Following the release of the uniquely designed BlackBerry Passport earlier this year comes another BlackBerry device that many have been looking forward to see: the BlackBerry Classic.
The Classic, which is the closest thing to the “next gen” BlackBerry Q10, stays true to its name by bringing one important detail that was left out of the BlackBerry Q10’s design: the iconic row of physical menu keys, complete with trackpad. Looking at the BlackBerry Classic, there really is very little difference (initially) between the design of this BlackBerry 10 device and the BlackBerry devices of yesteryear.
But despite this notion of truly bringing back the classic BlackBerry look, there’s still a problem. A big problem. While the Classic takes care of nostalgic BlackBerry users in the design department, there’s another nostalgic component that you can’t see - the Classic is almost identical in specs to last year’s Q10.
The BlackBerry Classic’s screen does manage to be a little larger than the Q10’s, with the Q10 measuring in with a 3.1-inch touchscreen display, and the Classic coming in with a nearly 3.5-inch display; however, the Classic’s larger screen also decreases the pixel density from the Q10’s 328ppi to 291ppi given that they both have the same resolution of 720 x 720 pixels.
Both phones use a dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait processor, have 16GB of internal memory, and 2GB of RAM. Both phones also have an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. The Classic is immediately able to support a 128GB SD card, where as the Q10 is said to only be able to support up to a 64GB SD card. It’s worth mentioning, though, that the Q10 can actually support a 128GB SD card if formatted correctly (format it to FAT-32 on your computer before inserting it in your phone).
One thing that the Classic does have over the Q10, though, is a larger battery. The Classic features a 2515 mAh battery, and the Q10 features a 2100 mAh battery.
Really, there isn’t much difference there between the Q10 and the Classic at all. The biggest feature that the Classic offers over the Q10 is the addition of the physical menu and the trackpad - which might be enough for some people, but I also think that the Classic leaves much to be desired. Especially at the price that the Classic is being sold for full price ($449 US) compared to the Q10 at this point ($219 US), I guess I don’t see the Classic getting very far.
I understand that maybe the Classic wasn’t meant to get “far” - the BlackBerry Passport, which also holds on to a certain BlackBerry-esque design and features, was likely BlackBerry’s true shining star this year with its bizarre design and monster specs (not to mention selling for a discounted price for the holidays, too). Still, there seemed to have been a lot of people who were holding out from purchasing the Q10 in order to get their hands on the Classic instead. Perhaps they were waiting for the return of the trackpad and physical menu, but I imagine the more likely scenario was that they were hoping for updated specs in addition to the retro design. The Q10, while it is missing the trackpad, at least had the physical QWERTY keyboard right, which is the most important part of a BlackBerry for many.
At the end of the day, I like that BlackBerry was able to return to its real roots for the Classic; the physical menu and the trackpad, I believe, are still helpful given the limited screen space (which could become a problem for people with larger hands). However, do I think that the Classic is a true, worthy purchase over the Q10? I can’t say that I do. Given that the Q10 sells for less than half of what the Classic is asking for, I’m going to have to say that the Q10 is still the phone I would recommend over the Classic at this point. With that being said, there’s no judgment here if you think that the Classic’s addition of a trackpad, physical menu, and bigger battery is worth the splurge - if nothing else, at least it’s nostalgic.