The BlackBerry Classic is a mix of traditional BlackBerry with a modern touchscreen. The physical QWERTY keyboard will draw in those dedicated to their favorite first devices. The responsive touchscreen and navigation tools, will draw in others looking for something different in a smartphone. It is available now at AT&T for $49.99 on a 2-year contract, through their Next installment plan, and without a contract.
The lure to the BlackBerry Classic is what makes a BlackBerry a BlackBerry, the QWERTY keyboard. While the keyboard is similar to previous devices, the keys slant toward the left or the right to help with the comfort of texting with both thumbs. It does take a bit of getting used to if you are using one hand to send messages. Another aspect of the keyboard that may take some getting use to is the location of the numbers and symbols. If you are familiar with a touchscreen, finding the keys will take a little time before you are comfortable at reaching top typing speeds.
Part of the key area is a small navigation nub. This key helps you reach those tightly aligned links, click on items a little too small for your larger finger, and move around a web page with ease. The navigation nub can also be used to scroll through pages of information, which can also be done by swiping across the screen.
The touchscreen is a nice addition to the BlackBerry line of phones. It is responsive form many angles and provides enough brightness indoors and out. The BlackBerry Classic has a 3.5-inch square 720p screen. The size and dimensions make it a bit awkward when it comes to viewing apps other than the stock BlackBerry apps.
Speaking of apps, the BlackBerry Classic allows you to install Android apps from the Amazon appstore. While this could provide for a good transition for those looking to switch from an Android device, any previous purchases will need to have come from Amazon as the Google Play store is not supported on this device. With the smaller and square screen, the apps do appear different than on larger, typical Android device.
Some other specifications on the BlackBerry Classic include:
- 2515 mAh battery which enables 22 hours of power
- Rear-facing 8MP auto-focus camera with image & video stabilization and 5 element F2.2 lens
- Front-facing 2MP and 3x digital zoom with 720p image and video stabilization
- Image capture ratios setting of 1:1, 4:3, or 16:9
- Webkit, BlackBerry® 10 web browser
- Internal memory storage of up to 16GB
- Expandable memory storage of up to 128GB with microSD card
- 2GB of RAM
- WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz
- Bluetooth 4.0
Some additional summary points and reflections on the BlackBerry Classic are basic but may not sway the devoted BlackBerry user. The camera is OK, but not great. It seems slow to focus, especially with the flash on. The battery is great and can last for a couple of days with basic usage. The call quality seemed OK in the Nashville market.
If you are in the market for a new phone, especially on focused on business and the BlackBerry universe, stop by your local AT&T store to try out the device yourself.