BlackBerry Classic Brings Back The ‘Belt’

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BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) launched the Classic smartphone today, finally answering the call from loyalists who have kept a death grip on their old legacy BlackBerry Bold smartphones. The new phone not only brings back the “belt” and QWERTY keyboard from BlackBerry’s legacy Bold smartphone series, but adds several improvements as well.

What’s to like about the BlackBerry Classic?

A review from tech reporter Raju Mudhar posted on The Star recommends that die-hard legacy BlackBerry fans check out the Classic. The smartphone’s specs aren’t in line with top-of-the-line smartphones, but for true, blue BlackBerry fans, that might not matter.

The 3.5-inch display on the Classic is bigger than the display was on the BlackBerry Bold. The QWERTY keyboard is also larger, and the company has brought back the trackpad. The so-called “belt,” which is the string of buttons located under the screen,” has also made a return in the Classic.

The new smartphone also has a 2515 mAh battery, which Mudhar said he got two days of use out of. He said the sizeable battery is probably responsible for some of the phone’s weight. However, he also said the weight makes the phone feel “enjoyably solid.”

Additionally, he said the Classic fixes his biggest problem with BlackBerry’s square Passport phone, which is make it feel “good to do the BlackBerry power grip or claw/hand cradle for typing.” The Classic’s other strengths include the software, the messaging hub, the flow of the apps, and the multi-tasking capabilities.

What’s bad about the BlackBerry Classic?

Mudhar said although the return of the belt will make the Classic seem comfortable to legacy users, it didn’t really do much for him. He said at first it was just a confusing way to navigate the phone, and he ended up using the touchscreen more than the belt.

Also the Classic’s specs aren’t as good as those of competing phones at the high end. The display’s resolution is only 720 x 720, putting the phone not even in the same league as high-end Android phones or the iPhone. The back camera is just 8 megapixels, while the front camera is only 2 megapixels.

Also he said even though BlackBerry added, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)’s app store, apps are still a weakness for the phone.

Typo 2 for iPhone 6 takes on BlackBerry Classic

One of the reasons BlackBerry has had so many loyal fans was because of the QWERTY keyboard, which of course is one of the Classic’s biggest features. However, Typo, the company that got sued by BlackBerry for making a keyboard for the iPhone 5 and 5S, has come out with an updated version for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

The Typo 2 is much bigger than the previous model, according to Slash Gear, and it sells for $99 instead of the Typo’s $79 price tag. But will the combination of the Typo 2 keyboard with the iPhone 6 be enough to keep BlackBerry out of the game?

It seems unlikely, as BlackBerry fans who are so loyal that they don’t mind using a phone from seven years ago will ever switch. Besides, BlackBerry scored another win against Typo in August, so it’s possible the keyboard maker won’t even get away with its attempt to take BlackBerry’s most popular feature over to the iPhone 6.

Shares of BlackBerry Ltd rose nearly 5% today at the NASDAQ.

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