Tag Archives: blackberry

Toshiba z835 Ultrabook

Best All Around Ultrabook!

     I got a new gadget over Christmas break.  This is going to have to be my last gadget…for a while anyway…as in more than a year.  I got a Toshiba z835 ultrabook – and I love it.  Instead of being a distraction that keeps me from work I need to be doing, it is a beautiful effective tool that makes doing my work fun.
     I sold my Samsung Series 5 Chromebook and Blackberry Playbook Prior to getting my new laptop.  Samsung’s 1st generation Chrombook was a nice device – felt kind of cheap, but looked nice, worked well, but Google docs was not working to my satisfaction.  I would type a test or worksheet and get it formatted the way I wanted, then when I printed it, the formatting was totally different.  The 7″ 16 GB Blackberry Playbook is a nice tablet – perfect size, high-end feel, nice OS, but the selection of apps is horrible.
     I’ve tried other options, but I keep coming back to a Windows 7 device running Office 2010 and Dropbox.  This is the most efficient way for me to create and edit/update lesson plans, grades, and other documents at home and at school.
Toshiba z835 Pros:
  1. boots fast – around 20 seconds
  2. very light – 2.5 lbs
  3. long battery life
  4. back lit  keyboard – didn’t know I needed it until I had it
  5. reasonable price – $799
  6. doesn’t get hot
  7. looks nice
  1. The extreme light weight of the z835 makes it feel fragile, thought I don’t know how fragile it actually is.
     Though the individual specs don’t stand out as super awesome, when considered together, the Toshiba z835 is the best all around Ultrabook for using around the house, or in my case for a teacher.  I let my 9 year old daughter borrow mine, but she knows she has to be careful with my gadgets, so I don’t know if it’s sturdy enough to stand up to students use.  I did read a user review (I think it was on Best Buy) from a student who claims the z835 travels well in his backpack.
The Bottom Line:  I think you get the best bang for your buck with the Toshiba z835.

Is the Blackberry Playbook Underrated?

Blackberry Playbook

I got one of the $198 Blackberry Playbooks (16GB) from Walmart – but just barely.  I noticed Sunday morning that Walmart was offering the super discounted price – online only.  I ordered one, got the super fast shipping, and have been enjoying my new Playbook since Tuesday.  However, I noticed Sunday evening that Walmart had sold out of the 16GB models

What I like about the Playbook:

  • It feels well built; solid and substantial in your hands
  • The rubberized back is nice
  • The user interface is easy to learn and practical to use
  • I’ve been able to find apps that meet most of my needs
  • Battery life is good
  • It fits in my bag; I can take it with me everywhere
  • User reviews at online retailers are mostly positive

These are my concerns about the Playbook:

  • Professional reviewers are largely critical of the Playbook
  • Blackberry’s App World has a smaller selection of apps than Apple or Android
  • No Kindle or Nook apps

One of the most frequent criticisms of the Playbook is the “tiny” and “difficult to depress” power button.  However, I think the power button functions just fine.  In defense of the reviewers, I did read somewhere that Blackberry was going to raise the power button to make it easier to press.  So, I could have gotten a Playbook with a “new and improved” power button.

Another criticism of the Playbook (and other 7″ tablets) is that it is half the size of the iPad.  Well, I’ve had an iPad 2, and I thought it was a great device, but the 7″ Playbook is a better fit for me because it’s easier  to keep with me at all times.

I like the Blackberry Playbook and think that the bad press it is getting is undeserved.  I also think that the bad press has discouraged developers from devoting resources to creating apps for the Playbook.  But I’ve only been using a Playbook for 3 days.  Let me know what you think.

OK, Time to Get a Blackberry Playbook

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I was so excited when I heard that Staples was going to be selling Blackberry Playbooks for $199 on Black Friday. I got a little nervous when I found out that the Playbooks were going to be a door buster…translation…my local Staples may only have two in stock on that day. My local Staples is also in a college town, 60 miles from my home. Now I had to worry about how early I should get there Friday morning…would I have to get there hours early and stand in line out in the cold (I hate the cold)…I would need to be the first or second person in line…what if I got there hours early, was the first person in line, then ended up being the only person in line when the doors opened at 6am…oh, what to do!

I’ve been checking prices at all the places that sell Playbooks: Staples, Best Buy, Walmart – as of yesterday, they were all still selling them for $499. Best Buy in Canada was selling them for $199, but they wouldn’t ship – you had to pick it up at the store. Urg! I checked Ebay and the going price for a new Playbook was around $350…and they were all from sellers in Canada…Hmmmm.

Well, this morning I was wanting to know what kind of charger the Playbook came with. I checked Staples website and they didn’t even mention a charger. Then I checked Walmart, and what do you know…they are selling Playbooks for $198 – online only.

I ordered one, along with the convertible case and the fastest possible shipping (shipping cost $33, but it was going to cost at least $20 in gas to go shopping on Black Friday and I should get it by Wednesday).

Now I can look forward to sleeping in on Friday…and when I do get up, I can sit in the comfort of my good ol’ rocking chair with a cup of hot cocoa and my new Playbook.