BlackBerry PlayBook vs. Apple iPad 2

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RIM have been billing their BlackBerry PlayBook tablet as an iPad killer ever since they first revealed it way back in September 2010. With a greater focus on enterprise usage than the iPad 2, its smaller 7 inch form factor makes it a very different proposition from that of Apple’s slate offering.

With the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet hitting UK stores today, we thought it would be helpful to pit the two tablets against each other in a tech-showdown.

There can be only one slate at the top of the tablet pile; does the PlayBook have what it takes to knock the iPad off its lofty perch? With pricing and storage relatively balanced across each device, we focus here on breaking down the key tablet features to see which tablet is worthy of your cash.

Size and Design

The first and most obvious difference between the two tablets is their size. The BlackBerry PlayBook is a 7 inch device with dimensions of 193 x 130 x 10mm and a weight of 400g, while the iPad 2 is a 10.1 inch tablet with dimensions of 241 x 186 x 9mm, with the top-spec 3G model weighing a heavier 610g.

Apple have always had a strong eye for design and the iPad 2 is arguably their crowning hour – it’s incredibly sleek, looking especially “sci-fi” with its new white bezel. Whereas the iPad 2 has a physical home button on the bottom of its bezel, the BlackBerry PlayBook has no buttons on its front side, making for a very slick and smooth front face, even if the black boxy design of RIM’s unit is a little uninspired overall. The tiny power button on the PlayBook is a chore to find though.

Winner – Tie

While we prefer the look of the iPad 2, there’s much to like about the portability of the PlayBook. This one comes down to personal preference then; a larger screen that’s visually more engaging, or a smaller tablet that’s easier to carry around with you.

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Processor

The second generation iPad joins the dual-core tablet fray with its inclusion of an Apple A5 1Ghz dual-core chip. Though we’ve seen games like Infinity Blade exploit the new power available with the A5 chip, the original iPad was so zippy that it’s an incremental update at best.

Likewise, the PlayBook uses a 1 GHz Cortex-A9 dual-core processor, which again results in a very slick, lag-free user experience.

Winner – Tie

Not much in this one. With both platforms relatively closed, you’re unlikely to be able to push the tablets beyond their limitations, meaning that both processors are more than sufficient for running apps and the video formats open to them.

Operating System

RIM chose to adopt the relatively-niche QNX operating system for the BlackBerry PlayBook. Much like using a BlackBerry phone, QNX focusses on multi-tasking and gesture-based controls for quick navigation. It’s a clean and simple interface with lots of room for customisation as well as a smart notifications bar.

With the forthcoming iOS 5 update fixing the notification problems that Apple’s mobile devices usually inflict upon their users, iOS is now pretty much the perfect UI for a tablet device. A large, easily browsed grid system with room for App folders, what it lacks in customisation options it gains in simplicity, elegance and instinctive controls.

Winner – iPad 2

iOS is definitely the operating system of choice across any tablet right now. QNX, though far better than many had predicted, is still too fiddly for the average casual tablet fan, and lacks the pick-up-and-play ease of the iPad.

Apps

What can be said about the success of Apple’s App Store that hasn’t been said before? Hundreds of thousands of top quality apps, with thousands of iPad-exclusives from well-respected developers, plenty of free or pocket money programs, and a simple payment and download system that makes building up your app catalogue a cinch. It’s no wonder there have been well over 10,000,000,000 downloads to date. The quality of games on the App Store in particular make the iPad 2 a rival for established portable gaming brands such as Sony and Nintendo.

BlackBerry users have never had much joy when it comes to the paltry offerings the App World store sells, but the news that the PlayBook wouldn’t even support the existing mobile applications currently on offer came as a true shock. As a result, it’s a minuscule amount of apps available to PlayBook owners in comparison to iPad users. Eventual Android app support will address this somewhat, but the few native BlackBerry apps are a disappointment.

Winner – iPad 2

The winner of this bout by a country mile, it can’t be stressed enough how important strong apps are to the tablet experience, something the iPad 2 can deliver in spades.

