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Nexus-6

BlackBerry Passport vs. Nexus 6: anticipated or overhyped

We’re already mid-September and we’ve seen the Galaxy Note 4, Note Edge, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Galaxy Alpha, Sony Xperia Z3 HTC Desire 820, Lumia 730 and many more, but it seems that’s not all mobile technology has in store for us this month. The BlackBerry Passport and Nexus 6 have been all the hype recently, pegged for a Q4 announcement.

The smartphone market is becoming increasingly saturated recently, with many OEMs focusing on different types of markets and target consumers. Companies like BlackBerry, Samsung, Google, Sony, Motorola and LG are continuously releasing flagships with high price tags between $400 and $800, as well as mid-range phones in the $150 and $350 range. Google is planning on launching the Android One smartphone line as well, with phones aimed at emerging markets with under $150 price tags.

Nonetheless, two of the upcoming release have been in the “overhyped” category, not because they might end up being disappointing devices, but because people can’t stop talking about them, creating wish-lists for them and speculating about them. The two phones we’re talking about are the BlackBerry Passport and the Nexus 6. First off, there are uncertainties about whether the Nexus 6 will actually be called “6”, many saying that the name would force Google into a copyright discussion with Philip K. Dick over the Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep novel containing the name. That’s why many speculate that the Nexus 6, code-named Shamu, might be the Nexus X after all.

For the sake of continuity, I will be calling the new device from Google the Nexus 6, since that was the first rumored name to appear on the internet and because it would be the 6th Nexus smartphone released. The Nexus 6 is rumored to be announced by Google sometime in October, but we’ve no confirmation from the company yet. Its predecessor, the Nexus 5, which was made by LG was released in October 2013, so the October announcement would be a good timing. The Nexus One was released in January 2010 and it was made by HTC, the Nexus S came out in December 2011, made by Samsung, as well as the Galaxy Nexus which came in October 2011, after which the Nexus 4 was launched in October 2012 and was made by LG. If Google is into continuity, an October release date would be perfect.

nexus-6-vs-passport

The Nexus 5 was among the most anticipated devices of 2013, and one of the most popular smartphones upon its release. The Nexus 5 had pretty good specs and display to compete with, but the Nexus 6 is even more promising and even more anticipated. Since Google thought up the Nexus line as a smartphone line with high-end hardware for affordable price tags, the Nexus 6 is expected to rival flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S5, iPhone 5s and even the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note 4. There hasn’t been many confirmed specs and features of the Nexus 6. some saying it will come in a 5.2 inch display, others vouching for a 5.7 inch display and another group of people saying that the Nexus 6 will end up being a phablet with a whopping 5.9 inch display.

The BlackBerry Passport, on the other hand, is a much more mediated device with many specs already confirmed by the company at various shows and exhibitions. The Passport will be officially launched at an international BlackBerry event to be held on September 24 in Toronto, Dubai and London. The event will probably introduce the new BlackBerry Classic or Q20 as well, which will cater to BlackBerry fans. The Passport is aimed at corporate and business users who don’t use their phones just for gaming, calls and productivity, rather they use it for work and play at the same time. BlackBerry has confirmed that it has become more oriented towards enterprises and corporations, as well as businesses, to provide services and hardware and software solutions.

nexus-6-passport2

BlackBerry made the Passport a 2-in-1 device, equipping it with the signature QWERTY hardware keyboard and a 4.5 inch touchscreen display. The launch event for the device is entitled See the Bigger Picture, as the invitations have revealed, and that tagline hints at the fact that the Passport will not only be a smartphone, but a device that will cater to most office and leisure needs of customers. The Passport will sport an IPS multitouch touchscreen with a 1440*1440 resolution and 453 ppi pixel density. The display will be protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and will incorporate the special features BlackBerry has implemented in order to facilitate the practical and handy use of the hardware QWERTY keyboard.

