BlackBerry Classic review

Few tech companies elicit as emotional a response to Canadians as BlackBerry. But the once-quintessential tech giant, stifled and contracted, has eaten crow for nearly two years, and is ready to begin a new phase as a software and services company.

To that end, the release of the Passport in September and, today, the Classic, attempt to meet its dwindling customer base where it already is: the boardroom. The Classic, with its Bold-like aesthetic and reintroduced trackpad, goes right for those long-suffering loyalists, clinging to devices with cracked screens and keys akimbo.

But can the Classic break out of its narrow bubble — and does BlackBerry even need it to? Let’s find out.



  • BlackBerry 10.3.1
  • 3.5-inch 720×720 pixel IPS display
  • 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 SoC w/ Adreno 225 GPU
  • 2GB RAM / 16GB internal storage (expandable)
  • 8MP rear camera w/ F2.2 lens, 2MP front camera
  • 1080p video capture @ 30fps, 720p video capture @ 60fps
  • WiFi (b/g/n/a), Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS
  • 2515mAh non-removable battery
  • LTE 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 13, 17, 25. HSPA: 1, 2, 4, 5/6
  • 131 x 72.4 x 10.2 mm
  • 178 grams
  • $499 CAD outright


Few phones betray their creators’ intentions like the BlackBerry Bold. A once-storied brand that has since been reduced to vignetted images of Luddite executives unwilling to abandon the immediacy (and ever-fading light) of traditional email and SMS services, BlackBerry has attempted to reclaim some of that vitriol with the Classic in a way the now-aged Q10 never could.

I admit to being immediately attracted to the Classic’s comfortable, fretted hardware keyboard but, like many now-obsolete technological trends, a hardware keyboard feels less essential than anachronistic. The past three years have seen innumerable improvements to touch accuracy, autocorrect algorithms and, to the benefit of consumers most, screen sizes.

Turning the Classic over in one’s hand reveals a heft missing from many modern smartphones. It is a serious hunk of machine. Like most BlackBerrys it is framed by stainless steel, and though it lacks the subtle finesses of the flagship Passport, it’s incorrect to call the Classic a ‘discount’ or mid-range device.


The front bears more than a passing resemblance to the device many loyalists have clung to for dear life, the Bold 9900. The screen is bigger, at 3.5-inches, and of unmistakably better quality — both higher resolution and comprised of new technology — but the Classic is, for better or worse, not an entirely new product.

There are some important changes to note. Like the Passport there is no removable battery, which will likely irk the moribund masses of Crackberry addicts, but the 2515mAh battery is substantial enough to last a day and then some.

This is no computational powerhouse, either: the internal specs are pure early 2013: a dual-core 1.5Ghz Snapdragon S4 chip (the same one found in the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S3, for context), 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and an 8MP camera. Remove the trackpad and four-button ‘tool belt’, axe half an inch from the screen and you have a Q10.

So why does the Classic exist? All but the few die-hards waiting for this phone will, along with me, scratch their heads in puzzled bemusement, but I’ll admit, as someone who got his start in this field pushing out BBMs on a tiny BlackBerry Pearl, the Classic brings home the feels.


Device & Display

Like its predecessors, the Classic is a bulky chunk of metal, a 10.2mm slab of smartphone weighing in at 178 grams. Compare it to the Q10, which was nearly 40 grams lighter, and you can tell right away this is a completely different class of device. Most of that extra weight comes from the larger battery — 2515mAh to the Q10’s 2100 — but the materials, including the steel frame and grippy back cover, add considerable heft.


All the buttons you’re familiar with — power, volume, play/pause — are in the same spots you left them, and a change in manufacturer to Foxconn hasn’t sullied the exemplary build quality. Improved is the location of the charging port, relocated from the left perimeter to the bottom centre, where it should be.

The screen, in particular, has been boosted in quality over the Q10. While the 3.5-inch IPS panel is marginally less dense, the technology behind it is far superior. We’re talking about improved viewing angles, more accurate colours and whites, and better touch response. LCD is also a better choice for BlackBerry 10.3’s lighter colour palette, something that hasn’t received a lot of attention since its release.


Around the back, the non-removable rubberized cover keeps the phone from slipping, and contours those long typing sessions. The keyboard is good — really good. Slightly wider than the Q10, the keyboard feels more spacious without, like the Passport, appearing comically so. Though my muscle memory kicked in shortly after turning it on, the Classic has BlackBerry’s best hardware keyboard: the keys are well-spaced, correctly-sized, and studiously ‘clicky.’

And that ‘tool belt’ has returned, along with the trackpad John Chen insisted so many customers missed from the Q10. While I find it difficult to believe BlackBerry’s wolf cry about how customers claim they would have purchased the Q10 if BlackBerry 10 had been less reliant on gestures for navigation — BB10 is nothing if not intuitive — the Classic goes a long way to ensuring the upgrade path of those legacy BBOS users will remain squarely in the family.

Screenshot 2014-12-16 18.31.37

The buttons perform as predicted, which is to say the ‘Call’ button opens the dialer, the ‘Menu’ key activates an app’s context dialog, the ‘Back’ button returns to the previous screen, and the ‘End’ button ends a call or acts as a home button. To me, these additions feel backward and regressive, and stunt the growth of BlackBerry 10 as a platform, but to others they will be like dopamine-enriched mana from the smartphone gods.


Software & Performance

BlackBerry assumes that most Classic buyers will be upgrading from a legacy BBOS device. The Classic’s existence is partly meant to clear up the mess left from the transition from BlackBerry 6 and 7 to BB10, which was not only built on a completely separate underlying platform but did away with the legacy trackpad-menu button navigation scheme.

Questionable learning curve aside, BlackBerry 10.3.1 adds trackpad support to an operating system that wasn’t built to manage it. In many ways it’s the opposite, but similarly senseless, stopgap measure BlackBerry used to tack on touch support to BlackBerry OS.


While it’s possible to entirely rely on touch input (ostensibly recreating a Q10), navigating with the trackpad feels natural — to an extent. BlackBerry has done a commendable job creating ‘zones’ that the trackpad knows to acknowledge with a pleasant blue highlight. Unlike BB OS of past, there is no cursor (outside of the web browser and Maps app), so that blue highlight is all the visual assurance you’re going to get. I found a most effective a hybrid method of navigation, using a finger until I got to an article or email and then switching to the trackpad for casual vertical movement.

