Our BlackBerry Passport video review finds a smartphone that is different in ways both good and bad. (For more on the Passport read our full BlackBerry Passport review: the most BlackBerry BlackBerry ever - only BlackBerry lovers need apply.)
The BlackBerry Passport is a smartphone like no other, and for that we commend it. Whether that makes it a good buy will depend on your circumstances.
Out of the box you notice that the Passport is a bit different. In design and build it is thick and square. Compare it to other smartphones such as the iPhone-aping BlackBerry Z10 and you will see just how much squarer and more formal looking it is. It is also pretty thick and heavy. None of this is bad, particularly, and the inclusion of a hardware qwerty keyboard will please many die-hard BlackBerry users. It also illustrates the point that the Passport is built for business. It is meant to be used for business, and with two hands.
Which is all great. But typing is not a particularly comfortable experience. Unless you particularly like using a hardware keyboard we'd wager that typing on a touchscreen is always more comfortable. We also found that the balance was a little off. When typing it felt like the BlackBerry Passport was trying to topple forward out of our grasp.
Of course the reason for this difference in design and build is simple: the Passport is built with a qwerty keyboard for typing more, and a large square screen for dealing with large documents and multiple processes. It is a high-end 4.5-inch display with a 1,440x1,440-pixel resolution, meaning a sharp pixel density of 453 pixels per inch.
And the display has a 1:1 resolution. It is perfectly square. That makes it pretty awful for viewing videos or composing photos. But using a spreadsheet or composing an email is a much better experience than on any other smartphone we have used. It's the first phablet that is truly a tablet. See also: Best smartphones 2014.
BlackBerry Passport software
The operating software is BlackBerry 10.3. This has a different means of navigating to most other OSes, requiring a swipe up or down to get to the home screen. A swipe left brings you to the excellent BlackBerry Hub. This is a single display for all messages, including multiple email accounts, SMS and BlackBerry Messenger. Message alerts appear in the top of the screen no matter what you are doing, too. The Passport is a good communications device.
Of course BlackBerry devices lack the app support of either iPhone or Android, but with the Amazon app store BlackBerry is now a lot better than it was. You will be able to install Spotify and other must-have entertainment apps.
And that is a good thing because the Passport is a powerful beast. It runs on a Qualcomm quad-core processor with 3GB RAM. In terms of storage we find a nominal 32GB onboard storage, and you can add another 128GB with an SD card.
We found we could get two or even three days on a battery charge, too.
The camera isn't much to write home about. It's a 13Mp camera with autofocus that can capture video at 1080p. This is not a compact camera for shutterbugs, but it is a more than adequate smartphone camera. The best camera is the camera to hand, after all.
Ultimately then, the Passport is a fine business communicator and portable office device. Just don't think of it as an entertaining gadget. (For more on the Passport read our full BlackBerry Passport review: the most BlackBerry BlackBerry ever - only BlackBerry lovers need apply.)