While the Passport has a slogan, “work wide” as a key thrust in its marketing, it won’t be a bad idea to add that you can also “play wide” on it too. BlackBerry has boasted some impressive multimedia features in the last few years. The Z30 had those awesome stereo speakers that had me hooked. So, you can imagine my excitement to read that the Passport has stereo speakers as well.
While the Z30’s stereo speakers are front-facing and located at the top and bottom of the device, things are different with the Passport. The speakers are located at the bottom edge – one on the left and the other on the right. If you understand the dynamics of stereo speakers, you can immediately tell that the two speakers being so close together would mean some sacrifice in the audio quality compared to the Z30.
I think that is exactly what happened. While one can still make out the distinct superior audio of the speakers compared to phones with mono speakers, the audio does not sound to me like it matches the Z30’s.
However, it is rich and deep, and still much better sounding than what competing flagships besides the HTC One M8 offer. The stereo speakers also make for richer audio while watching videos and movies. I must also mention that receiving a phone call on the Passport’s loudspeakers is quite an experience. Everyone I have demonstrated it to has been mind blown. It is almost like speaking with someone in the same room.
Music playback on the Passport is a lovely experience. You can go through your library by Artist name, Albums or genres. Playlists and favourites are there, and has the FM radio attached. The option to search for music is there. Music can be shuffled and put on repeat. Of course, album art is supported. You can skip full tracks too.
The music player offers an equalizer that allows you choose between a number of preset modes, including: Aeroplane, Bass boost, Treble Boost, Voice Boost, Bass Lower, Treble Lower, Voice Lower, Acoustic, Dance, Electronic, Hip Hop, Jazz, Lounge, Piano, R&B, Rock and Spoken Word.
Audio production can be toggled through the loudspeakers, the handset, or a headset, depending on your need per time.
When you have a large, wide display like the Passport has, video playback takes on a different take. Videos start playing in regular widescreen mode with black bands at the top and below, but you can tap a button in the top right corner of the screen to have the video fit in two other modes, and one is a full-screen mode that lets you enjoy the richness of the square display.
The video player offers an equalizer similar to what obtains in the music player, but has only the following options: Aeroplane, Bass boost, Treble Boost, Voice Boost, Bass Lower, treble Lower, and Voice Lower.
Playback is very smooth. I have thrown videos of all sizes and formats at the Passport and it never once broke a sweat playing them back. Videos can be edited via the built-in editor. Options to crop, enhance, and filter a video are available, among other options. Videos can be shared too.
The BlackBerry passport may be a great work tool, but it is also equally a great recreational tool. There’s nothing to dislike about its multimedia capabilities.