Even as an experienced Bold user, I found the trackpad superfluous in all but a single use case: editing documents. This is where the precision of a “mouse” comes in handy, and BlackBerry users will quickly reacquaint themselves with the notion of highlighting text using ‘Shift’ key and then pressing the ‘Menu’ button to copy or paste.


There is no question of BlackBerry 10’s excellence in communications consolidation. The Hub brings all your emails, texts, Facebook, WhatsApp or WeChat messages, Twitter replies and DMs, LinkedIn inquiries and Google Talk conversations into a single place, and after reintroducing my thumbs to the spritely genius of a hardware keyboard I was click-clicking out emails in no time.

But when you look at the siloed nature of the Hub — only apps explicitly supported by BlackBerry show up in there — you realize how limiting it is. Sure, everyone receives emails, texts and Facebook messages, but what about companies that rely on Slack, Asana, Hipchat or any other closed system of communications? What about lovers of Line, Kik, Hangouts or Telegram? Unless they create a native Cascade-built version of their app that integrates with the Hub — and none of the above do — they’re out of luck.


Some of these use cases can be augmented with Android apps, but the experience is subpar. BlackBerry makes it possible for developers to add code to Android apps so push notifications can be relayed through the BlackBerry Hub, but few, if any, apps have been updated to do so. As a result, I can use Slack, Line, Kik and Telegram on my Classic, but incoming messages are invisible until I open the app to check. This may be a first-class communications device, but only if you or your organization sticks to email or WhatsApp.

The other issue that I still can’t quite wrap my head around is the Facebook/Twitter polling issue. With Facebook Messenger or Twitter on iOS or Android, responses come through as push notifications instantly. Because Facebook and Twitter for BlackBerry 10 are built upon the company’s APIs and not by their own dev teams, messages can sometimes take as long as 10 minutes to appear in the Hub. For a communications platform that prides itself on instant gratification, this is unacceptable.


Then there are the ‘This post could not be loaded’ error, which would happen to random Facebook posts without warning. If BlackBerry wants to maintain the social media usability of its Hub it needs to sort out these issues.


As I said in the Passport review (and the reason for such a low ‘Software’ rating), from an ecosystem perspective BlackBerry 10 feels incomplete. That it runs Android apps is a useful coverup for the fact that, to most developers, it is a dead platform, but those Android experiences, especially on the Classic, are often rife with input problems. I acknowledge that it is cute to see Monument Valley running on a BlackBerry, but when you begin rifling through the Amazon Appstore it becomes immediately apparent that it, too, lacks the quality app selection of the Google Play Store. Sideloading Android apps is as easy as downloading and opening an APK file from a web browser or cloud storage service like Dropbox, but then you miss out on the updates.

You shouldn’t have to fight with your smartphone, and unless I go without the basic functionality I take for granted on iOS, Android and even, on occasion, Windows Phone, BlackBerry 10 commits the sin of being frustrating.

That the “classic” BlackBerry user continues to be defined by email largely reinforces the need for a product like the Classic. I still don’t love BlackBerry 10 — its holes are too numerous, and its purported advantages stilted by poor app support — but I understand the loyalty it inspires when I receive ten emails, nine BBMs, eight WhatsApps, seven Tweets, six Facebook messages, five LinkedIn invites and a partridge in a pear tree. It’s stupid-fast for that stuff, and if my smartphone needs were uncomplicated I could see myself being quite happy with a Classic.


The company has also done a lot to improve access to common OS elements through gestures or quick toggles. For example, BlackBerry 10.3 introduced actionable notifications, so receiving a text message or BBM while in another app no longer means going back and forth between windows. Calendar invites can also be accepted, dismissed or snoozed from within a notification as well.

Lock screen notifications have also enhanced the ‘glanceability’ of BlackBerry 10, and because they tap into the Hub it’s possible to see individual pieces of content from email accounts, texts, Twitter and others.

Aware of its fleeing developer community, BlackBerry has attempted to recreate third-party experiences within the core OS experience. Password Keeper is now pre-installed, allowing users to securely save and sync passwords, credit and loyalty cards, notes and other important information between devices. The app uses a BlackBerry account to perform the synchronization, so it’s not possible to share data with other platforms, but family members can share content between BlackBerry devices.


BlackBerry has also substantially beefed up its Microsoft Office support with a new version of its in-house Docs To Go app, which can create Word and Excel and read Powerpoint presentations.

The pre-installed native version of Evernote has also received a nice UI boost with BB10.3, but it lacks newer features, like document and business card capture, from its iOS and Android counterparts. Relying on Android apps to fill in the gaps, too, becomes a game of cat-and-mouse, since an increasing number of apps rely on Google Play Services to run, an element of the Android OS that isn’t available to BlackBerry 10 users. All Google-built apps and third-party software that relies on the Google Maps API will throw an error.


One area BlackBerry is excelling, perhaps beyond even Apple’s Siri, is with its Assistant. Available from the keyboard- or voice-activated universal search screen, Assistant can hook into search engines like Google or Bing, as well as Yelp, Foursquare, Wolfram Alpha and more to obtain results to a multitude of queries. I was rarely disappointed.


And, of course, there’s BrickBreaker. BlackBerry brought the seminal game back for the Classic’s trackpad-friendly release, in the form of a new title called BrickBreaker Bold (#throwback). As always, it’s simple, addictive fun, and it shows that the company still has a sense of humour despite its enterprising proclivities.

Speaking of enterprise, BlackBerry 10 is not encrypted by default, a new measure taken by iOS 8 and Android 5 to improve security overall, but it can be enabled. For enterprise users the number of compatible MDM solutions — including the newly-released BES 12 — plus Balance and Blend make for a compelling argument, but BlackBerry no longer dominates the industry in this regard. Both Android and iOS have made huge strides, and have partnered with enterprise giants, to make inroads into the lucrative enterprise space.

A quick note on performance: running a 1.5Ghz dual-core Krait chip does not seem to hamper the OS much. The Passport, with its 1440×1440 pixel screen, likely needed the beefier GPU in the Snapdragon 801 SoC but the Classic, jumping through apps or loading web pages, never felt constricted. BlackBerry’s improved WebKit browser, still the only means to access a vast amount of content given BlackBerry’s app gap, occasionally stumbles over itself when loading HTML5-heavy pages, but is otherwise performant and stable.


