iPad mini vs. BlackBerry Playbook hands-on

Rene already expressed the opinion that if Amazon, Google, et. al really want to come at the iPad mini based on price, what they're really doing is telling people to buy a $150 BlackBerry PlayBook. So, in the interest of science, I picked one up to put it's through it's paces.

First off, the iPad mini is incredibly light, almost too light. I toss my PlayBook around a lot and the iPad mini feels as though I may break it I tossed it too hard. It's also really thin. Almost stupidly thin. I get why Apple opted to go with the smaller bezels and they do look great but overall, I would have preferred something a little thicker to grab onto. Landscape is fine but portrait annoys me. Apple says there's software to reject unintentional touch events, but it's still a pain point.

Like the iPhone 5, the iPad mini has that slick anodized aluminum backing on it. It looks good but it doesn't feel particularly grippy. I prefer the softer finish on the BlackBerry PlayBook and even the Google Nexus 7.

The BlackBerry PlayBook has a 1024x600 screen at 169 ppi while the iPad mini has a 1024x768 screen at the original iPhone's 163 ppi. A lot of people have been complaining about the lack of Retina display on the iPad mini, especially compared to the higher density Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire now on the market. I'm not really bothered by it. Some stuff looks better on the iPad and some stuff looks better on the PlayBook. Text, in my opinion, looks better on the PlayBook. It's all in the eyes of the beholder.

While the iPad mini has stereo speakers, a first for an iOS device, and that makes it less likely your hand will completely cover up the sound while playing a game or watching a video, the sound levels are still way to low. On the PlayBook, even if you do cover up the speakers, their loudness makes up for it.

Check out the video above for some more hands-on impressions and a quick run through of the iPad mini vs. the BlackBerry PlayBook. If you have any questions, drop them in the comments, and if you're a PlayBook owner who's also picked up an iPad mini, let me know how you think they compare!

Chris Parsons

Editor-at-Large at Mobile Nations, gadget junkie, energy drinker, ranter.