I recently picked up a BlackBerry Passport after initially pooh poohing its industrial design but then seeing it well-rated by users. I’m happy to say, my initial reaction was wrong… after using the Passport (on AT&T), I like the Passport a lot and find its large square screen and innovative capacitive keyboard to be a breath of fresh air in the world of mobile tech.
If I like the Passport, why pick up a BlackBerry Classic? Several reasons:
- OS: I like BlackBerry10 and how it supports both swipe gestures and keyboard shortcuts (youtube link)
- Hardware keyboard: It just feels more satisfying to type out messages on hardware keyboards
- Hardware quality: Although surpassed by Passport specs, the Classic offers solid build quality
- Mobile OS Competition: BlackBerry is a mobile tech pioneer and I want to support the company in its turnaround
- Pricing: Most phones are priced at $500 or more off-contract, so $449 is an attractive price
My Classic arrived yesterday so I haven’t had it long enough to write a full review. I do like it, and here are some initial thoughts:
- Size: Its size falls between an iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 (H x W) although a bit thicker due to the battery
- Weight: After reading some reviews, I expected it to be brick-like in weight… oy! Unboxing the phone, I was surprised by how it felt “just right,” not too heavy, not too big.
- User experience: I didn’t realize how much I’d enjoy having “Back” and “Menu” hardware keys. Now, I’m nearly always clicking the Back key to minimize and then close apps (works with both BB and Android apps)
- Trackpad: It’s very cute and tiny 😉 I use it to scroll, much the way I use the Passport’s capacitive keyboard
- More pocketable: I love the Passport but it doesn’t lend itself to quickly answering when out walking the dog and I need to juggle holding the leash and the phone. The Classic’s size is more manageable for one-handed use.
Both phones use a nano-sim card so it’s easy to swap out and use whichever phone suits the occasion. I prefer the Passport’s big screen for intensive reading or web surfing (my vision isn’t great, so the larger screen helps), and prefer the Classic for running errands. Over the next few days, it will be interesting to see which phone I tend to use more frequently.
What do I say to folks who say the Classic is a 2011 phone released in 2014? Nothing. After all, selecting a phone is a personal decision — I take into account what I like and works best for me.
A few miscellaneous items that may be of interest to other Blackberry Classic / Passport users:
My “go to” apps –
- BB OS OEM apps:
- Maps (I like the BB OS maps, not sure why they get bashed)
- Browser (I ❤ reader mode)
- Connect to Dropbox
- BeWeather Pro
- NY Times
- Home Screen Plus (I like how it subtly inserts weather conditions onto the home screen)
- Washington Post
- BBC News
- Audible (gotta have my audiobooks! I’m using an older version of audible loaded from GoodeReader app store)
- Amazon Kindle
- Best Buy
I like the direction BlackBerry is taking and look forward to future products. Their current philosophy seems to be in sync with this Seth Godin post, which is a happy thing for BlackBerry users.