4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook Review


"Everything is just a bit faster on the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook"

4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook
By Bla1ze on 20 Aug 2012 01:25 pm EDT

Design: The 4G LTE PlayBook is still a great looking tablet in my book. It's solid all around with no excess and keeps true to great BlackBerry design. Feel: I still love the feel and form of the 4G PlayBook. It's identical to the Wi-Fi version and the 7" size is perfect for a tablet. 8 out of 10
Performance: The 4G LTE PlayBook is noticeably faster than the Wi-Fi version. The added processing power gives it much welcomed extra kick. Quality: This is a well-built device - no question. It's solid all around and doesn't feel cheap in any areas.

The Video - 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook Unboxing

The ritual unboxing of the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook.

YouTube Link (expand video for full view)

The Good

The upgraded processor and LTE are nice additions and add to the overall PlayBook experience. Everything just seems to work more fluidly vs. the Wi-Fi version.

The Bad

If you already have a BlackBerry PlayBook Wi-Fi, there is very little incentive to move to the 4G LTE version. The price and hit in battery life alone will keep folks away.


RIM's ecosystem isn't huge and it doesn't have as many apps available as Android or iOS but there is more to buying a tablet than just games and apps. The experience as a whole has to be considered and for what the 4G LTE PlayBook offers it's an option that shouldn't be dismissed.

4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook Technical Specifications and Features

4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook

If you're not familiar with what the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook is packing for heat, here's the quick recap of its key features and specs:

  • 7" LCD, 1024 x 600, WSVGA, capacitive touch screen with full multi-touch and gesture support
  • BlackBerry Tablet OS with support for symmetric multiprocessing
  • 1.5 GHz dual-core processor (TI OMAP 4460), w/ GPU
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Memory: Available in 32GB version only.
  • 4800mAh battery
  • Dual HD cameras (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing), supports 1080p HD video recording
  • Video playback: 1080p HD Video, H.264, MPEG, DivX, WMV
  • Audio playback: MP3, AAC, WMA (Full list here)
  • HDMI video output
  • Wi-Fi - 802.11 a/b/g/n / LTE (700, 1700 MHz), HSPA+ (2100, 1900, 1700, 800, 900 MHz)
  • Bluetooth 3.1 with support of the following Bluetooth profiles: Dial-Up Networking (DUN) Serial Port Profile (SPP) Secure Simple Pairing (SSP) Human Interface Device (HID) (keyboard only)
  • Connectors: microHDMI, microUSB, charging contacts
  • Digital compass (magnetometer), GPS
  • Open, flexible application platform with support for WebKit/HTML-5, Adobe Flash Player 11.2, Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Reader, POSIX, OpenGL, Java
  • Ultra thin and portable:
    • Measures 5.1"x7.6"x0.4" (130mm x 194mm x 10mm)
    • Weighs less than a pound (approximately 0.9 lb or 425g)
4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook

4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook Hardware Impressions 

At first glance, not much has changed.

When the original BlackBerry PlayBook came out, it was fairly easy to fall in love with the hardware. It's a beautiful piece of equipment and that remains true for the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook as well. When you first look at the 4G LTE PlayBook, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference from the Wi-Fi version and in this case, that's a good thing.

Everything great about the original PlayBook has made it's way here. And some stuff that wasn't so great about the original PlayBook has been addressed. Yes, the power button hoopla has been addressed. In fact, it was addressed long ago.

Appearance, Form Factor, Build Quality

Minor changes most folks may miss.

As noted above, RIM did keep everything great about the BlackBerry PlayBook Wi-Fi and put it into the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook but they also had to and saw fit to change some stuff around. If you're upgrading from a BlackBerry PlayBook Wi-Fi to a 4G LTE PlayBook, it's nothing to be concerned about though. Accessories and all that will still play nicely

As you can see, the label has been expanded on the bottom to better properly identify the device. Instead of just the size designation, you now have that LTE badging there. In addition to that, and what I assume is some sort of FCC requirement, the serial number and other device identifying properties have been moved around. Nothing huge.

You'll also notice when looking at the charging plugs on the bottom, they've changed those. Rather then being concave like they are on the BlackBerry PlayBook Wi-Fi, they now stick straight out. I'm not aware of any issues when using the BlackBerry Charging Pod for the BlackBerry PlayBook but I can see how the changes might help when using that. Seems it may allow for better contact with the plugs on the charging pod ensuring maximum charging.

4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook SIM Slot

The other obvious and necessary change comes by way of the addition of a microSIM card slot. You'll find it on the bottom of the device and it blends in rather well, all things considered. The microSIM tray slides out with ease and the microSIM fits in there just perfectly fine. If you managed to put the SIM in your BlackBerry or have ever taken it out, it should only take you a few seconds to note the cut off corner and properly place the microSIM in there properly. If you're having issues though, no matter. Here's a video to help guide you.

4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook

As for build quality, the 4G LTE PlayBook seems on par with the BlackBerry PlayBook Wi-Fi. I personally never had any issues with my Wi-Fi version such as dead pixels, lowered power buttons or well, anything really. Same for the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook. Out of the box it looks great, feels solid, has no loose parts and no dead pixels. All good. That said; I'm certainly not making any promises there aren't a few lemons out there. It's a given a few will show up.

The 4G LTE PlayBook is physically designed for how I want to use a tablet.

