Rabu, 27 April 2011


Dating Tips Home Add a Tip Dating Articles Dating Quizzes Online Dating Dating Advice, Questions and Answers! Join Dateopedia Today! Get paid to take surveys Froma Dude Read This, FYI not a one line tip Chivalry How to Avoid making a guy get confused(or vice versa)what girls love Shoulder to Cry on what girls like =)You want the girl? Treat her right. (From a Girl's Point of View) How to get her to say "yes" to a date The Amazing Love Tester What is your Love Style? Is he Interested in you? How Love-Smart are you?
More Dating Tips for Guys Call her by nicole
BIG no!!! by A guy who thinks to much.
More Dating Tips for Guys
The Seven Dating Rules by Amber's Advice Agency
1) if a girl says she's not interested, she's NOT interested!
2) when asking a girl out, do NOT insult her in any way!
3) compliment something about the girl's outfit, regardless as to whether you like it or not.
4) mentioning other girls is a big NO!
5) don't make the girl pay for herself, even if she offers.
6) be a gentleman (pull her chair out for her, open the car door, pay, whatever works)
7) BE ON TIME (it may seem dorky, but the girl will appreciate it)

Samsung RF712 gaming laptop promises ultra-bright 3D, an end to dimness (video)

Dell has already put 3D to good effect in its high-end Alienware models, but Samsung claims the screen on its new RF712 gaming laptop will have industry-leading brightness, helping it to overcome the dimming effect of wearing 3D glasses. The 17.3-inch screen will employ the same Super Bright Plus technology that stunned us in its Series 9 laptop, but this time at a higher Full HD resolution. The stated brightness is 400-nits -- as much as double what you might to expect to find in an average LCD and perhaps even enough for a LAN party outdoors in the sunshine (ok, maybe not). Other specs include a second generation quad-core Intel CPU, 2GB-worth of AMD HD6650M graphics, 750GB hard drive and USB 3.0. The RF712 will start selling in South Korea on May 2nd for ₩2.6million (about $2,400), but it could be a while before it hits international shores. Until then, we will be standing here wearing our active Bluetooth 3D glasses and looking out for a 400-nit speck on the horizon.

You, on the other hand, can check out the RF712 on video after the break courtesy of Johnmichaels01.

iPad 2 Review

To say Apple's iPad 2 is an easy tablet to review is somewhat of an understatement. The device, a follow up to last year's wildly successful (and currently market-defining) iPad, is nearly identical when it comes to software, and though improved, closely related on the hardware side as well. With a 9.7-inch, 1024 x 768 display, the general size and shape of the device has remained the same, and though inside there's a new dual core A5 CPU, more memory, and a pair of new cameras, most of the iPad 2's changes are cosmetic. Still, the previous tablet soared far above most of its competitors when it came to the quality of both the hardware (if not its raw specs) and its software selection -- something Apple still stands head and shoulders over its adversaries on. So this new model, a thinner, sleeker, faster variant of the original may not be breaking lots of new ground, but it's already at the front of the pack. But is the iPad 2 worth an upgrade for those that took the plunge on the first generation? More importantly, does the device have what it takes to bring new owners into the fold? Those questions -- and more -- are all about to be answered in the full Engadget review, so read on!


The iPad 2 is both all about -- and not about -- the hardware. From an industrial design standpoint, the iPad 2 just seriously raised the bar on sleek, sexy computer hardware. If you're an owner of the original model, you know it was no slouch in the design department, but its latest iteration takes it to a whole other place. The first thing you'll probably notice about the iPad 2 is that it's thin -- unbelievably thin. At its thickest point, the tablet is just 0.34-inches (compared with the first iPad's half an inch of girth). The device is slightly shorter than the previous model (at 9.5-inches tall), but also slightly less wide (just 7.3-inches versus the iPad's 7.47-inches). It looks and feels amazingly sleek when you hold it. As Steve Jobs pointed out at the launch event, the device is thinner than the astoundingly thin iPhone 4 -- quite a feat considering what's packed inside the slate. Of course, it's still not exactly light, weighing in at 1.33 pounds (or 1.34 / 1.35 for the 3G models), just a hair under the original's one and a half pounds.

