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Blackberry Passport can lure corporate customers

By Abhik Sen
Last updated on: October 06, 2014 13:13 IST
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Everything about the Passport's design exudes the understated elegance of a boardroom - be it the metal highlights, the rubberised back or the grey on black home screen.  

 

My wife has been very happy the past week I've been reviewing the BlackBerry Passport.

It's because I have been calling her more than 10 times every day while at work. Now, before you think that to be sweet, let me explain: My wife should thank the Passport, and my paunch. Not me.  

You see, my wife's name (which starts with an A) is at the top of my contact list.

And I have been carrying the Passport in the pocket of my jeans. What this has resulted in is the phone getting unlocked, thanks to my generous paunch putting pressure on the power/lock button at the top of the device.

 

An unlocked touchscreen device in your pocket can be trouble, and I should thank my stars that all this has led to several calls to my wife.  

I'll say this again, the Passport is not meant to be carried in your jeans pocket, but you could very well carry it in your shirt pocket. Now that that is out of the way, let's take a closer look at the Passport.  

This is a big phone - and will require both your hands (it did for me) to operate it. Everything about the design exudes the understated elegance of a boardroom - be it the metal highlights, the rubberised back or the grey on black home screen.  

The earpiece is above the label and houses a microphone to measure ambient noise and adjust the volume.

It does one more interesting thing: It also adjusts the volume depending on where you're holding the earpiece. 

 

 

For example, if you're holding the phone to your ear with one hand and then d ecide to hold it in the crook of your neck as you need to use both hands, the position of the earpiece vis-à-vis your ear changes and the Passport adjusts the volume so you can still hear the other party. We loved it.  

The back of the phone is rubberised and provides a good grip without retaining nasty smudges. A metal fret at the top end distinguishes the removable flap from the non-removable back.

The top flap provides access to the nanoSIM and microSD slots. The rear camera with LED flash (the assembly also houses two microphones for ambient noise) sits right in the middle of the metal fret.  

The camera is quite good indoors, though detailing takes a hit in extremely low-light conditions. Outdoors, it'll surprise you with its quality (we loved the shots the Z30 took during an outdoor trip; the ones shot by the Passport were just as good).

The camera, thankfully, can capture videos in aspect ratios other than the default 1:1.  

 

The headline feature of the phone is, of course, the three-row keyboard, which also accepts gesture controls.

Of course it took us some time to get used to using the special characters that appear at the top of the keyboard (at the bottom of the 4.5-inch screen), but after some days we were comfortable enough to write parts of the review on the Passport.

And the 4.5-inch screen, it seems, is made for editing/writing and reading; document views were brilliant on the screen, with the display holding its own under the sun.

Using the keyboard to scroll and swipe was a lot of fun, but most of all we loved swiping on the keyboard to delete.  

The BlackBerry Assistant is no Siri, but it's a good start and makes life easier, especially if you're at the wheel. And people who want to carry their office in their pocket will love BlackBerry Blend.

 

With Blend, one can seamlessly start working on the Passport, go on to your PC/tablet and then come back to your phone again.

It reminded me of earlier times when we used to check our mail and notifications on the PlayBook. But Blend is much better and probably deserves a detailed review.

It is currently available for Windows, Apple iPad and Android tablets.

In India, only the BlackBerry Passport device supports this feature.  

The Passport runs BlackBerry 10.3, which comes with the Amazon App Store.

We were able to download Riptide GP2 from this store and had a wonderful time racing on jet-skis, but the device did heat up a bit.  

In conclusion, the BlackBerry Passport is a capable device with a flagship price that will serve the corporate sector well, as long as they can live with the form factor.

QWERTY junkies like me love the keyboard but can't really think of using this device with one hand while making the daily commute on the metro or bus.

 

 

BLACKBERRY PASSPORT

Price: Rs 49,990

Camera: Rear: 13MP,

Front: 2MP

Display: 4.5-inch 1,440 x 1,400 IPS LCD

Battery: 3,450 mAh

OS: BlackBerry 10.3

Processor: 2.2GHz quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon

RAM: 3GB

Storage: In-built 32GB (expandable up to 128GB)

Weight: 196g

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