Sometimes we wonder where products that we now love have been our whole lives. They make us question how we have made it this far without them, and when these products are introduced to the market, they have this magical ability to completely change the way we perceive things around us forcing us to question the normative. The Blackberry Passport is one such device that will change the way we perceive smartphones. With its squarish design, unlike the tall rectangular blocks we now have in masses, you would wonder if manufacturers have been making smartphones the wrong shape all along. When computer screens and television sets are wide, why is the smartphone narrow? This is where the Passport comes in and naturalizes the viewing experience, and all of a sudden the square display somehow makes sense. The shape is not the only talking point of this phone, with disruptive features such as the touch enabled physical keyboard, the Passport gives you a posh feel to it. Yes, you read that right. A physical QWERTY keyboard that is sensitive to touch. So, lets find out what makes this phone special.
Display: Best reading experience in your pocket
With a pixel density of 453 ppi, the 4.5” touch screen display is simply gorgeous and even beats it to the latest iPhone 6 (326 ppi). The Passport’s wide screen displays 60 characters across the screen compared to the everyday smartphones’ 40 characters across. What this means is that you can read more lines on the Passport than you ever will on a narrow smartphone, giving you a comfortable web experience. Besides, you’d not need to worry about your fingers taking up space while scrolling as the innovative keyboard lets you scroll on it, letting you view more of what you’re reading. And for someone like me who reads a lot on a mobile phone, it was simply a pleasure to read on the Passport. I really enjoyed the ease at which I could scroll down without letting my fingers obstruct my view whilst feasting my eyes on the big screen. The wide crisp display is a haven for readers. The downside of the squarish display, though, would be the video playback. With an aspect ratio of 1:1, video on a 16:9 narrow smartphone is better than it is on the Passport.
Powerful communication device
Some of today’s smartphones create a sense of absence around us in a connected world. One glance at our connected device, and we are transported to the visual worlds of the different social networks that are far from reality. The Passport brings some of that reality back to communication. Professional, powerful, and secure communication. I am talking about the good old email. Typing on the Passport is akin to typing on your laptop giving room to minimal errors. Sure it does handle all the social media needs in one single location in the Blackberry hub, and it does them well, but if you want to get that inbox to zero, crunch numbers on excel, type out a word document, all real quick on a mobile device, then the Passport has no competition. This phone simply enhances the productivity on a Blackberry. And with a powerful 3GB of RAM, and a customized 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU, multi-tasking is encouraged handling whatever is thrown at it very well catering to a wide array of professionals from doctors to journalists, and to even students.
Get the best of two worlds: Android and Blackberry apps
When it comes to apps, the Blackberry OS 10.3 allows you to run both Android and the native Blackberry apps simultaneously. There are two ways to experience Android, though, either by downloading apps from the Amazon App Store which comes pre-loaded with your new blackberry or by downloading an app called SNAP, a Google Play client for Blackberry. The Amazon App Store is limited when it comes to selection, which is where SNAP may come in handy to access all your favourite Android apps. The app gap complaint is background noise which you probably shouldn’t pay much attention to. It is simply drivel when people criticize the apparent lack of apps. An average user spends two weeks max on a new app and forgets about it for the next two months, and currently uses about just seven apps on a daily basis.
Moreover, there is data to prove that most users barely download any new apps at all, and for this reason I really do not get people’s complaints about the app ecosystem. There simply are enough good android apps for the average user in a Blackberry like you can see in the above images.
As far as innovations go on a modern smartphone, you will never see something as originative as the Passport’s keyboard. It’s a touch enabled physical keyboard that allows you to make swiping gestures like you would on a touch screen. Swipe left anywhere on it to delete a word, or swipe up anywhere to choose the next automatically suggested word. It blends in both the swiping features of today’s smartphones and Blackberry’s famous QWERTY keyboard. It really is a creative feature that just enhances the reading and scrolling experience on a mobile device. You will not know how much of a difference it makes to scroll without your fingers blocking the screen until you use the Passport’s keyboard. You may think it’s a small deal, but hold that judgement until you try it for yourself. If you read a lot on a mobile device, scrolling on the Passport will make your reading experience that much more easier. It’s not a gimmick, it’s a bonus feature.
Camera: Comes close to the iPhone 6
The iPhone 6 has the best camera in the market without a doubt. There are a few phones out there that match the iPhone’s capabilities and the Passport is one of them. With the same specs as the Apple’s flagship; 13 MP with optical image stabilization, the pictures come out well, although the details are softer than that of the iPhone’s. The Passport comes with a 2MP front facing camera and a rear video camera that can record 1080p HD video at 60fps (frames per second). If a phone’s camera is close to that of the iPhone’s then there isn’t much to be said. You know it’s going to be good. Even better is the fact that it takes square images already which is perfect for Instagram. So you do not have to crop and spend your life on editing the tiny bits so the whole picture fits in. #BeenThereDoneThat.
Long lasting battery with lots of storage space
The Passport can take you two complete days without the need to recharge. With a huge battery (expected), the 3450 mAh will not disappoint. With the primary complaint being the battery life among today’s media hungry consumers, the Passport will cater to their needs perfectly. What’s more is that it comes with a 32 GB of storage space which can be further expanded to 128GB with the support of a MicroSD memory card. A big battery, and a big storage space. Seriously, what more do you need?
So, why not?
Apart from the two primary concerns from consumers – the battery life and a good camera – being well taken care of in the Passport, there’s no denying how good the phone feels and performs. Although it’s a bit bulky, it has a very sturdy feel to it offering a good grip (thin is not always better, just ask the bendy iPhone 6 plus’). And Of course not every phone is perfect and with something as personal as a phone, there are bound to be split opinions. For instance, not everyone will like the design of the Passport, and even the physical keyboard. But then again, no one was sure about how well a touch screen phone with no physical keyboard would do when it began to become main stream in 2008. The Passport is a new idea, an idea that would take time getting used to, but once you do, you won’t go wrong. In the end, this phone isn’t meant for everybody when people love being a part of the crowd. But there are some who prefer to march to a different beat, and if you fall under the latter, then don’t be afraid to go for the Passport, which will pleasantly surprise you. It retails at $CAD 700 unlocked and comes in black, white, and a limited edition red.
Have anything to add to the story? Would you buy one? Let us know in the comments below!