I want to start by saying, the Blackberry Passport itself was not a bad smart phone. It did its job, it didn’t crash, the battery lasted up to three days per charge for me. What it didn’t do was make my life easier.

I’m a happy iPhone 6S+ user. I’ve been on an iPhone since the 3GS in Canada, and have also tried every flagship phone – Android, Windows, and Blackberry – that ever comes off a production line and makes it into the ITWC offices. End of the day, I prefer the iPhone for many reasons, but that is a whole other blog.

The only reason I tried the Passport was because Brian Jackson borrowed my iPhone 6S+ for an upcoming article comparing current smartphones. I always thought I’d love a BlackBerry, turns out even if I want to embrace it, it’s not for me.


Apps exist, believe it or not, in the BlackBerry World app store, but what I learned I took for granted with iOS (and Android), most of the free apps that I love. When I looked for similar apps on BlackBerry World, I discovered they wanted a whole dollar out of me, and I just wasn’t willing to part way with my money, knowing I’d only be using it for a week.

But that was only when the apps were available, many were not.

Mailbox (mailboxapp)
This is how I handle email on my phone, tablet and laptop. I love this app, it lets me swipe away stuff (with a swipe on my trackpad or touch screens). It lets me keep an almost-zero inbox, and more importantly treat my email as tasks, not the drivel that email usually is.  That said, Dropbox has nixed this app and it will be shut off in 70+ days, so I’ll have to learn to do without it on iOS as well.

Sunrise Calendar (sunrise.am)
This is my be all end all calendar. It lets me bring in all the calendars that matter to me – my personal, kids, wife, work, and my side gig. And, it works on all platforms, and just plain works. Its killer feature is that I can select a bunch of availability, and it generates a link I can send people to select a best time to meet and puts it into our calendars. The amount of email back and forth I save is amazing.

I found the native BlackBerry calendar was able to pull in my calendars, but that it showed me every calendar that has ever been shared with me as well was information overload.

Wunderlist (wunderlist.com)

It is awesome. There’s a few others that are good, its the one I like… and on all devices. I finally found it in the Amazon App store, but had to live without for a few days. But this goes to a complaint I’ve had with Blackberry in general, Apps! The Amazon workaround works I guess, and the new Priv with it being native Android should negate these complaints – but for all Passport users out there, it would be nice having apps native in BB10.

Tech tools..

  • Pingdom – it lets me know when things are down, but there wasn’t an app for the Passport.
  • Remote Desktop – I didn’t want to use it on the square screen, it wasn’t productive in that sense.
  • 1 Password – that’s where I store my passwords, I didn’t have my passwords – not cool.

General functionality

Phone calls everywhere – I have been very used to having my iPad and laptop ring when my phone rings, or making calls from my laptop.

Text messages everywhere – again, got very used to doing my texting from my laptop instead of on the phone. Blackberry Blend is supposed to do this, but I didn’t stumble upon Blend until my last day with the Passport.

Keyboard – I used to swear up and down that I missed a physical keyboard. Having one on the Passport, I realized, I’ve gotten really good at swiping instead of typing (with Swiftkey). With swiping and predictive words, the need for the physical keyboard has disappeared for me.

Fun apps

Instagram – I like instagram, I like taking photos, sharing them and getting ideas from other people’s photos. I couldn’t do that on the Passport.

Photos – I’ve had access to every photo I’ve ever taken since the iOS 9 beta early in the year, and I’m used to it. With Google Photos as a backup. Not knowing with certainty that the photos I took were getting backed up somewhere was a bit unnerving. Anyone who knows me knows my criteria number 1 for a smartphone is the camera and photo processing. I judge not by the number of megapixels, but how quickly a clear photo is taken as a kid runs by.

