BlackBerry Classic Keyboard Works Well for Users Who Live in Email - Page 2

While the Classic will run some Android apps, it does not support Google Play Services, which a number of Android apps require. This means that you can download an app only to find that it doesn't work at all or that some functions don't work.

One thing that has changed is that you can no longer remove the back of the phone to change the battery. The 2,515mAh battery is inside the Classic's sealed case. The SIM card that used to be held in the back with the battery is now behind a hatch on the side of the phone. You can poke a paper clip to reveal a nano-SIM carrier. There's also a slot for a hot-swappable MicroSD card next to the SIM holder. The Classic will accept memory cards up to 128GB.

BlackBerry said that the Classic will operate for up to two weeks in standby and delivers more than 18 hours of talk time. My experience using the phone in a mixed cellular-WiFi environment showed that the device had about the same battery life as its BBOS 10 brethren, which was about two days of average use. This is better than a lot of smartphones that generally bite the dust in about a day of similar use.

The Classic runs on GSM networks, including those of AT&T and T-Mobile. BlackBerry provided an AT&T SIM, so naturally I purchased a T-Mobile SIM instead. There were two reasons for this: one because the two companies are in a tiff and because AT&T doesn't provide useable service in the area near eWEEK's office in the Washington, D.C., suburbs.

The Classic worked fine with T-Mobile, including that company's high-speed 4G LTE signals. This phone also supports WiFi, but it doesn't support 802.11ac and nor does it support WiFi calling.

Using the BlackBerry Classic brings back memories. It's easy to get back to the familiar feel of thumb-typing on the sculpted keyboard. I found the physical keys to be much more accurate than any on-screen keyboard, even BlackBerry's. The predictive typing worked well, although it was a little less convenient than on the Z10 and Z30, where the anticipated words appear just above the keys.

The new keyboard is actually slightly easier to use than that on the Bold because the keys are slightly larger, and the phone retains the stainless steel frets between rows of keys. Now, the question becomes whether you spend more time typing messages on your smartphone than you do looking at Web pages on the screen. If you live in your email app, the easier typing makes a compelling case for the BlackBerry Classic.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...