The Blackberry Passport has been available for some nine months now and, contrary to initial predictions of failure due to its odd and rather large stature, it has prevailed. Not only has it found success, but also, its initial release experienced a 24 hour sell out of 200,000 units with supply and demand issues remaining even as we write this report…several months after release. It is popular. It is the most powerful smart phone on the market. It has an enormous HD screen. It is unlocked. Its battery lasts in excess of 24 hours and it is big. It is very big. It is the size of a Passport…who would have guessed?
In considering the Passport’s unexpected popularity, one needs to consider the physical keyboard first and foremost. There is a segment of population that will only use these types of smartphones and, as it just so happens, one of these is none other than Essentially Tech Media’s Second-In-Command. She started with the Blackberry, moved to the iPhone and Note II briefly, then returning to the comfort of the physical keyboard Blackberry with her latest being the Q10.
For this report, she has been our sample study and is the first to state that it may not be the best in her back pocket or even in a case on her belt but she has always kept her phone in her purse anyway. Myself, I am quite literally addicted to the Z30 and have been for some time; other similar smartphones paling in comparison.
From a personal standpoint, her reluctance to move to a larger screen device has been the object of some frustration, my getting used to her holding the phone straight-armed in front of her to see the screen. This also meant that she could never get full use or fully understand the beauty of what BB10 has to offer along with its simplicity in learning and use. This has changed since her first taking possession of the Blackberry Passport. Not only is she the first to state that the passport and BB10 is somewhat addicting, but she seems to have taken a whole new angle on technology.
The Blackberry passport measures 128mm tall by 90.3mm wide my 9.3mm thick, and it weighs 196 grams making it the reigning heavyweight smart phone champ. It’s heart and soul is that of Qualcomm’s (up to) 2.5Ghz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of memory and an Adreno 330 GPU. This combination is actually more than we might have found in laptops and ultrabooks not so long ago. It contains a 3450mAH battery that unfortunately cannot be replaced during heavy usage times when the battery dies. On the flip side, the Snapdragon 801 CPU allows significantly higher battery life than we might expect and getting more than 24hrs of typical use from a charge is not unusual.
Another bonus for travelers that you don’t see in typical cell phone packaging is the inclusion of international power adapters; Blackberry has it and we can tell you first hand that they work great. Also included is a plastic back cover, screen protector, headphones, along with the USB power adapter which allows for charging from a PC or wall outlet.
The Blackberry Passport display is 4.5” square with a 1400×1400 resolution and 453 pixels per inch. It is an IPS LCD protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and the HD picture is amazing with incredible viewing angles. In our use, we found that the Passport probably has the best all around internet viewing experience we have seen to date, and as well, it has great visibility in the sun. Blackberry thought this out very carefully and, in putting this display together, ensured that the user feel provides for 60 characters per line across, vice the standard 40 characters we have become so used to.
This enables a superior e-book reading and Internet viewing experience than other phones we have used, including my Z30 (our report here) which I swear by. In fact, for those who thought the Passport might not be an ideal smart phone for one-handed use, try surfing the net with the phone sideways. As the keyboard is fully capable of touch screen motions, one can simply pass their thumb up or down the full length of the keyboard to scroll websites.