Most people know me for been a Nokia fan or now what’s called a WinPhan due to been a Windows Phone user but i use all operating systems,but of late i have not dabbled with Blackberry i do have one or two stashed away but with the increasing decline in market share this is why i lost interest in using Blackberry Devices,but then came along the Passport,something new,fresh,different,it stood out and it made people talk and i said hmmm,initially i did slate it but over time it grew on me and said maybe this is the one for me to try out and see whats new. I have to say im very impressed.The presentation of the packaging too is also premium and looks well..

 

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Design

First thing to note is the design,it stands out its different its bold,its odd but it works,on first use it will seem odd due to the devices shape and where the physical keys are placed.If you are use to big devices this difference does fade away over time,most people who change their devices on a regular basis would find the transition quite simple i would think,after a few minutes i got easily comfortable with the layout especially the keys and in no time you will be flying along typing away with no issues.The device squares in at 4.5 inches and 128 x 90.3 x 9.3 mm (5.04 x 3.56 x 0.37 in) its not too thick either,the back of the device is also quite grippy so slipping from hand is near impossible  and thankfully i have not had once dropped it yet.

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With the keys positioned on the top right and the power key on top it was no issue as to reachability the device was comfortable in hand and i had no problems navigating the keys even though its quite square,those with bigger hands would find this easy to use and perhaps people with smaller hands might use it with both this would vary by individual,for me personally it was not a problem either one or two handed.The QWERTY keypad is easy to use even though its placed at the very end some may find it awkward but as mentioned it takes getting use to if you have not even used a QWERTY keypad after a long time.

Under the hood

The Passport comes with decent specs to say the least,The CPU is a Quad-core 2.26 GHz Krait 400, Adreno 300 GPU,and a Qualcomm MSM8974AA Snapdragon 801,ours arrived with the previous software Blackberry 10.3 but soon after the 10.3.1 update arrived which gave the device lots of extra which was welcome you can read all about that HERE

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Battery

On board we have a 3,450 mAh battery which is non removeable this may be a setback for some but most devices today are unibodied so its something fans of phones with a removeable battery is going to have to come to terms with at some stage and recently we have seem samsung take this approach with the new S6 models.The battery will see you through the day no problem if you are an average to heavy user or power user.

Camera

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The camera is quite good to be fair though its target market would not be mainly looking for a decent snapper this has all it requires and more and i found it quite good and up there with other devices in the market there is plenty of settings on the passport to suits ones taste,it does seem odd talking photos due to the shape of the device but you will overcome this after some usage and adjust with ease.There is more than enough here settings wise to to play with and become creative if this is your thing.

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The camera does the job and on a recent trip it was a murky day and photos where quite good,with a 13MP camera with OIS,auto focus and an LED flash pictures turned out well i must say,i was pleasantly surprised by the results. I am not a camera fanatic as most know but when i want to take a decent photo i want a device that will do it and the passport provided me with that and exceeded my expectations.

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Apps

Well there is plenty out of the box we have Blackberry World and the Amazon store this should suit most users needs,but the option to add the Play store (at your own risk) changes it all with most apps (personal apps i would use) working fine from the play store this is a huge bonus to users who want that bit more so on the App front you are well covered some apps will not work though.

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Browsing the web.

The browsing experience was fine,at times though i did find it sluggish when several tabs was open this could have been my Wi-Fi or data but i did in general see it happen often on either but overall browsing was a pleasure although you might at first find it odd looking at pages on the screen due to its design,again this quickly fades away after some usage of the phone.You can also pick browsers we have Bing,Google and Yahoo.Pages rendered quite well and looked crisp and clear so i was happy enough overall.Another bonus is the previous pages you viewed are remembered so you can hop through pages and quickly swap through sites should be surfing for something in particular.

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Maps

Maps worked a treat too,again we can download other apps for maps and now we also have the inclusion of HERE maps too which gives users an ample choice of mapping solutions which is also good to have there is also a nice compass built in on the device which looks rather neat.

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Gaming

Gaming was fine being honest i am not mad into games on mobile as i once was years ago but i tried a few games i generally like to play such as snooker or pool,the games i tried worked fine,nice screen display and sound from speakers to so it passed the test here if you happened to be bored you are sorted.

 

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Music and video

Music video and audio all played well and i found it a pleasurable experience the speakers are quite loud and crisp also to point out using several of my own headphones the sound was also quite good and had great audio pleasure,i do tend to listen to lots of music or watch you tube and the results for me where good and up to standard.

Overview.

They UI is actually quite nice and smooth image galleries and music galleries are the same but its easy to navigate these and its a smooth procedure,Swiping on the home screen from left to right will guide you through all thats on the device swiping down will bring up shortcuts and swiping up will leave you with your recent apps etc,its a simple UI to navigate and using simple gestures is all thats needed this is also implemented in the physical keys which is quite useful and its quite a nice experience once you get the hang of it.

 

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The Passport is certainly a niche device aimed at a niche market but it stands up to the crowd,its more to offer than you might think some say this device is too late to the market but opinions always are divided,this is my first time to use a Blackberry in two years and i have been taken back somewhat on how things have changed,i did scoff it at first which i was open about but until you have tried it your opinion might change,this like any other niche device has its own genre but its got more to offer,shape aside,keypad location aside for some it might not be aesthetically pleasing but until you actually pick one up and use it,the keyboard is quite easy to use,it feels solid in hand and it only take hours to get a real feel for it you will be surprised.

We would like to thank Blackberry for sending us this device and its been quite an uplifting experience and has taken me by surprise after using it for two weeks,its not your regular looking device but underneath its got what it takes.Once you overcome the variables you will be impressed overall.

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By Jim O Brien/CEO

CEO and expert in transport and Mobile tech. A fan 20 years, mobile consultant, Nokia Mobile expert, Former Nokia/Microsoft VIP,Multiple forum tech supporter with worldwide top ranking,Working in the background on mobile technology, Weekly radio show, Featured on the RTE consumer show, Cavan TV and on TRT WORLD. Award winning Technology reviewer and blogger. Security and logisitcs Professional.