First I have to say - I love my BlackBerry PlayBook. This device travels with me for one year now and it slowly has grown to be an edition to my electronic zoo that I definitely don't want to miss anymore. With some sideloaded Android apps and PlayBook OS2 it really became an extremly usefull and reliable device that I use daily.

The second thing I have to say is that I like the 7" form factor a lot. I use my tablet as a mobile device on the train and on an airplane - areas where space is limited. I also like to hold devices in one hand for more than twenty minutes - that's why 7" is perfect for me and after trying the iPad, I knew we would not make friends.

Well, the grass always seems greener in someone elses yard, so I regulary took a peek on the 7" Android tablets. And, so far, I was not impressed. The device I tested (Samsung Galaxy Tab 2) was not what I wanted - mainly, because the OS seemed sluggish, complicated and weired comüared to the iPad and the PlayBook. I personally don't like the configuration part of Android - it's a system for people who know what they want to do and know how to do it. It's not a true enduser-oriented system to me. Please - this is only my opinion. iOS und PB-OS seem more intuitive to me.

My main concern regarding the Galaxy 2 was the sluggish behaviour of the user interface across the board. Swipes did not work well, flickers in animations - something I never experienced with iOS or the PlayBook. And for me, that sucks. I simply don't like it. So, in short, I did not fall in love with an 7" Android device.

Last week, I received a Google Nexus 7 - and this device seems to be capable to change my mind on Android tablets. It's fast, it's slick - the OS and the animations work smooth and nicely - it seems to have a heck of a lot of computing power. The interaction with Google Play is comparably easy as with Apples AppStore and BlackBerry AppWorld. And from an app perspective - it has everything I need and more. The price is great - so overall - I like it.

Now, how does it compare to the PlayBook ? Will it replace the PlayBook for me ? Not yet, but it comes close, here are some observations:

Things I like about the Nexus 7:

+ Performance - the Tegra Quadcore rocks ! BUT overall - the PlayBook is still close, although it's a device that is already one year old.
+ Resolution - 1280x800 is way better than the 1024x600 that the PlayBook brings.
+ Some Apps - Skype, in particular. I do a lot of video conferencing with people abroad and Skype is a killer app for me. I really miss that one on the PlayBook

Things I don't like about the Nexus 7:

- No HDMI out. I use this a lot to do company presentations and the PlayBook performs really well here.
- No rear camera - Taking pictures like scanning business cards with my tablet became a habit to me. I really miss a somewhat usable rear camera for my use cases.
- The android notification area. Every app behaves different in the notification area (Some open the app, some have direct interaction, it depends on the app) . Sliding it down sometimes doesn't work - the PlayBook does this significantly better for me.

Overall observations:

Here are some areas in my comparison:
Criteria Google Nexus 7 BlackBerry PlayBook Winner for Heiko ;-)
eBook reader Kindle Kindle Draw
Office Suite None yet Documents to go currently the PlayBook, Docs To Go comes out of the Box, but more likely a draw.
PIM experience Lotus Traveler Lotus Traveler PlayBook - Integrated experience in calendar, contacts and mail in PB OS 2.x is extremely usefull for me.
Tethering BB Torch 9860 HotSpot BB Torch 9860 HotSpot and BB Bridge PlayBook slightly ahead because I use a BB smartphone as well, otherwise it would be a draw
Presentations Nope - no HDMI out (I don't want to use a USB dongle for that, although I know I could) Docs To Go and HDMI out with an HDMI->VGA Adapter from Samsung (:-)) PlayBook
Web Browsing Chrome PlayBook Browser Draw with slight advantages for the PlayBook
Video Conferencing Skype PlayBook Video Conferencing Nexus 7
Games - I'm not a huge gamer - I only use some time consuming stuff on a plane or on a train. Angry Birds, Chess, Mah Jongg, Car Racing,Macchinarium Angry Birds, Chess, Mah Jongg, Car Racing, Macchinarium Draw for me, although Android has some more to offer here
Picture galleries Built in Built in PlayBook - see HDMI out and quality of animations.
Video Built in codecs Built in codecs PlayBook - there are only a few things the PlayBook won't play.
Screen resolution 1280x800 1024x600 Nexus 7
Social Business crapp Facebook, Twitter, XING Facebook, Twitter, XING Draw
Performance Quadcore, 1.3 Ghz, 1 GB RAM Dualcore, 1 Ghz, 1 GB RAM Nexus 7, although it's close.
Storage 16 GB, no SD-Slot 64 GB, no SD slot PlayBook, although both lack an SD-Slot
Price 299,- € 259,99 € Draw
Battery Life On my regular use: 2-3 days On my regular use: 2-3 days Draw
Multitasking experience Excellent, task management a bit complicated if you don't use an app for that Excellent Draw
Desktop 4 panes, Widgets 3 panes, no widgets A draw for me - I love the widget concept but the OS of the PlayBook is more intuitive to me. One could argue about that, I guess.
App catalog experience Google Play Store BlackBerry AppWorld Nexus 7, due to the amount of apps. Both Stores are easy to use for me.
Upgrade experience OTA, Google OTA, RIM Draw - both update apps and OS OTA.

What's the outcome ? The Nexus 7 is a great device for me - I really like it. It will not replace my PlayBook though, for reasons check the table above. The Nexus 7 is the third generation of 7" Android tablets and the first that really seems usable to me now, thanks to the massive computing power and Jelly Bean. Compared to that, the PlayBook compares significantly well for me. To make it a perfect tablet for me, I would like to ask RIM for a new edition with a higher screen resolution and Skype as one killer app. If I was about to get my first tablet - the Nexus 7 would be a good choice for me, it has a lot to offer for the money.


P.S.: I will update this comparison in the future, as I spend some more time with the Nexus 7.
Heiko Voigt   |   7 September 2012 08:20:14   |    Tablets    |  
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Comments (1)

Karl-Henry Martinsson    http://www.texasswede.com    07.09.2012 20:09:36

On my Android phone (Samsung Galaxy S3), I use Kingsoft Office as the office suite, it should be available for the Nexus as well.

I have found very few movies that the built-in codecs on my Android phone can't handle, and those were handled perfectly by VLC for Android.

You can also use Firefox on Android if you prefer that one, it also allows you to sync your bookmarks with your desktop.