As you might have read I bought a BlackBerry Passport instead of an iPhone 6 (read my first impressions here).
I used the BlackBerry Passport for some days now, although with WLAN only because it takes some days to exchange my MicroSIM card to a NanoSIM. Nevertheless, I already found some features I started loving:
While typing the Passport suggests three words that it thinks you are going to write. If one word is what I have in mind, I simply wipe on the keyboard from the bottom to the top roughly where the suggested word is displayed. It’s a very small and fast gesture, and it works very, very well for me.
In fact, there are times where I can write half a sentence just by accepting Passport’s suggestions! For example a german sentence like “Können Sie mir bitte das Dokument senden?” would go like this:
- Type “Ko” – Passport suggests “Können” – I accept this with the wipe gesture.
- Now Passport already suggests “wir”, “Sie” and “ja” – I accept “Sie” with a gesture.
- Now Passport suggests “mir”, “sich” and “uns” – I accept “mir”
- Next suggestions are “ein”, “bitte”, “sagen” – I accept “bitte”
- Next suggestions are “jemand”, “eine”, “die” – I don’t accept but type “das Do” after which Passport suggests “Dokument”, “Dokumente” and “Dokumentation” – I accept “Dokument”
- Finally I type “se” for which Passport suggests “senden”, which I accept.
So I wrote “Können Sie mir bitte das Dokument senden” by actually typing 10 letters. Furthermore, Passport learns from the texts I write. For example it now knows the word “XPage”, so when I type “xp” the word “XPage” is suggested.
The very accurate and intelligent word suggestions combined with the simple gestures to accept them combines to a very good flow when writing. If you’re writing a lot of mails and other texts on your mobile device, check this feature on the Passport. It may be reason enough to buy it.
To get an impression have a look at this video and skip to time index 2:00:
Scrolling using the keyboard
I can scroll through websites, mails etc. just by moving my finger across the keyboard. I do not need to wipe on the screen itself, so I always have a clear view of the content displayed on the screen. It feels very natural.
Backberry Hub and Keyboard Shortcuts
All mails are displayed in the BlackBerry Hub, which works very well for me. Mails from different accounts are color coded, and I have the two actions “put in folder” and “remove” just beside every mail. So deleting a mail is done with just one touch. It’s the fastest way I can think of, on iPhone you need to wipe first and then touch. And yes, just after deleting there is an undo button displayed for some seconds.
Furthermore, there are some keyboard shortcuts I can use. For example to compose a new mail in my Gmail account, I simply press “c” and “r”. Much faster than doing multiple touches on the display!
Put upside down to save power, take it to activate the display
If you don’t want to be disturbed and save power, you just need to put the Passport upside down on the table. As an option you can enable that the display is activated automatically when you take the Passport from the table – I enabled that and it’s very cool. No click on the Home button anymore, just take the device and it’s on.
The red blinking LED
If there is a new mail or notification, a red LED blinks – just like it did since the first BlackBerry device. It’s a very discreet way of letting you know that it’s worth take the device and check it. No sound, no vibration, just a small blink. (If you like, you can enable sounds and vibration for notifications, for sure. You can set sounds and vibration patters per type of notification and per contact – but I don’t need all that, I simply love the red blink).
Being silent in meetings automatically
The Passport knows when I’m in a meeting and enables silent mode automatically during that time. I don’t need to think of “I have to disable my phone” before I go into a meeting, it just happens automatically. Since my clients have my undivided attention in meetings, it’s a perfect feature for me.
No need for rotating the device
Since the display is a square anyway, there is no need to rotate the device. Some may think of this as a disadvantage, I feel it’s more comfortable this way.
The keyboard is just great, great, great. It is worth the Passport alone. Really. I. love. it.
Beside that, there are a lot of small features that make the BlackBerry Passport a really productive machine. So far, I like it.