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BlackBerry Passport Review: A Smartphone That Could Alter BlackBerry's Fate
BlackBerry doesn't have much to show for, as far as the modern day smartphone business is concerned. And although the company has indeed managed to churn out a few smartphones in that time period, none have gone on to be that major a hit. Of course, the likes of Android and iOS are always there as major hindrances.
Recently, the company came out with its square-shaped new flagship. The BlackBerry Passport looks as creepy as it looked in the adverts. We have seen a lot of smartphones in the past, but never one that actually has a squarish size-factor. But the BlackBerry Passport is indeed here.
BlackBerry's decline has largely been due to its failure to adapt to the rising challenge of iOS and Android. The company's CEO, John Chen, doesn't know whether it can regain that status later, though BlackBerry has been vocal enough to accept its past mistakes.
But even then, BlackBerry faces an uphill battle. As of now, iPhones and Android-based phones have already diminished the Canadian smartphone maker's presence in the U.S and India. And the way that ball is currently rolling, it won't be long before more pressure is created by both these heavyweights.
We have been sitting with the BlackBerry Passport for quite some time now. And for the time we have spent with the device, we have come to a few conclusions regarding the specs and features of the handset. Hence, here are is an exclusive full review of the handset.
BlackBerry Passport Review: Form Factor and Operating System
As you may have expected already, the biggest talking point of the new phone, in terms of its looks and appearance, is based on its unconventional looks. The design is based around the 4.5-inch square screen that also offers a 1:1 aspect ratio, making it different from others.
There's no point thinking about landscape or portrait mode on this one, owing to the fact that it's a perfect square. But you may wonder as to why the company suddenly took such a route in terms of desgining. Well, it depends on the kind of audience the company wants for the handset.
The BlackBerry Passport BlackBerry has been made for checking spreadsheets, office documents, ebooks, presentations and full-scale websites. All of which, according to the company, are reproduced better on the square, 1440 x 1400 Gorilla Glass 3 screen.
The other big design point of the phone is the return of the keyboard, which has always been a big selling point for BlackBerry. It's attached to the bottom of the screen with a squat-like appearance. But there are changes in the keyboard. For instance, common punctuation marks, as well as numbers, appear as on-screen keys directly above the physical buttons.
Sure the phone has an unconventional look and will not even catch up to most. But going by the kind of business BlackBery has been doing, it's only justified that the company let go some of the social norms and adopt something strange for a change. That being said, the Passport is definitely an attractive looking handset.
As far as general comparison is concerned, the BlackBerry Passport is wider than the Galaxy Note 4 and is thick at 9.3mm. However, the phone does feel sturdy and well-built. In fact, you might even face a serious challenge when holding the phone with one hand. If you have small palms, then you'll find it hard to use the device.
On a whole, the BlackBerry Passport has a unibody design, so you are not allowed to remove the back cover. The main volume buttons are on the right-hand side, while the headphone jack and the power button can be found above the display. The USB charging port is down below. There's a microSD card slot and a nano SIM card slot hidden above the camera sensor in a separate compartment.
Overall, this handset is meant more as productivity device, rather than something you would use to text your friends or listen to music. But it remains to be seen as to how many working type people adopt this productivity-oriented handset, especially when the handset is only meant for work.
BlackBerry's newly updated BB10 OS is also a big thing for the Passport apart from it's interesting design. It's focused around BlackBerry Hub that compiles all your notifications from various email and social network accounts. On top of BlackBerry Hub is the Priority Hub. This learns the interactions that are important to you and collects them into a single stream.