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  1. firebrewd's Avatar
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       #1  
    So, my brother bought a PlayBook and let me borrow it for the day, and I thought it'd be interesting to make some points about its OS, compared to webOS. I was completely open-minded about the device, so this isn't coming from a fan boy, at all.

    Good:

    - Hardware feels really good. Fit and finish is top-notch, and the form factor is really nice, too. Would love something like this with webOS (especially the matte back, as opposed to the fingerprint magnet of the TouchPad).

    - The screen is bright and clear, and videos play smoothly. Watching a video was enjoyable.

    - Gestures work well, specially app switching. Hope HP implements something like this.

    - Adobe Flash worked really well: not as smooth as a MPEG video, but videos were completely watchable. I really enjoyed reading a website, stumbling with a YouTube video, and playing it inline instead of launching the app. I didn't think about Flash like a big deal, but I'm pretty sure I'd get used to it really quick.

    - Overall, the experience is smooth. I just used it as anybody would, with few apps open at the same time, and it didn't slow down or anything.

    Bad:

    - Although polished, the UI way too many visual effects that makes it annoying to operate after a while. For example, when you open an app, instead of just showing the card then maximizing it, it moves the first cards to the left (and pauses), shows the card (and pauses), maximizes it (closing the tray with another animation). It's hard to explain with words, but the experience gets tiresome, trust me.

    - Closing an app with a swipe works 50% of the time, or less. Instead of closing it, it usually just selects another card, and I suppose this is because the motion should be as straight (90 degrees) as possible, compared to 45 degrees of webOS. Another pain in the ***, so I opted to close with tapping the X (yeah, not good at all).

    - Opening the tray might seem like something simple, but it, again, gets annoying in the PlayBook. The gesture works almost exactly like in webOS, but you can't tap the "gesture area", nor can you give it a quick flick; it's more of a drag. Also, it doesn't remember the position you were last time, so you usually have to open it and look for the app.

    - Just Type / Universal Search. This is something you'd miss more than you think. Something as simple as doing a Google search or finding an app is a chore, for obvious reasons.

    - Card switching. My god... You know in webOS, where everytime you do a swipe or drag you just switch the card? Well, in the PlayBook, instead of changing card, it does a smooth scroll, so changing to a near card would require you tapping it or dragging slowly. Also, again with the visual effects: after it gets to the last card, it makes a big "bump", and you have to wait for it to stop.

    - Scrolling lists, because of the big "bump" that seems to be present in many elements, is sometimes tedious. For example, if you do a flick in one direction, then want to go in the other direction or tap it so it stops, it wouldn't register at all, and you'd need to wait for it before doing something. We're talking about 0.25s maybe, which seems short, but trust me, stuff like this gets on your nerves.

    - The browser also suffers from animation overload. When double tapping to zoom, the action isn't immediate, and you feel hanging before it finishes zooming in (then anti-aliasing the text). At this point, I'll say that I'm probably nitpicking, but small details like this add to the experience.

    - Inconsistent UI. To put it shortly, the back button isn't always in the same place, and sometimes it isn't even present. A quick example is in the App World, when you browse and get to an app, then hit download, it takes you to the download list; not only there isn't a back button at all, you also have to browse again to where you were. The problem is if you're looking for free games, you'll have to go to Categories / Games / Arcade (no "All" option...) / Free each time you download something. Not good.

    Closing Comments

    To put it is simply: love the hardware, hate the experience. It feels like a webOS copycat which implemented the beauty (and smoothness) of webOS, but forgot about the brains.

    It just made me want the TouchPad even more.

    English isn't my first language, so grammar police, please excuse any errors.
    Last edited by firebrewd; 05/08/2011 at 03:39 AM.
  2. #2  
    Yeah, I was wondering about the scroll as well. Seems to me as if RIM does not want you to use this feature ?(
  3. #3  
    i saw a unit at Frys, but it couldn't turn on, I agree the hardware looks nice, and charging port seems to be magnetic? would be nice too.

    I did get to play with a xoom briefly, huge disappointment. Its too complex and slower than iPad 2 I played with.
  4. #4  
    nice review. Thanks!
  5. mike5's Avatar
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    #5  
    Thanks for the review. How were notifications, as I think that is one of the more elegant parts of webOS?
  6. #6  
    def this was a very good review, and really puts in perspective of the difference with webos, and QNX.
  7. samab's Avatar
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    #7  
    Very nice review.