I have accumulated a lot of tablets over my time, a Motorola XOOM, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, a new iPad and most recently a Nexus 7 but none of them feel as good to hold in the hands as the BlackBerry PlayBook. There is just something about the way a BlackBerry PlayBook feels in the hands.

The Nexus 7 comes close, but the out of the box portrait set-up of it hinders that feeling. Sure, it can be changed, but why should I have to change the LCD density on my tablet to make it behave how I expect when the PlayBook just comes that way?

Overall the form factor is great, though I do personally take some issues with browsing the web. It's not only a PlayBook issue either; it's pretty much any 7-inch tablet. I constantly feel as though I'm not seeing enough on the screen and have to scroll down numerous times to see all the content I want to see.

Flipping over to portrait helps some of this but alas, that also creates some formatting issues on some sites as well. Again, not PlayBook specific and I know not everyone feels that way but it something to keep in mind when going for any tablet that is 7-Inches.

4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook OS 

The OS has grown plenty since the original PlayBook release.

Unlike the original BlackBerry PlayBook Wi-Fi when it was released, the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook comes loaded with most of the essential tools you'd expect. Calendar, Email, Contacts, Messages, Video Chat. Sadly, native BBM is still missing but BlackBerry Bridge is there to help with that.

BlackBerry PlayBook Integrated Features

While BlackBerry users never really had a problem with the things that were missing, many others did and they can't pull the same jokes with the release of the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook as they did with the BlackBerry PlayBook Wi-Fi. Yeah, RIM -- the company who pioneered email -- shipped native email on the BlackBerry PlayBook ... finally. Move along.

We were hoping the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook would launch with OS 2.1 and all the additional goodies it will bring, that didn't happen for whatever reason. Instead, it launched with OS We'll forgive RIM in this case, because we know that OS 2.1 is well under development and will be released soon enough.

Fact is that RIM is at even higher builds now than what they delivered to developers to test out only a few days ago. Plus, all versions of the BlackBerry PlayBook will eventually be upgraded to BlackBerry 10 as well and that's a good thing to know if you're considering the longevity of your purchase.

HTML5 tests

One stand out difference on the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook vs. BlackBerry PlayBook Wi-Fi is the browser performance. As noted, RIM opted to go with OS for the OS but that's not even the best OS for browsing performance they have. The best OS they have is and it scores rather high across the board with the HTML5 test.

As you see above, comes in at 373 with 9 bonus points but in testing, it actually comes in at 393 with 9 bonus points. The HTML5 test isn't the be all end all though so we put the iPad, Nexus 7 and 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook against each other in the Sunspider 0.9.1 java test as well. The 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook took that one as well:

  • iPad -  1847.7ms
  • Nexus 7 - 1728.9ms
  • 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook - 1461.4ms

The lower the score, the better it is. Are the tests definitive? Not at all but they certainly show the BlackBerry PlayBook excelling in the browser area and even more so on the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook when combined with that 1.5GHz TI OMAP 4460 processor.

4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook Processor

To non-tech nerds, this image means nothing. Translated though, it means speed increase.

The original BlackBerry PlayBook Wi-Fi shipped with a TI OMAP 4430 Dual-Core processor clocked at 1GHz. The BlackBerry PlayBook 4G LTE however took it a couple steps further and introduced a TI OMAP 4460 Dual-Core processor clocked at 1.5GHz. Rightfully, the question upon hearing that news was always "Will it be faster?".

We put it to the test in the videos below and overall, when all things are considered it certainly does help a bit. To say the difference is overwhelming wouldn't be accurate but side-by-side there is a difference. Apps install faster, the 4G LTE PlayBook reboots faster, the browser renders pages faster -- everything is just slightly a bit faster.

The problem with saying that though is that different people have different needs. Not everyone cares if an app opens up 3 seconds faster. Not everyone cares if the web pages load 3 seconds faster. Not everyone cares if they have to wait a minute longer for their device to reboot. Heck, some people may not even notice it happening unless it was directly pointed out to them. The change is notable, not significant.

When I did the processor tests for the BlackBerry PlayBook Wi-Fi vs. 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook, a lot of people had concerns with such things as the Wi-Fi wasn't fully charged and that I should have done a Wi-Fi vs. Wi-Fi test to see if there was going to be any difference there.

After reading the comments, I took the suggestions and tested them out. Unsurprisingly to me, there was no difference. The 4G LTE PlayBook still had the advantage in all situations it did in the video above. Exact same OS loaded, exact same charge in both, exact same webpages loaded after clearing cache's and local storage files. Exact same results.

Whatever RIM did to the 4G LTE PlayBook, it has the advantage. Whether that lies in the processor or somewhere in the OS itself. Point blank, if those extra seconds mean all the difference to you and you're thinking about buying the 4G LTE PlayBook or upgrading from the BlackBerry PlayBook Wi-Fi -- do it.

4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook Touch Screen Display

4G LTE PlayBook on top. image intentionally dark.

In my testing of the 4G LTE PlayBook at night in bed reading, I happened to notice some slight differences between the two displays that I really can't explain. The 4G LTE PlayBook is confirmed to be using the exact same display as the original BlackBerry PlayBook Wi-Fi, but as you can see above, the 4G LTE version on top does seem to display things a little warmer.