The BlackBerry Classic has an 8MP rear camera with an F2.2 lens that, combined, falls into the good-not-great category. The sensor appears to be identical or slightly improved over the one in the Z10 and Q10, with perfunctory detail capture and colour reproduction in good lighting. But, like most other phones with ⅓-inch+ sensors, it falls apart indoors.

I’ve come to realize something about smartphone cameras: you can either rely on them or you can’t. The Classic falls into the former category, and despite middling low-light results I was generally happy with nearly every photo I took from the device.

BlackBerry has done a good job improving its camera software in the last few iterations, no longer relying on a tap-anywhere-to-shoot paradigm that confused and frustrated for all the out-of-focus shots it took. The 4:3 sensor defaults to 1:1 in order to fill the whole screen, which is absurd if you think about it, but the new ‘Auto Suggest Mode’ feature detects the right scene — Time Shift, Burst, Panorama — and switches to it with little user input.

The Classic can capture 1080p video at 30fps or 720p at 60fps, a limitation of its three year-old chipset. Quality was good, but the lack of image stabilization led to jerky, bumpy movements when walking or panning.


Battery Life & Connectivity

The Classic, like the Passport, represents BlackBerry well for the high-use customer contingent. The 2515mAh cell is not removable, but it’s well suited for all-day use. I used the Classic as my main phone for a week and never once went below 30% in the course of a day. That usually meant getting up at 7am and going to sleep at or before midnight. The low-power CPU coupled with software optimizations make for a pretty tireless smartphone companion.

The Classic doesn’t get quite as loud as the Passport, but its single rear-facing speaker is perfectly capable of delivering a hit of music or guiding a conference call. Headpiece quality is just as good, and holding the relatively diminutive phone, despite its heft, is not cumbersome.

The unlocked BlackBerry Classic can connect to every LTE networks in Canada, including Rogers’ and Bell’s 2600Mhz offering. It also supports 700Mhz connections. It’s not LTE Advanced-capable, but with speeds up to 75Mbps I was happy with the device’s cellular performance.

The version sold on ShopBlackBerry also supports Band 4 (AWS) on HSPA+, which means it will work with WIND Mobile, Videotron, Eastlink and Mobilicity out of the box.



The Classic is a beautiful, nostalgic mess. It’s a good phone with ample battery life to take on the day, and a familiar-feeling hardware keyboard for those who can’t go without.

While I understand the device is, by virtue of its name, a concession to long-suffering BlackBerry loyalists, the company’s inconsistent implementation of hybrid trackpad/touch support makes for a frustrating experience. Lovers of the Bold’s ‘tool belt’ will still need to learn a brand new operating system, and maneuver the compromises therein.

If the Passport is the thoroughbred, powerful and unpredictable, the Classic is the reliable donkey, unwavering and loyal. Software-wise there’s a lot to like, and BlackBerry has modernized BlackBerry 10 as much as it can, but the lack of third-party apps palls, even with rudimentary Android support.

For those who want email, messaging and basic smartphone functionality, the Classic brings the Bold series up to modern standards. For everyone else it is, as BlackBerry itself admits, ‘probably not for you’.


  • barrist

    LOL woooo!

  • JB

    “….but BlackBerry 10 just can’t keep up with iOS and Android where it counts.”

    What an asinine statement.

    • AppleBerrySandwich

      I agree – we all know there are a million of useless apps on other platforms. People don’t buy Blackberry for this.

    • dannyR

      They don’t buy it unless it runs Android. Chen knows this. Everyone knows this, even those BB lovers who diss the fact that it runs Android know this. No Android, no BB.

    • barrist

      So this phone should get a 10 because it’s exactly what .0000003% of the population want?
      Please head over to Crackberry for the Blackberry centric reviews then.

    • FlamesFan89

      No, it should get what ever score is appropriate to indicate how well the device performs at the tasks for which it was designed. You don’t judge a screwdriver on its ability to hammer nails, or, if you prefer car analogies, you don’t judge a sports car on its ability to be a delivery van for a courier service.

    • selonmoi

      What if the product itself acknowledges it doesn’t do natively what its makers think the market wants, because they tacked on semi-functional Android support and made a big mess in the process?

    • FlamesFan89

      I would say that it gets docked a little for a poorly implemented feature. iOS 3rd party keyboard support has been far from perfect. Should that mean that the iOS software score gets dragged way down? Android is not without its flaws either, and many OEMs have features tacked into their skins that are buggy at best, but if it is just one feature or two, it shouldn’t destroy the overall software score. Likewise, the ability to sideload Android apps is a feature, added onto the core software of the device. Does it work perfectly? heck no, but it is also not the core of the software, nor is use of the phone dependant on it. As you said, it’s tacked on. It’s a poorly done feature. Leave it at that.

      Instead, why not spend more time reviewing the actual native software. how does it perform? Are there glaring bugs? Is it smooth or does it stutter? Does it provide good features that are useful?

    • cartfan88

      For me it was about “The keyboard is good — really good.” And as a business facing device I’d still be all over this for banging out emails and texts on the go.

    • Raj Brar

      No because ever since bb10 came out, most users have been sideloading for one or two apps they were missing. There is a study that shows people only use 11 apps on a mobile device on average, if you don’t have 9 of them, you can’t sell you device and your OS is dead

    • Ragnar Dragonfyre

      Yes, but if a competitors screwdriver can hammer nails with ease while simultaneously performing it’s screwdriver tasks, why would I buy your screwdriver?

    • FlamesFan89

      And that’s fine, but it doesn’t make my statement wrong. The entire review reeks of “it isn’t an iPhone or Android”, instead of “This phone is designed for X, and it does X very well.” It would be perfectly fair to have a statement or two to say that you can do more with other phones, but the basis of the review should not be about how it isn’t a hammer.

      I’m not saying this phone should get a 10/10 or anything, I’m just saying that the basis of this review seems extremely flawed.

      Should we start including in Android and iPhone reviews a bunch of statements about how they lack a physical keyboard, and how they aren’t as well integrated with BES 12, and they don’t have the hub, etc… You get the idea.

    • Ragnar Dragonfyre

      I’ve been using a Z10 for the past year and I’m very familiar with the BB10 OS.

      This review is spot on.

