From classic keyboard devices to more mainstream smartphones like the Z10, we’ve seen a variety of phones from BlackBerry over the years.
But BlackBerry’s upcoming device may be the strangest phone we’ve seen from the company yet.
CrackBerry, a block that covers BlackBerry, recently published a lengthy hands-on summing up its early impressions of the BlackBerry Passport, and we combed through it to extract some of the most important details.
The BlackBerry Passport is aptly named — its sharp, angular shape and proportions resemble that of a book or document more than a phone.
The Passport is unusually wide and square, but judging by early photos it seems like it will offer plenty of screen space compared to standard sized phones on the market.
The Passport looks large, but it’s not meant to be compared with today’s flagships like the iPhone 5s or Galaxy S5. It’s not even really a true competitor to Samsung’s Galaxy Note series in the phablet space. Rather, it seems more likely that BlackBerry is focused on its core audience — enterprise users.
We expect to learn more about the Passport when it launches in September, but here’s what we know about the phone so far based on CrackBerry’s early review. It’s also important to keep in mind that CrackBerry reviewed a pre-production model, so we’re likely to see some changes before the final version hits stores.
The Passport’s screen is going to be a big deal.
The Passport’s wide shape allows it to offer a larger, more square screen than your average smartphone. Technically, the screen is only 4.5 inches, which is smaller than most Android smartphones that venture into the 5-inch and higher territory. But since it’s square rather than rectangular, it still looks like you’re getting a lot of screen real estate.
The screen’s resolution of 1440 x 1440 is also fairly high for a screen of that size. CrackBerry’s early review said that the display “is of such an elegance, it even made the most diehard iPhone user smile.”
BlackBerry has improved its keyboard with the Passport.
BlackBerry is already known for its mobile keyboards, but the company has further refined that hardware aspect for its upcoming Passport. According to CrackBerry, the Passport’s keyboard is “bigger, broader, softer, and wider” than the keyboard on previous BlackBerry phones.
One of the key improvements is the Passport’s predictive keyboard, which is said to be touch sensitive in addition to providing legitimate keys. The keyboard feels like “the trackpad of a Macbook,” according to CrackBerry, which makes the typing experience feel more natural and intuitive.
The Passport’s keyboard only includes letters, so symbols, characters, and numbers appear on screen as you type. Based on Crackberry’s description, it sounds as if you can tap these characters to select them.
It’s large and square, but also ergonomically shaped.
The Passport is a big phone, but that doesn’t mean it feels awkward to use. CrackBerry writes that it should fit in your pants pocket without a problem, although it will probably occupy your entire pocket. Since the edges are slightly curved, it’s easy to pick the Passport up from a flat surface like a table, which can prove difficult with some smaller thin phones.
However, you do need to use it with two hands to really utilise its full benefits. CrackBerry wrote that it was difficult to reach different corners of the screen while using one hand.
Check out the video below from CrackBerry: