BlackBerry Passport review: Ticket to ride

Ticket to ride

GSMArena team, 15 October 2014.

Simple image gallery

The image gallery, dubbed Pictures, has a simple interface. You can sort by date or albums, and images will appear in a non-zoomable thumbnail interface. Using the slider on the right will pop up a small image preview in the center.

Multiple images can be selected for mass delete and mass share. There are also options to edit the image, start a slideshow or use DLNA to push images to a compatible TV.

Blackberry Passport Blackberry Passport Blackberry Passport
The Pictures app

Viewing individual images gives you the same options. You can move between images by swiping the current image past the edge, left or right.

The Edit option in the gallery app is pretty powerful. The Transform tab in the editor can rotate and flip the image and there's a free transform tool as well if you want to crop out a specific part of the image. Then there's Enhance with the standard image tweaking options available (brightness, contrast, sharpness, noise reduction and so on), as well as a selection of filters.

Blackberry Passport Blackberry Passport Blackberry Passport Blackberry Passport
Viewing and editing an image

Capable video player and video editing options

The video player has a very similar interface to that of the image gallery. It can sort by date, library, or favorites, and can display items either as a list or in a grid. You can search for a video, mass delete videos, share them or push them through DLNA to a compatible player.

Blackberry Passport Blackberry Passport Blackberry Passport
Browsing your videos

The video player handled all the popular file formats easily, with the usual exception of videos with AC3 audio. Certain XviD files refused to play, and there was even support for MOV files.

Blackberry Passport
Watching a video clip

Another thing that impressed us was the Edit option - it took a 1080p video and offered to trim its start and end points, rotate and crop the video, adjust its brightness, contrast color and sound too.

Blackberry Passport Blackberry Passport Blackberry Passport
Trimming, cropping and adjusting a video with the editor

This isn't the only video editor on board the BlackBerry Passport either. The Story Maker app lets you pick multiple movies and photos and puts together a video slideshow with a soundtrack of your choice. There are several different preset styles, which add an effect over the entire video (vintage, bleach pass, etc.).

Blackberry Passport Blackberry Passport Blackberry Passport Blackberry Passport
Story Maker creates video slideshows in a matter of minutes

You can go back and add/remove items, rearrange them and put them through the image or video editor if they need to be tweaked.

By default, Story Maker saves the resulting videos in 720p resolution but you can switch to 1080p if you like.

Standard music player

The BlackBerry Passport's music player UI is pretty similar to the image gallery and video player in how it handles files. The music library can sorted by Artist, Album or Genre and a dedicated tab displays all the playlists.

Blackberry Passport Blackberry Passport
Browsing the music collection

The Now playing interface is pretty simple with prominent album art in the middle, surrounded by playback controls (including shuffle and repeat buttons). If you tap on the album art (or drag it down) you get the current playlist so you can easily jump between songs (swiping left and right to skip tracks doesn't work).

Blackberry Passport Blackberry Passport Blackberry Passport
The Now playing interface

There are no playback controls on the lockscreen or the shade on top of the screen, so you'll have to use the volume keys instead. The volume up and down buttons change the volume for short presses or act as skip buttons when long-pressed. The middle button is play/pause.

The music player is DLNA-enabled, just like the gallery and video players. There is also equalizer support. But you'll have to use one of the available presets as there's no custom equalizer option available.

Very solid audio quality

The BlackBerry Passport may not be the first name that springs to mind when you are thinking portable music players, but given its premium placement we'd still expect excellent audio performance.

When hooked to an active external amplifier the Passport showed flawlessly clean output, posting great scores top to bottom. Volume levels weren't particularly impressive, but they weren't too low either, so great performance here.

Plugging in a pair of headphones only adds a dash of extra stereo crosstalk as we've come to expect, but the overall performance is still excellent. Once again though the volume levels are only average so we can't really give full marks. Still, an A- in Music isn't bad for a math geek, right?

And here go the results so you can see for yourselves.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
BlackBerry Passport+0.02, -0.08-91.591.00.0056 0.012-92.5
BlackBerry Passport (headphones attached)+0.06, -0.03-91.290.10.046 0.043-70.0
Samsung Galaxy Note 4+0.01, -0.04-96.693.40.0015 0.0086-94.2
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (headphones attached)+0.03, -0.02-96.893.50.011 0.035-55.2
Apple iPhone 6 Plus+0.04, -0.04-94.094.00.00130.0064-72.0
Apple iPhone 6 Plus (headphones attached)+0.10, -0.04-94.093.90.00160.087-64.1
HTC One Max+0.14, -0.14-93.893.80.0009 0.015-94.1
HTC One Max (headphones attached)+0.26, -0.02-93.693.60.026 0.080-80.4
LG G Pro 2+0.02, -0.23-93.894.20.0040 0.029-93.3
LG G Pro 2 (headphones attached)+0.07, -0.02-93.793.40.050 0.039-73.5

BlackBerry Passport frequency response
BlackBerry Passport frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.

Reader comments

  • RKN1

(Disclaimer: my hands are larger than average) Kind of agree. Love the keyboard/touchpad feature. Doesn't have the latest emojees, but I could not care less about that. Call fidelity / signal integrity 100% every time I really needed it.

  • Krishna Kamble

I wish that Blackberry make more Android phone with this form factor.

  • BB dude

WhatsApp still works, folks! read the CrackBerry site / info on how to install.