A couple of years ago, BlackBerry tried to take on the iPhone and Android head-on with the all-touchscreen Blackberry Z10. Last year the company released the oddly shaped keyboard-rocking Passport to disappointing reviews. Longtime BlackBerry users will love its return, but BlackBerry 10’s touchscreen gestures make the buttons redundant and unnecessary.
The BlackBerry Classic is a return to BlackBerry’s QWERTY keyboard success. The $499.99 (unlocked) smartphone is basically an updated BlackBerry Bold 9900, but running the newest BlackBerry 10 operating system.
The 3.5-inch square screen is small in an age of 6-inch phablets. BlackBerry Hub is the BlackBerry’s take on a notification system. The idea is to have one place to see all of your emails, calls, messages and social media alerts, but it’s just way too confusing to manage at once.
The Classic is unmistakably a BlackBerry. BlackBerry borrowed and updated the design of the Bold 9900, a smartphone from 2011, even going as far as bringing back the “belt” — the strip of buttons and trackpad below the screen. Longtime BlackBerry users will love its return, but BlackBerry 10’s touchscreen gestures make the buttons redundant and unnecessary.
The Classic’s specs are unspectacular. It’s got a 3.5-inch square touchscreen with 750 x 750 resolution, a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage (expandable with a microSD card up to 128GB). It hums along fine, but not what I consider fast. I always seemed to be waiting for something to load.
BlackBerry 10 is far more confusing than it should be. The Classic ships with BlackBerry 10.3. It’s more refined and feature-packed than previous versions, but it’s far from the slickest mobile operating system around.
New additions like the BlackBerry Assistant (its own version of Siri/Google Now/Cortana), accessible by pressing the Mute button on the right side of the phone, and the universal search (just start typing from the home screen) are neat, but they feel like catch-up features with little edge over the other big players. Read more…