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First Look: Blackberry Classic

Combining retro mobile phone features with the latest touchscreen technology, the Classic is an intriguing mix of traditional Blackberry and modern smartphone features.

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The Blackberry Classic offers a physical keyboard, an optical trackpad (like a mini joystick) and a modern touchscreen. The Classic also sports the Blackberry “Toolbelt” with Call, Menu, Back and End call buttons.

An issue I had was the difference between scrolling on the touchscreen and with the trackpad. When using the Classic’s touchscreen you move your finger in the direction you want the page to scroll. However, the trackpad is the opposite, with a downward swipe moving the page up. I found this set-up annoying. The trackpad isn’t backlit, which makes using it at night difficult.

I was impressed with the Classic’s camera quality. Its 8MP rear camera and 2MP front camera both take sharp and clear images. The rear camera is capable of recording Full HD video. The Classic’s wide screen is one of the smallest Blackberry offers but I had no trouble viewing from multiple angles.

The Classic has a nice feel with a plastic back and is comfortable to hold for long calls. It’s easy to access all the important buttons with only one hand. It’s also hefty enough that you’ll know it’s in your pocket without having to check.

Sporting the latest Blackberry operating system (OS 10), the Classic boasts it now supports your favourite Android apps, via the Amazon Appstore. While this sounds great, I found many of my “favourite” apps weren’t available, compatible or worked properly. Many of the apps I tried had issues with scrolling and selecting links. Disappointingly, I found some of my most commonly used apps, such as Stuff and the NZHerald, weren’t available at all.

The Classic’s specs aren’t anything to sing about, but it’s very easy to use and tugs on those nostalgic strings. This is a good smartphone choice for anyone yearning for physical buttons but still wanting a modern touchscreen.

Essential Specs

  • Price: $534-620
  • Size: 16GB
  • Screen: 3.5-inch, 720 x 720 resolution
  • Processor & memory: Dual core processor up to 1.5GHz, 2GB RAM
  • Cameras: Front 2MP, Rear 8MP
  • Operating system: Blackberry OS 10

First Looks are trials of new or interesting products from the perspective of our product experts. Our lab-based tests offer truly objective product comparisons.

By Erin Bennett.