Though BlackBerry has been trying its hand at touchscreen devices like the Z30 and the recently reviewed Leap, it hasn't left keyboard devotees behind just yet. Released last fall, the BlackBerry Passport combines a square screen with a three-row keyboard. Our review noted that the oddly shaped screen provides "a good viewing experience" and the keyboard is "an impressive feat of engineering." However, though the keyboard is "a powerful tool," the unusual dimensions make one-handed use awkward and the app ecosystem is still rather small. Most damning is the fact that the device's signature feature, the keyboard, "isn't among BlackBerry's best." But that's from the perspective of someone who had to type out a review entirely on the keyboard. Plenty of our readers have chimed in about their own Passport experiences to let us know how it fares in the hands of the common office worker and beyond.
"This thing is tough and doesn't bend like the iPhone 6."
The shape is the first thing anyone will notice about the Passport, with nixxonexxo commenting on how "unusual and weird-looking" it is, though it still "looks great" in person and it fits in a pocket just "fine for a phone this large." Indeed, the Passport fits great in the pockets of various articles of clothing, including geneismean's skinny jeans, ttwb's jacket and the top pocket of goodtobe's Kenzo blazer. And while it does leave a very odd shape in geneismean's pants, he cheekily comments that the square bulge just indicates he's "happy to see everyone."
Though the square screen resulted in such an atypical shape for the Passport, plenty were happy to make the trade-off. Aspani says the screen is "easy to look at" and ZzaqpazZ found that the blueprints and CAD files he uses at his metal-fabrication business looked great on the Passport, "much better than the typical rectangular phones." The square screen also means square photos, but aspani doesn't mind, finding the shape "works great in reports." And the photos themselves look "ridiculously amazing" to geneismean, with incredible depth and color.
Venture just below that screen, though, and the Passport starts to stumble. Goodtobe says the keyboard "takes a bit of getting used to," while adityan had a little less patience, calling it a nightmare and "colossal failure" due to its limited features and unresponsive trackpad. ZzaqpazZ thought the inability to steer in games using the keyboard was "a real letdown."
"I use my laptop in the field 50 percent less with this phone."
Then again, the Passport isn't really meant as a game-playing device. POPPKPD finds it handy as a "mobile office" thanks to features like BlackBerry Blend, while goodtobe notes it "has already saved me having to dash to the laptop several times." Ttwb agrees, calling it "the first device that doesn't give me the feeling I need to return to my computer to answer longer emails." Self-described "power user" lloydlawrence calls it a beast that "really delivers the tools you need to get you through the day." Tomsevo also appreciates how "business-like" it is, stating that "my phone needs to be my communicator, not my entertainment hub."
Its unusual shape and limited app selection might restrict the audience for the Passport, but nixxonexxo does note that "if you're looking for security and productivity, then this is the only phone you need consider this year." STEMAT calls it a phone for "someone who is looking to break away from the mold and stand out in the crowd with something that is new and innovative." Ultimately, lloydlawrence says it's "like Marmite: You either love it or hate it, but it really is like nothing else on the market."