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BlackBerry Classic review

7/10 AVG.
RATING



7/10
Informr score
The BlackBerry Classic currently has an Informr score of 7 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 33 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

What's good

  • All-day battery life
  • QWERTY keyboard
  • Plenty of storage
  • MicroSD support
  • Price

What's bad

  • Square screen
  • Finicky Android support
  • Small screen
  • Weak camera

So the team at RIM is at it again. Their latest offering is a mashup of old school design and new school technology that they’ve labelled the BlackBerry Classic. Does it live up to the expectations of BlackBerry fans around the world or is it another attempt to gain traction in a market that has left it behind? Let’s dive into the reviews.

At first glance, the Classic is a definitely shout out to the glory days of BlackBerry. Designed much like the BlackBerry Bold, the phone features a 3.5-inch 720-by-720 pixel square touch screen and a 4-row QWERTY keyboard. While this is one of the largest screens on a BlackBerry to date, the resolution is a bit lower than the Passport. Despite the upgrade, CNet calls the display “uncomfortably small in the age of the big-screen phones.” However, after putting it through its paces, International Business Times declared it “sharp, accurate and well-lit.”

Powering the phone is a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 2GB of RAM. While definitely behind the flagship devices of other manufacturers, most reviews noted great performance in native apps and general use. Unfortunately, if you start trying to play games or really push the processor, reviews go downhill fast. International Business Times summed up opinions well, saying, “the experience often felt slow and clunky.” But then, in many ways, a BlackBerry isn’t designed for gaming and watching movies. It has always been, and continues to be, a productivity device at its core.

With 16GB of storage and microSD card support, there is plenty of room for apps, pictures, music or whatever else you want to load on your device. This will allow you to take full advantage of one of the Classic’s more interesting features. While the phone runs BlackBerry OS 10.3.1, it offers support for Android apps through the Amazon Appstore. Unfortunately, this feature is firmly both a negative and positive in most reviews due to the square screen and weak processor. Reviews all noted sluggish load times, slow performance and straight out incompatibility with a number of popular apps and games.

A major perk, and one of the biggest reasons that BlackBerry lovers are still holding on, is the physical QWERTY keyboard on the Classic. Combine that with the row of buttons and the touchpad, known as the Toolbelt, and reviews all applaud how easy it is to crank out emails, check texts or rip through spreadsheets. If you’ve used a previous BlackBerry, the keyboard has changed slightly, dropping the curved design for straight lines. However, reviews of the clicky buttons, spacing and responsiveness are great. The Verge says, “There simply isn’t a more satisfying typing experience to be had with two thumbs.”

If you need to snap a few pictures, the phone includes an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2-megapixel shooter up front. Reviews are hit and miss with the camera, with many sighting white balance issues and all noting a muted and fuzzy appearance in dim lighting.

All of this is kept running with a non-replaceable 2515mAh battery. While this might seem low compared to the latest flagship models, reviews indicate the Classic’s modest hardware helps to offset the capacity a bit. All reviews were able to pull a full day’s use on a single charge, with some noting a couple days. CrackBerry put it through it’s paces and said, CrackBerry the battery lasted “throughout the day but was ready for the charger by the end of the night.”

One final innovative feature is the BlackBerry Blend software. When used with another tablet or computer, it allows you to virtually operate your phone from another device. From file synching to text messages and email, you can log in to your phone and use it without having to leave your other device. For enterprise users, it also allows connection to business networks without the hassles of configuring VPNs and other security features.

Overall, reviews for the handset are mixed. While CNet calls it a “reminder that BlackBerry is still at the top of its productivity game,” International Business Times says, “It's highly unlikely that any iPhone or Android owners will switch to this phone, but for businesses looking to upgrade their fleet of ageing Bold 9900s, the Classic makes for a safe and familiar proposition.” Perhaps TechRadar summed it up best, stating, “The Classic is a success in that it's everything a BlackBerry fan could want - but it's debatable just how many fans are out there.”


Operating system
BlackBerry
Processor
1.5 GHz
Screen Size
3.5"
Camera
8+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


Tech Advisor

This is a hard product to score. If you want a smartphone with a keyboard, and you want it purely for messaging and calls, with a little web-browsing thrown in, the BlackBerry Classic is the perfect device at an excellent price. A five star product. But general smartphone users will be frustrated by...