      And as for your final paragraph, go look at the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus review and see how many times it was compared to Android. Android is mentioned 10 times as a comparison in the 6 Plus review.

    • FlamesFan89

      Android and iPhones are rightly compared as they are extremely similar devices with identical target markets with nearly identical functionality and intended functionality. This device does not have the same target market or intended use case. Do you disagree?

    • J-Ro

      Sounds like the real issue isn’t the phones but the reviewer…. The reviews are good for generating, that is for sure.

    • Raj Brar

      The real question is does the wife know that your both a great screwdriver and a jackhammer?

    • Ragnar Dragonfyre

      Having used a Z10 for the past year, I must say that I miss the app selection that iOS had.

      My Z10 is nothing more than a communications device and browser. If that’s what you’re looking for, then BB is where it’s at. If you want anything beyond that, look elsewhere.

    • I agree with you. People now a days buy the Blackberry because of its security and hopefully its marketing as a business device. Work phones only need so many apps; if Blackberry can provide those apps, the other ones can fall at the wayside since they are more for consumer users.

    • Randal Y.

      Agree +10

    • yermum

      Yet, completely factual and truthful.

    • FlamesFan89

      That entirely depends on the definition of “where it counts”. By the reviewer’s definition, that is clearly things like playing games, using umpteen different instant messaging services, and taking pictures. For many business users, email, text messaging, typing, phone calls, contact management, security, and office files (spreadsheets, documents, etc) are not only the primary things that fill the “where it counts” category, they are the ONLY things in the “where it counts” category. So, the question should be reexamined and re-answered by the reviewer. The results may very well be the same, but the question most certainly has NOT been answered from this view point.

    • Jacob

      Anyone who has been reading MS for a while knows that Daniel Bader is bias against BlackBerry. All his articles contain veiled insults and innuendo.
      Ian Hardy has always been more professional.

    • gommer strike

      He is such a biased reviewer, and a shameful one at that, to not give a Canadian product an instant 10/10. If it’s not available on BB, then it’s not an app anyone should care about. BB’s were superior, are superior, and will be superior to any iOS/Android device even 100 years from now. For him to gloss over this speaks to his incredible bias against fellow Canadian companies and doesn’t mention the many thousands of Canadians who toil over sweat, blood, and tears to give us the best handsets on the planet Earth. Blackberries aren’t assembled in China, that’s a myth that’s perpetuated by the hateful media.

      Blackberry has no debt. They sell more phones than iOS/Android combined in the world market. They are not taking a loss no matter what any lying news publication might tell you. Their cash flow is astronomical and they’re honestly just being humble about it. They simply like being portrayed as the underdog.

    • AmandaBynes

      fist me

  • St. Misery

    Does MS hate BB or something? I tried the Classic last week at a demo at my work and it was such a pleasure to use, better than any buggy Android I’ve ever picked up, that’s for sure. I score this review a 2.0.

    • barrist

      ? it posts almost every tidbit that comes out about BB.

    • Pigs Can Fly

      Buggy Android? Was Samsung all you’ve ever used?

    • freddysrevng2

      People who are upgrading from a BlackBerry Bold 9900 or Curve could not give a craap about 90% of what this guy is whining about in this goofy review.

      They are going to think they died and went to “BlackBerry Heaven” with the purchase of their new “Classic”.

      What about a review of the new “Assistant”… I hear she is hot…

    • Raj Brar

      Even better than Siri when you ask for local singles in Brampton, Siri told me “Sorry, I can’t find any curry shops you towel head, go back to your country “. BlackBerry assist never talks back to me.

    • freddysrevng2

      They should have a “side by side” on a commercial for that…. good stuff..

    • I’ve yet to see a flawless Android device. Just check out the Nexus 6: Out of the box it won’t work properly for any French Canadian users.

    • Nadefrenzy

      Note 4. Any qualms people have with the device are purely subjective. Sorta like how I despise the lack of a dedicated back button on iPhones which for me personally makes even the iPhone 6 – – which is a great phone, hard to pick over android.

    • The Note 4 has a screen gap defect, and the manual says it’ll likely get worse over time.

    • GifCo

      Its not a defect the “manual” says this is on purpose which it is… almost all phones have a small gap the Note 4 is no different. I have it and I cant see it unless i have it 1/2 inch from my face and even then it just looks like a seam. Also why would you bring up something so STUPID it has nothing to do with software or hardware functionality which is what the last poster was talking about.

    • Nadefrenzy

      Samsung made a statement about that and said that it’s perfectly normal and within their standards which btw they do have a decent rep and track record for. Unlike some other companies with “~gate” issues.

    • Pigs Can Fly

      I’m surprised that this type of stuff matters for the Quebecois. 😛

    • kroms

      Don’t bother with these Clowns. He never tried Android , they just talk S!#t like that to promote how good there BB is. Just go n Crackberry and you will see how delusional these people are , far worse then Isheep.

    • Blahdedah

      This! Times 10000000x

    • Pigs Can Fly

      Yeah I’ve had an account on Crackberry for years.

    • gommer strike

      How dare you insult us Crackberry users. Clearly you’re some iOS/Android diehard. I only pity you, because you’re among the brainwashed masses who use all these useless apps, which nobody needed 2 decades ago, and don’t need today. You people fail to understand that BB made a conscious decision not to have silly apps that iOS/Android users have fallen victim to. So what if we can’t use them? Well guess what – we didn’t want to anyways!

      I’m gonna sit here in my favorite corner, and face the wall, mutter to myself and contemplate how incredibly sorry I feel for you and your kind.

    • gommer strike

      I’m a fellow BB user and my old BB’s from 1997 perform better and faster than any iOS/Android phone made today. That speaks to how incredibly ahead of it’s time BB handsets are. It’s just shameful to the tech industry as a whole that we’re nearly hitting 2015 and these IPS/AMOLED screens being made are still inferior to the stuff BB’s used nearly a decade ago.

  • Tv1tter

    Nice review. Thanks 🙂 Maybe one more comment… You have definitely won the competitions on most blurry photos in the review – LOL 😉

  • AppleBerrySandwich

    Like it. Doesn’t have to compete with Apple – most reviewers still don’t get that.

  • Steve Black

    Blackberry browser scores the highest in the html5 test.

    • Steve Black

      Anyway, that’s the case on my z30.

