December 19, 2014

Product Review: Is This BlackBerry Fresh From the Vine, or is it Still Rotten?

By Justin H.

Believe it or not, there once was a time when Blackberries were the must-have smartphones. They were all the rage until iPhones and Androids came along with their fancy touch-screens and shoved them aside. For the past handful of years, BlackBerry has been teetering on the edge amidst a brand new marketing tactic, which mainly focuses on targeting the 1-percenters. Recent BlackBerry phones have gone for as much as $2,200, as the company strives to carve out a new niche. There is, however, a cheaper options that’s just hit the shelves.

BlackBerry’s recently stated that they are not content pigeonholing themselves anymore. The new $449 Blackberry Classic is an ode to past smartphones, and looks very similar to the old BlackBerry Bold. The real question is: can it fight back against its keyboard-shunning brethren? More importantly, is it worth the purchase?


The Phone Itself

The Classic runs the operating software BlackBerry 10.3.1, but its differences from the older models stop there. The Classic has 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and a 3.5-inch 720x720 screen. All of these features are identical to the previous BlackBerry model, the Q10, (aside from the screen size, which is slightly larger on the Classic, but with the same resolution).

The camera features an 8-megapixel rear camera, with 1080p video recording capabilities. These are both solid numbers, but also identical to 2012’s Q10. The beloved keyboard is much more aesthetically pleasing than the BlackBerry Passport, as the company has dialed things back to 2008, which was the era of the BlackBerry Bold. The phone is big enough to provide touch screen capabilities, as well as a convenient four-row keyboard with a trackpad and call buttons.

Capabilities

The performance of this phone is reportedly not good. The operating software is too advanced for the outdated dual-core processor, much the same as how the recent iOS update made all iPhone 4 models basically obsolete. If users just want to send a hoard of emails and tweets, then the Classic will get the job done. It also has other positive quirks in its operating system that make the phone extra convenient for opening PDF files, as well as and other features catered to the on-the-go businessman.

As far as apps and games, the Classic lags behind. It is nowhere near the level of iPhones and Androids in this aspect. Web browsing presents a similar problem, as the phone simply is not powerful enough for multitasking at this level. It takes an inexcusable amount of time to do what iPhones and Androids can do in split seconds.

Verdict

It is hard to imagine anyone ditching their iPhone or Android for this BlackBerry. I had a BlackBerry Bold in 2008, and was in love with it. The change to Apple was a decision made out of necessity, as BlackBerry simply never kept up with the times. This new model only repeats this failure.

There is nothing this phone does that makes it stand out from previous BlackBerry models. Its effort to appeal more to the general population feels half-hearted, as the Classic still lacks the capabilities of many other phones, aside from doing basics: calling, texting, and emailing. It is a phone made for the still-loyal BlackBerry users who refuse to surrender their keyboards, and also for businessmen who aren’t comfortable doling out $2,200 for a Blackberry.

If BlackBerry’s plan was to simply turn back the clock and satisfy its niche market of loyal keyboard advocates, this will get the job done. However, the Classic is unfortunately not the phone that will bring BlackBerry back to prominence.

Would you buy this phone? Tell us how you feel about it in the comments below!


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