As with the previous version, the front of the device is all screen, save for a bezel (which appears slightly less broad than the one on the first model), and a home button at the bottom of the display. The iPad 2 does add a camera opposite from that button at the top of the device, but the small dot is barely noticeable. Around back there's the familiar, smooth aluminum of the previous version (it does feel slightly smoother here), a small, dotted speaker grid on the lower left, a camera on the upper left, and depending on what model you get, the 3G antenna along the top back. The volume buttons and mute / rotate switch sit on the back left side of the device, while on the right you'll find the Micro SIM slot (on 3G versions). A standard 30-pin dock connector is along the bottom, while the top reveals a power / sleep button on the upper right side, and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left. All pretty standard business for an iPad, but smartly put together on this tiny frame.

The device is available with either a white or black bezel -- we reviewed the white model.

In all, it's an incredibly handsome and svelte package. Pictures don't quite do the iPad 2 justice -- it feels really, really great in your hands. Not only does the construction give it a feeling of heft and permanence, but the thin profile combined with the new, tapered edges make holding the device a real joy. Apple is known for its industrial design, and they didn't just chew scenery here; the iPad 2 is beautifully and thoughtfully crafted.

Internals / display / audio

Much has been made about what is -- and isn't -- inside the new iPad. For starters, Apple has replaced last year's A4 CPU with a new, 1GHz dual core chip it's calling the A5 (surprise surprise). According to Geekbench, there's now 512MB of RAM in the iPad, bringing it up to iPhone 4 standards. That still seems on the low side to us -- a device in this class should probably be sporting 1GB, though we had no memory issues. The screen is identical to the previous model, a 1024 x 768, 9.7-inch IPS display. It still looks good, though we really would have liked to see a bump in resolution -- if not up to the Retina Display's doubled numbers, then something substantial. We don't take issue with the quality of the display as far as color balance or deepness of blacks go, but we would like to see higher pixel density, especially for the book apps.

On the wireless front, you can nab either a WiFi (802.11a/b/g/n) only model, a Verizon 3G version, or an iPad of the AT&T / GSM variety. Bluetooth 2.1+EDR is on board, as is an AGPS chip in the 3G versions. All the models come equipped with an ambient light sensor, an accelerometer, and a new addition: a three-axis gyroscope.

As we said, Apple has relocated the iPad's single speaker to the back of the device. The sound seems clearer if somewhat quieter than the old version, and we can't say that there's a major improvement as far as the placement goes. It does the job, but if you're working in GarageBand (or just listening to music or watching video), you'll want good headphones or decent speakers nearby.

Still, on the specs front the iPad 2 feels very iterative. There's nothing here that is totally mind-blowing, but there's nothing here that makes it feel far off from its nearest competition. We're early enough in the tablet game that a small push in specs like this will last us another season, but Apple needs to deliver bigger guns by the time we see a "3" at the end of the iPad moniker.


GeekbenchResults (higher is better)
Apple iPad 2721
Apple iPad442
Apple iPhone 4375

As we noted above, the iPad is equipped with a 1GHz, dual-core chip called the A5. According to Geekbench, the CPU is clocked at 800MHz. When we first handled the device, it seemed noticeably faster to us, and even after a week with the tablet, it's still zippier than the previous model by a longshot.

The CPU and graphics performance of this tablet felt extremely impressive to us -- the iPad 2 performed excellently no matter what we threw at it, games and graphically taxing apps seemed to have higher frame rates, and even when dealing with CPU intensive programs like GarageBand, it rarely (if ever) seemed to be struggling.

But don't just take our word for it: Geekbench demonstrates quite clearly just what the processor gains on the iPad 2 look like.

Battery life

Not surprisingly, Apple promises major battery life on the iPad 2. Though the device has been physically trimmed down, the company says users can expect the same longevity we witnessed in the previous version. In our testing, this was 100 percent true. For the first few days we used the device we didn't even bother plugging it in. In fact, even during heavy use -- 3G and WiFi on, app testing (heavy work in GarageBand in particular), browsing, news reading, emailing, picture / video taking, and music listening -- we neglected to plug the iPad 2 into a socket for a span of about five days. When we did plug it in, the battery percentage was still only hovering around the low 30s.

Battery Life
Apple iPad 210:26
Apple iPad9:33
Motorola Xoom8:20
Dell Streak 73:26
Archos 101 7:20
Samsung Galaxy Tab6:09

In our standard video test (running an MPEG4 video clip on loop, WiFi on, screen at roughly 65 percent brightness), the iPad 2 managed an astonishing 10 hours and 26 minutes of non-stop playback. That beats Apple's own claims, and bests its nearest competitor -- the Xoom -- by about 2 hours. That's another whole movie!

