Review: Video Chat in BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0
For the brave ones who were using the the Beta version of 2.0, you’ll be happy to know that the video chat app isn’t broken anymore! Following the look and feel of the other 2.0 PIM apps, the video chat has a new clean and modern look. In fact, it would be almost identical to the Contacts app if it wasn’t for that extremely good-looking person you see looking back at you on the right side of the screen. The interface is snappy and buttery smooth, just like the rest of the OS 2.0 PIM app line-up.
As video chat applications go, this one is top-notch. Not only does it have the best front-facing camera of any tablet, but the frame rate of the camera is uncannily quick. Plus, it’s integrated with the Contacts app and you have stereo sound, recorded from stereo microphones no less! How can you beat that?!
As far as video and audio quality is concerned, you’re look at probably as good as it gets. Audio is very clear, and the video is a very smooth over a sufficient connection. By disabling the video capture, you’ll see a neat little image of a microphone and the microphone audio signal indicator as you talk.
There are a few very minor drawbacks. Firstly, it only works over Wi-Fi, which probably doesn’t matter since most people could create a Wi-Fi hotspot with their smartphone anyway if you really wanted to. Secondly, it is a little basic since the only options you have here are to choose if you want to accept calls or clear the call log. Thirdly, you can only video chat with other PlayBook tablets for now. This is probably the biggest setback for most people. The complaint I hear most often about the PlayBook is that there is no Skype app. But this isn’t a problem with the video chat app itself, more of an issue RIM has to sort out with Microsoft/Skype. Overall, I’m definitely impressed with the experience. With top-of-the-line hardware and a solid UI, I’m hard-pressed to find anything worthwhile to whine about.