Music, Videos and Podcasts – to not have my entire music library at my fingertips was insane! I’ve also been on Apple Music since its beta and have grown accustomed to it. Spotify is great, but I listen to a lot of Tamil and Hindi music, which Apple is full of, Spotify – not so much. I found a podcast app, but I’ve been accustomed to my podcasts being in sync (thank you Downcast) across all my devices and just picking up where I left off anywhere.

My assistant  “Hello Siri” has been a saviour to me in the car. She reads me the last email I got, takes my reply and sends it off. Same for text messages, phone calls and she’ll play the song or playlist I want with a simple voice command.

The lack of functionality made me use the smartphone less. I started paying attention at meetings, and wasn’t tempted to ignore my family and friends in social gatherings. Instead of viewing websites and watching videos at night, I actually read a book.

But these habits only lasted until the sixth day of my week on the BlackBerry Passport. That’s when I opened up a drawer and grabbed an iPhone 5. It might have a broken power button, volume buttons, and a slightly cracked screen but at least I can go back to being productive on my smartphone.

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  • GP

    So the fact that you didn’t stumble onto the blend feature, which is far superior than anything else out there tells me that you did not even research the phone or OS at all. You brush by the three day battery life, when was the last time you got a day out of your iPhone. This is just another review/story by someone who has no interest in being objective on Blackberry. Don’t review items if you cannot be objective.

  • Chris Lutka

    There is always a learning curve with any device, especially one that runs a completely different OS. One week of using that device, especially when you know your iPhone is coming back, doesn’t make the evaluation impartial and really does taint the review. I understand that this is an opinion piece but it sounds more like an advertisement for the iPhone and third party apps than a review of the Passport.

  • putock

    So basically he found himself too lazy to learn what the Passport was capable of doing so he gave up and yet still decided to write a review about it. Who pays this guy?

    • charlie2010

      well said.

      the guy spent a week trying to make a blackberry act like an iphone.

      • Frenchman75

        Mat Pancha is a total joke! I ditched my iPhone 5 to buy a Passport 6 months ago and never looked back! BB10 beats iOS hands down!

      • Josua Mudreilagi


    • BlackBerry all the way

      Isn’t that the point of iPhone. To please the simple minded mass of people. Lol

  • Ski Baron

    Not clear why you only look in the Blackberry world for apps when Amazon app store is right on there too. It has all those apps you want, for the most part. Instagram BB clients is available for free from BB world and many other clients available from Amazon store. There is no reason apps have to be native, I have seen almost no issues running any android app on BB. Blackberry has better standard email functionality than any phone. Sure people get used to some app but with BB you can do email better than that. Plus BB devices have been able to read your email to you long before Siri was even born. You should say that your lack of knowledge of the functionality and no motivation to try is the main reason you couldn’t do any of the stuff you said you needed. In fact it does all the stuff you want, much of it built right in, like the Blackberry Password keeper.

    • Devin Finlay

      And the ability to install the Google Play Store too!!!

    • Ann-Louise Winter

      I have a BlackBerry Passport and a OnePlus One, previously owned an iPhone 4. The Passport runs circles around the others in terms of efficiency and being able to condense and get things done. I have BlackBerry World, Google Play (through Snap) and Amazon App store for apps. Never found an app I couldn’t get and use. My emails and text messages are read to me as I drive from my BlackBerry but not the OnePlus One. Hmmm surprise surprise. 😐 Too bad the author didn’t take the time to ask a BlackBerry user how to get what he needed. I can’t go back to the iPhone now – frankly I was bored silly.

  • George

    This guy is a fool. He might as well have written the review without trying the passport. That couldn’t be any more biased than this garbage he calls an article.

  • onstrike112

    So, you didn’t give enough of a crap to learn how to properly use a BlackBerry Passport and type up this clickbait that is worth nothing, and does nothing but continue the delusion that “there’s an app for that” is better than a phone that actually has a way of doing things that’s better, more secure, and smarter. I wonder, how much did Apple pay you to write this rubbish? Learn how to use the phone before you start bashing it. To say you “survived” the week, is a diluted way to say that you tried a phone that was better, but you couldn’t fathom how it was, so you had to bash it instead.