To say we were impressed would be an understatement. The iPad 2 fully delivers when it comes to battery life.


Let's just put this out there: the iPad 2 cameras are really pretty bad. They're not unusable, but it's clear that the sensors employed are not top shelf by any measure. If you have a fourth generation iPod touch with cameras, you can expect the same results. In fact, it seems to us that these are the SAME cameras used in the iPod touch -- there's an "HD" lens around back (which means it's roughly a single megapixel shooter), and on the front you've got a lowly VGA cam. Neither one of these produces remotely satisfying results for still shots, and in particular (when compared with something like the Xoom), the back camera just seems utterly second rate. For video duties and FaceTime calls, the cameras are reasonably useful -- but we would never trade a dedicated camera (or at least a smartphone with a 5+ megapixel shooter) for this.

Even with the lower quality sensors, Apple still gets to span the gap between the original iPad and its new competition -- so that means video calling is now on tap. And since this is Apple, we get treated to a FaceTime app, Photo Booth, and the new iMovie (more on those in a moment). At the end of the day, the company is putting its flag in the ground when it comes to tablets with cameras, but it feels like it's done the bare minimum to make it happen. We won't lie: we're disappointed by how low end these cameras feel. We don't expect to be doing photo shoots with a tablet (in fact, we find using a tablet in this manner to be tremendously awkward), but that doesn't mean we want a camera that produces results reminiscent of our RAZR. In short, it feels like the iPad 2 has a serious photon deficiency.


It wouldn't be a new iOS product without an iOS update, and the iPad 2 ushers in iOS 4.3, a minor update which touts a few bells and whistles. Notably, Apple has improved browser performance, added broader AirPlay support, mercifully added an option to toggle your mute switch for rotation lock duties, and (on the iPhone at least) brought Personal Hotspot to GSM devices (but not the iPad 2).

Alongside the iPad update, Apple also introduced two fairly major pieces of software -- GarageBand and iMovie for the iPad. Here's our take on those apps, as well some of the other big additions.


Apple claims big gains in the speed and performance of the new iOS browser thanks to the introduction of the Nitro JavaScript engine to the underlying Mobile Safari software. In our testing, we scored a fairly healthy Sunspider number of 2173.1ms (while Google's V8 returned a score of 338). Nothing to freak out about in comparison to the laptop numbers below -- but compare those digits to the iPhone 4 and original iPad running 4.2. Of course, the Motorola Xoom is neck and neck with the iPad 2 in terms of browser performance, which shows that speed is most certainly not Apple's domain alone.

SunspiderResults (lower is better)
Apple iPad 2 (iOS 4.3)2173.1ms
Apple iPad (iOS 4.2.1)8207.0ms
Apple iPad (iOS 4.3)3484.7ms
Apple iPhone 4 (iOS 4.2.1)10291.4ms
Apple iPhone 4 (iOS 4.3)4052.2ms
Motorola Xoom2141.8ms
Motorola Atrix 4G4100.6ms

In general use, we found the browser to be noticeably faster and more responsive than on the previous iPad, which is a good thing considering that the browsing experience still doesn't quite give you a desktop experience. That said, the iPad 2 gets a lot closer to the speed and fluidity you see on your laptop -- and it's obvious Apple is putting time and effort into making this complete.

We still have to take issue with the lack of Flash, however. Though many sites have begun to employ HTML5 for video and interactive elements, there's still loads of content we couldn't view because Apple won't allow Flash on its platform. We're not saying that we think the experience will be killer (though we've seen good Flash performance on a jailbroken iPad), but the option to turn it on and off would really be welcome.

FaceTime / Photo Booth

As you might expect, the FaceTime experience on the iPad isn't wildly different than the experience on an iPhone or OS X computer. Though the layout is different, you're getting basically the same results. As with the phone, you're unable to use the service when not on WiFi, but given that you're dealing with a tablet as opposed to a handset, it seems to make a little more sense.

Results were unsurprising but satisfying with the video calls we placed, but again, those cameras don't produce stunning images -- especially when you're piping video in both directions.

Photo Booth, on the other hand, has gone from a minor sideshow in OS X to a full blown event app on the iPad 2. The device's A5 CPU seems to have little trouble cranking out nine separate, live video previews of the kinds of effects you can do in the app, and when you're in full screen mode, you can tweak the silly-yet-often-psychedelic graphics to your heart's content. It's not something that is wildly useful, but we imagine a lot of people will be walking out of Apple stores with an iPad 2 in hand after playing around with this for a few minutes. It's just kind of cool.


