January 23rd, 2015

Hard Stare

The Blackberry Passport: the last real smartphone for grownups? [Rant. Sweary. May amuse.]

I had a brief play with one on my last trip through Stansted Airport back to Czechia. I disliked the feel of the keyboard, then I realised how very fast & accurate it had been on the few test lines that I had typed.

As the only sensible-sized smartphone on the market today with an actual hardware keyboard, I'm very tempted. I'm also kinda fed up with Android.

With a little luck, my Note 2 might still have some resale value, too.

Unfortunately, all the reviews I can find are dreck like this:

BlackBerry Passport review: Getting stuff done or getting in the way?</div>
By Dan Seifert  on September 24, 2014 10:00 am  Email @dcseifert

It contains a lot of the typical bollocks that normally makes me denigrate smartphone reviews.

Whinge whinge it's too big whinge no Instagram whinge no Snapchat whinge no $shitty_proprietary_bullshit_toy_chat_app whinge videos don't look nice whinge.

No archiving in Gmail is a slight snag, but unlike Dan, I understand folders and filters and they do 99% of my archiving for me, so I don't care that much.

Well I am not a hormonal teenager who wants to give or get cock-shots. I don't give a flying fuck about Snapchat, Instagram or any of that puerile drivel.

I don't watch videos on my phone, because it's a tool not a toy, but I type on it all the time. I detest virtual keyboards. I'm a middle-aged bloke with proper big man-sized hands; I can use a Galaxy Note 2 one-handed, no problem, and if one of these many little nappy-wearing pseudo-journos with the hands of a 12 year old girl can't grip it, that's a good thing because I can't use tiny crappy toys like normal iPhones. The 6+ is the first ever iPhone that is remotely big enough to be usable to me, and it's too thin and its battery too weedy. I want an inch-thick phone with circa 5 amp-hours in it, like I had 6 or 7y ago, please, not some svelte buttonless hairdressers' phone.

So, not very helpful review, directly, inasmuch as the man-child who wrote it clearly wants something I'd perceive as a teen's plaything. I am the kind of boring old pharte with a job to do that he tries & utterly fails to imagine being.

But they're all like that, the Passport reviews. They're by bloody children who regard Flappy Bird as a mission-critical app.

But, OTOH, while Mr Still-Spattered-With-Spit-From-School there can't swap images of his small, soft and as-yet hairless genitals with his other playmates on it, he does manage to tell me that it's big, boring, solid and wide. These are good things.

My Note 2 is if anything too small. It doesn't reach from ear to mouth, as a proper phone should, it has no physical buttons, and at 2y old its battery lasts about 4-6h.

(So does its 1y old replacement battery.) But it's too wide, because it's made for watching videos on, and it wastes space on a pointless stylus when really I want it 1cm thicker with a QWERTY keyboard and in an ideal world 2 SIM slots and 2 batteries.

Really, I want a big bricklike Nokia Communicator (or at a push an HTC Universal; mine had an inch-thick 4800 mAh battery, weighed 450g & was the last smartphone I owned with a good battery life)... but with a modern OS.

Sadly, though, all the phone companies are too busy wanking over leaked pictures of Apple products and making shitty compromised me-too toys to produce something for aging adults with dimming eyesight and big hands.

I was just wondering if the last bastion of vaguely sensible boring phones had made something worth buying.