  • Atul Shah

    Belive me or not for me iPhone operations are most time consuming and tedious phone. Go east or west BlackBerry 10 is best

  • BlackBerry all the way

    Waste of time reading this.
    It goes to show how someone can tear into a product without even learning about it and all its capabilities.
    The free apps he moans about are available for BlackBerry.
    The easiest way to tell he doesn’t know anything about the BlackBerry is when he talks about the calender.
    But that goes to show how he has become a typical sheep in the iherd family. Simple is as simply does. That old dog will never be able to learn new tricks.

    He’s an embarrassment to the IT professionals.

  • Jimmy Kav

    I wish people would stop banging on about BlackBerry and apps. I have BB World, Amazon underground, Amazon app store and yes, the google play store on my Passport.
    It makes me laugh when people say the don’t work as well on BB10, when I have apps like amazon music store, GTA Vice City, I Zettle etc which are android apps that work flawlessly on my passport. You then refer to the reviews on the play store by android users who say the lag, freeze, don’t work properly etc – funny that!

  • Devin Finlay

    Wow. Brutal article. Maybe read on functionality first? I didn’t discover Blend until the last day? Thanks ‘Senior Director’

  • dr. G

    Who is this guy again?

  • Saucy10

    I somehow feel the entire article is talking about app gaps and nothing else. I am a Blackberry Passport user and I have had no issues running Android apps on my phone. The only issue is with Google play services( not the store) and that is not supported but I have managed to find options for such apps on BB10.

    I also feel things like Hub and the keyboard makes me way more productive on the Passport than on my 5s. Add to that the battery life and the sound clarity of the speakers. But that is purely my opinion. To each his own.

  • Jas1742 .

    Hey Matt, thanks for trying the Passport for a week; howeverone week is hardly enough time to delve into any phone, especially one that iswell outside your Apple expertise. You did a good job highlighted theshortcomings (APP Gap) however you failed to find BB Apps that fit the bill, i.e.you were looking for Instagram, BB offers Insta 10 you mention a Password saverApp, and BB has Password Keeper (not sure how you missed that since it is stockon any BB, etc. You didn’t touch on BB Blend which provides connectivity over multipleplatforms. You mention using your iPhone and PC (which I’m guessing is a MACBook Air) but can you connect your iPhone with a Surface Book? Apple does a fantasticjob creating one echo system however a poor job allowing in non-Apple products.You also glanced over one of the big strengths and that is that the phone gaveyou 3 days charge!!!! Wow, that is insane as my wife can’t go anywhere withouther iPhone (proprietary) charger. In full disclosure I just got my Passport SElast week and going from a Z10 virtual keyboard back to physical has been aslow transition, but I know I’ll overcome this after I develop muscle memory.One feature that no other phone other then BB10 allows is the ability to streamYouTube videos while being on other apps or turning off the screen. Being a sales guy I’ll spend hours in the car and streaming YouTube videos is the bestway to pass time yet you want to turn the screen off to save battery. BB10 is the only OS that can do this unless I am wrong, please share?

  • zero

    I try i phone for a week, and chuckeled it off. Its a kid phone.
    But for sure the camera is very good

    • BlackBerry all the way

      It’s camera’s aren’t even that good when you take LG into consideration. Lol

  • mike

    You can go to Instagram in BlackBerry Passport with the igrann apps… is the same thing and they working very well….. and if you just be able to make fonctionnal blend on the last day your a very poor and your credibility was not very well to make this test!

  • Bui Ku

    To me Passport is a tool and iphone is a toy. I own both and the Passport is my primary one. I just think this guy is trying to make people see how much he loves his toy.

  • Josua Mudreilagi

    He’s a toy user rather than a serious business user.

  • Don Hughes

    ZERO Blackberry support. Is it any wonder!