    With universal search, I think part of the problem is that RIM was still negotiating with Microsoft when the Playbook was launched.

    There are a lot of inconsistent first party app UI's --- some have contextual menus and some don't, some have back buttons and some don't. And that inconsistency goes beyond first party apps --- because RIM didn't publish their UI guidelines to app developers until basically the week before the Playbook was launched.
  8. #8  
    Playbook sounds like a highly unified user experience, developers should be thrilled.
  9. firebrewd's Avatar
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       #9  
    Hey, thanks for the kind words, glad you enjoyed it.

    It seems to have a magnetic connector, but also a micro USB one, so it's nice to have both. However, I didn't have the chance to test the magnetic one, as I believe it isn't bundled, or at least it wasn't on the box.

    I also didn't have the chance to test out notifications. But we know who'd easily win, right? I didn't setup my email, FB or anything whatsoever; wasn't sure messing with those settings was a good idea.

    samab is spot on with what he says. How is it possible that first party app doesn't implement vital stuff like contextual menus or back buttons? I already talked about that, but it really bugged me, a lot. That also happens with other apps that don't work in landscape mode, which would be a simple adaptation in my opinion.

    In my experience, PlayBook sounds like a unified experience, but it didn't feel like one, at all: it's "fragmented" throughout the device, and nearly every third party app I played with handled things differently, from going back to scrolling a list.

    But again, on looks and animation, top-notch work right there. On par, or above, iOS, if you will.
  10. samab's Avatar
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    #10  
    Playbook's first party apps are being TAT-ified app by app. So far, the calculator app was completely replaced --- totally different from the one shown at CES. The photo app now has a very subtle 3D transition between photos --- which was absent from the earlier demos since the earlier version was a pure AIR app and AIR doesn't have 3D.
  11. firebrewd's Avatar
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       #11  
    Yeah. Love those two, by the way, especially that they integrated a calculator, scientific calculator, converter and tip calculator into one. The transitions of the photos app are awesome as well, very subtle, but noticeable. Adds to the polish of the UI.
  12. samab's Avatar
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    #12  
    The current Playbook uses an AIR UI, which is limited to 2D. A lot of people feared that TAT would use its native c++ 3D widgets to make the new UI's "cartoonish". I think that the TAT-ified photo app is somewhat calming those people down.
  13. #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by firebrewd View Post
    Bad:

    - Although polished, the UI way too many visual effects that makes it annoying to operate after a while.
    I have been using the word 'gimmicky' to describe the PlayBook ever since the first videos of the UI came out. Personally, I don't care about all of the 3d menus and little animations. Just give me something that works, and works smoothly. This device doesn't look like that, and whether they copied WebOS or not, they did it poorly and it looks like a toy.

    Thanks for the review, I'd still like to play with one in the store, but this basically reinforced all of my assumptions of it.
  14. lupos's Avatar
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    #14  
    thanks for this review. I played with one in a best buy the week it came out, for about 10 minutes, and was really frustrated trying to get around. For someone who has never used webOS it might seem nice but for those of us who know it's like a bad chineese knock off of the interface. it just FEELS bad. Glad to see someone put it into terms other can understand.
  15. firebrewd's Avatar
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       #15  
    Indeed, FliedLice, most of those effects are just gimmicks, which look good, but detract from the experience as a whole. It's like having a basic design and filling it with Photoshop effects just to make it look better. I recommend you go and play with one.

    lupos, the funny thing is I've had a Pixi Plus for quite a while (couldn't afford a Pre Plus), and my brother and some of his BB friends found it uninteresting, and didn't "get" card. Yesterday, he was saying how awesome the PlayBook is, and how it makes everything as simple as possible. Yeah, way to go.
  16. samab's Avatar
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    #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by FliedLice View Post
    I have been using the word 'gimmicky' to describe the PlayBook ever since the first videos of the UI came out. Personally, I don't care about all of the 3d menus and little animations. Just give me something that works, and works smoothly. This device doesn't look like that, and whether they copied WebOS or not, they did it poorly and it looks like a toy.