I'd likely have never noticed it if it wasn't for having them both available to compare but there is a difference. Problem with this situation is that you can never tell if it's a defect, on purpose or like in the case of some Apple devices, a problem that will go away over time. Until the 4G LTE PlayBook gets into more hands, it's hard to say.

4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook Battery Life 

I knew going into this, it wasn't going to fair well.

LTE is great! That is, until it comes to battery life. I knew going into this the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook was gonna lose the battery battle. It's working on a smaller 4300mAh battery vs. the 5300mAh in the BlackBerry PlayBook Wi-Fi. I'm sure RIM did this to save space inside for the LTE radio but it's something you're really going to have to take into account.

To set it all up: Both devices are running OS, both charged to 100 percent. Both with their displays set to 50 percent. The LTE PlayBook was set to LTE. The Wi-Fi PlayBook set to Wi-Fi. With Battery Guru installed to monitor it all, open up the browser and head to Infinitelooper and loop Gangnam Style for hours on end.

Result: The 4G LTE PlayBook choked out at around 3 hours and 45 mins, while the BlackBerry PlayBook Wi-Fi kept chugging along for another 2 hours and 40 mins.

4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook

BlackBerry PlayBook Wi-Fi

Keeping in mind that was over LTE and Wi-Fi I then began the exact same testing using Wi-Fi vs. Wi-Fi. The results that time around faired a little better for the 4G LTE version as both tablets reached around 6 hours and some odd minutes.

Only one other item to check after Wi-Fi and LTE. Again, same settings all in place I started the process of testing just HSPA+ against the Wi-Fi only version. This is the part that kind of baffles me, even though I wasn't use LTE but instead using HSPA+ the 4G LTE PlayBook still gave around 4 hours while the W-Fi version again, chugged along.

Conclusion: If you're sole use is going to be Wi-Fi, you really shouldn't see much difference. But if you're going to be making use of LTE/HSPA+ be prepared to charge your PlayBook quite a bit. LTE and HSPA+ are battery hungry, it's just that simple.

Some fun info, the 4G LTE PlayBook appears to use a lower volted, higher power consuming battery then that of the PlayBook Wi-Fi according to Battery Guru.

Connectivity, 4G LTE, GPS 

Fast like..woah!

The biggest draw for the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook is well, the 4G LTE. And it works amazingly well. Testing it out in Halifax on Rogers, which is newly crowned LTE territory for Rogers, was great. Speeds blew past my paltry cable connection and consistently hit well into 40Mbps or if you prefer the other way to look at it, 5MB/s.


Uploads were also consistent though not as great, sitting around that 1Mbps mark. That seems pretty standard across carriers. Give you fast downloads, not so fast uploads. Even my TELUS 4G LTE account was the same when I tested it on the 4G LTE PlayBook.




If HSPA+ is what you'll be attached to more often than not due to your carrier coverage, you don't have much to worry about there either -- the 4G LTE PlayBook handles it all like a champ. My Rogers HSPA+ coverage is great but depending on your coverage you should see speeds around 4-5Mbps down with those glorious 56KB/s upload speeds up. It's only bad when you compare it to LTE and again, your carrier coverage plays a huge factor here.

Generally speaking, I don't think the speed tests should really be used for speed comparisons but rather a determination on how whether or not RIM has the LTE radio chops like they did on GSM. Overall, given this is the first LTE device from RIM, I'd say they have the LTE Radios down pat already. By the time a BlackBerry 10 device comes out, they'll be rockin.

To round out the rest of the stuff under connectivity, most of it remains unchanged really. GPS is there, Bluetooth is there and Wi-Fi of course. GPS in my testing has improved, read on below for more details:

Bluetooth: Some interesting notes under the Bluetooth section though, RIM has the device registered as having Bluetooth 3.1 although, that doesn't seem to be a standard protocol. A lot of devices are noted to have Bluetooth 3.1 but the Bluetooth Special Interest Group hasn't set a standard for it. In any case, the profiles most folks use are there and work fine as kind in my testing.

GPS:  If you've used GPS on the BlackBerry PlayBook Wi-Fi then you already know it's not the greatest. It takes forever to spin up and when it does, unless you're outside on a sunny day without a cloud in the sky it's pretty much useless. That's been my experience with it, others may argue. The 4G LTE PlayBook though has been a very clear different story for me. Using the included Bing maps on my patio, pinpoints me right to my building. Straying outside of Bing maps I decided to download GPS test from BlackBerry App World to give it a go in comparison to my PlayBook Wi-Fi. GPS tester ended up pulling up the coordinates faster on the 4G LTE PlayBook then on the PlayBook Wi-Fi hands down.

Wi-Fi:  If you were to look in the CrackBerry PlayBook forums to find people having issues with Wi-Fi on their PlayBooks you would find several threads. In my personal experience with both the Wi-Fi version and 4G LTE version of the BlackBerry PlayBook I've never had any issues. It just works for me. I don't doubt some folks have issues with different routers and such but none here to complain about.

NFC: This is is rather interesting. Numerous leaks leading up to the release of the 4G LTE PlayBook showed it as having NFC. When the LTE version arrived, documentation from carriers even showed support for it. Alas, it is there. The hardware supports it you just can't make use of it because RIM never turned it on in the OS. Will they eventually? Probably. When will that be? BlackBerry 10 I'm guessing. Until then it's a moot point.

4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook Cameras/Video Recording 

Still the same camera, meaning it takes fairly decent images.