Coming from a background in professional audio production, our initial reaction to GarageBand was one of heavy skepticism -- but that attitude changed pretty quickly. The $4.99 piece of software offers eight tracks of recorded audio or software instruments, along with the ability to mix your levels, add effects, and even apply amps and stompboxes to your tracks. The software also features a library of preset loops, along with options to sample audio and create your own playable instruments.

We were immediately impressed with the layout and thoughtfulness that's obviously gone into this app; it doesn't feel like a watered down version of the desktop application -- it feels like a whole new game. Creating tracks and recording pieces for a song couldn't have been easier, and the provided software instruments provide myriad options when it comes to sound creation and manipulation. Besides the standard selection of pianos, keyboards, and drum kits, Apple has also introduced an ingenious (and sure to be maddening to some) set of instruments called Smart Instruments.

Smart Instruments work in a kind of uncanny way; if you're using the guitar setting in this mode, you're presented with what looks like the neck of a guitar and a spread of preset chords. You can pick or strum the instrument as you would an actual guitar and the results are surprisingly, disarmingly lifelike. If you're really not musically inclined, you can have the guitar basically play itself for you while you switch between styles and chords. We were amused by the latter option, but completely hooked on the former. We would like to see Apple add options to let users define their own chords, which would open up tons of options and really let musicians get creative, but this is an excellent start to a completely new concept in music-making. There are also Smart Instruments for piano / keyboards (a little more hands-off than the guitar variation), and drums. The drum Smart Instrument allows you to mix and match specific drums on a grid which represents volume and pattern, allowing you to create fascinating combinations of rhythms just by dragging and dropping your kicks, snares, and hi-hats. Again, we'd like to see Apple allow for user-definable patterns here, but there's lots to like and explore for musicians and non-musicians alike.

In the pattern mode, you're able to draw out and sequence complete songs with your eight tracks. Apple takes an approach here that's a bit strange, asking you to duplicate or extend each set of patterns as a section, but once you get the hang of it, it starts to make sense. We would like to see some options for being able to edit specific note data as well -- as it stands, Apple only allows you to re-record a part, not fix or alter notes within the part.

Overall, this is a groundbreaking piece of software for tablets. It wasn't without issues -- in fact, we had some major, system-stalling crashes which required a reboot of the iPad. It's clear that there are bugs to be worked out, and that despite that A5 CPU and increased memory, a music tracking and arranging app remains a fairly heavy piece of code. Still, we found ourselves completely fascinated by GarageBand and unable to put it down. Whether you're tinkering, writing, or recording, this software's value will be clear right from the start.

Here's a couple of quickly thrown together originals -- the first was made almost entirely while on a plane.


iMovie for the iPad wasn't quite the revelatory experience that GarageBand was, but the application provides loads of utility for video editing on the go -- and it does it on the cheap, clocking in at just $4.99. In a kind of blown-up version of the iPhone app, iMovie now lets you edit both videos you've shot on the device and imported files in a touchy-feely environment that's actually more intuitive than its desktop counterpart -- at least in a some ways.

As with other versions of the software, you get a set of movie templates and associated effects which you can apply to your clips. Editing is a new experience -- all swipes and gestures -- but surprisingly simple. There aren't a slew of options for transitions or effects, but the raw materials provided are more than enough to create competent work, especially if you're editing together family vacations or first birthday parties. We would like to see some better options for dealing with audio (cross fades and proper iMovie style volume curves would be great), but we're sure people will come up with some very interesting work despite the limitations of the app.

You can immediately export and upload your content to a variety of sources, including YouTube, Vimeo, CNN's iReport, and Facebook. And yes, you can do it in HD. In our experience, the process worked flawlessly.

The version of iMovie we tested -- like GarageBand -- was slightly buggy and prone to full on crashes while we were editing, and we did have to backtrack and recreate some of our edits after one of the crashes. It wasn't tragic (no actual content was lost), but we're hoping Apple takes a long look at the bug reports which are sure to pour in. Despite that issue, however, you simply can't beat the utility of this app at what is an astounding price point.

AirPlay / HDMI adapter / Smart Cover

AirPlay has now been expanded to work with more applications, which means developers can plug into the API to get video (and more) out to TV screens anywhere an Apple TV is located. That's nice, but until people start taking advantage of it, there aren't a ton of places you can use it right now. You can, however, stream all H.264 video from websites, and you can now access photos and video you've shot on your device that live in your camera roll.