    Thanks for the review, I'd still like to play with one in the store, but this basically reinforced all of my assumptions of it.
    The thing is that the current Playbook UI doesn't have 3D menus and little animations --- it is quite plain because it is written in AIR. But because it is written in AIR, the Playbook's UI performance can be greatly improved by having the UI re-coded using TAT's c++ widgets.

    TAT-ifying the Playbook's UI doesn't have to be gimmicky, but it will smooth out the performance.
  17. KAPS's Avatar
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    #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by samab View Post
    The thing is that the current Playbook UI doesn't have 3D menus and little animations --- it is quite plain because it is written in AIR. But because it is written in AIR, the Playbook's UI performance can be greatly improved by having the UI re-coded using TAT's c++ widgets.

    TAT-ifying the Playbook's UI doesn't have to be gimmicky, but it will smooth out the performance.
    Yeah this feature is coming in summer 2018 like all the essential features.
    Stop the silly reason playbook sucks.
  18. samab's Avatar
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    #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by KAPS View Post
    Yeah this feature is coming in summer 2018 like all the essential features.
    Stop the silly reason playbook sucks.
    Essential features mean that Playbook's native email app is written in java --- which means that at the end of that tunnel there are going to be more than 20000 legacy apps coming to the Playbook.

    The silly reason why you started all these flame wars --- was that I beat you in that little "it's a bug" argument, which nobody here took your side. Then you went off the cliff with all the skynet talk --- which I answered with a clever reply using specific references from the Sarah Connor Chronicles about the origin of skynet being the traffic light system.

    Why don't you re-read that whole thread again. If you looked bad in it, that's because you made yourself look bad. I didn't have much to do with it.

    I think that it's time for the moderators to take a stand. If the moderators allow KAPS to continue to post in this forum, then you might as well close the whole "other handhelds" section --- because he is going to force the moderators to close every single thread.
  19. KAPS's Avatar
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    #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by samab View Post
    Essential features mean that Playbook's native email app is written in java --- which means that at the end of that tunnel there are going to be more than 20000 legacy apps coming to the Playbook.

    The silly reason why you started all these flame wars --- was that I beat you in that little "it's a bug" argument, which nobody here took your side. Then you went off the cliff with all the skynet talk --- which I answered with a clever reply using specific references from the Sarah Connor Chronicles about the origin of skynet being the traffic light system.

    Why don't you re-read that whole thread again. If you looked bad in it, that's because you made yourself look bad. I didn't have much to do with it.

    I think that it's time for the moderators to take a stand. If the moderators allow KAPS to continue to post in this forum, then you might as well close the whole "other handhelds" section --- because he is going to force the moderators to close every single thread.
    Yeah right now I am the bad guy( specifically I love it). You are the one, who keep on telling how good playbook is and how good RIM is.
    Even though I have repeatedly pointed out that Playbook is missing very important feature but still you are adamant that it is the best tablet in the market.
    Playbook has copied WebOS but you keep on saying that QNX is original.
    I don't know why RIM ****** come over to different forum and try to say that RIM still is good.
    I think it is because you know deep inside that RIM is finished and it is on the last leg.
    Here in this forum if any of the members point some flaw in Playbook or RIM, you will just blindly support it and try to defend it.
    Btw the Skynet thing was a joke if you couldn't get it that is not my fault.
    Btw your reference for Skynet was a joke, who the hell watches Sarah Connor serial anyways.
    Let the moderator decide what they want to do.
    I know one thing I don't go in RIM forum and try to make WebOS look good but RIM ******* are so insecure about WebOS and other OS that they come over to these forum to try to defend RIM.
    Btw if you see in the topic, everybody was saying how bad Playbook UI really is but then you come and try to tell some bull**** thing about TAT and god know what all, You diverted from the topic not me.
  20. #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by firebrewd View Post
    Indeed, FliedLice, most of those effects are just gimmicks, which look good, but detract from the experience as a whole. It's like having a basic design and filling it with Photoshop effects just to make it look better. I recommend you go and play with one.
    Exactly. They're unnecessary and unneeded. I'll stay away from this thing. Thanks again, firebrewd.
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