BlackBerry Classic in-depth review - One for the QWERTY junkie

 BlackBerry Classic Review - One for the QWERTY junkie
3.5

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,5/20/2015 12:02:35 AM

7

out of 10

Performance

8

out of 5

Look and feel

8

out of 5

Ease of use

6

out of 5

Features

9

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

Looks good I Perfect for emailing I Robust security features

Cons:

Tiny screen I Limited number of apps I Square screen

With a spectacular fall from grace, Blackberry have gone back to their vaults and pulled out the device that earned them their name, fame and private jets. The Blackberry Classic has been resurrected and returned to shop display cases. But, while it was away, the world of smartphones had changed. Phones were bigger, with massive screens and app stores brimming over with films, music and games. 

It was a case of the game being lost before the player took to the field, however, Blackberry had one last arrow in its quiver- the QWERTY junkie... Those people who had used a Blackberry since it first launched, bemoaned its loss and waited for it to make a grand re-entry. There were also business users who, with tightening security controls from the workplace were left with very limited options on smartphones they could use- enter, stage left, the Blackberry Classic.

It would be easy to shred a phoen like the Classic to pieces by comparing it with Samsung's latest, but that is not the point here. Like we reviewed the Doro Liberto 820 for the consumer group it was for, we handed over the Blackberry user to give us their thoughts on a phone that was probably built for them and scores like them around the world...

- By Jeeshu Ganguly

I have always been a huge fan and user of BlackBerry phones for work. I think they are the best for the basic functions you need at work - email, calendar, contacts, texts and calls. And a few apps thrown in. It had been a good journey so far until I was a given the BlackBerry Q10 to use. A mid-scale BB with a touch screen, it was an unmitigated disaster.

To the extent that I returned the phone and embraced BYOD. which didn't work too well as my corporate email account is through a very secure home grown app which refuses to behave on either Android or IOS. 

Hence my return to the BlackBerry. With the Classic. And what a return!!

 

Everything works for the Classic. It is a good looking phone - the brushed steel rim, rounded edges, unobtrusive buttons on the side for volume, a decent 3.5-inch screen - it all adds up. The back of the phone has a nice feel to it and it feels like you are holding a solid piece of technology without spraining your wrist. With these dimensions, the phone can be comfortably used with one hand except maybe when reaching for the sleep/ wake up button on the top. 

The 3.5-inch, 720x720 pixel screen is good enough for all basic requirements. Email and MS office documents are rendered clearly and the screen can be expanded to zoom in without losing clarity. 

BB's physical keyboard has always been a differentiator and it is no different now. The joy of having my fingers fly over the keys without worrying about fat-finger syndrome, cannot be expressed in mere words. 

Setting up my corporate account through the Enterprise server was easy but here is where I have my only major complaint. The Classic using BB10 forces the administrator to create separate work and personal spaces. Which is great till you realise that in the work space, access to BB World is severely restricted. So apps get downloaded through the Personal space. Which works well till the app has to access data from your work email which is - you are right - in the Work area. And the twain don't talk to each other.  

Synchronisation is pretty good - with emails refreshing immediately over mobile and wifi networks. Updates on the calendar and contacts are smooth as well.

BlackBerry Blend is a nifty app which lets the user manage the phone interface from a laptop as long as they are on the same wifi network. It let's you answer texts and BBM messages directly from the laptop, as well as emails...which you don't have to do because, well, you are already using your laptop. The browser is better than previous versions, loading and refreshing pages quickly. Dropbox comes pre-loaded along with a bunch of other productivity apps like Evernote (for taking notes), Docs to Go (view Office documents, make minor edits) etc. 

The Hub is useful as always, providing notifications across email, calendar, texts, BBM and calls. While the consolidated view can sometimes be overwhelming, it is very easy to switch to looking at only emails or texts. 

The screen is responsive and from a user point of view, as you would expect from any decent smart phone. The camera at 8MP is average as is music quality on on the audio player. The expandable memory slot (upto 128GB) lets you store photos and music (and anything else you require) but I will stick to my iPhone for media. Installing and setting up Netflix was easy as was the navigation. But watching Daredevil on a square 3.5-inch screen was an experience I wouldn't want to repeat... ever. 

Blackberry Classic: Verdict

The Classic is all in all, a great work phone but really not good enough to replace my "entertainment device". Will I stop using it because it gets less than glowing reviews? No. And that's because there is a very specific need that it addresses- for me to work and in that respect, the Classic does a more than good job.