If you're really serious about getting video out to your TV, you'll want to pick up Apple's new HDMI dongle ($39), which allows you to plug directly into your HDTV (and has a spot for your dock connector as well). It's a pretty odd product, considering that you've got to have your HDMI cable stretched across your living room. Unless of course, you're just dropping your iPad off by the TV to watch some content, and never pausing or skipping anything. That said, the adapter worked flawlessly, and when we had HD video running on the iPad 2, it sent that content to the TV with no trouble whatsoever.

The other accessories of note are Apple's Smart Covers. These ingenious little flaps are basically screen protectors with a set of smart magnets along the side -- instead of wrapping around your iPad or hanging onto the device with unsightly hooks or straps, Apple has devised a method for attaching the cover with well placed magnets. It's hard to explain how the covers work, but the effect is surprising when you first see it; the magnets just seem to know where to go. It is a neat trick, and the covers (which come in polyurethane for $39 and leather varieties at $69) do an excellent job of keeping your screen protected. The covers also can put your device to sleep and wake it up as you close or open the flaps -- and it can be folded over on itself to be used as a stand in a variety of positions. The accessories also have a microfiber lining, which supposedly helps keep your screen clean. But of course, there's more to the iPad than just a screen, and our test device actually got a nasty scratch on the back because there was nothing there to protect it. We love the convenience of the Smart Cover and the way it looks, but if you're seriously concerned about the entire iPad (and not just the display), you might want to check out other options.


It might frustrate the competition to hear this, but it needs to be said: the iPad 2 isn't just the best tablet on the market, it feels like the only tablet on the market. As much as we'd like to say that something like the Xoom has threatened Apple's presence in this space, it's difficult (if not impossible) to do that. Is the iPad 2 a perfect product? Absolutely not. The cameras are severely lacking, the screen -- while extremely high quality -- is touting last year's spec, and its operating system still has significant annoyances, like the aggravating pop-up notifications. At a price point of $499, and lots of options after that (like more storage and models that work on both Verizon's and AT&T's 3G networks), there's little to argue about in the way of price, and in terms of usability, apps like GarageBand prove that we haven't even scratched the surface of what the iPad can do.

For owners of the previous generation, we don't think Apple's put a fire under you to upgrade. Unless you absolutely need cameras on your tablet, you've still got a solid piece of gear that reaps plenty of the benefits of the latest OS and apps. For those of you who haven't yet made the leap, feel free to take a deep breath and dive in -- the iPad 2 is as good as it gets right now. And it's really quite good.

BlackBerry PlayBook Review

The words "play" and "book" are a bit of an odd choice for RIM's latest attempt at consumer relevance, a tablet that, at its core, runs one of the most hardcore and industry-friendly operating systems known to man. The OS is QNX and the hardware is, of course, the BlackBerry PlayBook. It's an enterprise-friendly offering that's also out to conquer the consumer tablet ecosphere, hoping to follow in the footsteps of the BlackBerry handsets that have filled the pockets of corporate executives and BBM addicts around the globe.

It's something of a serious tablet when compared to the competition running software from Apple and Google and, while it certainly has games, its biggest strengths are rather more boring. It does a really great job at displaying PowerPoint presentations, for example, and has the security chops to keep last quarter's dismal sales figures from falling into the wrong hands. Exciting stuff? No, but useful features for sure, and regardless of whether you find those intriguing or boring this is RIM's seven-inch, Flash-having but 3G-lacking tablet clad in an unassuming but extremely sophisticated exterior. It's what's running behind the glass that disappoints.


The black PlayBook, with its angular edges and dark styling, looks decidedly nondescript, more likely to open up a wormhole somewhere in orbit around Jupiter than leap into someone's hands at retail. Only the chrome logo 'round the back adds some flare, with the word "BlackBerry" subtly embossed below the display on the front. The chassis is cool metal, ever so slightly rubberized, the edges squared off, and there is absolutely no flex or give anywhere. It feels perfectly solid and doesn't yield to any attempted contortions, despite being just 0.4-inches thick -- less than a tenth thicker than an iPad 2. At 0.9 pounds, it's considerably lighter, but a bit heavier than the .83 pound Galaxy Tab.

