BlackBerry Passport – One Of The Best Devices I Have Ever Owned


I have been using my Passport for about 6 weeks now so it seems appropriate to write a review. In theory, the honeymoon should be over, but it’s not. Not even close. Like a lot of business execs, I was a BlackBerry user years ago. At some point I switched to Android and really liked my Motorola Droid slider, but then Apple came along and I jumped on board. After 3 years using an iPhone, I couldn’t bear it any longer. The pathetic battery life of my iPhone 5, especially in the cold New England winters when I would start skiing with a full battery and less than 2 hours later it would barely have enough of a charge for a quick call. The never ending hunt for someplace to charge while on the road, competing with the masses for an elusive outlet. Or the degradation of the virtual keyboard, with more misses than hits as time passed, making it only useful for brief text messages. Call handling was a complete joke – every time a call would come in and I’d try to switch, the initial call was disconnected. Every. Single. Time. Not very professional.

I was ambivalent about switching to BlackBerry OS, as my entire digital life is Apple (MacBook Pro, iPad, iPhone, iPod). What about the apps? I did my research. BlackBerry has a sad little app store, but their devices run Android apps and they partnered with Amazon and now have their App Store on their devices. I found most, but not all, of the apps I used previously. I’m a techie, so I installed an app called SNAP which provides access to the Google Play Store. I picked up a few more apps there. For those I could not get to work, I use the browser. I am whole again.

My white Passport is a head turner. People ask what it is and are universally surprised it’s a BlackBerry (and that BlackBerry is even still in business. Hello BlackBerry! Spend some marketing dollars, please!), and then they reminisce about their old BlackBerry and how they miss the keyboard. I really love my Passport, and here’s why:

– The keyboard is really outstanding. The learning curve was surprisingly short and I am typing as fast as I ever did on my old BlackBerrys.
– The battery life is unmatched. I use my Passport more than any other device I own. Every day. The longest I have gone without a charge is 36 hours!
– It’s a good looking, well-built, solid device. It doesn’t look or feel cheap and I have dropped it a few times already and not a scratch. (Unlike the new iPhone 6, which I seriously considered, and I found to be plastic-y and of cheap quality when compared to my iPhone 5. Very disappointing for the price.)
– The screen is big, but doesn’t feel huge, and it’s clear. My middle-aged eyes appreciate that very much.
– There’s an application called Blend which basically allows me respond to and send text messages while on my Mac. Very easy to use and I love the convenience.
– Call handling is perfect and the call quality is outstanding. As good as it was on my old Motorola devices which were outstanding phones.
– There are quite a few features for setting preferences, e.g. setting the device on bedside mode, vibrate only, calls only, etc. My only complaint is that there should be a timer that allows, for example, bedside mode to revert to normal at 7:00am when I awake. I keep forgetting to change it and miss calls. Minor nit.
– It fits in my back pocket. Sometimes I even forget it’s there.
– The camera produces very good images, but for me the shutter speed and focusing is a bit slow. BlackBerry really needs to fix that. Now!

When all is said and done when you look at what else is out there it’s no contest. If you are seriously considering buying the Passport and decide to take the plunge, you will not regret it.

Originally posted on Amazon.