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Smartphone BlackBerry Passport: review and testing

The present moment for the Canadian telecommunications giant is not the best. As evidence we know about the significant losses of the company. Despite this, in the BlackBerry leave the efforts and plans to get out of this crisis in the next few years stated the head John Chen. The company stakes on the development of corporate services, improvement of the operating system of BlackBerry 10, and the creation of new interesting devices.

BlackBerry Passport

The result of hard work provides the new flagship smartphone BlackBerry Passport, which offers a symbiosis of traditional QWERTY-keyboard and touch screen. In addition, it is equipped with the latest technology and has a number of equally interesting features. But first things first. We offer to start at the technical specification:





Type, form-factor

Smartphone, monoblock

Communication standards

2G (GSM)

850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz


850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz

4G (LTE)

700 / 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 MHz

Broadband data transfer

GPRS (32-48 Kb/s), EDGE (236 Kb/s), HSDPA+ (up to 21,6 Мb/s), HSUPA (up to 5,76 Мb/s), LTE Cat.4 (up to 50 Мb/s UL, up to 150 Мb/s DL)




Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974-AA): 4 cores Krait 400, up to 2,2 GHz, L2 cache - 2 МB, 28-nm HPm process

Graphics adapter

Qualcomm Adreno 330: up to 450 MHz, support for OpenGL ES 3.0, OpenVG 1.1, OpenCL 1.1 and Direct3D 11.1 


IPS, 4,5", 1440 × 1440 p (452 ppi), multi-touch (up to 10 touches), protective Corning Gorilla Glass 3, technology In-cell


3 GB LPDDR3-800 MHz


32 GB


microSD (up to 128 GB)


1 x micro-USB

1 x microSD

1 x Nano-SIM

1 x audio mini-jack 3,5 mm


Speaker system


Sound processing

BlackBerry Natural Sound







13 МP, 5 elements with aperture f/2.0, backward matrix обратное lighting, autofocus, LED-flash, video recording in format 1080p (30/60 FPS)


2 МP, aperture f/2.8, video recording in format 720p



802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2,4 / 5 GHz)


4.0 LE











Accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, light sensor, LED indicator, magnetometer   


Lithium-ion cell, non-detachable: 3450 mАh


Input: 100~240 V AC 50/60 Hz

Output: 5 V DC 1,3 А



128 х 90,3 х 9,3 mm


196 g


Black/ White/ Red


BlackBerry OS


12 months

Producer website


Packaging and content

BlackBerry Passport BlackBerry Passport

The novelty is shipped in a rather bid cardboard box which has a traditional minimalist design with a predominance of dark colors. The front side of the package has only the model name and company logo. On the reverse side is the legal information about the manufacturer in different languages and several logos. This style of packaging suggests that we have a business class device.

BlackBerry Passport

Kitting of BlackBerry Passport is carefully placed in separate boxes. It includes:

  • documentation;
  • charger OMTP Complaint with capacity of 6.5 W (5 V at 1.3 A);
  • plug adapter from the British (BS 1363) to European (CEE 7/17) standard;
  • cable USB ↔ micro-USB for connection to charging and PC;
  • fairly good headset BlackBerry Premium Stereo Headset (HDW-49299-001) with headphones and three pairs of soft silicone lining.

Design and elements layout

BlackBerry Passport

The main feature of BlackBerry Passport is its form factor. It is a button smartphone that is radically different compared to most modern touch mobile devices. Thanks to such bold solution the company can keep the traditional lovers of the brand BlackBerry, who are used to QWERTY-keyboard, and attract the attention of fans of already familiar touchscreen. It should be noted that this is not the first attempt of the company to combine classical mechanical keyboard and touch screen. In 2011 was presented a rather controversial BlackBerry Bold 3 (9900), and with the lapse of time a few of similar models. But according to the manufacturer, BlackBerry Passport was created based on the comments and suggestions of users of previous models, which should have a positive impact on its design features.