The Passport will be powered by a Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.26 GHz CPU coupled with an Adreno 330 GPU. The device will be fitted with a 13 MP rear camera and a 2 MP front camera, capable of geotagging, HDR and autofocus and equipped with optical image stabilization (OIS). A non-removable 3450 mAH battery will support the Passport’s performance and promises at least two days of power usage. 32 GB internal storage expandable to 128 GB via microSD card and 3GB RAM will also be packed into the Passport and will run on BlackBerry OS 10.3.

nexus-6-vs-passport-2

One of the most interesting features of the gadget will be that the keyboard doubles as a trackpad, so you can use it almost like a touchscreen to navigate through the menus of the phone. The Passport also come with the Amazon app store pre-installed, which means tons of apps to choose from, in an attempt to respond to BlackBerry users’ demand for more choices. The device has a stainless steel build and overall a premium look to it, which will probably appeal to many business users the phone is actually targeted at. The design also allows for a steady grip and features keyboard shortcuts which you can use even when browsing. A digital assistant similar to Google Now and Siri will also be featured on the Passport, as a new addition.

While the BlackBerry Passport seems like a sturdy phone, fit for business and pleasure, with all the features a power user would need, we know far less about the Nexus 6. Even though the Nexus 6 has received as much hype as the Passport, if not more, there are surprisingly little accurate specs out there. There have been many rumors leaked by various outlets, including Antutu Benchmark, where the Nexus Shamu received a pretty average 32000 score, but still, we’re not even certain of the maker of the flagship. Still, people are raving on about what they would like to see on the new Nexus.

nexus-6-concept

The most popular rumor about the maker of the Nexus 6 says Motorola, but many have said that HTC might return to making the 6th smartphone in the Nexus line, although that’s a bit unlikely since HTC is rumored to be making the Nexus 9 tablet. In any case, I prefer to believe the rumors that say Motorola is making the Nexus 6, because they’ve done a pretty decent job on the new Moto G and Moto X devices introduced at IFA at the beginning of this month.

As I’ve said before, the Nexus 6 will either sport a 5.2, 5.7 or 5.9 inch display, about which many are saying that it will be a QHD display similar to that on the LG G3. A 2392*1440 resolution has been speculated, probably with a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 screen protection. Most rumors say that the device will be powered by a Snapdragon 805 quad-core CPU clocked at 2.7 GHz, backed by 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage, plus an Adreno 420 GPU. The Nexus 6 will be equipped with a 2.1 MP front shooter and a 13 MP rear camera, with HDR, OIS, autofocus, geotagging, dual recording, photo sphere and touch focus. A minus in my opinions is that there has been no word of a microSD card. That would be a shame if the Nexus 6 will only be available in a 32 GB variant. Naturally, the Nexus 6 will run on Android 5.0 L (Lemon Meringue Pie, Lollipop, Lion) and will supposedly be announced and/or launched on October 31, 2014.

nexus-6-android-l-concept

On the other hand, there have been some rumors that Motorola might be planning TWO Nexus 6 devices, a bigger one and a smaller one, following in the footsteps of Apple when they designed the iPhone 6 and its bigger brother, the iPhone 6 Plus. A 5.2 inch and a 5.9 inch Nexus 6 might actually be in the works, although there has been a debate going on whether both will be Nexus devices or one of them will end up being the Moto S. Take this whole paragraph with a handful of salt, actually, because these are the most recent rumors, remaining unconfirmed.

The price tag for the BlackBerry Passport will be somewhere around $700, whilst the Nexus 6 is rumored to be $500 on contract, although that’s not a confirmed price. Some have said that Best Buy had listed the Nexus 6 with a $500 price tag on a two-year contract, which would be a bit too expensive, in my opinion. I think that listing might have been bogus. Other sources say that the Nexus 6 will be $550 off-contract, which would be a more suitable price tag on a phone that aims to be a tad more affordable than other flagships out there.