Debate about the perfect tablet size rages on, but we have to say the slightly smallish factor here creates a device that's comfortable to roam with. The light weight certainly makes it easier for reading and the more hand-friendly size makes it feel more comfortable to carry. That size, plus the dark coloring, makes this slate a bit less obvious than much of the competition, which is certainly part of its understated charm.

Up top are four buttons, the only physical controls to be found: volume up, volume down, play/pause, and an unfortunately small power button that's flush with the chassis. It's impossible to find by feel and, once located, difficult to activate. You can't really hit it without using a fingernail and even then it requires a lot of pressure to modulate. Plus, it's located centrally on top of the device, exactly where your fingers likely aren't.

It sounds crazy, but this is, hands-down, the worst part of the hardware. Think about how often you use the power button on your phone to toggle the screen and then imagine having to stab really hard at it with a fingernail instead. It's hugely frustrating and, while you can turn the screen on by swiping all the way from bezel-to-bezel, even on this seven-incher that's a bit ornery -- and there's no way other than the power button to disable the screen.

A five megapixel camera peeks out the back, while a three megapixel unit handles front-facing duties. That one is tucked under the glass and situated just above the seven-inch, 1,024 x 600 display that will threaten neither rods nor cones when on maximum brightness. It does, however, deliver great clarity and excellent viewing angles.

Hidden away on the bottom are three ports: micro-HDMI, micro-USB, and a proprietary three-prong charging connector for use when the thing settles down in its docking cradle or gets cozy with the optional external adapter -- charging at twice the rate of micro-USB. Up top there's one more hole, a humble 3.5mm headphone jack, but if you look closely you'll also spot stereo speaker grilles cut into either side of the glass.


Running the show is a dual-core, 1GHz TI OMAP processor that's expertly massaged and manipulated by the QNX OS here. QNX is a decidedly efficient and bulletproof operating system that powers everything from jet fighters to, well, little black tablets. That's backed by 1GB of RAM and 16, 32, or 64GB of storage, with the smallest costing $499 and each subsequent step adding $100 to the cost of entry.

Graphics are handled by a PowerVR design, which quite handily offloads video decoding and gaming acceleration from the processor, enabling this thing to decode and display 1080p video over HDMI while still ticking along quite smoothly and running productivity apps on the seven-inch display. Not a hint of dithering or pixelation, of course. Apps load quickly, tend to be impressively responsive, and switching from one to the next is effortless.

Early builds of the PlayBook software (we're now on our third since taking possession of the thing) seemingly had some issues managing memory, and on multiple occasions we found upper corners glowing red. Our first thought was that the guns on our CRT had been misaligned by a wayward magnet, but this is just how the PlayBook alerts you to issues, in this case a lack of memory. Memory management seems to be much improved in the most recent build we've received, but you can certainly still kill unwanted apps whenever you want by simply swiping them vertically, off into oblivion.


There are various flavors of 4G coming down the pipe for the PlayBook later this year, including a WiMAX sampler for Sprint as well as HSPA+ and LTE for... well, for other carriers. That leaves us with 802.11a/b/g/n connectivity, plus Bluetooth of course. Using that last standard you can pair up a keyboard and mouse; do so and a microscopic cursor appears on the screen. Left clicks for taps and right-clicks for gestures, initiated at the edge of the screen rather than off of it. This, as you'd expect, turns intuitive gestures into clumsy mouse flicks.

Curiously, though, the device doesn't support simple USB mass storage -- you can't just plug it in to your laptop and dump a bunch of files on it. You can mount it as a drive over USB, but then you have only access to a small, read-only volume that contains a single driver. Install that and the PlayBook shows up as a network drive.

Deliciously, this driver allows you to access the device over the network or connected directly over USB, but if you're rocking something other than a Mac or a PC you're going to be disappointed the first time you try to tether here. And, with no simple mass storage mode, it's far more complicated that it should be if you just want to get a file off the thing.

Battery life

With day-to-day usage, WiFi on, screen reasonably bright, checking out some websites and playing some tunes, the PlayBook has plenty of juice to get you through a couple days without breaking a sweat. It'll handily survive your all-day presentation at the office, make you look cool in front of your boss, then still have plenty of battery life left to chill out to some N.W.A. on the flight home.

But, compared to the competition, it delivers a solid mid-pack performance. We looped a standard MPEG4 video clip with WiFi enabled and screen brightness at about 65 percent, managing seven hours and one minute before everything went dark. That's about an hour more than the Samsung Galaxy Tab, but over an hour less than the Motorola Xoom. The iPad 2, meanwhile, manages ten and a half hours when similarly stressed.