Nothing has changed on the camera and video front. In other words, the camera takes fairly decent photos and under the right conditions, really great video. As Kevin always says, with the BlackBerry PlayBook you don't have to feel like as much of a tool should you want to take it out of your coat pocket and snap a pic or capture a video. Trust me, you don't want to be one of these people.

This is a sample video shot with my BlackBerry PlayBook Wi-Fi from Orlando, Florida. It was only shot in 720p although the PlayBook is capable of 1080p. You can expect the same from the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook.

Head to Head with the Competition 

Comparsion ChartComparsion ChartComparsion Chart

When it comes to comparing the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook to other LTE enabled tablets on the market, you have quite a task on your hands. Most LTE tablets are assigned to a carrier be it Rogers, TELUS, Bell, Verizon, AT&T and whoever else you can possibly think of and while some offer to subsidize the pricing others don't. Looking around, here's what you'll find in terms of pricing:

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE (16GB) - $650 - No contract, $300 - with contract (Bell, Rogers)
  • Apple iPad LTE 32GB - $730 - (Carriers don't subsidize iPad pricing)
  • DROID XYBOARD 10.1 32GB - $630 - No contract (Verizon)
  • DROID XYBOARD 8.2 32GB - $530 - No contract (Verizon)
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 32GB - $630 - No contract (Verizon)
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.0 7-Inch - $350 - No  contract (Verizon) / 8GB internal but its expandable to 64GB
  • HTC Jetstream - $550 - No contract - (AT&T)

No doubt you'll find more if you start looking harder considering the amount of Android tablets that are out there but they're not the latest and greatest and some I personally wouldn't even give the time of day. Heck, even some above aren't really worth what you'd be paying given how long they've been on the market and their potential upgrade paths. The only Android tablet I would consider purchasing is a Nexus 7 and it doesn't have LTE nor 32GB of storage.

The iPad is a great option but coming in a couple hundred dollars more than anything else may make it a non-starter for some folks out there and understandably so. That's not to say the 4G LTE PlayBook is cheap either. it's a car payment, rent or mortgage payment, groceries in the fridge. No matter how you look at it $550 is a lot to lay down on a tablet that will just diminish in value over time.

I leave the value proposition of the 4G LTE PlayBook in your capable hands and suggest that if you're looking to buy a tablet, buy what fits your needs or whatever you perceive to be the best value. After all, it's your money and you who is using it. You'll have to decide which ecosystem you want to invest in, how much it will cost you, which one has the stuff you need and want to use. 

4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook Accessories

BlackBerry Mini Keyboard

After you get your 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook up and running you'll certainly want to grab some accessories to go along with it. If you're already a BlackBerry PlayBook Wi-Fi owner all of your previous accessories will work but, you can always grab some of that non-transferrable stuff or just pick up something special for your new tablet. At ShopCrackBerry.com we have just what you need - from cases to chargers to batteries and more. We get new items in stock every day, so if you don't see what you want now, just check back later. And with great international shipping options, you can get accessories almost anywhere in the world within a few days.

Shop all 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook Accessories  

4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook Pros / Cons


  • 4G LTE / HSPA+
  • Faster Processor
  • Improved GPS
  • Upgradeable to BlackBerry 10


  • Less than stellar battery life
  • Additional data plan recommended
  • Can't be used as a HotSpot
  • Costly upgrade

The Bottom Line

I thought for a very long time on how to close out this review. Reason being, anyone who knows me knows I often switch devices. I do use an iPhone, I do use a Samsung Galaxy Note, I do use a Samsung Galaxy Nexus and I do use a BlackBerry Bold 9900. Looking at that device list, you'll notice one singular thing that is common about all of them.

They offer me the chance to use any of them as a wireless HotSpot, meaning I can turn that functionality on and can connect my BlackBerry PlayBook Wi-Fi to them at any point for either a HSPA+ or LTE connection depending on the device.

In my case, there is no justification for me to pick up a 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook because I can do what it does already connection wise with my current devices. The incentives are reduced at that point to 'Do I want a BlackBerry PlayBook with a 1.5GHz processor?' In which case, for the cost of it -- no I don't. That said, I'm not the average consumer. I'm a tech whore and I don't fit average and not everyone has numerous tablets and numerous other phones available to them.

For folks who already have a BlackBerry PlayBook Wi-Fi or are thinking about picking up a 4G LTE PlayBook, the choice is tougher. Yes, you'll get 4G LTE and the faster processor but you'll be paying for it. Whether you go with a contract and data plan or you go out and buy it off contract, there will be a rather significant amount of money spent.

Taking a step back and trying to envision myself as just a regular customer with some technological knowledge, the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook is a great option over some of the other tablets out there. Sure, RIM's ecosystem isn't huge and it doesn't have as many apps available as Android or iOS but there is more to buying a tablet than just games and apps. The experience as a whole has to be considered and for what the 4G LTE PlayBook offers at its price point, it's an option that shouldn't be dismissed.


4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook Links 

More 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook News
4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook Forums
Shop 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook Accessories 

Reader comments

4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook Review


sweet device IMO!

On the other hand:
-took way too long to bring to market (14mo?)
-because of such timing, autofocus rear camera would have been appreciated.
-screen resolution is now mid/low end, unfortunately.
-why only 32gb? Maybe a 32gb + SD upgrade around the corner?