So far, the Nexus 6 beats the BlackBerry Passport when it comes to display, CPU, GPU and price, but falls short when it comes to a microSD card slot, battery information and keyboard. The Nexus 6 and the Passport pretty much even out when it comes to camera and its features and their OS isn’t quite comparable. Comparing these two unreleased smartphones is nothing but difficult, because both are still in somewhat a rumored phase. Nonetheless, a few suggestions can be made based on what we know so far.

nexus6-concept

If you are looking for a phone that can separate your work from your life, offers easy typing, spreadsheet editing, office tools and an overall powerful performance, the BlackBerry Passport should be your choice. BlackBerry has recently acquired Movirtu, a company which pioneers in virtual SIM cards, which allow you to allocate two different numbers and data plans to your SIM card, one being administered by the company you work for and the other one administered by you. The two will never interact. In my opinion, the BlackBerry Passport will cater perfectly for those who work in office, business and enterprise environments and need quick and easy access to office tools.

The Nexus 6, on the other hand, will be a flagship made for those who want to be in line with technology and will come as a rival to the Galaxy Note 4 and the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in terms of specs and features as well. If you like what Motorola has made so far, if you’re keen on stock Android, Google, Google Now, QHD display and (probably) flawless performance, you should go for the Nexus 6. It will probably end up being a smartphone perfect for gaming, productivity, health monitoring, pairing with the Moto 360, Gear S, LG G Watch R and Asus ZenWatch and probably most of the stuff you can think about doing with your Nexus 6. Also, another reason why one would choose the Nexus 6 over the BlackBerry Passport is the app store. Many of us Android users have become quite fond of the Google Play Store.

Nexus-6

You have seen the specs, you have read the rumors and you must have created an image about the Nexus 6 and the BlackBerry Passport in your head. I’m sure that by the time you reached this paragraph, you’ve probably figured out that the hype around these phones is not unjustified and that you should probably keep an eye out for both the Passport and the Nexus 6, because they look like very promising smartphones at the moment. I will surely monitor everything I can to find stuff out about the Nexus 6 and will keep you posted if anything new pops up. Like a selfie-camera or something like that.

 

About Egon Kilin

My life-long dream has been to test out every gadget on the market! Considering the fact that I've rapidly destroyed almost every gadget I've had so far, I'm not inclined to owning something, so my ideal outcome would be to have a different gadget each month. I'm really into smartphones, wearables and tablets and I love Playstation and Xbox, I'm sure I'll beat you at your own game (after a month of training... or two)

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  • Chuck

    How does the Nexus beat the Passport in terms of display? By having 1/3 of its screen real estate being consumed by keyboard? Lower pixel density?

    • QHD>IPS. PPI for the Nexus hasn’t been disclosed yet, but it will probably be at around 565 with a 5.2 inch display, lower with a 5.7 or 5.9 inch display. And it’s a bigger display… I enjoy BlackBerry and I hope I don’t seem like I don’t give the Passport any credit, but the two phones were designed with different customers in mind, and I’ve differentiated between those two niches in the article. I think the Passport has one of the best designs among current flagships, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the best just because it saves you the trouble of using an on-screen keyboard. That’s why I’ve stressed the fact that the Nexus 6 isn’t out yet and we will see a comprehensive comparison when it’s out.

      • Chuck

        “Probably”.and a couple bucks will get you a black coffee at McDonald’s. The article should not report that the Nexus “wins” based on “probably.” Just the fact that you can interact with the Passport’s screen without giving up a square inch of real estate should count for something. The Passport will “probably” be able to output 4K to larger displays, by the way. But probably doesn’t count.

        • It is a comparison of unreleased phones, and I’ve chosen no winner, actually. I just recommended each device for a specific niche and mentioned which outdoes the other in which areas. Didn’t bash or criticize either phones and I’m stoked to see them both getting the attention they’re getting. I don’t get why you’re so outraged since I’m equally supporting both phones. If you’re angry at people not giving BlackBerry the respect it deserves, that’s not something you should take out on a rather objective comparison which prizes both flagships.

          • Chuck

            I’m not outraged, but as you point out, BlackBerry doesn’t get the respect it deserves. It’s like Google has this self-driving car project and everybody is like, “Whoa!!” meanwhile, BlackBerry QNX Is winning the fastest races in the world and powering 60 percent of the cars rolling off the line and nobody notices.