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Video

Again, Apple make it laughably easy to get paid-for video onto your device thanks to the well stocked iTunes video store. You can both rent and buy titles, with deals of the week giving you top-notch flicks for as little as 99p. Side-loading your own video content onto the iPad 2 is a chore though – without drag and drop support, all files have to be placed in the iTunes library and synced first, while its also incredible temperamental with .avi files, the most common of all video formats.

Though it’s easier to get your own video files on the PlayBook, and it seems more happy to play back a greater variety of file types without conversion, it lacks a dedicated video store.

Once you’ve got compatible video file types on both tablets however, both play back movies without a hitch, with smooth, stutter-free playback.

Winner – Tie

Those looking to fill their tablet with brand new downloads will find the iPad 2 a sheer joy thanks to the iTunes store, but if you’ve already got a large library of video you want to watch on your tablet you’ll have far less headaches with the PlayBook.

Web Browsing

Apple’s Safari mobile browser laid the foundation for how best to present web browsing on the go, and it’s still an incredibly slick, intuitive system to use. From pinch and tap-to-zoom controls to swiping through pages, it’s a dream to use with easily legible text and accurate page rendering. Or at least accurate to a point; Steve Jobs’ ongoing fued with Adobe over the Flash plug-in sees it notably absent in the iPad 2, and with so many websites relying on Flash content, you’re likely to often see holes and gaps in websites where some sort of Flash wizardry should be.

Though Apple may have laid the ground-work, the PlayBook’s browser is every bit a match for the iPad 2 in terms of web surfing ease, with equally intuitive gesture controls and accurate page rendering. It pips the iPad 2 to the post thanks to its excellent Flash rendering however, making the whole web truly available on the go.

Winner – PlayBook

See websites just as the site owners intended with the PlayBook. Can’t really argue with that.

Email

A strange point to highlight you may think, but email support may be the real deciding factor for BlackBerry-owning, tablet fence sitters. While online webmail services are accessible to both the iPad 2 and PlayBook, only the iPad 2 has a native email client available offline. The PlayBook, despite its enterprise marketing and coming from a stable of excellent email clients on mobile devices, makes use of a clunky bridge system that requires a BlackBerry phone synced with the tablet to view emails offline. It’s a secure system, but far from intuitive, and a real step-backwards from RIM considering they pretty much pioneered email on the go with BlackBerry smartphones.

Winner – iPad 2

The iPad’s an obvious winner here. A forthcoming update will add native email support to the BlackBerry PlayBook, but that should have been included from the very beginning.

Overall Winner – iPad 2

A far closer contest than we’d have first thought it would be, the PlayBook manages to keep up with the iPad 2 in many respects, and even bests it in the web browsing stakes. However, when it comes to operating systems, apps and emails, the iPad 2 shines through. In particular, the strength of the App Store makes Apple’s tablet a force to be reckoned with, and one that tablets from all manufacturers will struggle to beat.

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About the Author

Gerald Lynch





Gerald LynchBlackBerry PlayBook vs. Apple iPad 2
  • Anonymous

    Very good and fair comparison. I’ve used both extensively for over a month, and am really torn on which I’d say was best. While the iPad 2 app selection is hard to beat, the PB web capabilities with flash support make up for many iPad app capabilities.
    The lack of native mail client is almost unforgivable, and almost enough to make me pick the iPad 2, but the PB’s portability is a real joy. My iPod touch is too small, but the iPad is too big…the PB is just right….. For me, anyway.

  • UTHMAN

    I LOVE IT

  • Anonymous

    I strongly disagree with the reviewers conclusion about the Video aspect. The video on the PlayBook is second to none, and if they had taken their time and simply looked at the HD Demo video on the PlayBook vs anything off the iPad 2, they would have seen that the PlayBook’s resolution alone should give it that category. The PlayBook has a built-in Micro HDMI port while the iPad only has such capabilities with a long and annoying adapter.

  • http://jolynuk@shaw.ca Jolynuk

    Likewise for the conclusion on the operating system. RIM has come up with a powerful, game changing OS, making the home button function on the Ipad seem one dimensional. “A clean and simple interface…” you have got be kidding. Add a few more superlatives and I might come back to this website….

