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printed December 17, 2017
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Review: BlackBerry Classic

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The BlackBerry Classic is not a bad phone, not by any stretch, but it isn't a good phone, either. As has long been BlackBerry's problem, the Classic is a one-trick pony. Meanwhile, every other pony in the stable has learned compelling new tricks.

The Classic is a fine piece of hardware that has a good mix of materials and design. Call quality is excellent, network performance solid, and the battery life (still) beats the pants off an iPhone. The keyboard is the best in the business, though it's also pretty much the only keyboard in the business. The keys feel great, but I'm faster swiping across glass at this point. BlackBerry Hub is unrivaled in its ability to fine-tune and manage the inbox experience. The phone also lets you accomplish a lot with just one hand, unlike many of today's bulky flagships.

As excellent as the Classic is for managing email and other messaging tasks, it's miserable at everything else. The selection of apps is abysmal and those that are available are inferior to their Android/iOS counterparts. BBM is a great messaging app, but hardly anyone uses it anymore. I think it really says something that the iPhone is better when it comes to creating/editing Microsoft Office documents, too. (The Classic has a crappy, third-party Office viewer.)

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I can only recommend the BlackBerry Classic to two groups of people: 1. Die-hard BlackBerry fans who simply won't use any other device; and 2. People who seriously — and I mean seriously — live and die by blasting through their email as quickly as possible. If you like to do anything else with your phone (take photos, watch movies, play games, flirt on dating apps), pick something else.

Our Ratings

3
Overall
4
Reception
4.5
Battery Life
5
Hardware Usability
5
Hardware Quality
2.5
Display
2.5
Interface Speed
4.5
Audio Volume
2.5
Camera
 

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