            And your comparison is hot air to a known quantity in the physical world. Maybe wait until both devices (the Passport is a mobile computing device, not a smartphone) then compare them. Until then, saying hot air wins over reality is rather silly.

            BlackBerry changed the game by making productivity a mobile affair back in the day. Now they’re changing it again with the Passport.

          • G.I.GIO

            You make some valid points, but you did sound upset… the writer’s article is pretty good compared to most concerning BlackBerry… it’s a sign BlackBerry is doing the right moves.

          • Thank you! 🙂 BlackBerry is heading up, even though many have said Chen won’t make a difference. Alas, he did.

  • BB4LIFE

    The Blackberry Passport has better specs than most of the new smartphones being released, yet the media continues to label it as a smartphone for business users. Don’t non-business users text, email, make phone calls, take pictures and video? Don’t non-business users like big screens with high resolution and better pixels per inch than the iPhone 6? In my opinion the Blackberry Passport has as good if not better specs than any other new smartphone out there and capable of performing the same functions, in most cases, better than then competition. So I would put the BB Passport head to head against any and all competitors, whether you are a business user or not.

    • I agree with you. But many label the Passport as a business oriented smartphone because of the QWERTY keyboard, and they’re not entirely wrong. You don’t usually work on spreadsheets, for which BB has excellent support and don’t do your whole work from your phone. Nonetheless, I would choose the Passport for myself as well, because I would use it to write my articles, but others who just use their on-screen keyboard for Hangouts and Twitter won’t feel the need for an accurate and easy to use QWERTY hardware keyboard.

    • G.I.GIO

      It’s a bit like PC’s… they are ubiquitous in the workplace, but they are also used by gamers, and we know they use high end gear.

  • xBURK

    For myself, it’s the BlackBerry Passport. You just can’t beat the Hub and multitasking abilities of BB10.3. Day one, I’m getting one.

    • I am the smrt

      100 percent agree. i washed my z10 by accident and had to get a samsung s4. thought i would try it. man…its been 1 year and i still think blackberry is waaaaaay better. samsung has more happs but they are so buggy because many apps conflict with each other. even the browser is buggy. the more i look at passport the more i am liking it. i think movies may start using it as it is so different. everyone’s phones look the same now.

    • Vijit Coomara

      The physical keyboard, virtual and track pad all in one is a totally intriguing and unique offering in the phablet arena. I want

  • Tootall

    I have used the Passprt and it is simple like no other…I will try one for sure!

  • Kem

    I’d go for the Passport, because in the end, it’s the most different smartphone out there. By now, each and every smartphone in the market does the same stuff in different ways while looking all the same in the general hardware shape. Then, why not find a phone that differentiates you from the crowd? The Passport is perfect for that in my opinion. No more “lack of apps” because of the Amazon Appstore (among many others that you can install yourself). Powerful and more importantly, optimized specs for the amazing OS 10.3. Enhanced ecosystem with BlackBerry Blend to connect and enjoy the Passport on my iPad and intuitive touch-enabled keyboard… I don’t know you and your reasons, but I would definitely go for the BlackBerry Passport.

    • Thanks very much! I totally agree with you. With the Amazon app store on board, there’s nothing to complain about. And it is the first flagship to look actually different than what’s on the market at the moment. Thank you for your awesome feedback! You have to tell us how the Passport will be when and if you get your hands on it!

      • charlie2010

        Don’t forget Snap gives you access to most Google Play apps, I think its just apps that require google services that wont work so BB isn’t promoting it, still lots of apps in addition to amazon though.

      • Tootall

        I was able to get my hands on the passport for a couple of hours. mind you 10.3 was still in development but the device was wicked fast and very comfortable to hold in the hands. The keyboard is second to none and when I saw my buddy from Blackberry typing on it while looking off in the sunset blew me away! the touch keyboard works awesome for scrolling web pages , the browser was fast and the camera pictures were vivid and clear. The thing is a rocket. Funny thing is when i saw it in first build I said WTF is that! now I can’t wait to get my hands on it. The build is solid and classy. It will certainly turn heads when you put it down at a meeting or out for supper.