    As to the bridging issue, if you are a BB user, its hard to understand “clunky”. It works like a charm and actually enhances your BB’s funtionality.

  • tech guy

    “The quality of games on the App Store in particular make the iPad 2 a rival for established portable gaming brands such as Sony and Nintendo”

    I don’t mean to be rude but you need to seek out a new job, you are not qualified to review gadgets

  • http://www.ourskybing.com/ ourskybing

    Don't misinform your doctor nor your lawyer.

  • Moss

    The Playbook is faster, convenient, sleeker and multi-functioning. Please honestly re- assess the products being compared (surely one of you work for Apple).. This seems rather biased especially the tied aspects. Ipad 2 is no match for BlackBerry :)

  • Ahenry

    Wow. I can say that for the Playbook to have a mini HD port, that it should’ve won off of that. I also think that some of the areas, I don’t see how the IPAD 2 won. Don’t get me wrong I like Apple, but I sold my Ipad. I got sick of seeing I need to download flash.

  • http://www.essayprovider.com/research-paper-writing-services.aspx Research Paper

    I am new to this blog and I have found this blog really interesting and informative .Thanks for sharing.

  • Michael

    You know you have an iPad when;
    - You can’t get a real web experience from your browser – no flash support;- You need a home button to navigate your applications;- Your built-in camera meets last years specs;- Steve Jobs knows where you are and where you were – talk about big brother; – You can’t multi task in real time – You don’t know what your missing because you never had it;- You don’t have your tablet when you need it because you left it at home because it is too big to carry around every where you go;- You can’t bridge to your iPhone so you need a 3G version with an additional data plan – talk about expensive;- You need an app for everything because the OS is so limited;- No usb port so you need a special connector to interface to your PC;- No WiFi networking so you need Apple software to sync – ouch thats inconvenient;- Every time there is an update, Apple releases a new model, with very incremental updates and new features. Ouch your investment is good for a year – gets kind of expensive.If you have a PlayBook thank your lucky stars that your not limited by these short comings. Over the Air updates are great and easy to implement and no extra costs.

  • Joey San

    I find ipad a kiddish toy… As a professional, i would surely go for the Playbook…

  • Eric

    This is a terrible review. As an owner of both products, the OS and video capabilities of PlayBook are WAY superior to iPad.

  • Ginny

    I was planned of getting a PlayBook. and yet when i read this review i nearly get myself an ipad2. But after i see these comments, i rather have a try on the Playbook 1st. Anyway nice review.

  • Nick

    You’re a fucking twat…The winner is BlackBerry PlayBook..it rules…seriously iSanitaryNapkin i wouldnt even use to wipe my arse clean!! faggot get a life before you decide iPad is a winner; its a wiener and i bet Steve Job’s sucking your short knob hard for this review!

    • Mike

      That seems to be a little aggressive and not constructive at all. I and everyone who has read your post has now become dummer.

      Thanks,

  • Kenny

    Playbook rules

  • Anonymous

    Me personally loves the iPad 2 and Apple devices. Probably biased towards their stuff now though too.

  • http://www.waqasnasir.com Waqas Nasir

    Well , Different video format is not an issue with iPad , install AIR video server on PC and define a folder with movies in any video format. Install AIR client on iPad or iPhone and enjoy the smoothest and flawless video streaming. We have tried multiple access to the same file from different IOS devices at the same time and AIR server works perfectly with rewind, forward ability. We were using CORE i7 laptop as a server. But no matter its pentium 4, AIR video rules and iPad rules ..

  • Amitoj Singh

    Amazing revieeww …without second thoughts will go for playbook.

  • vace

    I have playbook and i never had ipad2
    but my impressions are too great that i touched something
    new and in point of technology view , advanced and very smart device.Rim are very proud that they realised very risky technology and they will go to the end as a see.Android player is something promise playbook users more apps , very nice.

