BlackBerry launched the BlackBerry Classic in late 2014, making the device its fourth smartphone of 2014, following the Z3, the P’9983, and the BlackBerry Passport. The phone was originally announced during MWC 2014, leaked on several occasions, and eventually even flashed about during the closing moments of the BlackBerry Passport launch event. It was made official at an event in New York, when it was shown off on stage by CEO John Chen.
Updated on 07-31-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added price cut at T-Mobile for the BlackBerry Classic.
Check out our hands-on of the BlackBerry Classic below
Hands on video
On sale with T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon
BlackBerry and T-Mobile finally made amends, and the Classic reached the Uncarrier’s network on May 13. The Classic hit T-Mobile store shelves on May 15, at which point customers were able to get it for $0 down and 24 monthly payments of $18.33 a month.
In late July, T-Mobile discounted the Classic to $370 unsubsidized, which is $69.93 off of the Classic’s previous price of $439.92. You can now get the phone for $0 down and 24 monthly payments of $15.42.
Verizon’s BlackBerry Classic is on sale February 26 online, and on March 5 in retail stores. It costs $100 with a two-year contract, but there’s a $50 mail-in rebate to effectively halve the price. On Verizon Edge, you can get the phone for 24 monthly payments of $16.66.
If you’d prefer to buy a Classic through AT&T, you’ll pay $50 with a two-year contract, or $420 without. It’s also available on AT&T Next, where the monthly price varies from $14 to $21, depending on the length of time selected.
In the UK, the phone can also be purchased through BlackBerry’s own website, where it costs £350.
Back to the good old days?
CEO John Chen said the BlackBerry Classic isn’t just a rehash of old tech. “Everything has been upgraded,” he said, adding, “the only thing we’ve kept is the keyboard, and reintroduced the navigation keys and trackpad.” Chen said it was a challenge to integrate these classic options into the new BlackBerry 10 operating system.
BlackBerry has equipped the Classic with a 3.5-inch touchscreen, which features a 720 x 720 pixel resolution and 294ppi pixel density, all surrounded by a familiar-looking, and very traditional BlackBerry body shell. If you loved the BlackBerry Bold, chances are you’ll fall for the Classic. A four-line physical QWERTY keyboard sits below the screen, and the two are separated by a strip of navigation keys.
Built for speedy navigation, the touchscreen, navigation keys, and the trackpad are designed to work together. Many keyboard shortcuts have been built in, press R to quickly reply for example. BlackBerry boasts its keyboard has been engineered for fast typists, and is four times more accurate than typing on a touchscreen BB10 phone. The Classic is pitched towards former BlackBerry owners, rather than at new users, and almost exclusively as a business device.
Modest power and camera
The Classic has an 8-megapixel autofocus rear camera, and a basic 2-megapixel selfie cam around the front. Power is supplied by a dual-core, 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor and a healthy 2GB of RAM. A total of 16GB internal storage space comes as standard, but there is a MicroSD card slot to increase this amount by up to 128GB.
BlackBerry has installed the latest version of the BB10 operating system, 10.3.1. In addition to a few new features, it comes with the Amazon Android Appstore as standard, along with the BlackBerry app store. There are three zoom levels to make sure Android apps suit the Classic’s screen. Inside is a 2515mAh battery which should return an average 22 hours use before needing a recharge, plus Bluetooth 4.0, 4G LTE connectivity, Wi-Fi, an FM radio, and the NFC BlackBerry Tag technology.
Updated on 02-24-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in price and release information from Verizon.
Updated on 01-07-2015 by Joshua Sherman: Updated our article on the BlackBerry Classic to bring availability information from AT&T and Verizon.
CONTINUE TO PAGE TWO FOR A ROUNDUP OF LEAKS PRIOR TO THE BLACKBERRY CLASSIC’S OFFICIAL LAUNCH
If these high quality leaked pictures are of the real thing, then the Classic’s design will be familiar to all BlackBerry fans. The phone, also known as the Q20, looks a lot like the Q10, Bold, and Curve smartphones; complete with a modest sized screen, a physical QWERTY keyboard, and a five-button navigation and shortcut strip separating the two. The phone has a textured rear panel, plus a set of speaker cutouts running across the base of the device.
A sleep/wake key is fitted to the top of the phone, while a MicroSD card slot sits next to the SIM tray down the left-hand side. On the pictured model, the strip holding the camera lens and LED flash shows “Classic” branding. When the Q20 was announced at MWC, it was stated the Classic name would be worn by more devices in the future.
Old school specs
An extensive spec list for the Classic has been leaked. If it’s accurate, we can expect a 3.46-inch touchscreen with a 720 x 720 pixel resolution, and power from a dual-core Snapdragon processor running a 1.5GHz. Internal memory should be 16GB with the option to increase this using a MicroSD card, while RAM will be a respectable 2GB.
Photographic duties will be handled by an 8-megapixel camera on the rear, which is also equipped with auto-focus and an LED flash, while selfies will be snapped with the 2-megapixel front camera. Other notable features include NFC, a 2515mAh battery, wireless charging support on selected models, and noise canceling microphones.
Foxconn built hardware
Following in the footsteps of the Z3, the BlackBerry Q20 Classic should be built in Foxconn’s factories, with BlackBerry responsible only for the software side. We’re also expecting it to be launched mainly in BlackBerry’s most important markets.
Launching soon in the U.S.
The BlackBerry Classic has been confirmed at CES to arrive in the U.S. sometime in 2015. Right now pricing for AT&T suggests the unit will be just $50 on a two-year agreement, along with a $420 retail price. Verizon has also confirmed to be carrying the Classic, though no word on availability or pricing – but we think it will be somewhere around AT&T’s pricing.
Updated on 05-07-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added in price and release information from T-Mobile.
Updated on 11-13-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Added December 17 launch date, pricing, and pre-order info.
Updated on 01-07-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in official information concerning the BlackBerry Classic, including availability details online, plus through AT&T and Verizon.
- BlackBerry Key2 LE: Everything you need to know
- T-Mobile’s new Revvlry phones offer decent specs at an affordable price
- The stand-alone Palm is now available, but you don’t really need it
- Motorola’s bare-bones Moto E6 costs $150 and has a removable battery
- What is RCS messaging? Here’s all you need to know about the successor to SMS