* i have to be honest, some of the complaints here are purely 'on paper'. My PB resolution is fine as is. Also, I took my PB to Europe as my sole camera device, and boy are the picture great. Not sure if its the perfect color saturation/software/screen combo, but the pics I took look simply amazing, though they were not closeups so no need for AF.

oh blaze, thanks for the unbiased review.

A certain curve 9310 was reviewed a week or two ago, and was scored at 8/10 too, a total joke by any standard. B, you bring objective credibility to this fan site.

I wish he wouldve explained if the lte antenna was from the RF company RIM recently purchased. If it is from what I've been hearing this could be a world tablet that can be used on European networks. This is something I would like to know along with any info on a variety of colors like it was shown before the PlayBook was released. FACT: I've seen a couple white PlayBooks in west Tokyo.

You sir are wrong. Your thinking is wrong. If everyone thinks the same way as you are thinking, then the Volkswagen GTI wouldn't have been the car of the year for several consecutive years, competing even against supercars...


If phones are becoming hotspots and carriers are stoppping tablet subsidies.


RIM messed this up just like they messed up Bridge.

And Im a huggggge RIM fan, going back 10 years, and own a PB ($500). But I was so upset with the half-ass, give ATT the bridge the day before the release and then have (i think i had) 3 days of bridge brower before it was blocked.

Seeing RIM supposedly talk to the carriers about BB10 is so refreshing. I just think this 4g PB is bad news.

RIM, everyone (apple and android people)complained you didnt have a 4G model. Is that why you made one?
As a shareholder, Im praying not.

This review misses a serious discussion of one important matter: screen size. Why didn't RIM upgrade the 1040x600 screen size to 1280x720 or something more competitive, especially when BB10 is much smaller with a better screen?

The review should have had a section on this matter with some thoughts or explanations. To my mind this is one of the main drawbacks of this iteration of the PB. I would have liked to have heard an argument for why this should not be considered a big deal.

You are assuming that he is actually using lte or 4g to read this. When a wifi connection is available it automatically switches over to wifi from cellular service.

Awesome review! I'm pretty sad that NFC isn't enabled by default in the device. I understand why, they're still fleshing out the APIs. But we always had the PlayBook 4G in mind when we were developing our prototype at taab. Due to timing, we had to go with the Nexus 7.

Looking forward to having one in my hands!

Founder of Pulsecode Engineering and taab

Vote for us in the MintChip Challenge!

i will stay with my 32GB wifi PlayBook not worth for upgrading to 4G and also to Nexus 7" 16GB the biggest storage its really small for me. for lite user maybe ok but not mine :p

Awesome... love all the green tick marks against it. i hope i can get 1.


BB 9780 white os 6

BB Playbook 32gb os

I'll probably wait for a few months before buying the PB 4G; prices go down and RIM might fixed the hardware issues as they optimize production.

I admit that I'm deeply entrenched in the QNX Ecosystem and switching to iPad/Android would be costly. So RIM now owns me for Tablets XD.

Great review!
But anyways i will keep my Wifi version, since i don't use 3G/4G and i can tether the GSM connection from my phone to my PB.

I managed to update my PB64 to the in the 1-2 days RIM had it up. It is noticeably faster, especially the GPS. Imagine it is the .668 that made the difference. Too bad there is an issue that RIM took off that update for the Wi-Fi device.

Got second PB16 last weekend. Since I can't upgrade to the .668, I upgraded it to the beta. It runs awesome and stable. No problem whatsoever. I get portrait mode in the email. Get seperate window for the Android app. If there is not enough RAM, Android app stays black. Go shut down some other tasks, the Android app starts up.

I am quite impressed by the unified email and auto-sync of Google contacts and calendar. The quick swipe user interface to get you different task and places quickly.

I say for the price, the Playbook is absolutely the best tablet in the market. Just somehow need to reeducate the consumer. :)

It is interesting to see that it has nfc. Can anyone say whether or not the os 2.1 has nfc support? Or perhaps someone would be willing to try sideloading the Dev Alpha os to see if it is at all functional?

Also, quite curious as to why there is no ability to use this as a hospital, as such technology is already in os 7 devices

I loaded the 2.1 beta on the 4G LTE after I was done all my testing, never made a difference. *shrug*

Bla1ze - thanks for a great review. I can see why you took your time for this and didn't rush it out.

Did you do anything special to get 2.1 beta on your LTE PB? Just curious as my machine won't get the update.


I think I'm going to connect my old WiFi PB to my TV and use it for YouTube, surfing, etc and get a new LTE model for everyday use.

...that's exactly what I'm doing...and using my 9860 as the remote control....the Wi Fi model will soon be delegated to control things in the 'man cave' and I will get a 64GB to operate the home theatre....the LTE will be set up with my BB keyboard and case for work...

BlackBerry Torch 9860 BBOS7.1
BlackBerry PlayBook 32GB Wi Fi O/S 2.xx.xxxx
BlackBerry PlayBook 4G LTE O/S 2.xx.xxxx

"No matter how you look at it $550 is a lot to lay down on a tablet that will just diminish in value over time."

 Depending on carrier and contract, should said carrier offer one. Majority don't and "no contract" price is $550.

I don't get it... The 32G Wi-Fi PB is still available for $250 or less. Throw in $50 for the extra 0.5 GHz on the CPU, that's $300. Add another $50 for the LTE (it still needs a data plan), $350. That's what I think The New PlayBook is worth. Will it sell for more? I doubt it, especially with the upcoming BB10 smartphones and keeping in mind that the "old PB" is upgradable to BB10.