  • http://www.gadgetcage.com/apple-ipad-vs-rim-playbook-blackberry/19338/ Gadgets Freak

    Well, i don’t personally consider that Playbook vs iPad are not such an apt Tablets to compare. iPad always having its own benefits and I do want to say that the interface of Apple is really tremendous, while playbook is giving few hiccups!

    So, I consider iPad as winner.

  • cerbie

    interesting review. i have used both and recently purchased a BB Playbook. Agree with many of the comments but not the verdicts.
    1) Playbook bridge is not a problem, infact it is a great additional function.
    2) email client may be missing but no problem checking via my yahoo account.
    3) size of playbook was a major factor in my purchase
    4)i also use my PB as a kindle to read my ebooks
    5) os is really very good
    6) apple apps store is in another league, some 3rd party need to support PB better (cant do my on line banking)or Sky version of iplayer.

    but overall i am very happy with my PB and think it is closer to ipad than indicated by this review. But then each to their own

  • Nicolas

    Hi, did I read the review right, youn have to tether a blackberry to read emails OFFLINE? Can someone confirm the offline thing?

    The reviewer mentions Android apps, again, can anyone expand on this, If it could handle my Android apps ive purchased already then this is the pad for me.

    Finally, can I root/hack (brick?) the blackberry pad (just for the shear hell of it?

    Just asking, thanks in advance.

  • http://www.slimdownnaturally.co.uk/how-to-get-a-flat-stomach.php Ludmilla

    What about reading experience? I’m interested in reading PDFs I already have on my computer and ebooks for my daughter with the dictionary feature.

  • Scott

    Playbook seems to be a better choice. Ipads have cool apps and whatnot but it seems its mostly for games and childish things that distract people or no one needs. I think IPad sells way more because its just the Apple name and people automaticaly assume its the best there is. Id go with Blackberry

    • Joe

      Hmm. I wonder why people might hear the name “Apple” and assume that it’s the best there is. Truly a mystery. I’m totally going RIM next time. No one ever makes that assumption about them.

  • http://www.buysocialmediatraffic.com Mikel Lito

    I completely agree with you. Apple is clearly the leader of the pack, and everyone else is just trying to keep up with it. Yes, some other brands may compare but Apple’s name alone is enough to give it a good head start. Even Google is trying to get into all these tablet mania right now, would be nice to see those two companies go head to head.

  • http://www.ironbriefcase.com/ offsitebackup

    Blackberry PlayBook is super fast great size 7in tablet, Its forthcoming Android App support widens its appeal further.

    PROs
    —-
    * Rock Solid operating system (QNX) -NEVER CRASHES.
    *Performance, the fastest tablet in the market.
    * Dedicated graphics chip provides superb HD Video.
    * Excellent multi-tasking, this is probably the only tablet where you can switch quickly from watching a full-screen HD video to another application and back again without a hitch in the video.
    * Full 1080p recording is a dream.
    * Responsive touchscreen and real stereo sound.
    * Supports Flash

    CONS
    —-
    *Fewer apps than ipad or android, (Set to improve massively though. Huge software update coming Feb 2012)
    * No expandable memory,
    * Wifi only (though does support tethering via blackberry phone and soon tether via any mobile device that supports Bluetooth tethering)

    WOULD I RECOMMEND IT?:
    ———————
    YES.

    If you are after a pocket sized tablet that is blazingly fast with HD graphics / video and will mostly use the web then I highly recommend this playbook. Give this a chance and you won’t be disappointed.

    As of 27 JAN 2012 the price has been reduced to £169 for 32GB and £199 for the 64GB making it very affordable.

  • http://ALELGRINGO@HOTMAIL.COM ALELGRINGO

    I THINK THAT THE IPAD HAS WAY MORE APPS THEN THE BB PLAYBOOK AND ITS BETTER TO UNDERSTAND AS FAR AS APPS GO.

  • http://rossi-safehands@hotmail.co.uk Ro233

    Well I think it would be a different result if you talk about the cameras and blackberry’s 1080p compared to the iPad’s 720/30p

  • http://rossi-safehands@hotmail.co.uk Ro233

    Also the playbook has flash which the iPad does not.