- Matt Egan, Tech Advisor
Brighthand

True to its name, the BlackBerry Classic mimics the company’s phones of old, all while modernizing the hardware and software alike. To some extent, it succeeds: The phone itself feels great, and the operating system shows improvement, even if it’s still sort of stuck between eras. Most i...

- Andrew Hayward, Brighthand
What Mobile

It’s these caveats, these many, many caveats, that make the BlackBerry Classic difficult to recommend. The company’s shortcut to app support is messy, and by going back to what worked before, it’s brought back all the old issues, from a square screen to the chunky build and space-h...

- Callum Tennent, What Mobile
Berry Review

The Classic is a solid device, building on foundations laid by BlackBerry over many years. It is not meant to bring new customers into the BlackBerry fold; it is meant to keep the corporate- and business-minded customers happy, productive, and secure. If you are looking for bleeding-edge innovation...

- Tim Newcomb, Berry Review
The Mobile Indian

BlackBerry Classic is a phone for BlackBerry lovers only who want a QWERTY keypad. If you can afford more, I would suggest you the BlackBerry Passport and if you don't want QWERTY keypad but still want a BlackBerry phone, go for the BlackBerry Z30. However, if you want a smartphone, and not specific...

- Anil Satapathy, The Mobile Indian


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Quick view

Screen Size
3.5"

The BlackBerry Classic's screen size is 3.5 inches with 720 x 720 pixels resolution.

Processor
1.5 GHz

There is a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 Dual core 1.5 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the BlackBerry 10 (Update Available: 10.3.1.2072) operating system (OS).

Camera
8+ MP

You can take photos with the phone's onboard 8+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 2+ megapixels resolution.

Storage
16 GB

Internal memory is 16 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 128 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
2515mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 2515 mAh battery. BlackBerry's performance ratings are 1032 minutes, 561 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

BlackBerry Classic Specs

Overview
Release date December 17, 2014
Regions available USA, Canada
Mobile / Cellular Data
4G/LTE
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/1900/2100 MHz
LTE:
1900/700/2100/850 /2600 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, HSUPA, HSPA+, LTE
SIM card size
Yes
Dual SIM No
Operating System BlackBerry 10 (Update Available: 10.3.1.2072)

Compare BlackBerry Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 Dual core 1.5 GHz
Internal Storage 16 GB
RAM 2 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
TTY/TDD Yes
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 1.12 W/kg
Body: 1.19 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Manual, Standard Battery
Power & battery
Battery Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 2515 mAh
Removable Battery Yes
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time Up to: 822 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 561 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Talk Time Up to: 1032 minutes
Standby Time Up to: 15.2 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Plastic
Colors Black, White, Cobalt Blue
Dimensions [H x W x D] 13.1 x 7.2 x 1 cm (5.2 x 2.8 x 0.4 in)
Weight 178 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 720 x 720 pixels
Pixel density 294 pixels
Size 3.5 inches
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Digital Compass
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Input Type QWERTY
Navigation Type Optical pad, Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard Yes
Voicemail Key Yes
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Unknown
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Unknown
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer Yes
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features -
Messaging SMS, MMS, Blackberry
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB Yes
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth Yes
Bluetooth Profiles AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HFP, HSP
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 128 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out HDMI
DLNA Support Yes
NFC Yes
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
Unknown
Resolution
8+ megapixels
Multi-camera
No
Zoom
5x digital
Flash
Yes (LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Face detection, Geotagging, Image stabilization, Multi-shot, Night mode, Panorama, Burst mode, HDR, Time shift mode
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV, DivX, XviD
Video Recording Parameters
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
Resolution
2+ megapixels
Zoom
3x digital
Additional Front Camera Info
No
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats eAAC+, MIDI, MP3, MP4, OGG, WMA, WAV
Radio Yes (FM)
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, DivX, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV, XviD
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List Yes
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer Yes
Viewable document types XLS, PPT, PPTX, DOC, DOCX, PDF, TXT
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable, Pre-installed (Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Documents to Go, Box, Dropbox, Adobe Reader, Evernote)
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): BlackBerry Q20

Related Links Manual (PDF)
BlackBerry Classic Reviews
Where to buy BlackBerry Classic
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