BlackBerry Passport BlackBerry Passport

Visually BlackBerry Passport seems rather cumbersome device (especially on the photo), but technically its dimensions (128 x 90.3 mm) are comparable with the passport of a citizen of the country, except the thickness (9.3 mm) and weight (196 g).

BlackBerry Passport BlackBerry Passport

If we talk about ergonomics in general and in comparison with a 5-inch smartphone, the feeling is quite unusual due to a considerable width. Furthermore, when required to dial first of all you reach the screen for searching the touch pad and then to a mechanical keyboard. But it doesn’t take too much time to get used.

The smartphone is quite comfortable to hold with one hand, but unlikely operate, although all depends on the size of the palm. Therefore you have to used both hands. The device fits perfectly in the pocket of ordinary jeans and thus does not create significant discomfort, but it is much more convenient to carry it in the inner pocket of the jacket/coat or handbag/diplomat.

BlackBerry Passport BlackBerry Passport

The base of the case uses I-beam made of stainless steel, which provides a relatively high strength and rigidity. But it can be seen only on the side of a thin metal edge.

BlackBerry Passport

Most of the front panel is covered with ultrastrong tempered glass Corning Gorilla Glass 3 with high oleophobic coating and a small figure round on the sides. Between the glass and the frame there is a slim amortization bezel (made of glossy plastic), which is designed to protect it from falling from a low high. The lower part of the front side, including a keyboard and silver walls is made of matt plastic. The width of the borders around the display is as follows: on the sides - 4.5 mm; top - 15 mm; bottom - 32 mm (including the keyboard). Between display and keyboard it is 3.5 mm. Above the screen are: proximity and lighting sensors, speaker hole and one of four microphones (automatic volume control), an indicator of events (flashes with red when missed events or communication and can be turned off in the settings), company logo and eye of front camera. The lower part is occupied by a mechanical keyboard.

BlackBerry Passport

At the top there is a universal audio jack (mini-jack 3,5 mm) and power/lock button. Taking into account the dimensions of the device, the location of the last is not successful, but to unlock the smartphone you do not need to reach the top, but you can just swipe your finger from the bottom edge of the display up, which in practice is a very convenient and fast way.

BlackBerry Passport

On the bottom are: two stereo speakers, microphone and basic micro-USB port with support for SlimPort (compatible protocols: HDMI, VGA, DisplayPort 1.1, DisplayPort 1.2, DVI).

BlackBerry Passport

The right side of the case BlackBerry Passport, between the volume button is the call of a voice assistant. While viewing video and listening to audio the center button serves in the role of the Pause/Play, which is very convenient, especially if the smartphone is locked.

BlackBerry Passport

The left side has no any additional elements. All buttons are made of metal. They have a clear and moderately key travel.

BlackBerry Passport

The rear side is made of matt and quite pleasant soft-touch plastic. The fingerprints and collected, but it is quite easy to remove them. Here is the main camera lens with single-sectional flash and two microphones. Lower is a considerable silver logo of the manufacturer.

BlackBerry Passport

As a whole the case is nondemountable, but here is one replacement part (small). It is a plastic cap on top of the rear side. It can be removed by some effort and is held securely due to the valves. Under it there are connectors for cards microSD ("hot" replacement) and Nano-SIM.

If we talk about build quality, it is worthy of the highest evaluation: all the details fit perfectly; the slightest hint of backlash or gaps is absent. The smartphone doesn’t bend or change its geometry under moderate torsion, and the glass is pressed and strains are not displayed.

BlackBerry Passport BlackBerry Passport

BlackBerry Passport

In general BlackBerry Passport is a first-class smartphone with a rather unusual, fun and stylish appearance. Taking into account the unusual size, the device is comfortably controlled with both hands, although some actions can be performed with one hand. Note that the smartphone is available in three color variations: black, white and limited red.


