In the mobile phone industry, BlackBerry has made a name for itself as a bestselling and a trusted smartphone manufacturer. One of its earliest accomplishments was the 7230 model, a device that encapsulated what BlackBerry (or RIM, Research in Motion) stood for. With its fast and secure server, its users were able to get a device that allowed them to easily keep in touch via email and text messages anywhere in the world.
Fast forward to eleven years and BlackBerry continues to uphold the same values they started on. Additionally, they have brought back their own technology innovations on their hardware with the release of the BlackBerry Passport.
In order to see what has changed and stayed the same since the early days of BlackBerry, the latest flagship device was compared with the 7230 model.
The comparison starts with its keyboard, of course. While the current BlackBerry keyboards feature the same style as the Bold, the keyboard on neither the 7230 or Passport look like it. Both feature a full QWERTY keyboard.
First of all, the 7230 comes with three rows of rounded buttons, a space bar underneath these buttons, and a special backlight button on the right. Even after eleven years, they’re still great to use for typing. The Passport, on the other hand, has the largest and most square keys ever seen on a BlackBerry device. Each row is separated by a metal fret that provides enough space between them. But that’s not everything about the Passport’s keyboard.
On the Passport, BlackBerry has included something that they could only dream of in 2003—Touch Sensitivity. By swiping the thumb around the top area of the keys, the screen can be controlled. This feature can also choose predicted words while typing on the device; which makes it a fantastic tool. But while the 7230 did not feature touch sensitivity, it came with a handy scroll-wheel on its side; which was at the perfect level for the thumb.
The next thing to look at is the difference in design and materials used. Back in 2003, a phone priced the same amount as a laptop was not going to fly. Now, however, it has become a standard. The Passport is made up of glass, metal, and a nice rubbery plastic. This easily makes it the best-built phone BlackBerry has ever produced. Meanwhile, the 7230 is plastic. Ironically, its fat back and bulgy curves made the device incredibly ergonomic. It feels like the phone belongs on your hand. In comparison to this, the Passport is heavy, square and huge—it feels like you’re carrying a personal communication device or a tiny computer.
With regards to software, so much has changed ever since the early days of BlackBerry. Nowadays, it’s all about modern and touchscreen controlled gestures. There’s a bright, sharp display versus a display that you could barely see, even indoors.
As for the spec comparison of the two devices, it truly shows just how far BlackBerry has gone. We’re comparing a 4.5-inch 453ppi display with a 2.5-inch 111ppi panel, 32GB of internal storage and 3GB of RAM versus a 16MB and 1MB of RAM, 13MP camera with full HD video recording over a no camera device; and finally, the 10 LTE bands compared to the 2G device.
Since eleven years ago, technology on smartphones has made huge leaps and bounds. But what makes BlackBerry a remarkable company is still pretty evident. The Passport is still a device equipped with a physical keyboard, targeting those who want to get things done easily. The device is easily a productivity and communication beast, just as the 7230 was when it first came out in the market.
While BlackBerry may have lost its stand on the market over the past years, their latest flagship proves that they haven’t lost their soul.