BlackBerry Passport – Impressions – Part 3 – Active Panels, Battery, Screen and more

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So I have now had the Blackberry Passport for just over 5 days. My first post predominately covered the hardware and my very first thoughts. My next challenge was to understand the BlackBerry OS and its way of tackling tasks and moving between screens.

So at the moment, I have worked out how to tidy up my app home screen as shown above and create folders. I have also installed EBay, Flickr, WordPress and a few other apps, including a podcast app. I have a separate home page for games.

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A highly recommend the above podcast 🙂

So what’s the software like? Full of swipes and gestures and peeking. It does take a while to adjust and after 24 hours I was just getting to grips with the functionality. In fairness, I’ve been very busy so not spend much time with it properly other than actually use it as a phone and communicator. With the display off you can swipe from the bottom up in an arc to the left or right to turn the screen back on. You can even set an option that turning the Passport on to its front switches the display off. Turning it back over and the displays comes back on. In applications, two finger swipe downwards pulls down the quick toggles. Screen shot at the bottom of the page. In any app, pull from the top edge downwards with one finger brings up the app settings. Swipe up from the bottom edge brings you back into the multitasking page. The running apps shown below are active panels. They change and display information depending on what type of app it is and how it is configured to work in this mode. I must admit it is becoming more natural to use. I have both the Passport and iPhone 6 Plus on the sofa and when a new notification arrives, it is the Passport that I prefer to pick up and use to respond.

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The toggles menu accessed in any app with two fingers swipe down from top of screen. In home screen only one finger is needed.

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After realising I had several app updates waiting in BlackBerry world, a new app appeared. Virtual Expert provides information about the Passport. This app also allows you to test all the different functionality of the phone, like an engineer mode.

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And here you can see some battery stats. These were the first lot of battery measurements take. The battery has improved after subsequent charges. For my usage, The Passport will last 24 hours or so, but I would recommend charging it overnight. I gather the next update to the firmware will include a battery saver mode. It does seem to drain more battery than I would have expected in standby mode. I would hope the next software update will help improve matters.

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The Passport also has peeking options. With half gestures movements you can have a sneak peek at the Hub, running apps and on the lock screen summaries of the types of notifications received.

However, what makes the BlackBerry a BlackBerry is the Hub, it’s keyboard, and overall functionality. The OS is rather enjoyable to use, even though it’s different to other systems. So let’s talk about the Hub today.

The BlackBerry Hub is a central area to manage all your conversations and prioritise the ones that are important to be seen first. The Hub amalgamates email, text, BBM, phone calls, all your social media accounts and more. So I had my google accounts, yahoo, BBM, Twitter and a few more all setup in the Hub. For privacy reasons I cannot show you any screen shots. You also get system alerts too. Even Flickr upload alerts appeared in the Hub. And the Hub is always a swipe away. So with all the messages and notifications and more you can reply directly from within the Hub. After a few days of using the Hub it really does become a smooth way of quickly seeing, replying and managing your communications. And as mentioned above, it is by far my preferred device for replying to all my different types of notifications from social media, texts, emails and more.

And one of the promoted features is the 4.5 inch screen. And you know what it really is handy for many uses and means never having to rotate the screen, even though rotation is supported!

So below are a few screen shots showing you what certain applications look like on a 4.5 inch screen.

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And with the Passport you can use the keyboard as a trackpad to scroll up and down web pages.

So what do you think so far ?

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