BlackBerry Passport

BlackBerry Passport is equipped with touch IPS-matrix with technology In-cell (sensor plate is integrated directly into the matrix). Between the glass and sensor there is no air gap (due to technology OGS - «One glass solution»), which has a positive effect on the image quality, but increases the cost of repair. Screen is protected by tempered glass Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which has a relatively good anti-glare filter and excellent oleophobic (grease repellent) finish. Thanks to the last a fairly comfortable and easy to fingers sliding is provides. In addition, here is a factory film that actively collects scratches and abrasions.

BlackBerry Passport

Resolution of 4.5-inch screen is 1440 × 1440 points. At the same time this pixels density is 452 ppi (greater than for iPhone6). It is more than enough to get high detailed image quality and display fonts. Unusual is the ratio of its sides 1: 1, that is, the screen is square. According to the manufacturer, it can increase the number of symbols up to 60 (in the usual 5-inch smartphone this value is 40), which positively affects the comfort when working with text and graphics, or even when just surfing the web. The reverse of the medal is the possible inconvenience when working with applications that are not optimized for this aspect ratio, including the viewing of widescreen video.

To fix this situation, there are several useful features that are usually called flutter from the top edge of the display. Using them, you can hide the system bar at the bottom of the screen or zoom application. This will help to show hidden or black strips. However, in some applications the scaling doesn’t provide benefits. And zooming can cause emergency closure of the program. But this can only happen with third-party Android applications, and those that are downloaded from a corporate store BlackBerry World are perfectly optimized.

BlackBerry Passport

The screen is characterized by wide horizontal and vertical viewing angles, but in case of diagonal view the contrast is reduced and purple hues appear. Although in most scenarios the contrast is very good and the colors look nice and have a natural saturation. The quality of highlighting of the screen is at a high level. This makes it comfortable to use smartphone as a bright sunny day and in the darkness. Adjust of the brightness is automatic. The system performs its functions properly. The settings menu has availability to adjust levels of color saturation and white balance.

BlackBerry Passport

Built-in touch screen substrate can recognize up to 10 simultaneous touches. However, the processing is carried out without any complaints. Work in gloves is not available.


BlackBerry Passport

In the BlackBerry decided to return to the market a smartphone with physical QWERTY-keyboard, which is quite a bold step in the era of indiscriminate domination of sensor devices. Remembering that branded keyboards with the original design have helped the company to win the favor of millions of customers, and in time gave the name to the brand, this step seems quite justified. In addition, the keyboard unit has been significantly modified in all respects to meet the requirements of the modern user. So, now we have three lines of mechanical keys, and the fourth is touch. The keypad has a size of 80 x 21 mm, and the keys are 8 x 6 mm. The distance from the lower edge of the body is 7 mm, and on each side is 5 mm. Symbols are applied according to laser method, which has a positive effect on durability.

BlackBerry Passport

In general the keyboard is pretty good and should be pleased by fans of traditional phones. However it takes some time to get used to it (especially if you've actively using 4 or 5-inch touchscreen smartphone). Also you should be careful not to drop the device while typing due to a small rim around the edges of the housing.

BlackBerry Passport

The tops of the keys are relief. Travel of buttons is pretty tight.

Due to a smaller number of lines the manufacturer had to assign some keys on a few letters of Cyrillic alphabet, which slows down the typing. And the extra buttons (numeric block, symbols, language switching, Shift, etc.) are located at the bottom of the screen. It also displays hints (three lines) when typing.

A particular note is the fact that the entire area of the keyboard additionally performs the role of a touchpad. Just slide the finger on the keyboard, you can flip through the pages (up/down and left/right), to move the cursor while editing text, flip through images, etc. Left flutter allows to delete the whole word (or words). Lower flutter allows to prepare and display special symbols. There is support for swype. It should be noted that in low light the keyboard lightning is automatically activated (there is a light sensor).

Looking closely to the keyboard, you can comfortably and quickly press of keys and surf the Internet.

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