I was really hoping the video chat wifi requirement would be lifted given LTE strength but NOOOOOO.
Bummed me right out!!

Otherwise, I'm LOVING my LTE. I'm finding things to watch just to make use of my new data plan.

The faster, zippiness is a definate plus.
I love how it defaults to a saved wifi connection without prompt. (this will end a video chat session though)

I do hope BB10 for PB will bring wifi hotspot so I can make use of the LTE speeds rather than H+ which is by no means slow, just......it's not the best.
Course, that's a moot point as BB10 device will be LTE and I'm sure will have wifi hotspot sooooooooo....

I didnt see anywhere in the review that wifi was needed for some apps (eg video chat). Does that mean that I would need to be in a hotspot in order to take full advantage of the 3G playbook? What is the point in getting a faster connexion (3G) if some apps still need a slower connexion (Wifi) in order to work.

Wifi speeds depend on the router used (Wireless A/B/G/N) and the ISP's set speeds, which often are much faster than mobile data in my opinion.

Outstanding review dude, you'll never get a job with BGR if you continue to be so unbiased and objective. :D
Seriously, excellent work, I really enjoyed it.

This review is a joke.

Optically it gives crackberry users everything that they want to see... namely, how great this device is w/ all the checks.

Rocks Apps:
Angry Bird & Cut the Rope – seriously?

How does the playbook get credit for running select Android apps (the enemy on this board), when RIMM’s own ecosystem is lacking. Apple has more apps than both RIMM and Android combined – seriously?

Print to go – there’s an app, err, 10 apps for that on for android and IOS.

Flash support has been dropped for all smart phones and tablets going forward. – seriously?

For the business:

Fail – yes, businesses are falling over themselves to get playbook, that’s the joke of the day.


Actually, I never even mentioned Angry Birds or Cut the Rope. In fact, I mentioned how small RIM's ecosystem is compared to the others.

I'm pretty sure you never even read it, but instead just decided to fire off your mouth and look like a tool by attempting to argue points that even I never mentioned.

But hey, your posting track record speaks volumes anyway. In simpler terms, no one cares what you think. You're a flamebaiting troll and everyone knows it or at least that's how you're percieved through the use of your words.

There is a right way to convey your message and a wrong way.

I am so tired of people pumping up Apple's app world. Here is an article from a former Apple dev.

(at the end of the link type 02761/)
If you don't want to read it all, here is the point that I always make to others,

--Frankly, Apple may claim it has more than 500,000 apps on the App Store, but the vast majority are garbage -- counterfeits, clones, and other trash Apple doesn't seem to be willing to lift a finger to clean up.

In fact, here's my estimate. Given the 16 or so clones of my one DaysTo Christmas app, I'd guess that for every "real" app, there are something like 10-20 bad clones. Apple's 500,000 apps claim? My guess is there are probably less than 30,000 apps of anything resembling quality.--

Your own comment just proves it, why do we need 10 types of "print to go" apps when we have one that works really well.

While I agree with you that the Apple's App Store does have many clones and some low quality apps, I'm afraid you haven't had a close look at BlackBerry App World, because It is no different, there are only a handful of quality applications & games.

Infact some of the Apps available in the App World are poor Android ports, where the developers haven't even taken the time to change the user interface or experience..

I love my Playbook, but I think your post is a bit of an exaggeration, and in the end while there may be many clones or low quality applications, there are still many more high quality applications that are found on both iOS and Android App ecosystem when compared to the Playbook..

I agree and would add the following. When you see a new app you think you might like to add to your phone or tablet - chances are nearly 100% there will be a "get it on iTunes next to it". Maybe 90% it will say "available in Google Play".

I can't remember the last time I saw a new app released and next to the other 2 was "get it in App World".

Once we get selective about which apps we want to see we can all skew the results of what we're looking for. When you have ten apps on one platform doing the dame thing vs two on another platform, does that mean the one with more choices has the better app, or is it simply more diluted with more devs going after the same piece of pie? As a dev looking at BB10 going forward, which would you chose?

When you see the next "must have" app like Instagram, Flipboard etc released on BB10 first or at least simultaneously - the song changes. I said when, not if. I am an optimist.

Agreed. But if your product is sound, why not go where there's less competition and more maximization? It could be a volume thing though... Catch 22

I have looked in app world and agree there is a lot of garbage. This post, however, is not mine. The main body is from a former IOS developer.

The only joke around here is that your mommy still lets you use the computer. The reason iOS has 10 Print To Go apps is because not one of them is any good.

True, but I thought he was out on a day pass. One thing I believe is that more devs created more apps (some copycat) for the iOS platform; hence the number of Apple apps compared to BB apps.

Only via bridge (at this time) I suspect with BB10 coming, this will change
As with all PB's, the PIN is there, but is of virtually no use at present

@Bla1ze you missed one thing during the corp vs screens the android ipad and BlakcBerry can use active sync for corp email and wireless pim sync otherwise full active well done review.

Hi Bla1ze,

Yes very thorough review.

But I am flabbergasted at your last statement. I had always assumed that you could use the 4G version to make phone calls. I'm not in the market for such a device, but if I were, I think the inhability to use it as a phone would be a deal breaker.


Why would you assume a data only device could make phone calls? It uses a data only plan, and does not have voice capability. In fact I think only the ridiculous sized Samsung note has phone capacity.

