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You miss that QWERTY keyboard, don't you? You're not alone. Many of us do, which is why BlackBerry keeps releasing new keyboard-equipped models, including two entrants this quarter alone -- the Passport and the Classic. We've talked about the Passport -- behemoth phablet meets QWERTY taskmaster at a premium price -- but today, BlackBerry made the Classic model official.
What's the Classic? Depending on whom you ask, it's either (a) a long-overdue pragmatic fit of nostalgia or (b) the same phone BlackBerry has released three times in the past few years.
Deja Deja Vu
Here are three phones (specs via PhoneArena):
|Q5 (2013)||Q10 (2012)||Classic (2012)|
|Processor||Snapdragon||Snapdragon S4||Snapdragon S4|
|RAM||2 GB||2 GB||2 GB|
|Storage (all expandable via MicroSD cards)||8 GB||16 GB||16 GB|
|Camera||5 megapixel front, 2 megapixel rear||8 megapixel front, 2 megapixel rear||8 megapixel front, 2 megapixel rear|
|Screen||3.1-inch 720x720||3.1-inch 720x720||3.5-inch 720×720|
First came the Q10, a QWERTY-based phone that was supposed to revive BlackBerry. Nobody bought it, other than QWERTY diehards. The Q5 was supposed to be a cheaper version for emerging markets, but interestingly, had nearly the same specs. (Really, the step down wouldn't affect the primary purpose of BlackBerrys -- typing emails and texts).
So what does that make the Classic? A Q10 with an extra 0.4 inches of screen space and a bit of nostalgia.
The Q10 was supposed to replace the BlackBerry Bold -- the father of all smartphones. People didn't like the Q10. It was missing the "tool belt" -- the BlackBerry track pad and power buttons that were traditionally placed under the screen on previous BlackBerry models. For that reason, many stuck to their BlackBerry Bolds (even though that's kind of like using a rotary phone in a touch-tone world) or switched to Androids and iPhones.
The Classic is what the Q10 should have been, but it comes two years later. It looks like the Bold, but has a slightly bigger screen. It runs a modern operating system -- one that I've tested, loved, and which now runs Android apps -- and has a touchscreen but also has every single button that the old Bold had. This is the phone for diehards, QWERTY groupies, and those with a crack(berry) addition that needs feeding after spending years on Apple's methadone. This is the Bold for 2012 ... in 2014.
Is it a phone for everyone? No. Especially not at $450 for a device with years-old internals. But that keyboard ... nothing compares to the BlackBerry keyboard.