  • Hopeortega28

    YES.i totally agree with you. we have an iPAD in which only d internet connection is benefited. the docs are good but we have a hard time editing those stuffs. its more on games which is not applicable to office stuffs.

  • Hopeortega28

    YES.i totally agree with you. we have an iPAD in which only d internet connection is benefited. the docs are good but we have a hard time editing those stuffs. its more on games which is not applicable to office stuffs.

  • Bims

    Yes I agree with Scot, iPad sells more because of the brand I also think it's nice for games and childish things,emails. It doesn't have spreadsheet, adobe etc that's work related. I go with Blackberry playbook.

  • Bims

    Yes I agree with Scot, iPad sells more because of the brand I also think it’s nice for games and childish things,emails. It doesn’t have spreadsheet, adobe etc that’s work related. I go with Blackberry playbook.

  • PBnewuser

    Purchased new playbook (v.2.0)  and flawless experience with web browsing (just as on a desktop) and watching videos (downloaded Game of Thrones)

  • PBnewuser

    Purchased new playbook (v.2.0)  and flawless experience with web browsing (just as on a desktop) and watching videos (downloaded Game of Thrones)

  • Aashishtisdale

    i m little bit confuse which devise to buy  as playbook new os support android apps too so plz suggest me some good  advice

    • Anony

      Hi .. It depends what features would you be using. People will speak what they like so il put it this way .. Playbook doesn't have much to do with it. Apps are very limited also you won't be able to use by messenger and email unless you attach ur smart phone to it. Coming to androids you have amazing options .. Enough of apps to put you busy.. You use picassa where we can upload pics and see it offline too .. M sure you must have heard what's app .. Another app called LINE .. You can msg and call to other device who have this app for free .. I love bb smart phones but not playbook. Lastly some of amazing apps that playbook doesn't have but android does are ..Google mapsSound houndEmail client (gmail as push rest s u c k s)PicassaSkypeSygic navigation

  • Aashishtisdale

    i m little bit confuse which devise to buy  as playbook new os support android apps too so plz suggest me some good  advice

    • Anony

      Hi .. It depends what features would you be using. People will speak what they like so il put it this way .. Playbook doesn’t have much to do with it.
      Apps are very limited also you won’t be able to use by messenger and email unless you attach ur smart phone to it. Coming to androids you have amazing options .. Enough of apps to put you busy.. You use picassa where we can upload pics and see it offline too .. M sure you must have heard what’s app .. Another app called LINE .. You can msg and call to other device who have this app for free .. I love bb smart phones but not playbook.
      Lastly some of amazing apps that playbook doesn’t have but android does are ..
      Google maps
      Sound hound
      Email client (gmail as push rest s u c k s)
      Picassa
      Skype
      Sygic navigation

  • Peace maker

    I have been using apple for long and its nice too, I am really looking forward to buy playbook since I started using blackberry but only thing which makes me disappointed is that playbook can't use email unless we bridge phones to it :( it makes it lot easier for iPads to use any mail clients like hotmail yahoo etc … I really want playbook to be able to provide email systems without bb being bridged.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/4BK53OTSH5DWXYNAADJ6UXE53A Sara

      With Playbook OS2.0 you can configure multiple email clients and no need to bridge with any BB Phones. Just Wifi is enough :)

  • Cool facts

    I totally agree with OFFSITEBACKUP Playbook is the best although we can't use emails or bb messenger unless we attach smartphones to it, also there is not much in the rim market so all we can do is capture and watch HD videos which is a dream AND We can't use sim cards but rather wifi only still PLAYBOOK IS THE BEST!So if you are paying so much for just using the websites practically oh and also capturing and watching HD videos .. Should you buy the playbook ….well YAH baby!