With regards to lte, and it being able to carry voice over data, these require specific phones to use, and only metropcs (as far as I know) is using voice over lte and only in Dallas ft worth (announced last week).

If you are looking to make VoIP calls, the you need an app like truphone or gtalk or Skype or the multitude of others that work over data. Of course if you want data-to-landline or data-to-mobile cling there is a cost associated with that typically.

Hi flnetman62,

I don't know if your comment was directed my post, but if it is, let me just say that that information was a big surprise. I was under the impression that with the 4G LTE you could do away with your cell phone and use the PlayBook as such. I am thinking in terms of dollars and, personnally, I would not be able to afford a data plan for the PlayBook 4G AND another plan for a cell phone.

Those monthly payments come way too fast for my thin wallet...

Skype isn't available for the PlayBook. Are there other interesting VOIP app on the market? I do not know. A couple of weeks ago I added a signature to my posts. It had to do with the Dell Voice app. Maybe it was a premonition!!!


How about a Dell Voice app for the PlayBook?

I would love to get one of these but unfortunately they dont seem to exist in the Vancouver area.. i guess when they said Canada.. Vancouver wasnt included.

As far as I know they won't be available in any stores (yet anyway) and you can only get them through Bell, Rogers and Telus outlets. Of the three Telco's, only Rogers can check their system for stock availability in other stores - so I'd call Rogers first if I were you.

I bought a mobile hotspot with up to 21,x mbits max, using a cheap contract with 5GB no speed limitation I'm very happy.

BB is also wifi powered with it. Alone this is saving me 20 per month ;)
(smaller data plan is enough now)

the best is, the hotspot (ZTE MF60) keeps 5-8 hours with one 1500mAh charge.

There were times when my 9900 was discharged in that time (due to bad apps and just to much idle drain ;) )


My comments stem from the head to head comparison sales battle chart embedded in your review which I referenced in my post; thus I attributed it to you. If that's not the case, then I stand corrected.

And yes, my posting record is quite clear. I would like to see something of quality from RIMM not completely bizarre reviews of a company and products that aren't up to snuff.

The fact that the playbook has better specs than the iPad or Android means little. Android tried to win the hearts and minds with off the chart specs, people still wanted iPads. The 4G playbook is dead on arrival, why, because it's expensive (regardless of subsidies), lacks the apps (who cares if iOS has 500k of garbage, the fact is, in many cases, developers create for iOS first and go from there).

But again, anyone who dares to speak up gets shouted down...

p.s. it'll be amusing when the 50k playbook 4g users realize that they can't get BB10

If you had actually ever followed the development of this platform, you might remember RIM stating, on more then one occasion, that the PB OS is the BB10 OS. To put this as simply as I can: the BB10 Operating System is derived from the PlayBook Operating System. So saying that any PlayBook can't get the BB10 is just an inconceivably stupid statement to make. On the up side, I did get a really good laugh at your expense.

Kinda bummed about the 4G's battery life but not dissuaded from purchasing it, even if in have to get a rapid charger.

Torch 9860 & PlayBook (Life is good)

It's workable, you have to consider the testing consisted of running the device with the display on until it totally drained out. Most people aren't going to be doing that daily, non-stop.

Bla1ze I am really glad you addressed the battery life as well as you did.

I have ongoing concerns about how the new OS with LTE radios etc promising the ability to readily multi-task with apps running in real time will do with a phone sized battery.

Perhaps in the future you can use your PlayBook in a manner that might give us some clues about this.

This to me is the great unanswered question about the new BB10 OS and if they can hit that one on the nose and find a way to provide BB style battery life and do all that with LTE radios - when they build it I am sure people will come.

whoa, long review! good job guys, covers everything I need to know. personally, I'm not overly psyched over the new PlayBook, the spec bumps are minimal, just adds 4G, which I don't think I'm going to get a new data plan for. I really like the PlayBook though, so I might just grab another Wi-Fi only PB considering it is much cheaper.

Good review!

The PlayBook is being let down by its OS' dependency on AIR, the lack of APIs made available to developers and a severely lacking browser. There is more to a browser than its HTML5 score...


I had wanted this version to add to my other four PlayBooks. However, it got overhyped with NFC. I'm afraid by the time NFC gets implemented on this version, I'll have the new BB10 slab instead :(

I can only afford one at this point, and was teeter tottering between the LTE PB and the next phone. I already have the 9860 with no NFC. Looks like it'll be the next Bold at this rate. Thanks for the full review. It really helped me decide.

How long did it take for playbook to get email sans blackberry?

How delayed in BB10?

BBM on Playbook?

For the roll out of Playbook, was there any marketing behind it, was there even a single add during the Olympics where millions could see the new and improved device? There's a reason why you release a new product under the radar, you expect a certain loyal element to buy it, then when BB10 rolls around, claim that your focus is on new devices and you can't dedicate resources to it.

Didn't Starbucks (good, bad or otherwise tasting) coffee just drop support for RIMM, yeah - playbook will be killing it.

Right, good chuckle indeed xenrobia, very good chuckle indeed!

who cares.. the past is the past. RIM's learned their lesson. and you can find more at www.imore.com. Tell 'em Lynx says hi!

Starbucks.. really.. got nothing else to do with your life? Just move along troll..

The Playbook needs all new more competitive hardware and BB10.

I was considering the 4G but I have decided not to bother. Playbook is ok but it's not great and I have an iPad also anyways. Tethering works well enough.

I really hope RIM has a real Playbook 2 in 2013 but RIM needs to focus on BB10 phones now and thats ok.

I take the weaker battery with a positive spin:

My 9900 never lasted even 3/4 of the day while feeding my PlayBook its required juice for the native email. And I don't often have time in between jobs for charging.

Today (my first day working with my new Lte) both devices lasted with no need for a charge!!

Regardless of how many apps it has, it has the right ones that I need to do my daily tasks.

And like the gentleman who said his wifi will be used for YouTube, mine will be used as my wife's digital picture frame, and the occasional game of 'birds that are upset' as my 3 yr old calls it!!

Great indepth and unbiased (yes.. I felt it was) review..
They have done a good job at upgrading the PlayBook I guess with the higher end processor. And considering it was a planned 4G version of the original I am seriously not surprised that there are no out of the world change.. (Those will come with the PlayBook 2 hopefully)

Will I buy the 4G: Sadly no.. Can't really afford it when it does come to India and anyway I don't need it cos I am completely satisfied with the original version..

== Off topic: Thanks to the usual comments to all news articles ==

RIM does presently have enough on its plate with BB10 and the new phone line up to put up and in that they have done pretty good to push through the 4G PlayBook..
Though I do hope that they go in aggressively with marketing with their new lineup.. They are definitely doing it right at the moment by getting the developers interested at the moment (Yes the Dev Cons and the various tech conferences where Playbook and Dev Alpha have featured) and also they have put the developers live on screen with their experiences for others to see.. That should hopefully set up a good environment and apps by the time BB10 launches I hope..

And for those who as usual go on about how the OS suxs and there are no apps:
Initial launch::
iOS: June 29, 2007 that is 5 years, 1 month
Android: September 20, 2008 that is 3 years, 10 months
BlackBerry Tablet OS: April 19, 2011 that is 1 year, 4 months

1. So it is pretty obvious that BlackBerry Tablet OS has been here only a short time and IMO it is doing very well by the looks of it as the number of developers showing interest in recent times..
2. You need to remember when iOS came in it didn't really have much competition and Android has1000s of devices pouring into the market for better or the worse..
3. So the BlackBerry Tablet OS has lots of competition and only one device out as yet..

But I will not deny that yes "presently" it is a bit behind in the race (Reality: No one cares when the initial release was and what matters is what it is today..)
But I do see that BB10 changing all that with new devices == more Tablet OS based devices == more exposure / $$ for devs? == more apps == everyone happy?

P.S. : With more apps I do hope everyone gets it that I mean "Skype etc." (I don't really use Skype but everyone wants it.. ) and NOT "Fart Apps etc." :P
For all practical purposes the present native apps + a couple from android (pdf/ chm reader) meet all my needs.. But that is for me..

There wasn't any deception mate, since he was comparing the OSs.
Remember, the same IOS version runs across all the idevices while the same Android versions runs across the droids as well. You can pick the phone version and it would run on the tablets as well.

So no deception at all, just facts.

Fair enough, let's just compare IPad specific apps: >225,000
Playbook apps >15,000
The IPad only came out ONE year earlier than Playbook!
No matter how you look at it, I don't see how you can say that Playbook is doing "very well"?

Great review, Blaize! You helped me realize that the 4G isn't in my near future.

I'm getting along with my PB 16 and Torch 9800, with no serious problems. I'm sorta stuck with an AT&T family plan, and my 'phone should be due for an upgrade in December. I'll be waiting to see what deals are available then, maybe a BB7 device, or wait to check out BB10.

+1. Here in BC the 16GB PB is going for $160 (before taxes). I've said I'm going to wait for the 10" PB but that price point sure is making things really difficult to not buy it and bridge with my Torch9800.

Well, no real difference for me. I am not on LTE, using Blackberry bridge drains my batteries, so the only way I currently use the Playbook when traveling is on public WiFi or as phone browser replacement in case of need. Missing NFC in Playbook LTE, missing calling possibilities (we have the headsets, right?), missing some standard screen resolutions. To be honest I start to hate all different vendors using different resolutions just because their providers are lame to produce some standard resolution display... I hate that you cannot watch a movie in the original resolution, because each device will do whatever it will do with the size and quality of the screen... Currently R.I.M. produces not the same high quality phones as before, but some crappy not finished tablets just because the competition is doing the same way... Sorry, I didn't bought an Android tablet because the quality/functionality just sucks. I am not 100% happy with my Playbook, but the LTE version is for me just waste of money...

Wow! That's a really nice review. Gave me all the details. Really appreciate the author for all his/her efforts.

Why does everyone think the PlayBook 4G uses an OMAP4460??? That would make it the same processor inside the slow Galaxy Nexus phone. There is a 400 ms difference in Sunspider between the PlayBook 4G(aprox 1450ms) and the Nexus (aprox 2000ms). It can't be just the software, the PlayBook clearly uses a better processor. It uses the OMAP4470!!!

Also, the second fastest tablet (Archos 101 XS - weird name, I know) uses the same OMAP4470 and scores 1600ms in Sunspider (http://www.anandtech.com/show/6158/the-archos-101-xs-review/3).

My playbook 4G LTE works perfect. But my only
problem is that,when I insert a micro sim,it says
sim not detected..what would be the problem?I
don't think its the port cause its able to notice
there's a simcard and matter of fact its new.