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BlackBerry Passport vs iPhone 6

Which of these super-smart smartphones should you buy?

Less than a week after the iPhone 6 hit shops with a significantly inflated form factor, the BlackBerry Passport has been launched with a similarly dramatic size increase.

Apple has long since deposed BlackBerry as the smartphone king, but how do these two flagship devices compare? We compare the vital statistics to try and reach an early verdict.

SEE ALSO: iOS 8 tips, tricks and secrets

BlackBerry Passport vs iPhone 6: Design

BlackBerry Passport: Steel frame, plastic body, 128 x 90.3 x 9.3mm, 194g
iPhone 6: Curved aluminium, gold or light/dark silver, 138.1 x 67 x 6.9mm, 129g

Both phones are significantly bigger than their predecessors, but while the iPhone 6 still at least looks and feels like a phone, we’re not sure quite what the BlackBerry Passport is.

It’s a huge, square slab of metal and plastic, unwieldy in hand and pocket alike. With a width of 90.3mm, it’s wider than the iPhone 6 Plus, let alone the iPhone 6, and at 194 grams it’s a massive 65 grams heavier than Apple’s flagship phone.

The Passport’s looks are functional and business-like, as per every BlackBerry ever, and you’d certainly back it in a drop test. But it simply doesn’t compare to the classy, slim, and desirable iPhone 6 with its all-metal (well, mostly) body and gently curved glass screen.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
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BlackBerry Passport vs iPhone 6: Screen

BlackBerry Passport: 4.5-inch 1440 x 1440 IPS LCD, 453ppi
iPhone 6: 4.7-inch 1334 x 750 IPS LCD, 326ppi

This is why the BlackBerry Passport is slightly square – because its 4.5-inch screen is perfectly square. This means that it’s great for filling in spreadsheets and… not a lot else, in all likelihood.

Any kind of media consumption is going to be compromised here, and web browsing looks like it will be an oddly constrained affair any way you turn it.

Which is odd, given that the Passport’s screen is extremely crisp at 453ppi, with excellent clarity and viewing angles thanks to IPS panel technology (which the iPhone 6 also uses). It’s certainly sharper than the iPhone 6’s screen, which is slightly larger (4.7-inches) and a whole lot less pixel dense (326ppi).

But for general usability, we know which we’d choose every day of the week, even at this early stage.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 6 Plus vs iPhone 6
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BlackBerry Passport vs iPhone 6: CPU and RAM

BlackBerry Passport: Snapdragon 801 2.2GHz quad-core CPU, 3GB RAM
iPhone 6: Apple A8 1.4GHz dual-core CPU, 64-bit, 1GB RAM

The BlackBerry Passport runs on a Snapdragon 801 CPU, which is plenty potent enough, but no longer cutting edge. With double the number of cores of the iPhone 6’s A8 chip, as well as an 800MHz clock speed advantage and three times the RAM, you’d think that the BlackBerry would take the performance going.

However, Apple’s custom chip has got serious chops. It’s built on an advanced 64-bit architecture, and a tiny 20nm manufacturing process makes it much more energy efficient than its rival.

Combined with a potent GPU, the iPhone 6 leads the way in the vast majority of performance-related areas, as recent benchmarks have confirmed.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs Note 3

BlackBerry Passport vs iPhone 6: Camera

BlackBerry Passport: 13-megapixel, OIS, LED flash
iPhone 6: 8-megapixel 1/3.06-inch (or equivalent) sensor, TrueTone flash

cameras have never been particularly accomplished, but the Passport’s
looks set to be the best yet. It’s a 13-megapixel example with optical
image stabilisation technology for steady shots and improved low-light performance. Those are two specs that appear to better the
iPhone 6.

Of course, iPhone cameras have been some of the best
around for several years now, and its seemingly meagre megapixel count
(8MP to be precise) hides a sophisticated image sensor and class-leading colour accuracy.

Phase detection autofocus technology also means that the iPhone 6 camera will focus in much faster than the BlackBerry.

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BlackBerry Passport vs iPhone 6: Storage

BlackBerry Passport: 32GB, microSD support
iPhone 6: 16/64/128GB, no microSD card support

The storage set-ups are very different here. Apple goes for three fixed storage options: 16, 64, and 128GB. The Passport has just the one 32GB option.

However, the Passport comes with a microSD slot for expansion purposes, making it the more flexible beast – though even maxed out with a 64GB card it’ll still fall short of the 128GB iPhone.

BlackBerry Passport vs iPhone 6: Extra Hardware

BlackBerry Passport: QWERTY keyboard with capacitive touch, NFC
iPhone 6: TouchID, NFC

Both phones have NFC for mobile payment purposes, although the Apple Pay service is US-only at present.

As for unique hardware features, the BlackBerry Passport features a physical QWERTY keyboard – something of an anachronism these days. Still, a sizeable minority of power users can’t live without one.

While this three-row example looks to be a bit awkward, it does feature the ability to scroll thanks to a capacitive touch facility across the keyboard’s surface.

As for the iPhone 6, it sees the return of the TouchID system from the iPhone 5S, enabling fingerprint authentication for access and mobile payments.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Alpha
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BlackBerry Passport vs iPhone 6: Software

BlackBerry Passport: BlackBerry 10.3 OS
iPhone 6: iOS 8

It’s been a bit of a white-wash up to now, in truth, and perhaps the biggest discrepancy of all comes with the software. You have arguably the strongest and zippiest mobile OS of them all (although stock Android would have something to say about that) against arguably the worst.

We’ll have to wait and see how BlackBerry 10.3 OS fares on the Passport, but that fact that it’s not a completely new OS means that it’s likely to fall some way short of iOS 8 and its myriad improvements. It does crucially, add support for the Amazon Appstore so you can download Android apps and the new BlackBerry Assistant is closely integrated with your work data.

Early Verdict

We never like to be too bold in these vs pieces where one of the handsets hasn’t been available for us to test properly, but this is kind of an exception.

The BlackBerry Passport is a super-sized BlackBerry with the vast majority of issues that this has entailed in the past, and a few all-new ones to boot (unwieldy size, compromised keyboard).

It might be the phone of choice for a small subset of business-minded users, but for the vast majority of users the iPhone 6 is likely to remain the far better choice.

Read More: iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4

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