A very pretty face

We've spent our week at Mobile World Congress assessing the merits of the various upcoming Android tablets and guessing at what Apple might have up its sleeve for the iPad 2, but we can't forget that BlackBerry has its 7-inch PlayBook on the brink of release. We stole a moment with the PlayBook to get a feel for its unique user interface and to check out some of the new EA games that will ship with the device.

Between the PlayBook user interface and the home screens of the iPad and Google's Honeycomb, we like the BlackBerry best. Research In Motion (RIM) appears to have given more thought on how to best utilise the home-screen real estate, and without legacy apps and widgets to accommodate, the PlayBook's is rich without being cluttered.

We also love the gesture control of this button-less tablet. To return to the home screen from within an app you swipe a finger from the bottom bezel up across the screen, and to enter multitasking you swipe from the right bezel across the display.

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Phone home

Sometimes when you're thousands of miles from home you just need to touch base with something familiar.

RIM has struggled in the past to deliver a truly first-class web browsing experience on BlackBerry, but this is not the case with the PlayBook. The PlayBook's browser appears to be fast and slick — everything you'd expect from its competitors.

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Need for Speed

EA was on hand at Mobile World Congress to show off its contribution to the PlayBook: preloaded ports of Need for Speed Undercover and Tetris.

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Quaking in your boots

More exciting than Tetris was this version of iD's classic Quake, which was loaded on this demo machine.

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Light reading

As expected, you'll find an ebook reading app on the PlayBook, in this case an app developed by Kobo with a link to its storefront.

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