    • George G

      Yet it has the poorest browsing experience of any mobile device out there with all the scroll lag, and jittering, bug filled page views. Awesome sauce right there, all over it!

    • Mr. Biloz, Ph.D.

      GG, go home cry to your Lagdroid or iCrap, educate yourself and come back when you feel better. 10.3.1 for Z30 is great on the browser and other aspects of the device. Yet, I’m sure you just talk sh*t.

    • George G

      Your ignorance would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. You have zero clue, just like blackberry. Sorry.

    • Mr. Biloz, Ph.D.

      I have zero clue? Please I’ve owned more recent devices than you can think of. Because I can afford to. I own an iPhone, HTC One, a Lumia and a BlackBerry. I know how each perform or not. And Z30 on 10.3.1 has a great browser. Ignorant.

    • gommer strike

      Don’t pay attention to these ignorant iOS/Android users. The Windows phone users deserve maybe just slightly more respect(but not much more). They only deserve our pity.

    • gommer strike

      Even my BB from 2004 outperforms today’s iOS/Android devices on every single category I can think of. Today it still holds strong with a week-long(or more)battery life. It has a better screen, better battery, and better usability than every single phone out today. I’ve dropped down through the slit in the elevator(from 11th floor), had it recovered, and lo and behold not a scratch. Can any of today’s smartphones claim that?

      BB was so ahead of it’s time a decade ago that people just couldn’t appreciate it. Only us fellow Crackberries can and do.

    • gommer strike

      …um this was a joke post. And someone seriously upvoted me? Come on. You really, truly believe everything I said, that something from 2004 is higher tech than something made a decade+ later?


      Whoever upvoted me – come on. Dropping *anything*, 11 floors high, and completely undamaged? You really need to not believe everything you read.

  • Kyle Tuck

    Adreno 225?! Really? I know they don’t need the Adreno 330+ found in the newest Snapdragon SOC’s, but I really have to question the use of 225. The 225 is the GPU from the Galaxy S3 (over 2 years old now). It isn’t strictly a performance thing either. I can’t help but think there must be power-saving features introduced in the 300-series GPU’s.

    • Pigs Can Fly

      Power saving is probably the reason, my Moto X has a 320, battery life is still fantastic though.

    • Raj Brar

      I am guessing if you want better specs for BlackBerry then you would look at the Passport. Heck even the older Z30 is faster with Quad-core 320 GPU.

  • IgnoranceIsBliss

    Despite the OS and BB10 apps not really needing a faster processor, when you start installing Android apps, you can see the advantage the extra horsepower gives with the Passport. As such, I wish they would have used at least a faster processor though the other specs are fine for my needs.

    And with 10.3.1 (or maybe an updated version of Amazon’s app store), you will get notified in the Hub of updates to your Android apps so they keep up to date. The downside is that the Amazon Apps aren’t updated nearly as frequently as the Google Play counterparts. So, you end up needing to use ‘Snap’ to install those which doesn’t integrate into the Hub for updates like Amazon will and isn’t as user friendly for the masses since you have to ‘side load’ it.

    In terms of ergonomics though, I’d much prefer the Classic over the Passport and I think I’ll pick one up to try it at least.

    In the end, the target audience for is still the 60-70 million users out there still rocking the older BBOS phones so, for them at least, nearly everything is an improvement over the old phones (minus some software functions that are still better on the older phones). If only some of those users buy the Classic, then BB will have a success on its hands even if the general consumer ignores it. If you watch BB’s presentation, the content seems fixed on how much better it is over the BBOS phones and not really compared to either BB10 phones or the current competition.

  • Randal Y.

    The summary statement is totally written from a guy lacks impartiality imho.

    • dannyR

      “For everyone else it is, as BlackBerry itself admits, ‘probably not for you’.”

      Yeah, that was really partial. Letting BB do the PR.

    • gommer strike

      It’s fine. BB’s are only used by us fellow BB users who make 6 figures and above. It rightfully should be marketed to only the truly successful people in the world.

      iOS/Android users are sub-five-figure earners who don’t run the world, they merely just live in it. It’s fine if they never get to join our hallowed ranks of the closed elite who actually have influence. Let the ignorant be.

  • danbob999

    “This is no computational powerhouse, either: the internal specs are pure early 2013”

    You mean early 2012. Galaxy S3 was launched in may 2012. The Blackberry classic is 2.5 years old on launch.

    • deltatux

      Honestly the S4 Plus SoC is still more than capable. Unless you’re gaming, most people don’t actually use the full potential of their quad core phones. Heck even I underclocked my OnePlus One and it’s still very speedy at 1.7GHz with a 330 MHz GPU clock.

    • danbob999

      Yeah it’s still a good SoC… for a low end device. The Classic should retail for $150 and it would be a good phone. But for $450? Only some nostalgics will get it. I’d get a Galaxy S3 any day over this.

    • Mr Barkers

      $150 for the Classic? Galaxy S3? Clearly you’re not understanding the target demographic for this device.

    • George G

      It doesn’t matter who the device is for. If the specs are crap, then it should be sold as that piece of crap. Not up marketed as something it clearly is not. This phone is junk, worth at best 150-200 unlocked and off contract. Not a dime more, not even for the 0.000003% of users that would actually still consider it. Just because they’re dumb enough to still like a bb doesn’t mean they should be taken advantage of and hosed on the device. On second thought, maybe they should be hosed if they’re that stupid and think this will be a great device to use in this day and age.

    • Mr Barkers

      Wow, opinionated much? Just because people like a certain phone does not make them dumb. Not everyone cares about a 6″ screen and apps they won’t use.

      I’d take this phone for work any day over Apple or Android devices. In fact, I will be in January.

    • kroms

      Right, for email and making phone calls it is just like any other phone. What about using it for other tasks , like Apps ? BB Users should get on there Knees and be happy that Android in available for BB to use on there Phones because with out it the phones would be useless .
      End of Story.

    • rick

      Specs are specs, experience is experience, useability is useability, and cost to manufacture is cost to manufacture. For manufacture cost – at some point it doesn’t matter what you’re putting “in” a device – it still costs money to manufacture it. Look at the BOM for an iphone – it doesn’t justify the cost of the iphone.

      For the others – you can’t determine price based off of raw specs. Raw specs have no value to anyone. How they are tied together and presented as an experience does. This is same as desktop. .000003% of guys preferred to go and buy top end computer components and then “build” it themselves. Was their “experience” better than someone who went down to the local box store and got an HP desktop that met all their needs? No – the experience was likely the same for both. Have them switch computers and their experiences would be equally abysmal.

