TGIF: BlackBerry Passport gets two more thumbs up from mobile reviewers

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.



KNOWYOURMOBILE: BlackBerry Passport Review: Don’t Believe The Haters

TECH2: BlackBerry Passport review: The only truly innovative smartphone of 2014

  • ital1

    It’s great to see reviewers who are reviewing the device objectively and on its own merits; well done gentlemen!

  • Gnomesane

    It is isn’t it? Instead of snarky comments about keyboards being passé and the usual grist some so called tech reviewers churn out.

  • Anthony

    It quickly goes back to “Out of Stock” on How many Passports are available when it’s back “In Stock”? locco_smiley_35

    I agree with the 4.5/5 rating. Big beautiful screen and wonderful keyboard is an attractive combination.

    • Gnomesane

      Yeah, there seems to be a pretty big demand, lol. Maybe the in stock are order cancellations, hence not many?

  • rzanger

    As we can see the narrative is changing. It doesn’t even matter what the phone works like (eg apple) what matters is it sexy. You are going to love this article.

    • Gnomesane

      Thanks for the link! Great read, though I’m not sold on Google Play Services. I think BlackBerry needs to forge their own path where they are in control. I think GPS doesn’t fit their enterprise goals. In any event, the times, they are a changin!

    • Anthony

      This Forbes article is stupid. The writer’s buddy said “BlackBerry needs to dump BlackBerry World and Amazon App Store and adopt Google Play”. Does this guy have “Google” tattooed on his lower back like a tramp stamp? locco_smiley_30

      Android is a previous generation OS. QNX is a true multi-tasking micro kernel OS. Android isn’t.

      What, we BB10 users are supposed to have a QNX OS and predominantly use the android player for apps? Android apps are noticeably different on my BB10 devices and not better than native BB10.

      Android apps are a stop-gap measure and BlackBerry could use this “interim period” to build-up BlackBerry World with native BB10 apps.

      • Gnomesane

        Yeah, I feel the same way about GPS. I think BlackBerry is well on it’s way to fill the app gap where it matters. The rest of the article was good, I liked where he showed it to random people and got great positive feedback.

        • Anthony

          Yes, the positive feedback is good. It looks like a cool innovative device does more to “sell BlackBerry” than marketing. locco_smiley_23

  • rzanger

    What matters is not what the blackberry loyalists think about their beloved brand as it does what the masses perceive to be a negative. Let’s put it this way, if you have seen Jaws then recall the scene on the beach when everyone was afraid to go in the water on the fourth of July and the mayor said “Why isn’t anyone going in the water? Larry why are you sitting here? Go in the water. Well that’s kinda what it was like buying the latest and greatest from BlackBerry for the last few years. The difference this time is the cool factor and even better it’s a sexy looking device. We all know they have always made good phones more or less that were great to get work done on but they were not something that people clamored for. Apple can sell pedestrian devices because they knew how to market cool. The situation with the passport is timing of people tiring with the same old phone design and releasing a phone that is not only amazing to use but also very interesting aesthetically. Sexiness will sell far more phones than productivity. Sell more phones then more developers will build bb10 apps. Win-win