT of apps missing, but 'for every door that closes, another one opens'... there are also JUST AS MANY, or more, apps that arent needed due to the browser. Your computer doesnt have apps for everything...
- 04-05-12, 03:11 PM #7
any new or popular apps amongst other platforms aren't usually available to Playbook.
i just hate that there are only 3 tablet platforms out and developers are only making apps for 2 of them.
- 04-05-12, 03:21 PM #9
People have to stop being in the I DONT HAVE mindset and start getting into the THIS WORKS mindset.
You can use Facebook Chat through the browser... Facebook is the most popular site around, so it stands to reason that if your friend wants to talk with you they can do it through that. PB doesnt have Skype and that really sucks, we cannot deny that. But look for alternatives.
There is no Netflix app... I looked for an alternative and i found a site that i now use so much that I have put my netflix subscription on hold. (That means that the FLAW of having no apps on the PB is now saving me $8 a month!) Why should i pay $8 a month for a very limited selection when I can get all the videos I want online? You said that many popular apps arent on the PB, while many popular tv shows/movies arent on netflix but EVERYONE wants netfilx.
Did you miss a tv episode last night? YOU WONT find that on netflix... but you will through the PB browser
There are always positives and negatives about every situation. I wish the positives were a heavy winner when discussing the PB, but they arent... but I also believe that one of the positives of the PB is the browser, and through that the 'negative' of the 'NO APPS' is negated and becomes a non issue. It isnt perfect, but it also isnt BROKEN in the sense that we have NOTHING.
- 04-05-12, 03:26 PM #11
I personally dont use Facebook or Netflix so there is no real benefit.
Im thinking more about cross-platform apps like Temple Run, Instagram, Draw Something, Words/Scramble/Hanging with Friends, etc... even a native Twitter app would be nice.
I do enjoy the browser though, and 90% of my Playbooks use is browsing the web.
- 04-05-12, 03:30 PM #13
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i'm with shemaree. all you guys on here that are just die-hards/rose-colored glasses/RIMaholics/etc, you're missing the point. you're trying to argue the bugs don't matter--they DO; you're trying to argue that the year long wait for a functional OS doesn't matter--it does; you're trying to argue the total lack of apps doesn't matter--it does.
but, the point is, with all that said, the PB is what it is, and that is a lot less than a lot of other tablets, but it has some unique features for BB owners and, well, it costs a lot less than a lot of other tablets. the bottom line is that for what it is and what it costs, it is a pretty neat product, even if it is not even close to being the ipad killer we all wanted it to be.
- 04-05-12, 03:32 PM #15
I agree 100% with you that some improvements need to be made... but I dont think it is fair to say "NO APPS" because I have had ZERO problem using my playbook and I use all native apps except for 3 (FreeNote, MoonReader and Winamp) but those 3 are not because there is no alternative in the PB APP WORLD, it is because i really like those apps and if they became available I would buy them. If they WERENT available then i can use the various native apps I already have on my PB to do the exact same things (just like i use dropbox.com instead of the dropbox android app i have installed).
- 04-05-12, 03:36 PM #17
My phone is already pretty limited when it comes to apps, so I felt that the Playbook would provide more multimedia and entertainment. Why would I NOT wanna play games on a 7" tablet? Whats wrong with wanting to do that?
Is the tablet supposed to be only for business use?
I think a better combo for me would be a Bold 9930 and an iPad/Galaxy Tab
And im not putting down the Playbook. I enjoy it for what it can do, I was just listing my disappointments and frustrations.
- 04-05-12, 03:39 PM #18
- 04-05-12, 03:41 PM #20
I couldnt agree more about bugs and the wait for OS 2. I made that very clear by saying that there are a lot of negatives about the PB... but i think that people are focusing a lot on the negatives and not even mentioning the positives.
Ill give an example (and please take it ONLY as that and not as anything to siderail the discussion) the new iPad does not work with 4G networks outside of North America, yet, because of all the other COOL things it can do, and because of the 'power of apple' i dont know a single person who heard about this story in my circle of friends. Is that not a much bigger flaw then not having Netflix or Skype? Sure, you can use wifi... but then that is the same reasoning as me saying you can use flash sites to replace Netflix or the lack of game apps. If it is OK that the 4G doesnt work on the iPad even though that was one of the main selling features then how is it SUCH A WASTE that the PB doesnt have a handful of popular apps?
Im sorry, I just really don't see the argument making any sense.
People say MACs ARE AWESOME... but I cant play any of the games I want on a MAC, that isnt a problem... so why is it not a problem on a $2 000 COMPUTER but it is a MAJOR flaw on a $300 tablet?
(Agian, I am using iPad and Mac because they are examples I KNOW and THAT ARE RELEVANT... nothing more)
- 04-05-12, 03:43 PM #21
I have a little over 20 sideloaded apps and daily the player stops repsonding or wont launch an app until i restart the Playbook.
This has happened to a lot of people. There are many threads:
Android Player crash
Android Player.. Should be an option!
- 04-05-12, 03:44 PM #22
(im not sure if this discussion is considered off topic or not... we are discussing the things brought up in the main post... but if it is getting 'off topic' then just let us know)
- 04-05-12, 03:47 PM #23
I have NO IDEA why that is, and im not saying it is the other peoples fault that their devices are crashing... i just know that the apps i have side-loaded have not caused anything but a few crashes, and they have all worked without reboots on first run.
- 04-05-12, 03:52 PM #24
Sideloading is easy, but its a hassle to me.
Yes, there are some great Native apps, but not many that IM particularly interested in ( thumbs up to Sketch w Friends though, that app is AWESOME! )
In the beginning, I just assumed that having the Android app player would allow access to all or most Android apps. I thought there would be sooo many Android apps to choose from in App World and most developers would gladly port them over.
Because this isnt the case, im just really disappointed. thats all.