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BlackBerry PlayBook Web Browser review: Best in class

I am a huge fan of the web and the mobile web especially. I love capable mobile browsers that let me access and carry out the very things that I do on my desktop or laptop. When it comes to mobile browsing, very few devices are as good as tablets.

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Having used the Blackberry PlayBook for a while now (and having used other tablets as well), I daresay that its built-in browser is tops in the tablet world. It beats iOS’s mobile Safari and beats Android’s browser too on almost all points – speed, page rendering, Flash support, JavaScript and AJAX, as well as HTML5 support. Multiple tabs and file uploading is also available.

The PlayBook browser actually comes out tops among built-in tablet browsers by a margin in HTML5 tests. It tops the chart at 373, with its closest built-in competitor is mobile Safari at 324. Android 4.0 browser comes a third at 273.

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HTML5 test tablets

The PlayBook browser is the first tablet browser that I have used that completely gets my job done. Managing Mobility blog in the background via WordPress’s web interface (which is really Javascript and Flash dependent) is a breeze on this baby.

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PlayBook-Browser-AJAX

RIM’s acquisition of TorchMobile in 2009 seems to have paid off handsomely for them. Besides the PlayBook, the new BlackBerry OS7 browser is superb as well. TorchMobile were the guys behind the Iris mobile browser on the old Windows Mobile platform.

Display size may be an issue for some, as the PlayBook display is only 7 inches, while the iPad and some others tot 10 inches. I find 7 inches superb for portability.

The usual suspects are there: bookmarks, history, and a basic download manager that supports resume where available. The browser also supports private browsing, which allows you to browse without retaining any record of your browsing activities.

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PlayBook-Browser-Gesture
Swipe down from upper bezel to reveal browser options

Beyond just specifications, usability is very good, as the PlayBook OS and UI are known for. The display is uncluttered, as options are kept hidden away. The touch-sensitive screen bezel on the PlayBook makes gestures a breeze, and all options are accessible by swiping down from the upper bezel. All in all, I find the BlackBerry PlayBook a very capable web browsing tool. Highly recommended.

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