BlackBerry Classic Express review: This one is for the purists

21 January, 2015 1:59 PM

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Having lost its customer base to trendier smartphones over the years, and having tried almost everything in the book to woo them back, BlackBerry is now returning to its roots for redemption. The latest BlackBerry Classic is everything an old BB was, just more slick and smart. But is this enough to get new users to choose BlackBerry over the hundreds of other models? Now, that is a tough one.

The BlackBerry Classic is classic BlackBerry. Don’t be surprised if people heckle you for not having moved with the times and got rid of your five-year-old Bold. It is that kind of phone. But hold it for a second and you will realise it is different. It is heavier, it is more robust in build and, of course, classier. The trackpad and the menu keys flanking it are now back, along with the a full QWERTY keypad. There is no touch on the keypad like in the Passport, but you won’t complain.

Well, that has to be the entire combination of the trackpad, the QWERTY keypad and other keys. This will be welcomed by those who were feeling lost on a full touch smartphone, or wanted to upgrade from an old BlackBerry but couldn’t find anything that gave them the confidence to. Let’s get one thing right, there is still no other company that makes physical keys on a phone better than BlackBerry. And a lot of people are happy living in that world. This phone will appeal to them. In fact, the keys on this phone are good enough for you not to use the touch screen at all. It actually seems like a waste of money most of the times.

The other good thing for me is BlackBerry Blend. This lets me access files on the phone or other devices, provided they are connected to a network — cellular or Wi-Fi — and have logged in to the app using your BlackBerry log in. It reminded me of the Bridge that BlackBerry used to tether the Playbook. It is a secure connection between devices and can be very useful for those on the move.

Not really. But I found the camera a bit old fashioned. It is nowhere near the wonderful camera on the Passport. The shots I took lacked detail, especially when the light was low. Plus, this phone shoots pictures in 1:1 ratio natively.

Buy this phone if you are not a big fan of a large touchscreen. If you find it more comfortable and comforting to use physical keys, then there is no better option. The Classic is easier and faster to type with. Plus, go for this phone if you want to be on top of all your communications, be it mail, or text or notifications. The BlackBerry Hub is still the best mail app out there. You can get almost all Android apps on the phone now, except a few that use native Google features.

With the kind of build and materials this phone is using, it would be foolhardy to think the phone would or could have been cheaper. But yes, if BlackBerry wants people to come back in droves they need to provide the same features at a much lower price. I guess we will have to wait a bit for that.

Like or hate it? Share your views on the BlackBerry Classic smartphone in the comment section below.


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