BlackBerry Passport: making good on Palm’s productivity promise

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I first started using PDAs back in the 90s. Starting with a Palm III, I continued with PalmOS up to the Tungsten C. From there, I moved to my first smartphone, a BlackBerry 8300, happily replaced by an iPhone, and then back to Palm with WebOS. From that point, I switched between Palm and BlackBerry devices up to the Palm Pre 3 and the BlackBerry 9810.

The thing is, to be totally honest, right up to my new BlackBerry Passport, in many ways I’ve always felt that, as a purely functional device, in many ways everything since has been playing catch up to my PalmOS devices. In particular, the Tungsten C was a very functional beast that had unsurpassed PDA functionality and, as one of the first WiFi enabled devices, offered a glimpse of what would be possible with a properly connected device with respect to browsing, mail, etc.

Now, finally, with the Passport I feel that technology has finally caught up to the promise that Palm made a decade ago. I’ve had my new BlackBerry Passport for a month now and I couldn’t be happier with it. I’m still amazed at how much I like it. The keyboard is fantastic, the screen is huge, everything runs like a champ, and the battery is just amazing. It is by far the fastest, most fluid experience I’ve had with a mobile device. The combination of BlackBerry’s excellent auto-correct, the large physical keys, and the capacitive keyboard make typing on the Passport one of the fastest and most accurate typing experiences I’ve had on any computing device. The capacitive trackpad built into the keyboard is also excellent and accurate. (If only the same were true of contemporary laptop trackpads.)

BlackBerry’s built in apps are fast, fluid, capable, and intuitive. They provide me with the best PIM functionality I’ve ever had and are finally about as fast and efficient to use as the old PalmOS counterparts I’ve missed. The Passport is an excellent music device, is a great mobile browser, and the Hub is the best one-stop communication app I’ve used on any platform.

And then there’s the battery. I use the Passport a lot. In many ways. I’m always sure that I’ll get a full day out of it and it wouldn’t be a stretch to get two. The battery life on the Passport is easily the best I’ve used on a phone. It’s stellar. Here’s a concrete example: recently I used the Passport from 2am to 10pm to listen to podcasts, used Documents to be Go, listen to music for a few hours on headphones and over Bluetooth, used average browsing, calendar, etc., Kobo reading, and speakerphone calls. By 10pm I still had 61% battery remaining.

Really, I don’t think I’m overstating things when I say that it has transformed how I compute and communicate. It’s my go-to device for almost everything now, and I generally don’t bother carrying a laptop with me unless I know I’m going to be doing a lot of remote administration work. It is without a doubt the best portable device I’ve owned. (And to think I’d been planning to skip it and only got it because I got a free device when switching plans. Go figure. )

GoSaBe Blog - Mar 15, 2015 | BlackBerry, Hardware