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BlackBerry Classic review: A killer smartphone for keyboard lovers

Al Sacco | Dec. 19, 2014
The BlackBerry Classic is the best smartphone the company has ever released, according to CIO.com's Al Sacco. However, it's not going to lure away many iPhone or Android users, or significantly increase BlackBerry's market share. And that's just fine with BlackBerry. Here's why.

As mentioned in the last section, I appreciate the fact that the Classic has expandable memory, but it's unfortunate the device is currently available with only 16GB of fixed storage. The OS takes up a good chunk of that space, so you actually get significantly less storage space. That means you pretty much need a media card, which honestly is not a big deal. I do wish the Classic were available with more storage options, though.

Again, BlackBerry is not trying to wow customers with specs, and that's quite clear when you look at the Classic's display. It's simply not very high resolution, and if you're used to another new-ish, high-end device, the difference is evident. For context, the Classic has a 3.5-inch, 720 x 720 LCD display at 290 ppi. The iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch 1334 x 750 Retina display at 326 ppi, and the Galaxy Note 4, with one of the best displays I've ever seen on a smartphone, has a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED 2,560 x 1,440 screen at 500 ppi.

If you're not used to a newer phone that's on par with the ones I mentioned, you might not mind the Classic's relatively lo-res display.

BlackBerry has never been known for its cameras. As such, I didn't expect much from the Classic. That said, the BlackBerry Classic camera works better than I thought it would. I captured images in a variety of environments, and though I didn't do extensive camera tests, it seems like the camera works well in bright environments with natural light. It struggles in dim or dark environments, where it almost always uses the flash (if your flash is set to automatic) even when it's not needed. It also doesn't focus well for close-up shots. The Classic camera is probably "good enough" for most people, but I put it in the "weaknesses" section of this review, because it's certainly not one of the device's strengths.

In the past, BlackBerry printed a variety of required regulatory device identification information inside the removable battery doors of its devices. The Classic has a fixed battery door, so the company had to find someplace else to print that information.

When I started using my Classic, I heard a "jingling" noise when I shook it. It sounded like a small piece of metal bouncing around inside the device. I removed the SIM and memory card tray to see if I could find the problem piece, and a thin metal plate with a tiny hole slid out. On closer inspection, I noticed a number of lines of miniature text with the device model number, IMEI, PIN and FCC ID. However, I had to remove that metal plate because it was bouncing around and making noise.

 

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