- Professional, attractive design
- Touch-responsive keyboard
- Sharp, vibrant screen
- Capable camera
- Screen not optimised for many apps or media
- Missed opportunity
Blackberry Passport Silver Edition review: The stainless steel silver version of Blackberry’s Passport phone is about to hit the UK and here’s our full review of this shiny, square smartphone.
If you quite liked the sound of Blackberry’s infamous Passport phone, but were ultimately put off by the unwieldy shape of the thing, then this special Silver Edition model won’t do anything for you.
The Silver Edition is essentially the same handset but with a fresh new lick of paint, so to speak. Inside you’ll find identical specs and features, but the shell has been completely redesigned with a sleek stainless steel surfacing, while retaining that hand-filling square shape.
That metallic finish gives the Silver Edition a more premium appearance than the old Passport. Now it looks like a serious professional handset, albeit one that was accidentally driven over by a steamroller. And while you might expect the stainless steel frame to add some weight to this model, the Silver Edition is only a few grams heavier than the original Passport.
Meanwhile the new bevelled, rubbery back picks up grease like a mofo (don’t handle the Silver Edition while eating chicken wings is our advice). Thankfully it also helps the handset to stick to your palms, ensuring it won’t tumble free when you get hot and sweaty – although that doesn’t really matter, because this is one phone that you absolutely have to clutch with both mitts at all times.
Blackberry may have upgraded the look of the Passport, but it’s still an ergonomic nightmare. One-handed use is completely out; there’s absolutely no comfortable way to swipe, type or do much of anything without both hands on the device. And good luck fitting it into a standard trouser pocket without the thing jutting comedically from your crotch.
The Silver Edition’s keyboard is also unchanged over previous Passport models, which is both a good and bad thing. The keys are once again comfortable to work with (providing you use both hands) and we love how the board doubles as a touchpad, allowing you to swipe your way around websites and docs without obscuring the screen. Unfortunately the physical keys are limited to letters, while special characters and stuff like the Shift key are bumped up onto the screen. That’s an awkward setup and takes some serious getting used to compared with standard virtual keyboards.
You can prise off the top section of the Silver Edition to access the SIM and microSD memory card slots, with the cover snapping firmly back into place when you’re done. Down below you have stereo speakers flanking the micro USB slot, while the rear of the phone features a slightly jutting circular camera lens, which is nevertheless more attractive than the previous Passport’s boxy effort.
That camera is the same 13-megapixel snapper found on the first Blackberry Passport, while every other aspect of the Silver Edition remains unchanged also. You get the same attractive 4.5-inch screen, the same capable Snapdragon 801 processor, two full days of battery life and – blissfully – Amazon App Store access, giving you a much better range of utilities and games than BlackBerry World.
Check out our full Blackberry Passport review for our opinions on the phone’s features.
Given that the original Passport was a decent phone in everything but design, it’s a real shame that Blackberry didn’t decide to crush that bizarre square construction into a more manageable rectangular shape. While the Silver Edition will no doubt entice Blackberry lovers who were saving up for a Passport, it’s definitely not worth an upgrade for existing Passport owners and does nothing to sway anyone put off by the original phone’s awkward design.
The Blackberry Passport Silver Edition is coming to the UK this month. Here’s what we know about a UK price and release date so far.
|OS||BB OS 10.3|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 801|
|Storage||32GB + microSD|