The PlayBook Is an Excellent HD Camera

By Raymond Outlook
|  Wednesday, Apr 20, 2011  |  Updated 4:00 PM PDT
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The PlayBook Is an Excellent HD Camera

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I already told you how I feel about the BlackBerry PlayBook. I've got a love-hate relationship with it. While it might feel unfinished and incomplete until its core features are rolled out in a firmware update, the 1080p HD shooting cameras are quite finished, even during a semi-dark Train concert. The tablet's 7-inch screen makes for a viewfinder experience unlike any other consumer camera.

PlayBook to The Rescue

Last night, I happened to be at an unveiling hosted by Ford and Sony, which the band Train was invited to perform at. Everything was jazzy until my iPhone 4's internal storage filled up, leaving me without an HD camera to record the band's final two songs with. I had a DSLR, but it doesn't shoot video. My iPhone 4 has, since day one, been my prime HD video camera — mainly because the 720p quality is (in my opinion) as good as a Flip Cam or better.

Bummed for all but a few seconds, I remembered I had the BlackBerry PlayBook in my bag. Better yet, there was still plenty of battery left (I've had this thing on standby for about three days). My instinct told me to get over the embarrassing thought of holding a 7-inch tablet up in the air to record frontman Patrick Monahan and just do it. So I did.

Like Big Hair at The Movies

Not only was the PlayBook's 1080p HD video sharp as hell, but the tablet's crisp display drew looks from everyone behind me (I was pretty close to the stage). I received taps and cheers from everybody. The feedback was incredible. Fans were digging the tablet's screen so much, they looked at Train through the PlayBook more than in person. Monahan even looked at the tablet with a "Whoa, what the heck is that thing?" look for a brief second. (At least, that's what it looked like — maybe I was riding a PlayBook high.)

As far as I can tell, nearly nobody is used to seeing a live performance filmed with a screen that's twice as large as a regular digital camera's three to four-inch screen. I was literally "framing" the shot.

At the end of the night, not only was I extremely satisfied with hearing a live playing of "Hey Soul Sister" and "Drops of Jupiter," but I also walked away with phenomenal video taken with a tablet. It's no Canon 5D Mark II or Nikon D7000, but damn it, the video is the best HD video camera in a non-standalone camera I've ever used. Sure, my arm got fatigued holding the tablet up, but it was worth it. The video came out pretty stable, too!

Fans have come a long way from holding lighters in the air, to using point and shoots, elevating to smartphones and now I believe we'll all be graduating up to tablets. Who's with me? I promise you won't look dumb.

Check out the video from Train's performance below. Watch it in 1080p for best results.

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