    Android is useless .. The fact it has a large variety of apps PRACTICALLY and you can do more than just surfing websites. Android is also useless and for kids coz it has google maps where you can find any address and phone numbers and a lot more but like someone said android and apple is for kids.Google mapsSound houndEmail client (gmail as push rest s u c k s)PicassaSkypeSygic navigation

  • Cool dude

    Hi .. You might have bought one of tabs already loll .. Anyways man I really think bb owner should do something about email issue on playbook .. It's really pain in the .. Bridging smart phones to playbook to access emails and be chat … What the hell were they thinking when they thought of making playbook …Cheers man

  • Peace maker

    I have been using apple for long and its nice too, I am really looking forward to buy playbook since I started using blackberry but only thing which makes me disappointed is that playbook can’t use email unless we bridge phones to it :( it makes it lot easier for iPads to use any mail clients like hotmail yahoo etc … I really want playbook to be able to provide email systems without bb being bridged.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/4BK53OTSH5DWXYNAADJ6UXE53A Sara

      With Playbook OS2.0 you can configure multiple email clients and no need to bridge with any BB Phones. Just Wifi is enough :)

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/4BK53OTSH5DWXYNAADJ6UXE53A Sara

      With Playbook OS2.0 you can configure multiple email clients and no need to bridge with any BB Phones. Just Wifi is enough :)

  • Cool facts

    I totally agree with OFFSITEBACKUP
    Playbook is the best although we can’t use emails or bb messenger unless we attach smartphones to it, also there is not much in the rim market so all we can do is capture and watch HD videos which is a dream AND We can’t use sim cards but rather wifi only still PLAYBOOK IS THE BEST!
    So if you are paying so much for just using the websites practically oh and also capturing and watching HD videos .. Should you buy the playbook ….well YAH baby!

    Android is useless .. The fact it has a large variety of apps PRACTICALLY and you can do more than just surfing websites. Android is also useless and for kids coz it has google maps where you can find any address and phone numbers and a lot more but like someone said android and apple is for kids.
    Google maps
    Sound hound
    Email client (gmail as push rest s u c k s)
    Picassa
    Skype
    Sygic navigation

  • Cool dude

    Hi .. You might have bought one of tabs already loll .. Anyways man I really think bb owner should do something about email issue on playbook .. It’s really pain in the .. Bridging smart phones to playbook to access emails and be chat … What the hell were they thinking when they thought of making playbook …
    Cheers man

  • ….

    i think the playbook isnt as good as the i pad because you dont get the same good apps as on the i pad. But on the rest, they are nearly the same.

  • ….

    i think the playbook isnt as good as the i pad because you dont get the same good apps as on the i pad. But on the rest, they are nearly the same.

  • anne

    Hi. Just curious on the battery lifetime of PB? Does it last for days unlike their smartphones?

  • anne

    Hi. Just curious on the battery lifetime of PB? Does it last for days unlike their smartphones?

  • Temiope Arulogun

    this review is very incorrect, Camera wise Playbook out runs ipad2, for size i prefer playbook bcos  its easier to carry around, they both have same efficiency in terms of processor and yet playbook is way cheaper so not go for the playbook.Also it has been confirmed that playbook will be ruining on BB10 os which means more features we should be expecting more features on d playbook. And also more apps ware made available for it so y not go for a cheaper tab that gets the job done! N.B. Playbook has flash Ipad2 doesnt :D

  • Temiope Arulogun

    this review is very incorrect, Camera wise Playbook out runs ipad2,
    for size i prefer playbook bcos  its easier to carry around,
    they both have same efficiency in terms of processor and yet playbook is way cheaper so not go for the playbook.
    Also it has been confirmed that playbook will be ruining on BB10 os which means more features we should be expecting more features on d playbook. And also more apps ware made available for it so y not go for a cheaper tab that gets the job done!
    N.B. Playbook has flash Ipad2 doesnt :D

  • Jesse

    Hey, Update. PlayBook OS 2.0 Email is much better. Camera also. BlackBerry PlayBook wins 3-1. 

  • Jesse

    Hey, Update. PlayBook OS 2.0 Email is much better. Camera also. BlackBerry PlayBook wins 3-1. 

  • kemarc

    playbook has better screen view and loads faster i vote playbook

  • kemarc

    playbook has better screen view and loads faster
    i vote playbook