The BlackBerry Classic is an enhancement of its previous version. QWERTY keypad, the popular Blackberry trackpad is all here along with the latest iteration of the Blackberry OS, BB10.3
At first glance, the device appears solid and has a professional charm, historically wooing the sentiments of the ‘businessman’. However, this time the brand doesn’t limit itself to this category and is aiming at the larger segment of mobile professionals who are looking for a no-frills dependable smartphone.
The QWERTY keyboard has always been a convenient and a welcomed feature. The return of the trackpad brings back memories for previous generation Blackberry users, however it might not be as useful today. The same Qualcomm Snapdragon processor that powers the Q10 along with an Adreno 225 for graphics powers the device. This gives an indication into the performance one could expect from the Classic. The battery life matches with what exists in the market today, for everyday apps such as Emails, SMS and average browser usage. However, increase the media consumption on this device and it really starts to show that the 2515mAh battery is not built for modern media-savvy users. The screen also has a slightly lower resolution than the BB Q10 and being a non-IPS display, the viewing angles can be disappointing for a device launched in this generation.
The strongest point of any BB10 device is the Blackberry Hub and the ease of functionality it promises to bring with it. And in this regard, the Classic does not disappoint. In terms of usability, the OS is pretty simple with the App Tray on the right and the BB Hub on the left, as you swipe more to the left you get more into the basic settings of your device. You will find all your accounts and all app notifications in this Hub. This makes it easier to access these apps and respond to new notifications. The BB10.3 now brings the Amazon App store to the user so they can install Android apps that are not available in BB world. The challenge for Blackberry is not how they can get these apps to their BB fans but how practical it is to do so. Android apps are not native to the BB ecosystem and are hence bound to have problems while they are being used. Google Maps, Twitter, Evernote, FB messenger respond slower and even the Whatsapp application, which by far is the most common messaging service (replacing BB Messenger of course) runs slower than other platforms. Blackberry must optimise the compatibility of all such apps if they expect a better demand for this device.
The smartphone is equipped with a rear-facing camera of 8MP that comes with enhanced shooting features such as HDR and Time Shift, where one can take a series of photos and edit offline at a later stage. The quality is decent and produces clear enough images in daylight, however struggles to give an equal quality while taking pictures in dim or low light.
The inclusion of BlackBerry Assistant is a commendable feature. It works instantly by holding down the dedicated button between the volume buttons and gives you results from varied search engines.
All in all, the BlackBerry Classic will be ideal for those users who do not have heavy media consumptions and simply want a straightforward smartphone.