      So for the intended and targeted consumer of this device – it probably hits and executes on everything its supposed to.

      Last on price – who sells “anything” for its actual cost. People that make things price them to make money. They will charge as much as possible and still make sales. Why does Apple charge 30% more for their devices? Because people will pay it is why (for now at least – if apple continues with quality the likes of the competition consumers will quickly stop).

    • George G

      Yawn. You entirely missed the point, and your rant was too wind bagged and tired, like blackberry. Sorry.

    • rick

      sorry guess I should have dumbed it down for you. Not worth my time. You’ve demonstrated my point with your response.

    • danbob999

      Experience and usability is the reason why Blackberry is failing. It’s not all about specs. They’ve had devices much less outdated than this one in the past and they still lost market share. It’s only going to be worse with this re-release of the Q10, because they didn’t catch up on usability and experience, and they lag even more in specs. People like you tought RIM/Blackberry was comming back with devices such as the 9900, the Torch or the Q10. It didn’t.

    • rick

      Experience and usability when trying to compete for market against those who want an iphone experience. The Classic is not that experience and not their target. That seems to be completely lost on you though. guess we’ll see if its worse or not.

    • hardy83

      Galaxy S3 runs fro about 350 off contract, so yeah, the Classic is priced too high, but 150 is a bit silly.

    • danbob999

      But you can get a used Galaxy S3 for cheap. Or you can get a 1st gen Moto G for about that, $150, and specs are comparable to the Classic. If you are going to pay $350, do yourself a favor and get a Nexus 5. Still worth it 1 year after release. When is it the last time that Blackberry released a phone that is still a good buy 1 year later with no discount? For $499, I expect a high end phone, much better than a Nexus 5.

    • Jason Nexus

      I totally agree 100% the Nexus 5 is the best phone you can buy for 300 and $50 brand new or you can buy it cheap used and still get an excellent phone which is much better than a lot of these new phones coming out today

  • danbob999

    8 on display (same score as the Nexus 6, WTF?) and 7 on performance? What could have been worse than a 720×720 display and performance from 2.5 years ago at today’s price?

    • Have to think about the form factor and how well the CPU matches the software. You don’t need a rocket motor to power a soufflé.

    • danbob999

      Yeah but you don’t sell a soufflé for the same price as a rocket launching a satellite into orbit. This device is $450US.

  • Pigs Can Fly

    Why is RIM still even trying?

    • Mr Barkers

      They’re not – RIM doesn’t even exist any more it’s BlackBerry now. Any other enlightening comments you can add to this article?

    • Pigs Can Fly

      Yeah, why is RIM still trying?

      I mean Blackberry…

  • TheCommentWithNoName

    Very fair review, Daniel. I’ll have to give a demo unit a shot sometime, but if the trackpad really does get in the way of using the OS (the swipe up gesture is very commonly used) than that might just be a deal breaker for me. As much as I love the idea of having the toolbelt back for certain functions, my Q10 is such a joy to use thanks to how fluid the OS feels, and it would be a shame to ruin that for the sake of arguable convenience.

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  • George

    QNX is awesome. It has a future but probably not as a BB OS. If they come up with a QWERTY device in Android, probably this device would have more chance.

    They are business people and lawyers love QWERTY devices but most of them adjusted themselves with Apple / Android devices….

    I am sure this device will sell but it will not be a turning point for BB. I type a lot. I know QWERTY device is cool but if today I need to change my device(s), still I would go with Apple / Android.
    Plus App availability / cost for BB OS is another issue.

    P.S. Lets see if KIM K. is going to buy it and take some images for her Instagram! Depending on what she shows, maybe BB sells some more devices!

    • dannyR

      QWERTY device? I don’t know what you mean. Android and iOS have default QWERTY input.

    • George

      Referring to actual physical QWERTY keyboard , not touch screen one.

  • NLer in Ottawa

    I’m confused: it supports Google Talk, but not Hangouts?

    I’m a little disappointed. After leaving my BB 9700 for a Nexus S, then Galaxy S3, and now OPO, I’ve been missing my BB. Daniel is right that the keyboards have come a long way, but Swype, Swiftkey, etc. are still no match for a physical keyboard. (And, to be clear, I’m not a businessman, but an Android power-user.)

    I don’t need a huge screen, but I can’t imagine losing the apps I now rely on. Better specs and a few more key apps, and I’d pick one of these up.

    • Travislicious

      There is a Google Talk app on BlackBerry 10, and you can use it to (at least text) chat with your friends on Hangouts. However the app is old and in my opinion needing an update badly.

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  • FlamesFan89

    So much time spent in the video talking about games, Android apps, and the camera, NONE of which are the highlights, main focus/core use, or intended market for this phone. Things like the voice assistant, the hub, the responsiveness of the screen to touch, the connectivity, battery life, etc etc etc got, at best, a passing mention. If you were reviewing a car, would you spend the bulk of your time on the tires, which aren’t made by the car manufacturer and can be replaced? If reviewing a DSLR, would you spend the bulk of your review on it’s Wifi connectivity, which would be, at best, a convenience feature, and not at all a core component of the camera? I think you get my point.

    After watching the video, and reading the review, and then many of the comments here, it seems that many people, especially the reviewer, want all phones to be exactly like an Android or an iPhone. There shalt be no other. Other use cases be damned, thou shalt build a smartphone as I dictate!

    Perhaps, maybe, just maybe, the device should be reviewed from the point of view of it’s intended use. To go back to a car analogy, you wouldn’t test drive a sports car and review it on how practical it is for a family of five who need to transport people and equipment to and from extracurricular activities. Nor would you test drive an economy class sedan and remark about how terrible it would be as a delivery van for a courier business. There are many different tasks in this world, and there are tools built to complete those tasks. Conducting a great deal of business in this world, has absolutely ZERO need for gaming, the Google Play store, and taking low-light photographs, or any photographs at all for that matter.

    I’m not saying that the end score should be any better or worse, but instead, it should be based on how well it performs the tasks it is intended to perform. To borrow a concept from Einstein: “if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree…”

    • So what you’re saying is that MobileSyrup should change the way it reviews devices so that the reviews are based on what the device’s niche users want, not based on what the general public wants? MobileSyrup should tailor its reviews to devices’ “intended users” rather than everyone?

