BlackBerry Classic almost gets it right

The launch of the new BlackBerry Classic is very much welcome. Apart from the keyboard, you also get a set of proper hardware buttons for calls and navigation along with the fantastic trackpad. I can’t tell you how much I hate all these fucking Android phones with their keyboard-less touchscreen displays and shite usability that make even simple things such as messaging or calling a real chore. And believe me, I’ve tried, even with those oversized stupid looking 5″ touchscreen Android’s that everyone seems to think is acceptable for a compact phone.

It often takes me a good 10 minutes to tap out a short two sentence message and then another 10 minutes trying to position the fucking cursor just to edit a word. Doesn’t matter if you use SwiftKey, Swype or any other Android app crap, nothing can replace a proper hardware keyboard. And BlackBerry makes the best. End of.

So here it is then, the BlackBerry Classic, following hot on the heels of the BlackBerry Passport (in my opinion, the most innovative and interesting mobile of 2014), and with a mission to convert the millions of BlackBerry fanatics grimly clinging onto their Bold 9900. I should know, I’m one of them and have another two as spare. There are plenty of reviews for the Classic floating around so I won’t bother going into the details.

Suffice to say, if you are a BlackBerry fan, you will love the Classic.

If you are an ex-BlackBerry fan now using Android and liable to stab yourself with a pen in frustration every time you have to message, it’s time to return to the fold.

If you like hardware keyboards and simply want to get on with the job of being productive, the BlackBerry Classic is the phone for you.

However, like a beautiful swan that has cruelly had its wings clipped, the BlackBerry Classic is not perfect and it’s bloody annoying.

Battery life with the Classic is great, you can measure it in days rather than hours but the battery is fixed and cannot be removed or swapped. Road Warriors used to carrying a stash of batteries will be sorely disappointed.

The screen is a bog standard LCD affair. No IPS LCD like with the Passport or even AMOLED like the Q10 which is two years old. Clarity, brightness and readability are all great but it’s disappointing to see the Classic fitted with such a cheap ass screen.

Everything zips along at a fair whack but the actual hardware chip is the same as the two year old Q10. You would have expected more than an ancient dual core snapdragon S4 which is about as cutting edge as a rubber knife.

The last criticism is more about the OS than the actual hardware. Whilst BlackBerry OS 10.3 is much better than previous versions, it’s still too awkward with a heavy reliance on gestures (not a problem with the trackpad though) and weirdness such as not having a proper home screen that shows you everything at a glance. And I can’t believe that the BlackBerry Link sync software is STILL not capable of properly syncing Outlook including Notes and Tasks. For fucks sake BlackBerry sort it out!

However, it’s great to see BlackBerry going back to its roots and actually making business oriented phones for grown-ups for which there is demand (the initial run of both the Passport and Classic sold out) rather than trying to chase the grubby teeny bopper market obsessed with their Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Well done BlackBerry and Mr Chen, let’s have more please.


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