5 Reasons to get BlackBerry Passport and 1 reason against it

BlackBerry Passport

I’m a convert. I’ve dumped my Android for… a BlackBerry. That’s right, I got a device made by the company which, as far as I (don’t) know, may not be in the handset making business next year. I may be wrong, but it could be that the Canadian company is moving away from the products business into (security) services. It’s hard to tell at the moment…

Nevertheless, I got the BlackBerry Passport; you know the one that’s been touted as the “world’s first business phablet.” It’s a huge phone but not in the way you used to. Forget the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Apple iPhone 6 Plus; it’s wider – not taller.

But I love it. That keyboard is awesome. Finally, I’m able to type a lot on the phone. While virtual keyboards are getting better with the day — I keep recommending SwiftKey to everyone I know — they can’t match physical keyboards. And if they [keyboards] also happen to be smart and touch sensitive, that’s even better.

So here are 5 reasons I wanted to give to anyone considering buying the Passport. Let’s roll…

1. Keyboard

This is obviously the first reason anyone would want a BlackBerry. But wait… I’ve already mentioned that’s smart keyboard, which is unlike any other BlackBerry smartphone rocks. Although it has just three rows, you won’t notice the difference (efficiency-wise). Special characters appear on the screen. Plus, thanks to the touch sensors built inside the keyboard, you can use it to scroll around web pages and quickly erase whole words while typing.

2. Performance

The Passport packs top-notch hardware that includes Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 801 quad-core chip, along with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. This combo ensures smooth scrolling with no glitches whatsoever. I’ve been using it for a month now, even running Android apps (more about that in a sec), and it keeps working like it’s brand new.

3. Screen

This “thing” has a screen that’s so different from anything we’ve seen before. We saw square displays in the past but not a single one with resolution like this one. The 4.5-inch display has 1440×1440 pixels for a ppi pixel density of ~453. That’s rather impressive when you think about it. In comparison, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has a ppi count of 518 (it’s slightly better), while the iPhone 6 Plus tops at 326.

4. Apps

Yes, apps. Thanks to BlackBerry’s partnership with Amazon, you get to run Android apps out of box. Amazon’s Appstore doesn’t have all of the apps Google Play Store has, but there’s SNAP to help you out. Basically, that’s a Google Play Store client for BB10 which you’ll have to sideload to be able to run all of the Android apps you want. You will have some problems with apps requiring Google Play Services, though. This also happens to be related to the only downside I’ll list in here.

5. Different (with a reason)

The BlackBerry Passport is different than any other phone on the market today. And it’s not just different for the “sake of being different.” It’s a novel product many have been waiting for. That being said, it’s also important to add that Passport is not made for everyone; rather the Canadian company is targeting busy professionals who desperately want the physical keyboard. For them, this is a God-send device that will also happen to be a head-turner and instant conversation starter.

The downside – wearables support

Here’s one thing I don’t like about the Passport. It doesn’t support many of today’s wearables, and wearable device makers seldom consider making their products compatible with BlackBerry 10 OS. You can use Pebble with Passport, but no Android Wear watch will work with it. Smart watches running Google’s wearable platform require Google Play Services, which at the time of this writing, is not possible to install on the Passport.

So the question is — presuming you do want a big phone with physical keyboard — do you need an Android Wear (and Apple Watch, for that matter) support or not? If you answered no, the BlackBerry Passport may be the device worth buying. What do you say?

  • Jamie

    I ordered a passport through work. I expect to have it in the next week or two and am rather excited. It’s the first real different phone I’ve had since my first smartphone in 2006.

  • xBURK

    Great read. Yes, the Passport is such an amazing piece of hardware. I haven’t really put much thought into wearables though. You may get the answers you need in early March when BlackBerry lays out its road map. If you like, you can follow my BBM Channel entitled ‘BB POWERED’ (PIN#) C001C1D66 I will definitely have this info up when available.

  • Three Phased

    No Google Play Services is a pretty serious deal-breaker 🙁

  • Slash82

    Thanks for this honest article! I just got the Passport’s little “brother”, the Classic. I really love this device! Keyboard and battery life are stunning! Have to admit that it’s not for playing games – but the best choice I ever made for my daily driver! I mostly enjoy the security settings – my personal things stay private that way! – something iOS, Windows Phone and especially Android will never offer in that way.

  • Jack Cool

    Good review. I fully agree. Having used all BB devices since 2004 this one tops all specs. Only improvement could be a physical 4th row of keys, or the old shift method (I use a lot of numbers when writing) – an opinion shared by many all over the world.

  • Bravo Bizo

    Great article. I use this device myself. Rather disappointed at how the company’s fortunes have taken a turn for the worst. The lack of great leadership has sunk the once great mobile phone maker and now they are about to abandon a great platform (I have referring to BBOS 10, of course) and leave us with only two options when purchasing a smartphone (well, it’s three but who counts Windows 10 Mobile as a serious choice in 2017?? )… It’s just one bad decision after another, with all due respect to Mr John Chen, but I really don’t think that he has done enough to turn the company’s fortunes around. He cannot even market his newly released devices as well as all the other players. It’s a shame, since BlackBerry has great hardware (the Classic was good, the Passport is great and the Priv is alright) and the software too (BBOS 10 is simply awesome, if you take away the lack of apps. I think it is just as well made as iOS, or could be, who knows what could have been, or should have been…)

    I sure will miss you BlackBerry, when you’re finally dead and gone, but for now, the struggle for you to stay afloat and alive continues.

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