Battery Life
RIM BlackBerry PlayBook7:01
Apple iPad 210:26
Apple iPad9:33
Motorola Xoom8:20
Dell Streak 73:26
Archos 101 7:20
Samsung Galaxy Tab6:09


Operating system

Like webOS? If so, you're going to love what's hiding under the PlayBook's (healthy) bezels -- capacitive digitizers that recognize a variety of gestures. System gestures originate to the side of the pixels and terminate on the screen -- except for the swipe to turn the screen on, which has you dragging from one bezel all the way across to the opposite one.

To switch from one app to the next you can swipe inward from the left or the right, which pops the app out of full-screen and lets you move forward or back in the queue. A tap then maximizes your new favorite app. Or, a swipe up from the bottom gives you an even higher-level view of your running apps, which you can again zing your way through. Grabbing one and throwing it upward sends it to the garbage collector, or you can tap the tiny X that appears next to its name.

Swiping from the top of the app brings down a context menu, extra controls that let you save files in Word to Go or jump from one album to another in the media player. Finally, swipe in from either top corner of the screen and you get a system context menu that displays the date and time, simple media controls, battery and connectivity indicators, and a little gear you can tap to tweak your system settings.

Ultimately it's very intuitive to use and, even better, it feels really good. The dynamic action of throwing a frustrating application right off of the screen is quite satisfying, and the lack of any multi-finger antics certainly makes task-switching a far surer affair. Everything is quick and responsive -- just what you expect on a tablet that costs this much money.


At first blush, the keyboard on the PlayBook seems quite good. In landscape mode the keys are spread wide but still reachable by thumbs if you hold this tablet by its horizontal extents -- well, if you don't have particularly short thumbs, anyway. Flipped into portrait it's an even easier reach, but obviously a bit more precision is required.

However, spend a few minutes pecking away and things start to look rather more dire. Neither numbers nor special keys are available without digging into the symbol menu -- even the exclamation point and the question have been driven to obscurity. This means if you want anything more exotic than a humble period or comma you're going to have to go find it. In fact, typing "you're" right there required hitting the symbol key to find the apostrophe -- there's no system-wide auto-correction here (it only works in some apps), no long-presses for alternate characters. What year is this, again?

There is, at least, copy and paste, and it's well-implemented, using a pair of blue tabs to highlight the text you want. Drag them to define the bounds of your text and then your selection is filed away into your clipboard of holding. Annoyingly, though, a double-tap on any word doesn't highlight it.


RIM has provided a full Webkit browser for you to get your surf on, and it's a reasonably good one. Pages load quickly and naturally are rendered in full desktop mode, with all the pinch-to-zoom goodness and snappy motion you'd expect. Flash Player 10.1 is on-board and works well. YouTube videos play perfectly fine and stutter-free when embedded within pages, though there is a dedicated YouTube app you can use if you like. Even Flash games like Bejeweled play well, important if you're still riding that particular horse.

We ran the browser through SunSpider JavaScript test, where it returned a quite healthy 2,360. That's maybe 10 percent slower than the iPad 2 and Motorola Xoom manage, but still quite respectable.

We should note that we noticed some weirdness in the browser with the most recent (third) revision of the PlayBook software we received. When the system was running under load, with numerous other apps hanging around in the background, the browser would frequently and disconcertingly close. It would simply disappear about half-way through loading whatever page we tried. Closing a few apps seemed to fix it, but behavior like this is always a little unnerving.


Yes, we're really writing about the calculator app here. It's one of the many apps on the tablet developed by The Astonishing Tribe, a dev team acquired by RIM who previously worked to define much of the look and feel of Android. The calculator app in particular stands out with the team's patented style. Whether you're in standard or scientific mode, a "paper" tally prints each calculation, digital pulp that can be virtually torn off and disposed. Cute. Slightly more practical is the integrated unit converter, which means we'll never have to look far to get horsepower from kW, and the tip calculator could make your next night on the town go a little more smoothly -- assuming you didn't spend the entire meal playing with your tablet.


This is another of the TAT-developed apps, and though simple it shows some nice touches with overlaid transitions as you swipe from image to image. It's of course quite minimalistic, but a pleasure to use.

