CNET First Look
BlackBerry Classic offers a great keyboard, but a cramped screenBlackBerry's latest smartphone has the company's familiar shape, but its four-row keyboard makes for a smaller screen.
[MUSIC] Hi. I'm Nate and today we're checking out the Blackberry Classic. Now this smartphone is available for $449 unlocked and as the name implies, it's going to be really familiar if you're a blackberry fan. It starts as expected with the keyboard. The layout is going to be really familiar to anyone who used a Blackberry in the last three or four years or so. There are four rows of evenly spaced keys and typing feels fantastic. Every key is shaped with little ridges and depressions so if you're touch typist you'll always be aware when your fingers shift between keys. It really helps with accuracy. And they keys offer a nice satisfying click with every press, which leaves you typing confidently. The classic looks good, too. A stainless steel frame borders the full length of the phone, and back has a nice grippy texture. Three buttons sit on the right side. They're the volume controls and the mute button in the middle. Push and hold it to call up the BlackBerry assistant. It works just like Siri or Google Now. Ask a question or give it a task and it'll do it. The SIM card and the SD card slots are on the left side. The phone accepts nano SIM cards and SD cards up to 128 gigs. Call quality is great. I tested the phone on AT&T's LTE network here in San Fransisco. I could hear everyone I spoke to very clearly and heard no complaints. The phone's speakers are on the bottom with the micro USB charging port [MUSIC] They're loud and calls sound nice and clear, but the audio quality really isn't suitable for things like music, so stick to headphones. You'll find the headphone jack up top with the lock button. The battery is non-removable, but rated for over 20 hours of use, so you probably won't be hunting for a charger too often. The phone has a 3.5 inch screen with a 720 by 720 pixel resolution. [MUSIC] The low resolution is kind of a bummer for images and video. But text is going to be the primary concern here, and it looks great. Everything is crisp, and easy to read and edit. The square aspect ratio is gonna be a bigger problem, though. Especially if you're running Android apps. See, the classic one's Blackberry 10.3.1. And supports the Amazon app store, as well as Blackberry World. That's Blackberry's app store. Blackberry says that the idea is to get your secure Enterprise little apps from them, and turn to Android for things like games. But a lot of Android apps just look really weird in a square format. If you swipe down from the top of your screen while you're writing an Android app you can actually choose from different screen ratio presets which should help things out a tad. But here's the thing. Is a great keyboard really enough? Smartphones live and die by the apps we can install on them, and the small hodgepodge available on the Amazon app store. Is it really gonna cut it? And then there are all the great security and productivity features that BlackBerry offers. Those really only shine in a managed, IT environment, which rules out a lot of smartphone owners. So that leaves existing BlackBerry fans. Now, if you've got an older Blackberry phone, or you just have fond memories of the Curve or Bold you once owned. The BlackBerry Classic is going to be a great upgrade. But for those of us want it type in physical keyboard or don't work in manage corporate environment, then this phone isn't really for us. I'm Nate Ralph, thanks for watching.