BlackBerry Passport Review
There was a time when BlackBerry has its own loyal customer’s, company has its own stand in market, but as market changed this situation also changed. Slowly Android and iOS took market and we have lots of options in market if you consider Android platform and you will find rectangular smartphone’s in the market. This time BlackBerry has launched a device which comes with square 4.5 inch screen and a three-row physical keyboard.
At first sight you might feel it an uncomfortable device with a unique and large display screen, and a new layout, but with the time you will start loving this design. Its surely gonna make BlackBerry’s loyal customer happy. One hand usage is not possible with this device and its perfectly fine because BlackBerry wants two hands usage, that’s why they implemented QWERTY keypad, right?
Video Review Of BlackBerry Passport :-
Inbox contents of BlackBerry Passport :-
BlackBerry Passport comes in a big and bulky box, when you open this box you will find following things in it :-
- BlackBerry Passport,
- Micro USB,
- Extra ear buds
Build And Design of BlackBerry Passport :-
This smartphone has a new and unique form factor to which everyone is going to give it a second look for sure. Until now we had seen rectangular screen in device’s which might be best for viewing movies or to play games but it comes at the cost of keyboard and control buttons. But BlackBerry has designed very well, when you hold this device in hand it do feel bigger than most smartphone in the market due to its lengthy diagonally size.
At front of the device you will find a 4.5 inch touch display screen which has screen resolution of 1440×1440pixels, yes it has 1:1 ration screen which is something which we haven’t seen in any other smartphone as of now, screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which will take care of all scratch’s. Screen is very well responsive and gives nice feedback in all conditions, we had tested screen under sunlight and we were able to read all text clearly, view images or videos also.
Just below your display screen you will find a 3 row keyboard, which is for BlackBerry loyal customers, keys are very well placed and you can easily type long emails or text with it without having any issue, as keyboard is present in just 25% part of the device and one problem which we faced is that when you hold it from bottom, it become little unbalanced.
On right side you will find volume rockers along with a Play/Pause button which sits just between you volume rockers, this button can be used to trigger your voice commands, on left hand side you have no ports or connectivity options.
At bottom you have two speaker which are nice and as BlackBerry has placed speakers at bottom so your sound will not get muffled and you will get good amount of audio quality from it.
At top of the device you will find a power/sleep button which is easy to reach, followed by your 3.5mm audio jack. Apart from this you will find a metal frame which runs across the device and gives a premium look to the device.
At back you will find a 13 megapixel camera which has slight bulge, it has a nice soft back panel which cant be removed and you cant take out its battery. Back panel is divided into two part, one is above camera and another is below it, you can remove the panel which above camera and it will gives you access to your nano SIM slot and a microSD card slot which allows you to expand memory up to 128GB.
Hardware And Specs Of BlackBerry Passport :-
BlackBerry Passport comes with nice set of hardware as well which keep this massive device running up, under the hood it is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor ticking at 2.2GHz paired with 3GB of RAM and Adreno 330 GPU. On storage front, it comes with 32GB internal storage which can be further expanded up to 128GB via a microSD card.
At back has a 13-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization (OIS) and LED flash, at front it has a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, houses a 3,450mAh battery, for connectivity it has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Micro-USB, NFC, GPS, Glonass, GPRS/ EDGE, 3G, and 4G LTE.
Software of BlackBerry Passport :-
BlackBerry Passport runs on BlackBerry OS 10.3 which comes with lots of options and features, it comes pre-installed with Amazon App store which lets you download and install Android Apps from it, Amazon App store has nearly 200,000 apps on it but still some crucial apps like Google Apps are missing from it. You can always side-load Android Apps but it comes with some risk of security.
One of the new feature of BlackBerry OS 10.3 is BlackBerry Assistance which is a move from company to take on Apple Siri, Google Now and yes newly Microsoft Cortana as well, but BlackBerry Assistance is more into corporate environment and it is able to access your office data when you want.
UI of BlackBerry Passport is very smooth, its default web browser is quite simple, smooth and fast, it loads web pages faster and support pinch to zoom as well. Navigation is a bit disappointment here as there is no proper map application for BlackBerry like we have Google Maps for Android and iOS or Nokia Here for Windows Phone devices, we did tried to side-load Google Maps on it but it never worked.
