Blackberry's oddly-built Passport, packs a punch in terms of performance and specs, but isn't meant for everyone
Our first response to the Blackberry Passport wasn't different from fellow reviewers. “It's big and square, and expensive. Not for us,” we thought. This, despite the fact that ours is a profession that requires a lot of typing and editing (often on the phone), reading hundreds of emails, being constantly active on social networks making us require a device such as this with a long battery life. These are features that Blackberry has dedicated the Passport to fulfill. So, we should be happy, right? Well, almost.
Hardware: Specs-wise, the Passport is Blackberry's most feature-rich phone till now. It has a superb 4.5-inch square touch screen with a resolution of 1440x1440 and pixel density of 453 PPI, features 32GB internal storage, 3GB RAM, and a quad core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with 450MHz Adreno 330 GPU. Besides, it's powered by a 3450mAH non-removable battery offering a power-backup close to 25-26 hours on a single recharge. Its touch-sensitive keyboard makes typing easier after one gets used to it. Connectivity support is available via HDMI, USB, Wi-Fi, Miracast, NFC, Bluetooth, and supports 2G, 3G and 4G (FD-LTE) networks. The in-built cameras (13 MP rear with flash and auto focus, and 2MP front camera with fixed focus) are sharp and offer great detail in pictures.
Software: The Blackberry 10.3 OS (needs updating) makes working on the Blackberry Passport easy. It offers several popular Blackberry apps including Blackberry Protect, as well as Blackberry Blend, to sync your phone data on a tablet or computer. The device is bundled with many useful apps like Docs to Go, which is very useful to create Powerpoint presentations, excel sheets and for word processing.
What we liked
There are few elements that you can trust a Blackberry device with — data security, sturdiness and performance. With the Passport, Blackberry has not only included these classic features, but also added several small details, which no one (including Blackberry) wants to talk about. We'll explain: an auto focus lock on the camera (to capture sharp focus photos even with a moving background or foreground), keys to capture a photo or initiate the voice-based Blackberry Assistant, and being able to see recent incoming messages without unlocking the device. We were also delighted to see the screen, an easy-to-type keypad and long lasting battery. Besides, having a physical keyboard means, you can use keyboard shortcuts in the Blackberry Hub like 'W' to flag an important email, 'R' to reply, 'F' to forward an email, etc. Surprisingly, despite its size, the device is easy to hold while on the phone.
What we didn't like?
The logistics didn't impress. Should we keep it in the back pocket, front pocket or throw it inside the bag? What if we miss a call? It's not only bulky, but is heavy too, weighing nearly 200 gm. Besides, the physical keyboard doesn't have a key to go back a step while using the BB Hub. You are required to reach the cancel button on top of the screen, which takes the fun away. But most disappointingly though, it supports Android apps, you still can't run Android apps that require Google Play services, which are a lot in number.
Minus the few drawbacks, the Blackberry Passport is a superb device for those who work a lot on the go, and also, wear a suit all the time so as to be able to carry the device. But considering our affinity for phablets, a device few more inches wider shouldn't hurt others. However, if you are looking for a device, that's fun, you may want to skip this one especially because, we hear that Blackberry has another cool device in the making. And this one ain't a square.
Screen: 4.5-inch (square), 1440x1440, 453ppi
Processgor: 2.2 GHz quad core Snapdraon 801, Adreno 330 GPU
Memory: 3GB RAM, 32GB, (expandable upto 128GB),
Camera: 13MP and 2MP
Battery: 3450mAH (full day)
Others: GPS, Bluetooth, 4G, 3G, Wi-Fi, NFC, HDMI
Available at: Flipkart.com and Amazon.in
Price: Rs 49,990