Phones Considering the BlackBerry Passport

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by sartrekid, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. sartrekid macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    Location:
    Germany
    #1
    I'm in the market for a new phone anyway. I still use the iPhone 4S and Sony Xperia Ultra Z, sometimes my old Nokia Lumia. The iPhone 4S is still without issues whatsoever. Same with the Lumia. The Xperia - the phone I use the most - has become oversensitive to touch in the past week or so and sometimes acts a bit strange, tilting doesn't work smoothly anymore, when touching the sides of the phone it sometimes starts acting on its own which is annoying.

    Anyhow, I wanted to get a Samsung Edge Plus or a Note 5 by the end of the year. I was also thinking of getting an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, but hadn't made up my mind yet as to which one it'd be. I always buy off contract and since I need a new computer as well, I cannot afford to buy more than one phone this year.

    I've been browsing YouTube day in day out, checked pretty much every single one of the more current phones that exist, from popular brands to underdogs. And, low and behold, the phone that currently has the most appeal out of them all is the, gasp, BlackBerry Passport!

    It's this video that won me over:



    There's also a new silver edition which looks quite nice, in my opinion:



    I know that many people consider the Passport to be the ugliest phone to have ever been created. But I find it strangely appealing. I like the look of it, I really like the keyboard, I just like everything I've seen of this phone.

    It's not that I find it entrancing because it's different as I don't define myself over gadgets. But I would love to try something new just because I like to tinker and experiment with new stuff.

    There is all but one slight concern or caveat; And that's the availability of apps. Coming from iOS and Android, I'm used to having access to an abundance of at least a dozen applications for one and the same task. The Amazon app store is available as a secondary option and it seems that over 90% of the apps available in the Google Play Store can be made available, too, though I've read that some apps don't play well with the BlackBerry 10 OS.

    I know that rumours have it that an Android version is to be released sometime in the not-too-distant future. But I'd love to try the BlackBerry OS itself.

    Anyhow, I'm not 100% sold on the device just yet, but it's definitely in my top 3 of phones to get (along with the iPhone 6S and the Samsung Note 5/Samsung Note Edge Plus).

    Do any of you use (or have used) the BlackBerry Passport as your daily driver? What are the cons/pros you've encountered? Is anyone considering getting one?
     
  2. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #2
    I have the Z10. BB10 is really nice.

    I'm not really interested in a physical keyboard, but sometimes I look at the price of the Passport. If it becomes low enough maybe I'll try it some day.
     
  3. AleXXXa, Aug 12, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2015

    AleXXXa macrumors 6502

    AleXXXa

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2015
    #3
    Get it! It's my favourite phone ever!
    It takes a few days to get used to the keyboard, but you'll love it!
    Great battery, big screen, great build quality (iphone 6 feels like a cheap toy compared to the mighty Passport), snappy OS, best implementation of multitasking, proper hardware (3GB RAM, quadcore Snapdragon 801), Blackberry Hub.
    It'a a true pocket computer. When i switched from iPhone, my jaw dropped when i realized i can i download files regardless of extension, archive them and mail the .zip file. :)

    You are correct regarding the android apps, a few don't work properly (those that rely on google services), but 95% of the apps i tried work perfectly.

    Cons:
    -it's wide, it will not fit comfortably in a pair of tight pants. It's perfect in a coat pocket.
    -non replaceable battery. Don't really care about this as the phone has great battery life, even on a long day i arrive home with 20% left (S6 edge and iPhone 6 are dead by 4pm)

    Head over to the crackberry forum. The guys there will asnwer all your questions. :)

    P.S. I have the red version.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

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    Aug 23, 2005
    Location:
    Ireland
    #4
    The new 'silver edition' is very nice ....

    Must say I would be tempted ... But not €600 tempted. I'd be more tempted if it fully supported Google services.

     
  5. sartrekid thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    Location:
    Germany
    #5
    Thank you! That's some great information!

    Are there things that you feel work better on Android or iOS than on the BlackBerry other than Google Services? Or asked in a different way; You seem to have used iOS and Android, so are there features on either of these OSes that you wished were available or better implemented on BlackBerry 10?

    Thanks! I'll definitely be checking out the crackberry forum!
     
  6. FFR macrumors 6502a

    FFR

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2007
    Location:
    London
    #6
    Bb10 is EOL.

    Blackberry are switching to android, it would be foolish to purchase one now.
    As well, Judging from past two years, expect fire sales on bb10 devices from blackberry very soon.
     
  7. JaySoul macrumors 68020

    JaySoul

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    #7
    I'd be interested in a square Android phone without the physical keyboard, can see that happening at some point. That would be a true phablet.
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Boston
    #8
    How does the square phone sit in the pocket? Seems like an odd shape tbh, and I only think BB did this, is to trying something different, i.e., lets roll out some different designs and lets see what sticks.