    • FlamesFan89

      Pretty much, yes. Or, put differently, they should devise a review process that allows for devices to be reviewed in such a manner as to score it on its ability to perform the tasks for which it is intended.

      This wouldn’t be difficult to do, and in fact, is very nearly there as it is. Design and build quality (how well is it built, device agnostic), Connectivity (how well does it connect, hold connections, what types of connections and radios does it have, etc, device agnostic), Screen (how does it look, pixel density, viewing angles, colour, etc, device agnostic), battery (simple enough, device agnostic), Camera (self explanatory and device agnostic). The categories where there would be differences would really be software and performance. Here is where they would be tailored to the tasks it is intended for. In the case of a BB, there would be far more focus on how well it handles office documents, the email experience, discussion of the hub and assistant, that sort of thing. For an Android, you would be more focused on what version is it running, what is the OEM skin like that is on it, does it have bonus features that are useful or just get in the way. For an iPhone, does the new iOS bring useful new features, are things changed for the better or for the sake of change. You get the idea.

      The review should not be about how software that is not built for this device doesn’t work well on this device, or how games aren’t available for this device that is in no way shape or form meant for gaming. Likewise, Apple pre-iOS 8 shouldn’t be reviewed on the quality of the 3rd party keyboards, in fact, it still shouldn’t be. The review is of the device, not the 3rd party developers.

    • “The review is of the device, not the 3rd party developers.”

      Except, in this day and age, platforms are largely dependent on having good developers who create the solutions that their customers need. Daniel went into it during the review, specifically about messaging clients and games, but it can apply to any kind of app and he had a valid point: If a platform doesn’t have the apps that I need, I’m going to go to a different platform that has what I need.

      For example, if my business relies heavily on TeamViewer and there’s no working TeamViewer app for BlackBerry then I’m not going to lose significant productivity with a BlackBerry, I’m going to use a platform that has a working TeamViewer app. Not only that but if my business ever switches to another solution (as businesses do) that doesn’t have a BlackBerry app I’ll be SOL until they do, and with BlackBerry currently a 5th or 6th priority for most developers (after Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, etc) it’ll be a while before most new apps work with BlackBerry.

    • FlamesFan89

      And I’ve said a few times that it is valid to mention it and even dock the score due to things like lack of apps or poor implementation of the android apps. That’s fine, but I maintain that it should not completely drag the software score when the core features work very well, and the software designed for the device is well thought out, functional, smooth, etc. I said some time ago on another article that there should be a separate category for 3rd party apps that would cover availability as well as how well they run on the device. There needs to be a distinction between how well the device works on its own with its own software, and how well it handles 3rd party apps, and what is available for it. These are drastically different things. My problem with the review is that the whole thing and to be written from the standpoint of a consumer as opposed to the actual target market of a business user, and there seems to be a general feeling of disdain for those users who put business use ahead of gaming and the camera.

    • Mr Barkers

      I agree. I want this phone for work, and I couldn’t care less about a giant screen or useless apps. That’s what my personal phone is for.

      Give me a keyboard, good battery life and form factor and a productive OS, and I’m set for work. This device nails that.

    • Blahdedah

      Common sense completely eludes the blackberry apologist and fanboi.

    • TheFloppyBeaver

      You know, that makes a ton of sense. A car reviewer wouldn’t review a minivan the same way they would a sports car or a pickup truck.

      So why should tech reviewers review a product that is clearly focused on a niche the same way they would a mass market device?

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  • Max Fireman

    Man, I remember paying $500 for the 9700 4 years ago. I feel old.

  • TomsDisqusted

    IMO first sentence has grammar error: should be “from” Canadians.

    • Jacob

      You are correct. Shows the level of competence and professionalism here.

  • Mike_from_Saskatoon

    Sounds like a great choice for people who must have the physical keyboard but don’t want the larger Passport.
    I’m not sure why anyone else would want one though.

    • gomez

      exacly, unless one has to have a keyboard, then this is it, but other than that what is the appeal, i had a bold 9900, and i loved it, and resisted the urge to switch to an all touchscreen phone until finally i made the plunge, while it took a bit to get use to typing on the screen for awhile, i have no regrets now.

    • Mr Barkers

      I’m getting this device to replace my current work issued 9900. Can’t wait, and I wouldn’t want any other phone for work!

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  • deltatux

    I know it’s right now fashionable for the media to bash Blackberry but honestly I know several people who just preorder the Classic and dropping their Android or iOS device for a BB10 as this was the device they’ve been waiting for. Personally I find them a tad crazy as my OnePlus One runs circles around this device but for them they just want a device that just works and get real work done.

  • omegajimes

    It’s worth noting, the double click menu button thing and back button close/end button home control schemes are legacy. If you pick up a 9900, they work like that there. BB is chasing the 9900 hold ons with this phone. I don’t know if there are enough of them to turn a profit.

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    I Like This! 🙂 I <3 Blackberry Passport! 🙂 I <3 Blackberry! 🙂

  • lemawe

    S4, Adreno 225, 2014, 500$. Overpriced. Lot of BlackBerry loyalists or fanboys here(the margin between the two is small). Would be a good phone for under 150$.

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  • Jonah Emery

    A happy day for those loyal keyboard users who have waited a long time. I wish them well. I honestly get the BlackBerry feels from two handed typing in my Galaxy Note.

  • meohmymy

    I can’t believe they don’t have removable batteries? That’s something apple can pull off but I don’t think Blackberry can.

  • kroms

    WOW, this is AMAZING ! LOOK at the technology. This phone will revolutionize he Market !!
    Why has it taking so long ?

    Seriously , who gives a S##$% about this.

    • Blahdedah

      You’ve seen pretty much everyone that cares in the whole world right here in this article. Lol

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  • Stephen_81

    I’m waiting on this phone
    I have a Passport now and while I enjoy the Passport I long for the return of the trackpad.

