At about 9PM last night a slew of BlackBerry PlayBook reviews were released by new sites around the globe. The results seem to convey a bit of confusion on the reviewers part at a device many reviewers feel is a bit “Half Baked” and “Rushed to market.” I wish we could dig deeper into that but until tonight at the launch party we won’t be able to say either way. I actually reached out to a few of the reviewers and it seems like RIM more or less let the device speak for itself which seems to have blown back in their faces. There is a reason Apple has a seriously coordinated and executed PR plan for reviews. Right now the only people defending the device seem to be in the comments on these reviews.
Until we can give our own take we decided to collect summaries of the conclusions from the main reviews. Let us know what you think:
Anandtech: “There’s a lot to like about the PlayBook, but unless you’re an existing BlackBerry user you’re better off waiting to see where RIM takes this thing.”
CrackBerry: “If you like the size of the device and feel of the BlackBerry Tablet OS, it may be the tablet for you, especially if you plan to use it mainly for web browsing, media consumption, and if you own a BlackBerry, to take advantage of the Bridge functionality.”
Bloomberg: “It’s impossible to say whether RIM’s bet-the-company strategy will pay off. Still, who would have thought that the maker of some of the world’s least exciting smartphones would have produced a product this slick? The PlayBook makes BlackBerry relevant again.”
AllThingsD: “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.”
BGR: “I can’t help but feel like the PlayBook, as it stands now, is an unfinished product. The hardware is there but the software is buggy at times,and the apps are severely lacking and almost non-existent in terms of quality. While the Web browser is extremely solid, with no native email or calendar or contact apps, the PlayBook isn’t a very good standalone product.”
Joshua Topolsky: 6/10 “The worst part, however, is that I can’t think of a single reason to recommend this tablet over the iPad 2, or for that matter… the Xoom.”
CNET: 3.5/5 The BlackBerry PlayBook ably showcases RIM’s powerful new mobile operating system, but its middling size diminishes many of its best features.
GigaOm: “Android tablets have a worthy rival in the PlayBook. It lacks the overall polish of the iPad 2, but give it a little time and RIM could get the hardware and experience right. Even with this first release, it is among my top three tablets picks. I am glad they are in the market and will prove to be a worthy competitor.”
LaptopMag: 2.5/5 “The BlackBerry PlayBook is a powerful and good-looking tablet, but buggy software and the need to tether a phone to get BlackBerry e-mail and other key apps hold it back.”
Engadget: “Right now, the BlackBerry PlayBook is a tablet that will come close to satisfying those users who gravitate toward the first word in its name: BlackBerry. Those who were more excited about the "play" part would be well advised to look elsewhere, at least until Android compatibility joins the party. Then, well, anything could happen.”
Gizmodo: “In a lot of ways, the PlayBook is more polished and usable in its beta state than the Motorola Xoom, and it’s straight-up the best seven-inch tablet out there. At the same time, 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.”
NYTimes: “The PlayBook, then, is convenient, fast and coherently designed. But in its current half-baked form, it seems almost silly to try to assess it, let alone buy it.”
PCWorld: “The BlackBerry PlayBook gets a lot right, but it also feels very much like a work in progress. It could shine in the future, but for now it’s constrained by its limited app selection, software glitches, and choices in functionality or design that should limit the PlayBook’s popularity among consumers.”
Wired: “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.”
TechCrunch: “As a whole, I’d say that RIM’s first attempt at an entirely new product is a valiant effort. The problem they face is the same one that everyone in the space faces: Apple.”
Let us know if you spot any others. It was kind of painful collecting all of these reviews that are more or less harping on the same lack of email/calendar for the Bridge, buggy experience, and lack of apps.