Adobe Reader

PDF and enterprises go together like executives and golden parachutes, so it's no surprise that Adobe is on-board here with a custom version of Reader. It's a PDF viewer at heart and, therefore, boring. But, performance is great, whether thumbing through boring statistics or pinch-zooming in on tables and charts, even with files laden with megabyte after megabyte of stock images of beautiful people smiling.


Open the music app and you have four big, handy buttons to choose from: artists, albums, genres, or all songs -- the latter for users who can't be constrained by such arbitrary classifications. Albums are simply displayed in a giant grid, tap one to play it, while artists and individual songs go into a long list. The lists are a bit unwieldy, especially since you can't jump to a certain letter, but there is real-time filtering via a search dialog.

Documents to Go suite

The PlayBook comes loaded with Word, Sheet, and Slideshow to Go from DataVis, giving you the ability to view PPT, DOC, and XLS files, even create the latter two right on the tablet. Viewing and editing documents is certainly easy enough and of course being able to do so makes for heightened productivity, but trying to enter Excel formulas using the on-screen keyboard will raise only your blood pressure.

BlackBerry Bridge

Bridge was one of the last pieces of the puzzle to come together in the PlayBook, added mere hours ago, and it's one of the strongest yet weakest aspects of the device. Here you pair your PlayBook up with a phone running BlackBerry OS 5 or 6, which must itself be running the Bridge app. The two talk sweet nothings over Bluetooth and, once connected, a new suite of applications is enabled on the tablet.

In this way you get your standard productivity stuff: e-mail, calendar, contacts, tasks, and memos. There's also an option to run the Bridge Browser, viewing the web through the phone interface, but as of this moment that feature is simply busted -- the app crashed every time we tried it. The other apps, though, are good. Simple. They're exactly what BlackBerry smartphone users are going to want, but they're also exactly what non-BlackBerry smartphone users will want and, if you don't have a phone to pair, they disappear.

Yes, you can get to your web mail provider of choice here, but the lack of dedicated, basic productivity applications like these feels like a huge oversight. This is RIM expecting 100 percent crossover between PlayBook buyers and current BlackBerry owners, and that seems unnecessarily limiting. Yes, these apps are coming, but they should be here now.

What's missing

Non-Bridge productivity apps (e-mail, calendar, etc.) are the biggest omission, but other things are missing too, like that awesome scrapbooking app from TAT that got us feeling all crafty. It's nowhere to be found. Also missing? The mysterious Android compatibility, support that is coming but sadly won't be working at launch. The ability to run Android apps could totally change the game -- or it could be a non-event. We won't know until RIM flips the switch and lets us all try it out.

Overall, the selection in App World and on the device itself is rather limited at the moment. RIM is quick to point out that there are thousands of apps in the pipeline, written in some combination of Adobe AIR or HTML 5 or Java or within the PlayBook's native compilation engine. We're sure they're coming, but right now it's slim pickins.


Again, the PlayBook has three megapixels up front and five around the back, enabling 1080p MPEG4 video recording in a tablet and, we must say, doing a fair job of it. You're going to want a lot of light but, if things aren't too dim, video quality is quite good, as you can see in the sample clip above. Images, too, need a lot of light to keep the grain monster at bay, and the lack of a flash doesn't help in that department, but get the lighting right and the results are decent. Focus is sharp and images look bright. This is definitely a tablet that you could use to take some attractive photographs, if you can get over the social repercussions of waving this seven-inch viewfinder around on vacation.


RIM kindly provided a few accessories for us to experiment with, including the $50 Convertible Case, which adds a good amount of girth to the tablet but also offers a lot of protection, and serves as a stand, too. But, $50 is a lot of cash for a case. (There is, at least, a thin sleeve included with the PlayBook.)

We also received the Rapid Charging Pod, a $70 magnetic stand that uses that three-pronged proprietary charger at the bottom. It's said to be twice as fast as micro-USB charging and its weighted, magnetic design holds the PlayBook firmly in place for watching content while charging. But, the lack of audio output is unfortunate and, again, $70 seems like a lot for a tiny little dock.


Writing this review has been a lot like trying to hit a moving target thanks to a series of software updates that have been dropping every few days. The PlayBook of today is considerably better than the PlayBook of yesterday, which also was a big step forward from the one we were reviewing two days before that. This is both encouraging and worrying -- encouraging that RIM is actively working to improve things, but worrying that things as critical as memory management are still being tweaked at the eleventh hour.

This means we're not entirely sure what the PlayBook that goes on sale next week will look like. We thought we had "final" software on Sunday -- and then we got another update. 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.

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.