The BlackBerry Classic isn’t meant for me. That much became clear as soon as I picked one up to try to navigate through its operating system and type out my email address. I quickly started to struggle, and soon afterward sheepishly handed the device back to a friendly BlackBerry representative.
You see, the Classic is aimed directly at die-hard fans. The ones who are still clutching onto an aging BlackBerry Bold, or maybe switched recently to an iPhone or Android but miss the physical keyboard. That’s who BlackBerry is going after today with what may just be the best phone it’s released in years.
At first touch, the BlackBerry Classic feels great in your hand. Sure the back is plastic, but it’s a grippy plastic that also feels impressively solid. The stainless steel frame also contributes to the phone’s rugged-yet-professional design, and the device promises to maintain that solid feel over time.
“Blackberry’s are built to wear in not wear out,” said BlackBerry’s product and marketing head Jeff Gadway.
Then there’s the keyboard, which takes up a solid chunk of real estate on the front of your phone. It lacks some of the fancier swipe features introduced with the Passport earlier this year, but still feels nice under your thumbs. The company says that it really focused on nailing the exact right amount of “clickiness,” and that hard work definitely shows. Even so, all those buttons can be a little overwhelming if you’re not used to them.
From a specs perspective, the Classic isn’t particularly impressive, though it’s a solid upgrade over older BlackBerry devices. The small 3.5-inch 720p square display looks fine, but not fantastic. Meanwhile, the company’s new 10.3.1 operating system zips along pretty quickly, though the phone’s aging dual-core processor may stutter under the pressure of newer Android games and other complex apps.
Of course, that’s just my initial take on the BlackBerry Classic. We’ll have more coverage coming up soon from the rest of the TechnoBuffalo team, but for now I’m looking forward to getting back to my regular smartphone and the warm glow of its touchscreen keyboard.