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Hands on with the new Blackberry Passport smartphone

Al Sacco | Sept. 25, 2014
BlackBerry has officially announced pricing and availability details for its new Passport smartphone, which was previously unveiled and detailed through a variety of blog posts on the company's Inside BlackBerry blog. (Specific pricing and availability information can be found at the end of this post.)

There's something to be said about carrying two smartphones — in fact, I said it in a post I wrote a couple of years ago. However, if you're a one-phone person, as some of the most productive businesspeople are, the Passport may not be a good fit. Simply put, the overall experience doesn't match other high-end devices on different platforms. If I had to pick a single phone to use for both work and play, it wouldn't be the Passport. 

Things to Love (And Hate) About the BlackBerry Passport: Conclusion

I like the BlackBerry Passport. I like it a lot. It's not a device I'll stop using after I'm done reviewing it. (The Land of Misfit Tech Toys is packed with devices I haven't touched since I finished evaluating them.)

The keyboard is great, if a bit oversized and unwieldy. Battery life is spectacular. It's built well, and its large display helps make me more productive on my mobile device. If you're a smartphone "power user" who values the ability to work on your handset over play, you'll find a friend in the Passport.

However, the software experience is lacking, largely due to general bugginess. The keyboard takes a while to get used to, and some of the keyboard-based gestures don't work as well as they could. The device is big, and it could definitely be too big for certain people. If you only want to carry one device, you could do better overall than the Passport.

That said, BlackBerry deserves some credit for creating a smartphone that's truly innovative, truly unique, and just different. The smartphone world is boring these days, at least from a hardware perspective. Major manufacturers blatantly copy each other. It's refreshing to see a new product such as the BlackBerry Passport.

The unlocked BlackBerry Passport (32GB) is available now for $599 in the United States via BlackBerry expects its wireless carrier partners to sell a subsidized version of the device some time this year for around $250 on contract.


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