    I like being mobile. I don’t want to boot up a computer to write an email or create a document. Really I only want to be at a computer if I’m going to be playing a game. The BlackBerry gives me the ability and confidence to create documents and emails on the fly without an editor looking over them and without having to review them on a larger screen.
    I find many of these reviewers a little insulting. I apparently am not a smartphone power user. I purchase 3-5 smartphones a year to use and have been using them since my Audiovox Thera and my 4MB data plan, Being both employe and self eemployed with 2 small children my phone is my life blood. I bank, I shop, I watch hockey games, and I use social media but because the BlackBerry meets all of my needs I’m not a power user. On a busy day the note 3 is a 8 hour device. The Passport is 15h, the BlackBerry Classic has be very worried about its battery life so I will treat it as I did my iphone and carry around a juice pack to charge it in my pocket when it gets a chance to be there.

    I’m waiting until I can get this form my local Rogers. I look forward to 1 handed use again and hope the Classic can deliver

    • JD

      With all the typos in the post I hope that wasn’t from the Passport because it sure doesn’t inspire confidence in using a BB to knock out emails.

  • James Arsenault

    huh …. tooo much negative reviews on BB classic ?? how about making negative reviews on any Android or iphone ??

    BB got the best security where android or iphone cannot match this

    • Mr Barkers

      I’m fairly certain most of the people hating on this phone have never worked in the corporate world, or even left their parents basement for that matter.

      This is a phone meant to get work done, not necessarily for playing games or fitness or any other apps like those. Get an iPhone or Android for that on your personal phone.

  • tonyu

    LOLOLOL 7.5. where is anthony roberts to defend? LMAO

  • Blake

    All I can say is that, I LOVE MY PASSPORT!

  • Karly Johnston

    The Android APKs are so slow on this dinosaur processor Amazon Store isn’t really an option. What really irks me is selling a Q10 with a trackpad for $450. BBRY is liquidating inventory of unsold BB10 devices, there are plenty of options at rock bottom prices.

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  • Francis Taquin

    Physical Keyboard ! (y)

  • Jamie

    Does the classic have the ability to message and do functions via a tablet or PC, like the passport? This is probably the most useful feature. I still have a curve, because its indestructible, light and I use a tablet for mobile computing.

  • Michael Dodd

    The reviewer has got a couple of things wrong about BlackBerry 10 O.S (eg users don’t need to sideload anymore and havent needed to for a very long time). Really can’t take this review seriously.

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  • yuung

    i think 7.5 is too generous. this phone is from 1999 nothing new

  • Jacob Ebelher

    Blackberry needs to make a total hit of a phone, that blows everyone away. To, if anything, stop the awful internet fights in comment threads everywhere.

  • Lloyd Loveday

    A very slanted, bad review. In my home (3 teens and 2 adults) we have HTC, BB, and Nexus phones. All are VERY good phones. The different operating systems take time to get use too when switching between phone, but once you know them, you know them. The BB qwerty keyboard is hands down the best – not even up for discussion. Everything else is more or less equal except for BB screen size on the BB, but they do have the Z10 and Passport, so even that is a moot point. So I never quite understand why so many people diss the BB phones, or praise Apple. Really it all comes down to price, reliability and preference.

    Kinda like buying 3-ply toilet paper, there really is no difference except brand name. (did I just call cell phones a commodity? yep, thats what they are.)

  • W.A. Mozart

    Another useless piece of crap and for the price there are better options on the market nowadays.

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  • xBURK

    I don’t think people realize how far BB10 has come in such a short time. Sure, it’s easy to cut the company up, but if you actually followed their history, the only one to blame was the old executive team. The employees developed a great operating system through all that garbage. Well, that’s over. Chen and his team can now get the respect the employees deserved from the beginning. Their focus is where it was when BlackBerry became a household name.
    So, for an OP just under two years old, it’s light years ahead of where the other companies were at this point. I’ve used Android, I’ve compared ios8. In all honesty, BB10 is the Mercedes of the bunch. Top it offf with BlackBerry Blend, it looks as though BlackBerry will have a great 2015.

  • JD

    I’m not a blackberry diehard or anything but this has to be the worst and biased review I’ve ever read on MS. At least the review of the passport had more of an open mind.

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  • Interesting phone want to buy Classic because I belive in full-keyboard phones. I’m owner of z10 with 10.3.1 on it and it’s little bit laggy but anyway it’s much better than before. But what about apps? because Android port apps working good but, ecosystem still not so strong at all.

  • kroms

    wow $500 , what a great DEAL ! lmao

  • david jones

    It’s what a real smartphone should be, sending emails, texts, facebook and twitter, taking calls and voicemail, if you want games that’s why we have 50′ tv’s and PS4 and xbox for not a tiny 5′ display

  • AmandaBynes


  • Brad Mebus

    All in all my hands on with the Classic has shown a laggy UI in Blackberry Hub and a less than desirable camera. The return of the tool belt feels like a solid return. The generous amount of app stores that it supports and the android APK sideloading is all well and good but without the android infrastructure and some beefier specs to hold it up, many apps force close or don’t work nearly as you would expect from even an android counterpart with similar specs. While the hardware isn’t bad, the performance feels like it drags on some of the simplest tasks. I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone needing an entertainment device, but as an employer issued device for lengthy typing sessions, e-mails or text messaging you won’t find a better physical keyboard with this kind of build quality.

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  • Chris

    I work for a technology company. Three of our seven employees use BB10 devices, one uses an iPhone and two use Android phones. Not sure what the last guy uses. The people with the Androids seem to be the most dissatisfied. The folks with the Blackberries seem to be the most satisfied. I personally use a Q10 and can say that it is, by far, the best smart phone I have ever owned. As for the apps issue, I run only native BB10 apps – not a single ‘droid app on my phone and I don’t feel that I’m missing anything. Ive had the Q10 for over a year and have no interest in replacing it. Excellent phone!

  • Jason Lee

    Had it for about a week and loved it, after I got the glitchy update to work. Loving it so far!

  • Johnny Bobcat

    LOL @ reviewer complaining that the BB doesn’t support a full 1.1 million apps, perhaps the problem isn’t the phone but the fact that there’s about 1m more apps in the market than is even currently needed. He lists off half a dozen obscure chat apps that certain companies might use and therefore be a problem with a BB that doesn’t support them, when the solution is for these companies to stop using these crappy little 1-off apps and get mainstream or go home.

    Every nerd under the sun is trying to develop the next Facebook or twitter, when they’re just adding more spokes to a wheel, we don’t need 3000 different kinds of chat program, we need 1 good one. Quit trying to get rich, just die trying already.

    Don’t blame the phone for not supporting the industry of stupidity.