Blackberry is cool and completely relevant again with this phone but that is not the main reason to buy one!
General, the BlackBerry Passport Smartphone is a stunning communication device that is elegantly designed and very well built. It could quite credibly render your tablet and even your home PC obsolete because it is so efficient and practical.
BlackBerry Passport Smartphone Review
Once you quickly get over the unusual size and square aspect ratio of the screen (genius idea), you will likely find it the most productive phone you have ever used. It’s actually very thin and not that wide in my small hands; fine for one-handed normal phone use and for scrolling documents, internet pages or photographs, but it does definitely require two hands for any typing tasks.
It will certainly fit into your pocket or purse and it is ONLY heavy if, like the media, you insist on comparing it to other fashionably thin but weaker phones which have a small, short-lived battery. This thing is built with a beautiful sturdy steel frame, a massive 3450mA battery and bullet-proof Gorilla glass 3.
The most important features; this is a brilliant phone and communication device with excellent call quality (both ends), strong antenna reception and awesome battery life to get you easily through 1-2 days, without bother.
This is built for secure emailing and does social media equally well. There is no more paying extra for BlackBerry services either (used to be about £5 per month) as that stopped with the introduction of BB 10 last year.
The Passport is actually a lot of fun to use too and you will not get bores with its features or the brilliant gesture based OS.
It’s so easy to manage and navigate around your apps and the hub is a completely unique and joyous experience for managing all of your messages and emails.
As a multi-media device it excels, with its rich sounding stereo speakers, great connectivity (DNLA, HDMI Slimport, Bluetooth, NFC, Miracast) and vibrant screen are best in class.
If you must watch movies or YouTube videos on your phone and are fussy about the black bars top and bottom, there is a third party YouTube app that lets you resize movie images to better fit the screen (not square though). Netflix also allows you to zoom in to a 4:3 ratio format which is a great compromise but you will still get black bars.
The Passport’s screen is actually wide enough to deliver a perfectly useable movie image for any hand held device, without having to twist profiles each time because it is square (again genius).
Gaming is brilliant with the fast processor and there are many good free games on the Blackberry App store alone but Google clearly offer the best and they mostly work brilliantly. It makes a great Kindle, magazine and newspaper reader too.
Blackberry World is very well furnished with quality exclusive apps and many cross-platform offerings. Amazon App store is also pre-installed and they give you a free app every day.
For those of you craving even more apps, but don’t want to side-load ‘Snap’ (and if you do, see many youtube videos on how to do this or go to crackberry.com), simply search in your phone’s Google browser for ‘download mobogenie’ and install the apk file; a similar and easy experience akin to installing any other app, then you will have instant access to more of the android market that is not available through Amazon.
I now have 3 app stores to choose from. You will likely find everything you need but obviously some may not work perfectly. I have not had any problems with Instagram, Viber, Flipboard, Spotify, Netflix and many more from mobogenie. However you may also find that third party apps from the BlackBerry World are better optimize for the PP e.g Igrann, an Instagram Client, I find just works better for the square screen than Android’s native Instagram that I downloaded from mobogenie.
The camera takes great photos, even for a high-end smart phone, although occasionally a little slow to focus but it has the new addition of the best panorama feature i have seen on a phone (even from Sony) and I recently brilliantly captured the whole of Stonehenge from inside the circle at the Winter Solstice.
You can also shoot by pressing the space bar which makes taking pictures with an extended arm much easier (for selfies or awkward, high angles). There are lots of options and features that let you get creative before easily sharing to social media or email. The pre-installed Story Maker app is very useful and simple to use.
I would advise you to get the BlackBerry standard hard shell case as it compliments the design of the handset, is very lightweight, fits really well and comes with a screen protector.
To add a touch of style and luxury, Stilgut make a beautiful leather stitched case which although pricey (on amazon) is much better in quality and at protecting your PP than Blackberry’s own leather cases. Update Feb 15: There is now a new Blackberry Leather Shell Flex case which offers a perfect compromise. BlackBerry Passport Leather Flex Shell Cover Case for Smartphone – Black
BB OS 10.3:
For those new to BlackBerry 10, please persevere with it and you won’t want to touch another OS again for a while as it is very intuitive, slick and excellent for multi-tasking.
The email ‘triage’ in the hub is now far better with OS 10.3 and overall it is much more mature and pollished experience. The new Blend feature securely and wirelessly expands the functionality of the handset to other platforms on your wifi network; a genius idea for those of us who still do regularly need a computer or tablet and can now communicate or transfer documents through the Passport.
It has a genius physical keyboard and fantastic square screen which merge seamlessly with OS 10.3 that have taken Blackberry to another level and nothing else at all on the market compares to the Passport because it is so unique.
It might seem expensive but this is the only time you should directly compare it with it’s flagship phone peers (iPhone 6, Sony Z3, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 etc) and you will see what excellent value it actually is.
We gave the BlackBerry Passport Smartphone