BlackBerry’s PlayBook is an unusual entry into the tablet market. Its matte plastic and blocky design makes it clear this tablet isn’t designed to compete with others on by wowing consumers with its must-have aesthetics.

That would be fine – preferable, even – if the device had other strengths that made it superior to the competition. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The internal hardware is absolutely par for the course, so it isn’t able to stand out from the crowd because of what’s inside. Packing a dual-core processor with a decent GPU and a LCD is what everyone serious about their tablet does, and Apple’s iPad 2 continues to be the leader, thanks to a brilliant display and shockingly quick graphics solution.

Then there’s the software. It’s a disaster. Using BlackBerry’s App World after the App Store or Android Marketplace is like hoping in a time machine to a time where the entire concept of an “app store” was bright, shiny and new. But the deeper problem is the likelihood that this particular store will never grow into maturity.

Not everything is negative. The PlayBook does come with a few decent built-in productivity apps, a nice browser and one very cool game. The small size and light weight also makes it an easy tablet to use in-hand. These are niche justifications for the tablet’s existence, however. The bottom line is that the PlayBook feels half-baked, and while it may appeal to some business users because of its compatibility with BlackBerry phones, consumers have few reasons to choose this over the competition.


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