BlackBerry 4G LTE PlayBook


After a long wait, Research In Motion has unveiled its 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook launched in August 2012. In the world of modern technology, smartphones & tablets are always evolving. RIM is always striving to bring forth a groundbreaking product that puts it ahead of other competitors. Today, we will take a brief look at their most recent tablet offering, the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook. As you may have already postulated, the new 4G BlackBerry PlayBook looks almost exactly like the original.  It’s black.  It has the same oh-so-smooth matte-textured backing.  As far as design goes, it’s essentially the same tablet: elegant, bold, and stylish. According to RIM, To my surprise, despite being slightly thicker, it actually weighs less on my scale!  About 4.7% less to be exact.  I measured a weight of 426 ± 1 grams on the original PlayBook, and this 4G PlayBook weighs in at only 406 ± 1 grams.  I’m guessing that’s all the extra battery that was taken out. The display, on paper, is the same 7” 1024×600 (WSVGA) capacitive touchscreen as on the original PlayBook.  But there are differences.  Compared side-by-side with the original PlayBook, the 4G PlayBook’s screen is noticeably yellow-er.  Of course, this is very hard to notice on its own. I’m not sure if this is a problem with this particular 4G PlayBook, or the all of the 4G units.  I would say this is a slight step back from the high quality screen we’ve seen from the original PlayBook.  It’s gone from great to merely average.  In the image below, the 4G PlayBook is the one on top. The screen isn’t resistant to fingerprints and smudges so don’t expect a flawlessly shiny display without using lint-free gloves while handling it.  The PlayBook comes with a cool BlackBerry-branded screen cleaning cloth, and you will probably make good use of it. The new 4G PlayBook is packed with features, much like the original.  It has a 6-axis gyroscope, accelerometer, light sensor, magnetometer, and a GPS.  Not much new here.  They all work sufficiently well…except the GPS.  While trying to use the (barely functional) Bing Maps bundled with all PlayBooks it could either a) not find a GPS signal or b) it thought I was in Guelph (500 km away).  Close, but no cigar. I’ve even tried the Android Navigation app.  Apparently I’m still in Guelph.  That rules out the chance that it is an app-specific error.  Nevertheless, the GPS works great on the Wi-Fi PlayBook and I see no reason why the GPS in the 4G PlayBook would malfunction.  This is very strange behavior indeed. With both LTE and HSPA+ radios, the 4G PlayBook allows you to have ultra-fast data speeds in major cities, and still reasonably fast speeds everywhere else.  We at N4BB were particularly excited for the LTE capability.  Thanks to Telus, we have access to a theoretical peak download speeds of a blistering 75 mbps over LTE.  There’s also HSPA+, but that’s slower and not as cool.  Let’s start with the LTE results using the “Speedtest” App in App World, here’s what we found. By struggling to barely get two bars of LTE signal in my area, the 4G PlayBook managed a home-internet-shaming feat of 46.371 Mbps with an average of 22.182 Mbps.  The upload speeds consistently hover around the 1 Mbps level.  With such speeds, the PlayBook is one quick tablet on Telus’ LTE network. Fortunately, if you happen to wander outside the present LTE coverage, good ol’ HSPA+ is there to keep you connected.  So let’s test out the PlayBook’s HSPA+ speed next. The 4G PlayBook finishes the test with a very typical result of 7.679 Mbps max and 6.117 Mbps average download speeds.  The upload speeds settle in at around 0.681 Mbps max and 0.536 Mbps average. I did have a full 5 bars of HSPA+ signal to work with so I doubt the speeds get anywhere better closer to civilization.  Not to complain though, as it simply matched my Wi-Fi connection speed.  The fact that HSPA+ pales so much in comparison to LTE makes the HSPA+ result as lackluster. Also, refusing to label HSPA+ as 3G , 3G+ or 3.5G speeds (even though it is), it is simply called “4G”.  LTE connectivity is simply labeled 4G LTE to differentiate itself from HSPA+. For audio recording, dual microphones are located on the top of the PlayBook and provide stereo sound.  