    Overall I do wonder how long BB will survive in its current incarnation, though when you buy a phone, its really a 2 maybe 3 year relationship, so you can easily move on to another platform if its not to your liking
     
  9. FFR macrumors 6502a

    FFR

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2007
    Location:
    London
    #9
    Awkwardly.
    Interestingly enough blackberry redesigned the passport twice since launching it.

    It's a poorly conceived and poorly designed phone.
     
  10. sartrekid thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    Location:
    Germany
    #10
    The BlackBerry Passport is the exact size of a passport. It's also the same width as a Sony Xperia Z Ultra, though much shorter. Being the owner of a Z Ultra, I don't ever wear it in my pocket. It doesn't fit in normal wear, neither in height nor in width.

    The current price I could get the Passport for here is around €450-470. I checked the resale value and it's quite decent. I don't know whether I'd keep it for a time spanning more than 3 years. I've never used the BlackBerry OS, so I don't even know whether I'd like it or not.

    I'll be going to a shop later today and see how I like it.
     
  11. jeepik macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    #11
    I played around with the silver edition..it felt solid...either i am too used to both Android and IOS..but i didn't like BB10.3.2 software..way too many steps to do simple things...the square screen is perfect for business productivity..but is horrific for media consumption
     
  12. vladi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    #12
    If you crave Google you can setup Google Play Store with a matter of 5 minutes and browse, purchase apps just like on any Android phone. The thing is when you run any Android apps you will just get an inferior user experience compared to BB10 native apps or iOS native apps, heck even Windows Phone apps. Passport is a perfect phone to see how poor Android app behavior really is and first thing you gonna notice is how they slip under your finger when you scroll or drag elements and it just feels flimsy overall. iOS, BB10 and WP apps feel so much more solid like there is some weight to them.
     
  13. sartrekid thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 30, 2014
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    Germany
    #13
    Well, I went to the store today and - even though they had the BlackBerry Passport listed on their website as being in stock - they didn't have it, thus I didn't get to try it. Bummer.

    As I wanted a new smartphone, I went ahead and bought the dark green (is it Emerald?) version of the Samsung S6 Edge. Boy, this thing is beautiful!

    I might look for the BlackBerry somewhere else at a later time. I'm still kind of intrigued by the Passport. All the other BlackBerry phones are somewhat ugly to me but the Passport is nice, in a totally weird/nerdy kind of way.

    Anyhow, for now, I'm happy with my choice!
     
  14. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Location:
    Ireland
    #14
    Yeah the Emerald is the most lovely colour of the S6E. Why it was never launched in Ireland? The Emerald Isle . I'll never know.
     
  15. sartrekid thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #15
    Oh, I didn't know it wasn't distributed world wide. The colour is absolutely stunning. Do you know those old vintage dark green Jaguar cars? It's exactly that colour. I also got the fitting case in the same shade. I'm totally in awe. :D
     
  16. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

    Joined:
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    Ireland
    #16
    That's it rub salt into the wounds ;). I've had a black sapphire edge and have a gold one now, but yeah the green that I always wanted since colours were first unveiled has still not hit Ireland. :(
     
  17. sartrekid thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    That's strange. You're practically next door... hmm...

    By the by, did I tell you how breathtakingly beautiful it is? I first wanted the gold version and then I saw the green emerald lying right next to it.... It's soooooooooooo beeeeautifuuuuuuul! I can't take my eyes off it!

    :p
     
  18. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Location:
    Ireland
    #18
    Lol.. I was tempted to order one of those glass curved screen protectors that include a coloured frame so I could at least emulate it :D gold & green would compliment, however those protectors have Samsung logo area cutout so the gold would show through and wouldn't look very clean.

    How is it as a finger print magnet ? I was surprised to discover my Gold edge is actually more of a fingerprint magnet than the Black one I had prior. I had assumed it would show less being a lighter colour but no.
     
  19. sartrekid thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Germany
    #19
    Yes, gold and green is a great combination. I'd like to get a few different cases. The one I have now is the standard one where you can see through the screen when the lid is closed.

    I've yet to fully test it out, so not sure how well it fares in terms of smudges and the like. When I scrutinized the test devices at the store, I noticed that the gold version was covered to the brim with smudges on the back. It really looked messy. But I like the colour best (after the emerald, of course). All other versions had far less fingerprints on it (not sure about the blue/turquoise one as it's so ugly that I didn't even want to inspect it).
     
  20. s0nicpr0s macrumors regular

    s0nicpr0s

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    Location:
    Illinois
    #20
    You hit the nail on the head about their poor performance. They aren't running natively. The android runtime does run in BB10, however, it is just a layer in a multilayered system. Just like running a VM of Windows won't provide the same experience as using Boot Camp. With so much overhead of running the original OS you're adding in a delay before the client OS can use the resources. I feel it's almost akin to running BlueStacks and hoping to match the responsiveness of a Nexus or even Samsung device. It will work, but not fluidly.