It also comes with BlackBerry Hub which is essentially your hub for all your notifications from your social media accounts, emails and so on. You can just swipe left to right on your home screen and you will be on your BlackBerry Hub. To close any running app or to go back to your home screen you just need to swipe up from bottom of the screen which seems and look quite cool.
Keyboard of BlackBerry Passport :-
Keyboard is one thing which was missed by most of the BlackBerry’s loyal customer’s, with this device company has gave a gift to its loyal customer’s, but wait its isn’t the same keyboard which you had seen in BlackBerry Bold series or any other BlackBerry devices.
It has only three rows, and as soon as you start typing on it you will notice that it misses shift key, actually Shift and Alt modifier has been removed and merged to the software part. So the keyboard which you see is the one side of coin, the other side is in software.
A fourth row of key will appear on screen when you start typing, and it can be expendable to view three additional rows which has your symbols, these three additional rows changes according to what you are typing or in what app you are typing. As you start typing another row will appear which shows auto-complete, this is a good combination of both touch and physical keyboard.
If you think you can only type with physical keyboard then wait a minute, there is lots of more things which you can do with it, the whole keyboard is touch-sensitive and you can perform lots of task with it like if you are on a web page then you can swipe up or down to navigate up and down on page, or in simple words you can swipe your fingers on it like you do with track pad. You can just swipe from left to right while typing to delete a whole word, you can swipe your finger upward to throw a word from auto-complete bar into your text field.
Design and implementation of keyboard is very nice and we totally loved and enjoyed typing on it, however there are some drawbacks also like you have to hold device awkwardly, one hand typing is totally out of picture. We did missed Shift key on keyboard, as now its on touch screen so pressing shift key is little difficult and it will take sometime for you to adjust according to it.
There are lots of keyboard shortcuts which you can use to make your work faster, this keyboard is very good for those who never wants to use touch keyboard at all.
Camera Of BlackBerry Passport :-
BlackBerry Passport comes with a 13MP rear camera which can shoot full HD videos @ 60fps, BlackBerry is working on update after which you will be able record full HD videos @ 30fps as well. At front it has 5MP front facing camera which can shoot HD videos.
Camera performance of this device is quite good and images look real and natural, the images which we took from this device has nice details and color reproduction was also very good, even we snap few images in low light conditions and details were nice and we didn’t saw any noise in it. We can say that it has the best camera which we have seen in any other BlackBerry device so far.
The only issue which we think it has is that it snap images in 1:1 which fill up screen in BlackBerry Passport and looks good in it but might not look good in other devices. We had snapped some images with it, you can view images below (click on images to see them in full view) :-
Video Sample :-
Performance Of BlackBerry Passport :-
Thanks to the unique screen and OS, there were no bench-marking tool which we could run on it, however we run Mozilla Kraken which runs on browser and it gave us pretty good score of 18,124.4. The device is quite responsive and in our heavy usage we didnt faced any kind of lag in it. However when we played some heavy games for a long period of time we noticed slightly heat-up at the right side of back.
Battery Of BlackBerry Passport :-
Battery is one of the most crucial department of any smartphone, and BlackBerry Passport comes with a massive battery of 3450mAh which can give a run to most of the flagship smartphone’s. In our test this battery lasted for approx 27 hrs in our moderate usage. In our test we had 3 mail box, 4 social media accounts, watched HD videos, played games, call and used camera as well. So overall all battery is surely good in this device.
Call quality :-
Call quality on this device is good, we didnt faced any call drop during call, audio quality during calls were also fine, we and other side person who were on call can hear each other very clearly.
Final Verdict On BlackBerry Passport :-
BlackBerry Passport is surely a nice device which comes with nice or you can say unique design. If you edit documents on the go then this device is going to help you a lot. Camera performance is good, screen is again good and keyboard is also good, however it will take sometime for you to get adjusted with it, battery is one segment in which Android phone’s failed, but BlackBerry Passport had good battery life.
The design language of this device is one thing which we liked, and hats off to BlackBerry for thinking something out of the box even when company is going from hard time. This device can fulfill requirements of doctors, lawyers, and other professionals, they also tends to had used a BlackBerry device in past so it will be a good choice for them. Earlier launched Z10 and Z3 failed to stand out in crowd but Passport has made its own stand in market which is already over crowed with Android device.
Reviewed by Rahul Sharma on December 22, 2013