BlackBerry launched no less than two devices last year, including one positioned on the high end. The Passport , that's its name, has obviously caused a lot of ink to flow and this is not surprising because it is unlike any other terminal on the market. It is also its atypical profile that made me want to test it and you will be able to discover a little further down the handling of the beast.
It's no secret that BlackBerry has been in a very complicated situation for some time. Some even thought that the firm was doomed in advance but it obviously does not hear it that way.
No, and she is ready to do anything to get back into the race. Even to take big risks by producing a telephone which moves away from all the codes instituted by its competitors. The Passport is indeed a real UFO on its own and that is precisely what makes its charm.
Before going any further, it is best to start by recalling its technical characteristics so that everyone has them in mind. I know it's not the most exciting step but you have to go through it.
This is what the BlackBerry Passport offers:
- 4.5 inch touch screen.
- Resolution 1440 × 1440, pixel density 452 ppi, 24-bit color.
- Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.2 GHz.
- Adreno 330 GPU clocked at 450 MHz.
- 3 GB of RAM.
- 32 GB of storage + micro SD (128 GB maximum).
- 13 million pixel sensor with stabilized f / 2.0 optics.
- 2 million pixel front camera.
- 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, GPS, FM Radio, 4G.
- 3,450 mAh battery.
- Sensitive physical keyboard.
- Dimensions: 128mm x 90.3mm x 9.3mm.
- Weight: 196 grams.
- Price: 649 €.
The Passport is therefore aligned with other high-end terminals on the market. At least those from last year. There are few technical differences between it and a Sony Xperia Z3, for example, or an LG G3.
But its real peculiarity is its keyboard. If the latter is somewhat reminiscent of the Bold, it goes much further since it also incorporates several sensors that will allow it to detect the position of the user's fingers. What does it mean ? Quite simply that he will be able to react according to certain gestures. Exactly like what the touchpads of our ultrabooks offer, in short.
I will not detail these functions in this article, but be aware that BlackBerry has gone very far on this issue.
Design & Ergonomics
The Passport is sold in a matt black box, adorned in everything and everything with the brand's logo. No visuals, no technical elements, its manufacturer wanted to go straight to the point and focus above all on the content.
He was very generous on that side.
Apart from the terminal itself, we will thus find three chargers meeting the three main standards in force throughout the world, a synchronization cable, a hands-free kit (with tips), a rigid protective shell, a protective film with place on the screen and the quick start guide.
I admit that it surprised me a lot. Few manufacturers go that far.
The terminal amazes first of all by its dimensions. It is very massive, and above all very wide. The weight is not to be outdone and it is quite logical since it is built around a metal frame. Be careful, however, not to rejoice too quickly because its shell, it gives pride of place to plastic.
The finishes are exemplary and we immediately feel that we are dealing with a terminal positioned on the top of the range. BlackBerry wanted to fully play the premium card and this is quite logical given the target audience (executives, decision makers). He has therefore taken the greatest care in every detail and the result is really very impressive.
Not much to say on the ergonomics side. The power button is placed on the top edge, near the headphone jack. On the right side we will find three buttons to control the volume of the device or to access certain functions like the voice assistant that comes with the latest version of BlackBerry OS.
The volume keys can act as a trigger.
The micro USB port is on the lower edge, framed by two grilles concealing the speakers and microphones. If the user wishes to insert a SIM card or a micro SD card, he will have to start by removing a cover placed at the back of the device, above the photo module. It is not easy to open, moreover. I left a nail there.
Many of you have asked me if the Passport can be used with one hand. The answer is not evident. If you want to use the keyboard, you must hold the device with both hands. On the other hand, if you concentrate on the screen, then you can do it with one hand but you might as well warn yourself: you will have a hard time finding a comfortable position.
It doesn't shock me more than that, personally. As soon as you go past a 4-inch diagonal, you know you'll need both hands to get the most out of your phone's functions. Such is life.
I've read a lot of things about the Passport and it's funny because the specialist journalists ultimately have a very strong opinion on the issue. Some see it as a real revolution, others as a bitter failure.
It is therefore not unanimous, but it is not necessarily a surprise.
In reality, it is the same for all original products, for all atypical products. Breaking the codes is not easy, but we have to admit that BlackBerry did it pretty well. The Passport does indeed have some great advantages and it did not leave me indifferent.
I will stop there for this grip. If you have any questions, the comments are there for you. I will try to complete the test as soon as possible, but you will have to be patient.
Update: Raphaël confirmed it to me, only the press kit offers a protective shell and a protective film.