The embargo on BlackBerry PlayBook reviews has been lifted ahead of its release next week.
Here’s a look at what the reviewers are saying:
New York Times
Remember, the primary competition is an — the same price, but much thinner, much bigger screen and a library of 300,000 apps. In that light, does it make sense to buy a fledgling tablet with no built-in e-mail or calendar, no cellular connection, no videochat, Skype, no Notes app, no GPS app, no videochat, no Pandora radio and no Angry Birds?
You should also know that even now, only days before the PlayBook goes on sale April 19, the software is buggy and still undergoing feverish daily revision. And the all-important BlackBerry Bridge feature is still in beta testing. It’s missing important features, like the ability to view e-mail file attachments or click a link in an e-mail.
Is the PlayBook comparable to the ? No. Between the (lack of) app support and the wonky web browsing, there’s just no way around that fact. But RIM was smart to make the PlayBook a completely different form factor and give it BlackBerry Bridge to appeal to corporate users. So in that regard, there could be significant interest in this device.
Wall Street Journal
Unless you are constantly glued to a BlackBerry phone, or do all your email, contacts and calendar tasks via a browser, I recommend waiting on the PlayBook until more independently usable versions with the promised additions are available.
It’s a well-constructed device with great media-viewing capabilities, solid hardware specs and a price on par with the current tablet market. But with serious gaps in key areas like app selection and Flash stability, you may want to think twice before picking one up.
I don’t think anyone should buy it right now—BlackBerry user or otherwise—for at least a few months, to see if the platform has enough legs to carry itself to where it needs to be. If the apps do arrive to fill in the gaps, then the PlayBook is totally going to be a tablet to check out. The foundation is solid—I can’t wait to see the first phones running this software—it just needs some stuff built on top of it before you can decide whether or not you should move in.
So, what we see at the moment is a framework with solid fundamentals but a framework that is, right now, unfinished. We have hardware that looks and feels great but isn’t being fully served by the software. And, ultimately, we have a tablet that’s trying really hard to please the enterprise set but, in doing so, seems to be alienating casual users who might just want a really great seven-inch tablet. Oh, and don’t forget that bummer of a power button.