Similar to the original, this is still quite a rare find in a tablet and very welcoming to see. Front-facing and rear-facing cameras with resolutions at 3MP and 5MP respectively provide very respectable image resolutions when taking pictures.  Much like the original PlayBook, the sensor isn’t amazing, so you won’t be taking great pictures in low light, or up-close (due to the lack of autofocus).   Here is a sample I took of a cup of coffee in medium lighting conditions. The stereo speakers are once again, identical to the original PlayBook and awesome.  You obviously won’t get studio quality sound out of any tablet, but the Playbook can dish out some serious volume without losing much in terms of quality or in the low-end . That in itself is quite an accomplishment. Standard charging and data transferring is done through the Micro USB port.  The Micro HDMI port is still there and so is the magnetic rapid charging port for rapid charging. The Wi-Fi antenna is still a welcoming 802.11 a/b/g/n.   The Bluetooth radio is 3.1 +EDR (updated) with support of the following Bluetooth profiles: Dial-Up Networking (DUN) Serial Port Profile (SPP), Secure Simple Pairing (SSP), Human Interface Device (HID).  That’s a great step forward from the 2.1 + EDR Bluetooth the original PlayBook had at launch.  Hopefully this will be updated to version 4.0 in the future. As advertised, the 4G radio sets it apart from the PlayBook of old.  LTE (700, 1700 MHz), HSPA+ (2100, 1900, 1700, 800, 900 MHz).  Covering “faux” G (HSPA+) and the real 4G LTE bands, the 4G PlayBook is a truly portable tablet solution. If you looked up the word “beast” in the dictionary, you’d see a picture of the 4G PlayBook.  You asked for more power, and you’ve got it.  Let me introduce you to the 1.5 Ghz Dual-Core TI OMAP 4460 (conceivably it could even be the 4470). Right out of the gate, the CPU speed test just goes to show that the new chipset can flex its mighty OMAP 4460 CPU.  The new 4G PlayBook clearly beats the original PlayBook by a factor of about 2. As far as boot up times go, rebooting the 4G PlayBook takes exactly 3 minutes and 5 seconds, while booting from the off state takes a quicker 1 minutes and 28 seconds.  Why the big difference?  Well, the shutdown time on the PlayBook is significant and does take quite a while.  As we compare this to the Wi-Fi PlayBook, we will stick to OS to keep it a fair test. The Wi-Fi PlayBook reboots in 3 minutes and boots from the off state in exactly 2 minutes.  With a 50% increase in clock speed, it makes sense that the 4G PlayBook boots up nearly 50% faster from the off-state. Battery life is always a complicated question to answer.  With the new faster chipset in the 4G PlayBook, you might expect that the battery life would be less than the original’s.  But this depends on what you’re doing: watching video, keeping it on standby, or web browsing.   However, the plot thickens…Riddle me this, Batman: How does the 4G PlayBook end up with a smaller 4800 mAh battery. With the Wi-Fi PlayBook having a battery life of about 7 hours.  The 4G PlayBook would barely make it past 4 hours.  Turning off the 4G radio, the 4G PlayBook settled into it a groove, matching the Wi-Fi PlayBook to the percent.  Moral of the story: 4G and battery life don’t mesh well.  This is without LTE.  My guess is that it would be abysmal with LTE on.   But we like to live dangerously. Summary, you’re looking at about 7 hours of battery life on medium usage with Wi-Fi, and around 4 hours on HSPA+ or LTE. The 4G LTE-equipped PlayBook comes with the same 7-inch display as its predecessor, and includes both front- and rear-facing HD video cameras. HDMI out and stereo speakers are also included. On the software side, users can expect the same operating system experience they're getting now from the PlayBook, including support for RIM's unified inbox and built-in calendar and contacts apps.



Price in USA $635

Price in UK £345

Price in EURO €470

Price in PAK Rs.70,500

Price in INDIA Rs. 35,200


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  2. long press ba ang on and off nito?
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