Once you’ve mastered this, you more or less have the BlackBerry Classic down, and you can jump between applications, open up the web browser — which isn’t connected to any other known browser and won’t have your passwords or favourites — do the social networking thing, get your emails done, play the odd game, and even listen to some music here and there.
While the Classic is a return to the days when BlackBerry felt like it was making quality devices, it has a severe problem with apps and a proper ecosystem.
Simply put, the pickings are slim, and while the BlackBerry Classic and its BlackBerry 10 OS can run Android apps, it’s not a great execution that you’ll be seeing on the Classic’s tiny square screen.
From the get go, you’ll find two app stores waiting for you, with one available from BlackBerry and one from Amazon. The first of these will deliver BlackBerry apps — made for the device — while the other, Amazon, will bring you Android apps that can run on the BlackBerry, but it’s important to see the difference, and that is the BlackBerry often work well, while the Android ones aren’t made for the small screen or the optical trackpad, and even show up with some glitches here and there.
Some times, the Android apps you find in APK are the only way to get apps for the phone. Instagram, for example, can only be installed via an Android APK that you need to go find, because it’s not on either platform.
Pandora exists on the Amazon store, but only from the Android point of view, and when you run it, you get three different ways of rendering it on screen thanks to the app being made for Android displays and not this rather unusual square BlackBerry one.
There’s also a camera here, with an 8 megapixel shooter that takes half decent photos and can be activated by holding down the camera icon from the standby screen.
In the camera, you can touch to focus, fire a shot, and play with a few settings, such as shooting 1:1 for square images, 4:3 for standard screen, and 16:9 for widescreen, though the square is ready to go by default. High-dynamic range images can also be shot, as can a burst mode, panoramas, and you have a very small amount of scene modes comprising of auto, action, whiteboard, night, and beach or snow.
That’s not a lot, but most of the time, auto is sufficient, though the quality could easily have been notched up a bit.
Eight megapixels isn’t particularly high, and while we can get away with it on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus because of all the extra work Apple has thrown into its camera, this is one module that doesn’t feel like it’s producing amazing results.
They’re certainly acceptable, but we’ve seen better, and given the flagship status, expect a little more from BlackBerry here.
Front-side you’ll find a 2 megapixel camera, again for acceptable but not amazing results. This isn’t going to be the best shooter ever, so don’t retire that proper camera any time soon.