BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition gets stainless steel, keeps it square
Blackberry debuted its square-screened Passport last fall, and now it has a new model to entice you. The company revealed the Silver Edition of the phone today, a variant that wields a “refined design” that includes a stainless steel frame and soft-touch diamond-pattern back cover. We have to give it to BlackBerry, this silver version certainly does look more sophisticated, but during our review, we found the phone’s size to be a bit awkward and the keyboard took some getting used to.
The new model carries the same specs as the original with a 4.5-inch square screen with 1,440 x 1,440 resolution at 453 DPI. Inside, a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 CPU and Ardeno 330 GPU do the heavy lifting alongside 3GB RAM and 32GB of built-in storage (expandable to 128GB via SD card). There’s also a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and 2-megapixel front-facing camera for selfies and video chats. And, of course, BlackBerry 10 runs the show. If you’re looking to take the leap, the Silver Edition is available in North America today for $549 with Europe and other countries to follow shortly. If you opt in soon, BlackBerry will toss in a $130 accessory package at no extra charge.
Reasons To Buy BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition
Large High-Resolution Square Screen – A 4.5″ square screen, 1440×1440 pixel (453 dpi) HD display and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for added strength.
Innovative BlackBerry Keyboard – Scroll web pages, flick to type or slide along the keys to move the cursor, leaving the full screen space for viewing.
BlackBerry 10 OS 10.3.2
Quad Core processor & 3GB RAM – Handle tasks with ease.
13 megapixel rear camera – Capture stunning photos and HD video footage.
Best-in-Class Battery Life – 3450 mAh battery provides up to 30 hours of mixed use.
Compared to the original BlackBerry Passport, the Silver Edition has been re-designed to offer a more premium and more durable design. The stainless steel frame houses the internal components and offers rigidity to the phone. A diamond patterned soft touch back improves grip when holding the phone in hand.
Bevelled edges curve to the palm of your hand whilst detailed touches like a stainless steel frame protect the camera and flash.
Display & Keyboard
The large 4.5” LCD display has a resolution of 1440 x 1440 which results in an impressive 453 pixel per inch density. All forms of content appear rich, crisp and clear on this display. The square design is unique and allows for more content (up to 30% compared to average smartphones) to be displayed, allowing you to see and do more.
Whilst the screen is touch enabled, the innovative 3 row QWERTY keyboard allows you to scroll using swipe gestures on the keyboard. The keyboard itself has seen some slight design revisions to make it a little better to use and more tactile in its feedback.
The physical keyboard also allows for shortcuts such as T to go to the top of a document or web page, B to go to the bottom and typing to bring up BlackBerry Assistant to search for emails, web pages, calendar appointments, contacts and more.
Whether for business or pleasure the quad-core processor and 3GB of RAM effortlessly handle the tasks you require of the phone.
A criticism of BlackBerry OS phones in the past has been the lack of apps and consumer focused design, however the BlackBerry 10.3.2 OS found on the Silver Edition Passport, remedies this. BlackBerry World and Amazon App Store offers access to thousands of applications that cover the needs of most users.
The rear 13 megapixel camera also records 1080p HD footage and captures photos you will be proud of whether you share them by email or on social media.
BlackBerry Hub is the only place to go for your messages. See emails, text messages, BBM all in one place. Easily view, organise, flag and prioritise the content that is important to you. No need to go to different apps to get your messages, the Hub is the one stop shop.
Precision drilled holes allows sound to flow out of the bottom of the device from the powerful stereo speakers that have an acoustic engine built in to offer a premium sound from a smartphone. Ideal, when listening to videos, podcasts, or taking a call on loudspeaker.
BlackBerry’s Natural Sound technology brings clarity to your calls, the Passport is a phone after all! Even in noisy environments, thanks to its proprietary acoustic engine, the phone adjusts audio in real time, making use of the 4 built in microphones.
The Passport has a unique feature called Active Leak Compensation which adapts the volume of the far-end speaker based on how close or far from the ear the Passport device is held.
How does it work?
There is a microphone in the earpiece of the device that actually measures the sound pressure in the users’ ear and adapts the volume accordingly for consistent sound quality. This is helpful in situations where the device isn’t held properly to the ear, such as when you are holding the device to your ear with your shoulder.
It is great to have some help in organising your life, as we are now all extremely busy. The BlackBerry Assistant is your very own personal assistant. It provides accurate voice interaction making it easy to set reminders and to search the web for answers to any questions you have, becoming more accurate as it adapts to your voice over time.
There are a whole host of tasks which you can perform with BlackBerry Assistant. These include sending and receiving emails, making phone calls, adjusting settings and setting reminders. In addition the device can check for local weather forecasts, search your music library and obtain directions, to name a few.
You can access this facility by using your voice. However, if you prefer, there is a convenient button, located on the side, to activate it.
For those who really cannot live without their phone, BlackBerry Blend takes the capabilities of this handset to a new level. Via a cable, or even wireless connection, over the mobile network you can access the content on the Passport but work from a PC.
For example, if you leave your Passport at the office overnight, but want to access important information on it when at home. The Passport has a WiFi or 4G connection and has previously been paired with your home PC, Mac, Android or iOS tablet. Simply access the Blend application and, just like that, you have access to key content on your device, despite being miles away from it.
Find out more about BlackBerry Blend here.
Battery Life & Security
All of this mobile computing power is served by a built in battery which is of 3450mAh in capacity and offers up to 30 hours of mixed usage.
Using power consumption optimisation built into BlackBerry 10, this life can be extended by another 90 minutes if required.
Whilst every precaution is taken to ensure your phone does not get into the wrong hands, or malicious content installed, BlackBerrys are well known for their security.
Designed with the highest standard of security in mind, devices can be configured to be encrypted whilst offering malware protection and anti-theft protection with features like back-p, wipe and restore.
The Silver Edition Passport is a refinement on a truly powerful mobile productivity tool. It may well be a larger smartphone but what is lacks in pocketable charm it makes up for in capability.