New info: BlackBerry PlayBook battery rated at 5300mAh and 64GB version to be available

By Kevin Michaluk on 18 Oct 2010 12:39 pm EDT

We knew the BlackBerry PlayBook would be the first BlackBerry device from RIM to feature a non-removable battery, but since the PlayBook was unveiled at DevCon many of us have been wondering just how big of a battery would be inside the new tablet. Afterall, the PlayBook is fairly small in total size, but with dual core gigahertz processors and the ability to run flash, the PlayBook is going to want to suck back the juice.

Thanks to Jim Balsillie's speech at GITEX, we now know the answer to this one... 5300mAh. To put that into perspective, the BlackBerry Torch has a 1270mAh battery and the Bold 9700, known for it's uber long battery life, has a 1550mAh battery. So with 5300mAh, I'm guessing even with fairly heavy use the PlayBook should be able to make it through the work day and play time afterwards. I pinged Rene over at to see what size of battery the iPad sports, but apparently Apple doesn't give out those specs. One thing is for sure - RIM has always cared about the battery life of their products, and I don't think they'd make an exception on their first tablet.

On the memory front, while RIM didn't announce anything officially at DevCon they did have both 16GB and 32GB models on display. Also new on the GITEX PlayBook slides was the mention of a 64GB model. Good stuff - that's the one I'll be buying! :)

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New info: BlackBerry PlayBook battery rated at 5300mAh and 64GB version to be available


Power (Watt) = Current (A) × Voltage (V). Apple does tell what the power rating for the iPad battery is: "Built-in 25-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery" ( Assuming nominal 3.7V voltage for a lithium-ion battery, we find this: 25W / 3.7V = 6.75675... ≈ 6.76A. In other words, something in the 6700mAh range.

In terms of hardware differences the iPad does need more juice to power that 9.7" display compared to the 7" display on the PlayBook. Architecturally, the two are quite similar. I know for a fact the QNX Neutrino RTOS is very efficient, but how it compares to iOS is something I do not know. What I do know, however, is that RIM is committed to deliver excellent battery performance. Here's to hoping the PlayBook has great, if not outstanding battery life. No need to compare to the iPad, the PlayBook is quite different on many levels that the comparison of raw numbers is irrelevant.

ipad = 690.7 mAh/inch
PB = 757.14 mAh/inch

So the PB battery have more power for every inch of its screen.

BTW i don't think this means anything.

Power distribution is a science of its own that depends on many hardware components and elements of a device to be properly estimated and calculated. Besides, without the schematics and information that probably falls into trade secrets, the "simple mathematics" won't take you anywhere. Let's remember these tablet devices have some other components inside as well, so it's not about displays only.

You are assuming that the nominal voltage is 3.7V. Reversing the math, given 5.3AH (5300 mAh). 25 W / 5.3 AH = 4.719 Volts.

If that is the case, it would be possible to charge via usb since voltage coming from a usb is V= 5 V±5%. Lowest would be 4.75 V. That would barely be enough to accept a charge. Real world, I can imagine some usb falling below this though not many.

Voltage needs to be higher on the USB or outlet to charge a battery. Voltage on most usb is generally 5V give or take 5%. If 5300 mAh is correct, then the battery will be rated at 4.7 V. 4.5 V nominal.

This would make up for the headache the Storm 2 gave me before I gave it up for a Bold. I can't wait till this is released. I would actually use it for work too.

The iPad has a 3.75v 24.8 WHR battery. Using a bit of simple mathematics, divide the watt-hour capacity of the battery by the iPod run time in hours and you get the power consumption in watts. 25-watt-hours / 10 hours = 2.5 watts.
milli-amp-hour is only good for comparisons between batteries that operate at the same voltage. Find out the voltage the Playbook runs at and we may get a better prediction of the runtime, although the Playbook has a Seven inch screen so we may be looking at much longer battery life over the iPad depending on the voltage the Playbook requires.

In some cases it may be less, but it is quite uncommon for a lithium-ion cell to operate on a voltage higher than 3.7V.

Also, you have your mathematics a bit wrong. You do not divide watt hours with operation time. A watt hour is the amount of energy a device consumes in an hour.

@ Yousif Abdullah,
Nominal voltage is the range at which a battery operates. Sometimes, manufacturers use 3.7V to fall within specs. For example, my Seidio 2600mAh battery for my Curve is rated nominal 3.7V but it will not charge in my car while my GF's phone battery is also rated at 3.7V nominal. Her phone charges fine.

It is actually common for batteries to operate above 3.7V. If you test your battery hot off the charge, I'm sure you will see it test above 3.7V. In my experience, Nominal voltage is never accurate. My 48V LiFePO4 battery always reads 55V and above though it is rated at 48 V nominal.

I agree that RIM always takes battery life seriously so why would it be any different with this device.

I'm so excited to get one I can barely stand it. I will absolutely use this for work instead of my bulky laptop with terrible battery life. Sign me up for 64GB!!

@ Yousif Abdullah
The watt is a metric form of measurement for energy conversion, equal to one joule of energy per second. One watt is the rate at which work is done when an object is moving one meter per second against a force of one newton. My conversion is a real world evaluation not a textbook one and Lithium Ion battery Typical operation voltage is between 2,8V to 4,2V
4.2v for the higher energy consumption devices like let's say 7" tablet screens? Rim is known for long battery life and it is not a leap of the imagination to think they would not want a rave revue on the Playbook and its awesome battery life. Long battery life is what RIM is known for so 4.2v is not out of the question.

all the technical, mathematical jargon aside, can someone remind me how much external memory we can put into one of these. If i can get the 64gb + add an external 32 GIG memory card. that will just about do it for me. With one of those spare usb ports, I assume we can also plug in a external usb drive?

I'm not a big fan of non-removable batteries but if RIM can give us great battery life then I can somewhat forgive them. :P

I gonna wait a little just to get the 64gb model and that sounds like a good battery size and who cares what size the ipad battery is I want a playbook to go with my Storm LTE (4G) when it comes out!

@ zensen: there haven't been any indications that there will be any external SD card slot, or any form of expandable memory at all, so my guess is that 64 is all that you'd be able to get, less what is used by any OS files or applications.

That aside however, I can't imagine it being that hard for RIM to find space for a microSD or even a standard SD card slot somewhere along the edge of the device. It would certainly be in their best interest to do that anyways.

Don't forget that the Playbook works in tandem with your Blackberry phone and that all data is synced. What this means is that you'll already have SD Card storage capability on your phone which can be accessed on your Playbook. 64gb of memory on the Playbook plus 32gb SD card in your phone yields 96gb of total capacity.

Therefore, a movie stored on your phone's SD card will easily be played on the Playbook. No need for an additional SD slot on the Playbook.

Hey bacon.jay. thanks for the reply. I just always assumed. I always get a bit nifty about devices that don't allow me to change the battery easily and removable storage is so prevalent nowadays that anyone other than apple not doing it just seems out of touch. I dont know why people don't hammer apple on that more or maybe I just really don't care to notice :P

Jimario, sounds great in theory but then your also relying on the battery performance of the phone and heavy use will drain that a lot quicker... I'd much rather have an additional SD slot than none at all. Surely implementing one would be beneficial, especially those who do consider Space a priority.

You may be limited by the speed of the "tethering" between PlayBook and your Blackberry phone. I believe it will use Bluetooth and that may not be enough to stream a video stream of decent quality. Audio and productivity docs should be fine though. Time will tell :)