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Years ago, BlackBerry was the pinnacle of premium handsets, and they developed a cult following that still thrives today. The BlackBerry worship has died down though, especially given the rise of iOS and the Android OS. BlackBerry is aiming to revive that fellowship with the BlackBerry Classic, the quintessential love song to old school BlackBerry devices. It will no doubt have BlackBerry fans drooling, but can it really revive what is ultimately a dying handset?
BlackBerry Classic – Design and Features
The BlackBerry Classic is an outright homage to the BlackBerrys of old. It comes equipped with a full hard button keyboard, complete with designated Call and End buttons. It even comes with the classic touchpad from previous models. The body has a metal trim, and a textured back for easy grip. The screen is a little awkward, a 3.5 inch square that also functions as a touchscreen. The square screen looks okay, but videos and apps look… well, they look bad. Nothing is designed for a square interface anymore.
All in all the phone looks pretty good… for a phone that looks like it was made eight or nine years ago. Sure its polished and clean, but to me, it just looks like a well maintained older phone. I never owned a BlackBerry (I’m a bit too young for that generation), so there are a lot of things I don’t understand about them. For one, I don’t understand why people would willingly go back to a hard button keyboard. It’s not like touchscreen keyboards are overly complex (the layout is the exact same!). Some argue that they make typing more accurate, but with functions like spell check and auto-correct available on smartphones, hard-button keyboards are still a hard sell for me. The touchpad is also odd to me. I can understand its use in an era before touchscreens, but when accompanied with a touchscreen it feels misplaced and, frankly, kind of useless. It seems like it was added just because old BlackBerrys had them.
The specs on the BlackBerry Classic are okay at best. Web browsing is fast and responsive, but running any kind of game is sluggish and near non-responsive. The BlackBerry is great for internet use and emails, but not much else. That’s something else that smartphones have over it.
The battery on the phone is pretty impressive, though. It has an estimated 17 hours of talk time, and 13 hours of video streaming. It beats out most phones in its price range with that spec, but it is one of the only things the phone has going for it in my opinion.
The camera isn’t the best on the BlackBerry Classic. It has an 8 MP camera, but its fuzzy details make it look more like a 5 MP camera. The shutter speed is also absurdly slow. Many photo shooters will miss their shots on this device.
The app store isn’t very diverse, either. The Amazon store gives users access to Android apps, but they are limited on the BlackBerry if they even work at all. BlackBerry has its own marketplace, but it is barren and lacks diversity.
The BlackBerry used to be a powerhouse on the cellular market, but it seems smartphones have bested it in every way. BlackBerrys are supposedly phones for business, but so are the Galaxy Notes. And, honestly, you would be getting more bang for your buck investing in a Note 4 over a BlackBerry Classic. At $449, the Classic is an overpriced re-hash of what once used to be a great phone.Vise Review: BlackBerry Classic – A Blast From The Past