  • Bryan P

    I wouldn’t say blackberry is strictly for business users. They acquired the amazon appstore so people can’t complain of the lack of apps…

  • Bryan P

    The only problem is I’m debating whether I want to use 700 bucks on blackberry stock rather then the phone for now. I’ve already invested in bbry stock but I’m seeing a comeback as I expected a year ago when chen was coming in…

  • Subliminal7X

    Good, balanced article… mostly. NICE to see such.

    • anthony rowland

      yeah,it’s crazy,a balanced article on blackberry…

  • ram ace

    ever since i came back with blackberry and tried the z10, i couldnt stand any other smartphones. I just couldnt help myself from swiping and looking for the hub hahaha. I just saw some of the functions of the Passport’s keyboard and I’m so excited for what it can give more.

  • I know you are speculating Emily and so is everyone else in the tech world. I like your article for two reasons. You didn’t preface the word BlackBerry with “Doomed” and secondly because of the “Blade Runner” reference. Keep up the good work 🙂

  • edrian

    Blackberry Passports specs are real while Nexus 6 specs are just speculations. Just saying.

  • It is! But with Android users, there’s a sense of infatuation with the Play Store and Google apps, which is kind of hard to shake off when it comes to Windows Phone OS or BB 10 OS. I think it’s a matter of UI preference, as well.

    • Stretch

      Agree, the Play Store is great. I have a Nexus 7 tablet and a Q10. Play Store beats BB World hands down no question, so many more apps, many are games though, not really beneficial to productivity. As Charlie above mentioned, Snap gives access to Play Store apps and with the Amazon affiliation, things are looking up for BB. Also looking forward to the Passport and the new OS 10.3 which is shaping up to be impressive.
      Great article btw 🙂

  • Chef Mike in Burlington ON

    I dropped my BB beacasue the one I had was just not good enough compared to the new IPhone 4S I bought at the time, but those days are gone, and with a bigger screen, better battery, a real keyboard, and side loading Google and Amazon apps, I’m in!!

  • Marnel

    The Passport keeps calling my name! I will be dropping my Q10 and Z10 and merging big screen with keyboard when I finally get this beauty in my hands.

  • Sri Harsha Vardhan Kakumanu

    Blackberry for life ! i go with passport…!

  • Armin

    Thank you Emily for your balanced and unbiased view. One thing that I would like to point out here is your comment about “flawless performance” I think BB10 devices are more entitled to this attribute than Android phones. I don’t know about the rest of the readers’ experience but I have had my Z10 for more than a year and I can hardly remember when I last reset the device because it was not working properly. I think in total I have done it less than 5 times while I did it almost daily with my android phone. If you are the kind of user that take your phone to the edge of its limits everyday and you want to see it perform well in those conditions, then you only have one option: Blackberry.

  • Davyd

    I notice that the keys don’t have the special characters and numbers on them that normally you can access with a sys type button on physical keyboard phones.

    After having moved from physical keyboard phones to an an iPhone, my biggest complaint is how long it takes to get to these keys which was very quick on a physical keybord since I could see the characters.

    I was planning on getting the Classic anyway 😀 The recent pix i’ve seen do show these special characters on the Classic’s Keyboard.

    • I am pretty sure it will use gestures as per the Blackberry 10 al touch devices to access special characters. It is quick to access – much faster than on my wives iOS device!!

    • Nk

      Actually I believe the phone anticipates the need for punctuation, number, etc, and displays then on screen for u to tap when needed.

  • Great article. I wasn’t disgusted by mis-information 4 lines in. Kudos!!

  • Damien

    The Passport is the dopest sh*t going. Been waiting for a company to break out of this tired cycle of same old…

    Looks like apple and BlackBerry are on point this year. Two solid innovation companies.

  • peterpunn

    So how would the 16:9 aspect ratio of Android apps work when loaded on the square passport? Do we get a split screen, or a stretched out display, or would app developers have to customize for the BB? Any insights there?