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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.

A few of my favorite things in BlackBerry 10 aren't unique to the Classic, but they're still notable. The BlackBerry Assistant voice control features work well, and they're notable because you don't need to use specific audio prompts, as you do with other popular voice assistants. You can press and hold the Classic's mute key, located on its side between the volume keys, to invoke BlackBerry Assistant.

Battery life is another area in which the BlackBerry Classic shines. According to BlackBerry's official numbers, you should get 22 hours of "mixed use" from the Classic's 2,515mAh pack, which is more than enough juice to get through a typical workday. For context, I pitted my Classic against my iPhone 6 in a call-time test. During a three-hour call, the Classic lost 27 percent of its battery, while the iPhone 6 lost 31 percent. Both devices had five bars of 4G connectivity during the test, though the Classic is on T-Mobile and the iPhone 6 is on AT&T.

Overall, I've been pleased with the iPhone 6's battery life, and in my experience, the Classic lasts even longer on a single charge. (I did have one significant issue with the Classic battery, however, and I'll address that in the next section.)

I won't get into too many details about the security features built into the BlackBerry Classic OS, because most are not specific to the device. However, I would be remiss not to at least mention that security- and privacy-conscious users will find many advanced security options, including a variety device lock options, encryption for built-in storage and memory cards, and remote device location and wipe services.

One of my favorite BlackBerry 10 security features is BlackBerry Guardian, which you can use to scan all of the apps on your device for malware, even software from unknown app stores and sources. When combined with the company's BES EMM products, BlackBerry 10 and the Classic are impressive from a security and management standpoint.

While there's a lot to like, the Classic isn't for everyone, and it falls short in a number of notable ways. Next up, details on the BlackBerry Classic's weaknesses.

BlackBerry Classic Review: The Bad Stuff
The first thing I thought when I removed my BlackBerry Classic from its packaging and picked it up was, "Holy @#$*, this thing is heavy." I still think something along those lines when I pick it, and I've been using the device for a week.

For context, the Classic weighs 180 grams. The Bold 9900 weighs 136 grams, or nearly 50 grams less than the Classic. The Q10, which is a bit closer in size to the Classic, weight 136 grams. The much larger BlackBerry Passport weights 195 grams, just 15 grams more than the Classic. And the Galaxy Note 4, another very large phone, weighs 178 grams.

 

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