Screen and Speakers
The screen is PlayBook strength. It sports a 1024 x 600 resolution (same as the Samsung Galaxy Tab), which is less than the iPad 2 (1024 x 768) and Xoom (1280 x 800), but thanks to its smaller size, the PlayBook actually has a higher pixel density of 169 to the iPad 2’s 132 and the Xoom’s 160.
As such, uncompressed video looks great with vibrant colors and very little pixilation. The PlayBook display is also exceptionally bright… brighter than the iPad 2, with better color reproduction than Apple’s tablet. Viewing angles are also superb, with about a ten- to fifteen-degree sweet spot directly facing the screen. But even at severe angles, colors still look great and the screen only loses a small amount of brightness. Finally, the glossy display does little to shrug off direct light from overhead bulbs or the sun, which is common problem with today’s tablets.
The speakers mostly rock, and that’s due to their placement on the PlayBook face. They didn’t blow me away at max volume, but were plenty loud to be heard across the room and through walls. Fidelity is above average, but things get a bit muddled at the higher decibel settings.
I don’t expect much from tablet or smartphone cameras, but the BlackBerry PlayBook camera is actually quite capable. Shooting at five-megapixels from the rear, and three-megapixels from the front, it does a decent job of capturing images and 1080p HD video, with fine color reproduction and an acceptable amount of detail.
Users can also shoot 480p and 720p video, with presets for shooting sports, whiteboards (a nice option for business users), or auto. Videos are recorded at MPEG 4 files, just like most pocket camcorders. For photos, the PlayBook features digital image stabilization, choice of ratios (16:9, 4:3) and the same auto, sports and whiteboard presets. The PlayBook doesn’t have an external flash, which makes lowlight shooting difficult.