    I haven't actually used BB10, and had forgotten that it even had Android application support to begin with, but the fact that it can do so is a pretty nice benefit. Blackberry doesn't sell the Passport, or any of their current devices as Android devices, they instead offer the ability to run your android apps on top BB10.
     
  21. sartrekid thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Germany
    #21
    There's one missing feature that made my decision to not sift through every store in my city in search of the BlackBerry Passport a little easier; and it was because of the less than desirable functionality of the YouTube app. I use my phones for leisure intensively and YouTube is an integral part of that. I know it's still usable, but perhaps the square screen isn't optimal for watching video.

    The BlackBerry device and OS is still something I want to try out though. Maybe next year, unless they really make a full transition into Android. Then it won't be quite as appealing to me.
     
  22. s0nicpr0s macrumors regular

    s0nicpr0s

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    Illinois
    #22
    I think the Google services are what are keeping me tied into the Android world a little more than I'd like. I've been going back and forth about trying out a Lumia 640 (at least until a new Nexus 5 comes out) but I'm a little concerned about Youtube and maybe accessing all of the email accounts I'm currently using.

    Also saddened that my Moto 360 would do nothing but sit on it's charger until I get another Android. Not enough money currently to get a 640 and a Microsoft Band.
     
  23. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #23
    It is not a lot of additional overhead. In the same way that you're using a "Java" VM on Android, you're using it on BB10.

    What BB10 does is trap Android system calls and redirect them to BB10 system calls.

    BB10 native apps are written in C++.

    How do you like Java apps on OSX?
     
  24. s0nicpr0s macrumors regular

    s0nicpr0s

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    Illinois
    #24
    Thank you for correcting me, I haven't looked too much into BB and their OSes since the BB Pearl had come out quite a few years back. So what they're currently doing is running a Java VM and then trying to capture any Android calls and resubmit them as BB10?

    I don't have much experience with Java applications on OS X outside of what I write myself and the UPS print applet (which I believe is Javascript anyways).
     
  25. KALLT, Aug 24, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2015

    KALLT macrumors 601

    Joined:
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    #25
    Regardless of the technical explanation, I can confirm that there is a slight performance penalty with Android apps on BlackBerry 10 (I had a Z10, updated to 10.3.1). Before an Android app launches, the system first starts the Android Runtime and it just takes a bit longer depending on the hardware (the Passport is powerful though so it is barely noticeable).

    The interesting thing about the Runtime is that it has some really odd side effects. For instance, all your Android applications are living within that separate layer, it is as if you are running Android on top of BlackBerry 10. It is not all that seamless. So when one Android app crashes, you will receive a pop-up notification while you’re within another Android app, but not when you’re within a native app. Also, when you install a launcher you can see all the Android apps that you installed. There are some other quirks, for instance, all Android applications get blanket permissions to everything they request, including contacts, files, calendar appointments, messages, and so on. That’s how Android still rolls, although I heard that some people have had some success with revoking permissions using the ‘app ops’ of Android 4.3 which the Runtime currently supports (I never fully trusted it though).

    I think the most disappointing thing about Android apps on BlackBerry 10 is that their integration with system services, in particular the Hub, is less than satisfactory. They get access to some of your data and can change it accordingly, but it’s a suboptimal experience. They can send push notifications, but only as long as they are open and when they do they can only send generic notifications that are collated together with all other notifications and are difficult to distinguish. Moreover, lots and lots of apps require Google Play Services which either prevents you from running these apps entirely or you wil receive a notification whenever you launch or switch to such an app. Amazon has an app store, but it is nowhere near the 90% you mentioned. I actively avoided the Google Play Store and I just couldn’t. Not only that, but the Passport seems to be excluded fairly often from eligible devices (thus no download possible) and in general I was under the impression that Android apps were poorly supported on Amazon (some big-name apps were abandoned years ago).

    In a nutshell, Android is nice to have, but if you’re relying on it or hoping that it can satisfy all your app needs, you will not be happy with it. If you like playing around with your device and installing lots of apps, a BlackBerry just isn’t the device to get.

    That is easily answered: YouTube requires Google Play Services and thus cannot be installed on BlackBerry 10. You will need to use the browser.

    The Passport may have a convenient size on paper, but with its thickness and weight it is one clunky phone and it is terribly unergonomic when you try to hold it with one hand, such as during a phone call. Due to the short ‘chin’ on which the keyboard sits, you will have to hold it in a particular way while typing. This is the kind of phone you really should hold in your hands for a bit before you commit to it.
     

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