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The BlackBerry Classic – Yay Or Nay?

The BlackBerry Classic has launched in Singapore a few days back and it has been available here ever since. The BlackBerry Classic, alongside with its big brother, the BlackBerry Passport has been the limelight of the last quarter, under the new leadership of John Chen. As the last device to launch, of the year, is the device any good and what are some decisions that are made behind these devices? Let us see what the initial impressions might be.

On the first glance, the first resemblance is of course the previous flagship of the legacy device – The BlackBerry Bold 9900. That is definite and at both launches in New York and Singapore, BlackBerry made it a clear point to compare both devices.

BlackBerry Classic next to the predecessor, Bold 9900

Measuring a tad larger than a 9900, the intended successor to the legacy device sports the similar and familiar toolbelt that many of us has became so synonymous with. That said as some of you might have realized, the BlackBerry Classic’s trackpad is relatively smaller than the legacy devices and it seems to have a closer ‘touch’ to the Classic series than the bold series.

BlackBerry Classic sitting next to BlackBerry Curve 9360

Though intended to replace the bold, gone from the keyboard is the curve or what BlackBerry called, the smiley face keyboard. Here we have the straight series keyboard, which first made its appearance on the BlackBerry Porsche Design P’9981.

The BlackBerry Classic meets the first straight-keyboard BlackBerry device

One thing that should be taken away here is that the Classic is not meant to be succeeding the BlackBerry Q5 or perhaps Q10, and this is also evident by its specifications.

The slightly larger screen, phone size is all evident

The device, on hand literally feels heavy, in fact, making it much heavier than the Bold 9900 or even the P’9981 or P’9983. Sure, the size is larger, but it is pretty thick, so why?

The BlackBerry Classic taking on the Porsche Design Keyboard series, P’9981, P’9983

Well, after some discussion, the consensus was that BlackBerry wanted to pack in a punch into the device. The extra space required by the trackpad, the slightly larger screen contributed a little to the weight, but the bulk of the bulk here comes actually from the (slightly larger than Q10) battery of 2515 mAh.

BlackBerry Porsche Design P’9983 alongside with BlackBerry Classic

Though still less than that of the BlackBerry Z30 (2880 mAh), it still has less screen estate and less power-hungry processor to feed, thus, packing the battery life up a notch. To further reduce space and make it compact, they also opted for a non-removable battery over the removable battery.

Clearly, the device was modeled after the BlackBerry Bold 9900, using the similar structure set by Bold 9900 to make it as durable and sturdy as possible. Whilst I am sure everyone will appreciate a lighter device, perhaps the improved battery life might win some hearts over.

So now, what does the toolbelt really do?

The BlackBerry Classic side view

First, the left most is the phone call button which allows you to open the phone call app or answer a call.

Opening the phone app

The second button is the menu button open the menu, highlight something or open settings, depending on your location in the device.

Opening up the BlackBerry Classic menu

The third is the back button that allows you to close a menu, minimize an application or go back to the previous screen, which again, is dependent on your location in the device.

Last but not least, is the end call button. Of course, you will be able to end, reject a call with this, or as a quick shortcut to the homescreen. Last but not least, but holding this button, you can use it to turn on or off the device.

Image credit: Magnus

The BlackBerry Keyboard at night

The keyboard, will be back-lighted together with the tool belt, but WAIT! Alas! BlackBerry might have forgotten something. The trackpad does not have backlight like the legacy devices. Whilst it does spoil the beauty in the night, there’s just no reason why this was omitted.

So, some folks will ask how will this device match up, in size with other devices of larger/smaller/similar screens?

BlackBerry Classic on a 6-inch Nokia Lumia 1520

As for the back, BlackBerry Z10 users, especially those using black will find this very familiar. That’s right, that rubberized back is back!

Image Credit: Magnus

The rubberized back of the BlackBerry Classic

Image credit: Magnus

The yummy back cover, which made its first official appearance on the BlackBerry Z10 is back!

All in all, the BlackBerry Classic comes with a relatively relieving price tag of SGD$598, but with such old specifications, renewed look and refreshed operating system, is this worth the money?

The argument to get Typo or Typo2 instead is pretty valid, but using the accessory brings about a whole suite of problems on its own. From the very well needed physical balance of the device to the battery life of both the device and the host, it is going to affect them greatly. Besides, most, if not all screens are horizontal (with the keyboard) and not vertical, so clearly, that is a solution aimed at milking the money out of iOS die-hards.

The BlackBerry Classic physical buttons

Otherwise, the BlackBerry Classic is probably the only device thus far, after the legacy models that actually allowed me to type with the device under the table or blindfolded with a 100% accuracy. With a typing feeling between a Q5 and Q10 or just a little tackier than 9900, the keyboard would be one any keyboard fans would die for.

So, those on legacy devices, it is a safe bet to go ahead with this amazing device, however, power users might want to opt for the BlackBerry Passport instead.

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