BlackBerry Passport: Review by The Verge

Dan Seifert, The Verge:

The Passport’s awkward dimensions are to accommodate its square display. It’s a high-resolution, 4.5-inch, 1,440 x 1,440 pixel IPS LCD with a dense 453PPI. It looks great: viewing angles are tremendous, colors are accurate, and pixels are invisible to my eyes. BlackBerry designed this display for reading and you can see a lot of stuff on it.

It’s a very purpose-built screen for doing business-y things like reviewing spreadsheets and slide presentations. But that makes it not very good at many of the other things that we use our smartphones for today. It’s much easier to navigate a spreadsheet or browse a webpage with the Passport, but reading my Twitter feed requires a lot of scrolling, and videos have annoying black bars eating up half of the display above and below the content.

BlackBerry is targeting hardcore business folks with the Passport. The name Passport is superb, and gets an A+ in marketing (unlike the Moto 360, which I gave an F). The name Passport makes me think of business people who travel a lot. And as the review pointed out the Passport features the same height and width as a real passport. That is smart. Having a smartphone the same size as another important tool provides familiarity. I am certain someone will design a case that perfectly fits both a passport and the Passport. How convenient would that be for the target audience who will have both with them most of the time anyway.

The square display is unusual, but it is purpose driven: it lets the business person read, review spreadsheets and presentations. Companies do not want their workers to waste time, using up expensive data, on company-issued devices watching videos on YouTube. Black bars on 16:9 videos? These ladies and gentlemen probably do not care; they will be watching movies on the large displays in their business class cabins.

I do not think BlackBerry with its Passport smartphone is targeting regular iPhone and Android folks; the company is laser focused on business people who want to get stuff done. And for that purpose the Passport seems supremely capable. Now, if only BlackBerry would realize the world of business requires the ability to communicate — as in type — in multiple languages…