BlackBerry Classic gives new definition to mobile phones
With the launch of the BlackBerry Classic, which is a nod to the BlackBerry Bold, it’s aiming to put the device BlackBerry fans want back into their hand.
The company is also pitching the Classic at the professional consumer, to those outside of big business who stick to those same values, who want added security and a physical keyboard.
While some handsets seek to stand out by having an unusual screen or a fancy camera, the BlackBerry Classic is unashamedly all about the keyboard.
It’s no accident that BlackBerry’s own spec sheet highlights the physical Qwerty keyboard, which takes up one-third of the real estate on the phone, more than its diminutive screen. Classic design: The BlackBerry Classic is pitched as a replacement for the Bold 9900, launched in 2011, a device that enjoyed great successes from its original 2008 model.
One glance and you’ll see the similarity. The Classic measures 131 x 72.4 x 10.2mm and weighs a surprising 178g: in modern terms, that’s pretty weighty. That’s immediately noticeable when you pick up an iPhone or HTC One, but in the BB Classic it feels like reassuring heft, rather than awkward bloat. The Classic feels like a device built to last.
The design is much more refined than previous equivalent models, however. It’s not a complete rethinking, but it looks seamless and tighter than before. Finger friendly keyboard: You’re presented with all the glory of BlackBerry past.
With so many smartphones being just a simple piece of glass, there’s a lot more happening on the front of the Classic. You have that 3.5-inch square display, the central band of control keys, and then the classic keyboard.
It is, every inch, the BlackBerry keyboard you know and love. It has the right keyboard action, it has the frets to provide logical separation and it has that surface ridge on each key.
The chamfered ridge on each key means that every thumb press is made with the certain knowledge that it will hit the right target. That’s only to be expected considering BlackBerry’s heritage.
There’s a satisfying level of travel in each key press without it being too hard work, and it’s certainly superior to, for example, the BlackBerry Passport keyboard, which is too flat, stiff, straight, and wide.
Display: While the physical keyboard is one of the Classic’s biggest selling points, it’s also its biggest limitation. Although we love using it, the 720 x 720 3.5-inch display above leaves us wanting more.
It has a pixel density of 249ppi, which is pretty good, so what you have on display has plenty of refinement, but for those used to even a relatively small display, like that of the iPhone 5, the Classic offers you even less, especially when it comes to media, games, or simply browsing a website.
Cameras: The BlackBerry Classic has an 8-megapixel camera on the rear and 2-megapixel to the front. Its camera app has all the normal settings you’d expect, letting you change the aspect ratio and so on.
We like the auto HDR (high dynamic range) option, which will automatically detect the scene and try to balance out the highlights and shadows for a better overall result. Verdict: The BlackBerry Classic undoubtedly achieves its aims.
This is every bit an upgrade of the Bold, exhibiting the same strengths, broadening the experience and offering more for the BlackBerry user. Of the recent BlackBerry launches, the Classic is the keyboard device we’d most want to use, which is a definite positive.
But as a consumer device there are limitations. As adept at messaging as it is, there’s still plenty to miss out on, especially when it comes to media consumption and gaming. But for those interested in business, with security needs, then BlackBerry still offers those features where others are sometimes lacking.