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BlackBerry Launches New Smartphone; BlackBerry Classic, With Physical Keyboard

by Felix Omondi

BlackBerry Launches New Smartphone; BlackBerry Classic, With Physical Keyboard

BlackBerry officially launched the new BlackBerry Classic yesterday morning in New York. One of the first things you can easily notice about the BlackBerry Classic is just how much it mirrors the BlackBerry 9900 released back in 2011. Other things would be the physical keyboard and the “tool belt”.

Sonia Moniz-Bennett, Senior Manager of Product Marketing at BlackBerry describes the new phone in four words: Familiar design faster results. The following is our review of the new BlackBerry Classic (BB Classic) smartphone:


BB Classic has a body dimension of 131×72.4×10.2mm making it easy to operate with just one hand. It has a stainless steel frame running around the phone’s circumference which makes it a bit heavy and more noticeable in the pocket. The back cover doesn’t come off, hence BlackBerry has fitted a nanoSIM and microSD trays of the left side of the BB Classic. At the top, you will find the power/lock key, on the right side there’s the volume buttons.

During the first launch of BlackBerry 10 (BBOS 10), the OS had a lot of bugs that made it not receive a lot of warm reception from users. But BlackBerry has since been working on various updates, and the BB Classic seems to rock the very latest of BlackBerry 10 (version 10.3.1).


It has a 3.5-inch display with a 4:3 aspect ratio. The screen is fitted with Corning Gorilla Glass that will minimize damage if you drop it.


Beneath the hood, BB Classic hides 1.5GHz dual-core processor backed by a 2GB RAM.The phone comes with 16GB internal storage that can be expanded with a microSD card of up to 128GB.


On the back, BB Classic sports an 8MP camera with features like panorama, HDR, burst and BlackBerry’s TimeShift functionality. At the front, it has a 2MP camera that is especially handy given that BBM now supports free video calls just like Apple’s FaceTime does.


The BBOS 10 has been praised for its fast web browsing speed, and the BB Classic has maintained that fast surfing experience with its HTML 5 browsing.

Battery Life

The phone is powered by a 2,515mAh battery that according to BlackBerry should give you 22 hours of “mixed use”


The phone comes with two large speaker ports located near the bottom part of its bezel used for audio and making speakerphone calls.

Other Features

If you ‘single-press’ the volume buttons on the right side, the phone will toggle mute and if you ‘long-press’ the button it will launch BlackBerry Assistant; a rival of Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri. According to BlackBerry, the keypads are supposed to light up when you are in a dim or dark environment.


Physical keyboard still has its appeals, especially to users who have not yet gotten the hang of on-screen keyboards and are not just as fast or accurate when typing on them. BlackBerry is also known for being the most secure mobile platform, so if you are very sensitive on your privacy and security, then BB Classic is the phone for you.


BB Classic has a 1.5GHz dual-core processor yet you can find other bottom end smartphones having quad-core processors. Sure it more than enough processing power for the average smartphone user, but it’s not for users running a lot of HD content or playing mobile games with high graphics properties.


The BB Classic is a phone tailor-made to the needs of a particular market. Those who do a lot of SMS and emailing on their phones, will highly appreciate the physical keypad with grids to guide their fingers for fast typing. The tool belt also will come in handy for quickly launching and switching between your messaging apps.

BlackBerry was not trying to outdo its competitors with the BB Classic; rather it wants to it serves the needs of its loyal customers who prefer its physical QWERTY keyboards and mobile security. Mainly users in the business community, who communicate a lot via email and don’t want to jeopardize their privacy.

The BlackBerry Classic goes for $449 and is currently only available for pre-orders from the online store.

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