BlackBerry Passport Review: Form Factor

Passport beside a passport

The form factor of the BlackBerry Passport sets it apart from every other smartphone in the market. That square display and wide body is unique, and expectedly has generated a lot of flak from different corners. In this review, I focus on the form factor and everything it impacts in day-to-day use.

If you have ever carried a real international passport, you already have an idea of how the Passport feels in the hand. It is the exact same size. The Passport fits into my shirt and trouser pockets and isn’t uncomfortable to carry in the hand. This all came to me as a pleasant surprise, as I was expecting to have to adjust to the size.

BlackBerrry passport in hand

In reality, I find the Passport more convenient to carry than every other phablet that I have used (PS: a phablet is a large smartphone). Part of what makes those other phablets uncomfortable in the hand is the height. One has to reach up to touch the top of the display. Plus, that height means that the phablet pulls down in the hand. The Passport, however, is shorter and wider, distributing both finger reach and weight. Almost every corner is reachable with the thumb (at least my thumb; note also that I have fairly big hands). The result is nice in the hand for me. Nicer than the experience with standard phablets.

Yes; you will sometimes require two hands for some operations, especially typing, just like with all other phablets. But any negative sentiments about the Passport’s form factor being worse than regular phablet form are unfounded. I very much prefer this shape and hope that other brands will explore it for some of their smartphones.

The wide screen means that more information is available for viewing on it or for interacting. It is especially superb for reading and typing. Web pages, documents, tables and more all look much better on the wide display. Same goes for viewing pictures and video.

My verdict is that the passport’s form factor works extremely well. The keyword is extremely. The Passport’s form factor isn’t weird; rather, it is optimal. It feels balanced in the hand. If you have small hands, of course, you are likely to be a little uncomfortable with it, as you are with other phablets. If you have never held one in your hands, I strongly recommend that you go give it a spin. You might just end up as pleasantly surprised as I have.

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One comment

  1. The BlackBerry Passport will most likely have the shape of the almost 3 years old original LG Optimus Vu in physical size. I played with the device and liked it then but what I couldn’t possibly say is that it is more comfortable to hold in one-handed operation than other phablets.

    The BlackBerry Passport having a hardware QWERTY keyboard will certainly be more difficult to operate with one hand and when you add its wider width, is problem doubles and so any such claims of being more comfortable to hold in one hand is simply not reflecting reality at all. It just isn’t possible. Again, the claim that the the height of other phablets is one of the reason while one-handed operation is difficult is truly but I would think that the more difficult or important thing to consider is the width of the device. when your hands cannot wrap around a device, it makes holding and operating it one-handed more difficult and that ought to be the case with BlackBerry Passport.

    Talk of being more comfortable to use with two hands which hardware QWERTY keyboards are designed for, I will agree with you but one-handed? You are probably being swept away by the excitement of a new hardware in your preferred form factor.

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