First, a Happy Thanksgiving Weekend shout out to my fellow Canucks!
And the reviews continue to pour in, and they’re largely positive. First up is Richard Goodwin of Know Your Mobile in his article “BlackBerry Passport Review: Don’t Believe The Haters”. Richard is a self admitted reluctant convert to the Passport’s unique design, stating
I didn’t want to like this handset. I had A LOT of preconceptions about the way it looked, switching back to a physical keyboard, and having to use BB10 for a week or more for the purpose of this review. Like a lot of people, I’d made my mind up about the Passport without even using it –– and this was wrong.
As you can see Richard changed his mind once he had this great device in his hands (ahem) rating it 4.5 stars out of 5. It’s a comprehensive review so I won’t quote it here (links to both reviews will be at the bottom of this post) but it’s largely positive with the usual consumer warnings about size, number of apps, ad nauseum. In concluding, Richard goes on to say
The Passport is a weird looking piece of tech, yes, and the keyboard does take a bit of getting used to, but, like all new ideas, once you’ve accustomed yourself to its ways you feel right at home banging out emails, editing documents and tweeting. It does require two hands to use it, but, as I mentioned earlier in the review, so too do a lot of handsets these days –– the iPhone 6 Plus, LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to name but a few.
The battery is excellent, ditto call quality, and there’s more than enough power inside to ensure everything operates in a silky smooth manner. I really enjoyed the improvements BlackBerry has made to the camera, and the screen, as we’ve already established, is just marvellous.
[If] you want a powerful piece of kit that is excellent at multitasking, has a gorgeous keyboard, brilliant battery, and an excellent notifications hub, as well as a growing selection of applications and market-leading security, then you could do A LOT worse than the BlackBerry Passport.
Well done Richard. You managed to review the device, point out some concerns with consumers and did so without trashing BlackBerry or mocking the device!
Next up is Ivor Soans of TECH2 (a subset of Firstpost) with “BlackBerry Passport review: The only truly innovative smartphone of 2014”
Ivor gets straight to the point right out of the gate:
In a world of cookie cutter rectangular smartphones, the BlackBerry Passport definitely stands out. With a square 4.5″ screen and a three-row physical keyboard, you get mixed reactions at first glance, with some thinking it’s a beauty and others certain that it’s an ugly beast. But whether people love its looks or hate it, everyone gives the BlackBerry Passport a second glance.
Form factor and shape are definitely out of the ordinary, but even the target audience for the BlackBerry Passport is anything but ordinary. It’s a purpose-built smartphone, not aimed at the average Joe, but at professionals who want to be more productive.
Well, it may have been aimed at the professionals (ie enterprise) but judging by the SOLD OUT sign at Shop BlackBerry, it appears to be getting traction with consumers as well! Again, I won’t go through the nitty gritty as Ivor runs through the areas of the device – that you can do by visiting the site. I’ll just jump down to Ivor’s conclusions:
One thing’s for sure. You can hate or love it, but you have to admit that the BlackBerry Passport is the only truly innovative smartphone of 2014.
This is BlackBerry’s comeback smartphone, and whether it is wildly successful or a moderate success, or even a failure, the company has got everyone’s attention. And I think that’s the strategy at work here — not about setting sales registers afire, but about making a statement–that BlackBerry is not dead, but alive and kicking, that it has the courage to innovate and that the company has a razor sharp focus back on the enterprise and productivity. And if it sells well, that’s just icing on the cake. The Passport is not BlackBerry’s saviour but just one of the milestones in BlackBerry’s attempt to reinvent itself.”
That last paragraph is an excellent observation, one that I agree with wholeheartedly. This device has everyone talking about BlackBerry again, and making them take a second look at a company that almost everyone had written off as dead, much like Apple in the late nineties.
And judging by demand, it would appear that the Passport will turn out to be, at a minimum, a moderate success for BlackBerry so I wouldn’t worry Ivor.