If there is one thing that takes away BlackBerry’s serious enterprise image, it’s got to be the Playbook. Don’t think otherwise, this nifty tablet from Canada is one of the few serious contenders to the slew of Andriod tabs and even the iPad. And it is for work, even more so than that, it is for play.

With the massive price cut that is still going on (we’re talking about upto 48% in the higher end models), and a page-long technical specifications that Apple caught up with only with the iPad 3, the decision of buying the Playbook was instant, almost a whim.

Now, it has been almost four months since I first started using it. It only gets better every day. Partly because each and every app you install makes the Playbook more playful. Also, I have grown to love it and make use of it in a variety of ways.

First thing you’ll notice is that with the understated look of BlackBerry smartphones and the rubbery back, this one is handsome. An all black enclosure houses the 7 inch multi-touch screen which has a resolution of 1024x600. The front face is all screen. Two speaker grills at the either side of the screen blast out real stereo sound. The back of device has a smooth rubbery texture which gives it a nice grip. Except for the 5MP camera and the BlackBerry logo embossed on it, the rear is clean. The device itself is light, weighing in at just 425 gms.

The proprietary OS used here by BlackBerry is simple and clean. In its usability and design, it is almost iOS like. If the sheer variety of apps available is taken into consideration, the similarities end here. BlackBerry phones have always been looked down upon in terms of apps availability and Playbook is no different. But the platform is young and the number of apps is growing every day and read this, you can download and install most Android apps on it. The process, which BlackBerry calls sideloading, is fairly simple and perfectly legal. Download an Android launcher and voila, you have a tab that works and behaves exactly like an Android tab. Best of both worlds!

Games Playbook Plays
One thing that makes up for the lack of app is the plethora of games Playbook has to offer. Almost all the big titles available for iOS and Android are available. Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies, Need For Speed, Uno, Modern Combat, Cut the Rope - they have everything from most major gaming companies.

Using It
Like any tablet, the device is an all rounder. Playbook gets a point extra in terms of its ease of use. The bezel sorrounding the screen is sensitive to touch. Swipe up from the bottom bezel and you are taken to the homescreen. Swipe from left to right to switch between open apps. Swipe down and you’re taken to the settings menu of that particular open app. No home buttons, no back key, everything is intuitive.

Text input with the touch keyboard is easy. It is only a matter of time to get used to it. From the last two months, I have put my laptop at home. Document creation is as par with any PC office suite with the included Docs To Go app, in fact I am typing this on my Playbook. I also record my interviews with the built-in Voice Notes app.

The screen can reproduce any video, HD or non HD, with crisp colors and the wide aspect ratio of the screen makes watching movies enjoyable.

BlackBerry Playbook
Size: 16/32/64 GB
Price: Original base price is $499, $599 & $699: discounted prices may vary from where you’re buying it.
Screen: 7inch, multi touch 1024x600 pixels
CPU: 1Ghz, Dual-core. 1GB RAM
Camera: 5MP rear, 3MP front. Shoots video @1080p
Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth
Weight: 425 gms