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BlackBerry Classic First Impressions: It’s Good To See An Old Friend

by Brandon Russell | December 24, 2014December 24, 2014 5:00 pm PST

For the BlackBerry faithful, the Classic is a sight for sore eyes. The approach by the Waterloo company is simple: rather than taking the competition head on, BlackBerry is putting its focus on retaining the customers it still has. That means more devices like the Passport and Classic, which offer that familiar (and terrific) typing experience with excellent enterprise security. If you want to relive the glory days of physical keyboards, the Classic is the perfect device for you.

Compared to phones that have come out this year, the Classic couldn’t be any further from the Note 4 or iPhone 6 Plus. It has a square screen, for one, and full QWERTY keyboard, too. For how much we’ve lambasted the company’s inability to evolve with the mobile market, BlackBerry still does the old style very well, and the Classic is probably the best thing we’ve seen out of the company in a long time. The device isn’t meant to go directly against Android juggernauts, so from that perspective BlackBerry is simply competing to keep people from switching.

Going back to the old way takes some getting used to, but it’s clear that nothing beats the speed, accuracy and tactile feel of physical keys. If you’ve always struggled to type on a touchscreen keyboard, the Classic is the perfect solution. You’ll be sending off lengthy email replies in no time, which is obviously a tremendous boon for business professionals on the go. The Classic is the consummate business phone, nothing more, and the latest software update to OS 10.3.1 is the best version we’ve seen from BlackBerry yet.

You can install and use Android apps, though don’t expect the Classic to perform as well as something like the Nexus 6. For how good the typing experience is, the device definitely struggles to run the latest and most intensive Android apps. As we continue to use the Classic, we’ll put more focus on how the device performs, though from the outset it’s obvious it’s better served for communication, and less for media consumption. That’s ok—this is a business device after all.

Using the Classic, I’m reminded of the days of the Bold 9900. The construction of the Bold feels great, and it’s ultimately everything you expect it to be if you’re a BlackBerry fan. If you’ve had your eye on big phones from Samsung, Apple, and LG, the Classic won’t really do much to convince you to switch. But if you’re nostalgic for a physical keyboard, BlackBerry’s new device is meant for you.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.

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