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What is the basic differences between salesforce classic and salesforce1? When and why we should prefer one of them to another?

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Classic is the oldest of app among the two; it uses briefcase settings to determine which of your records you can access in the app.

Salesforce1 is a brand new app which replaced Salesforce Chatter and is what most of the current Salesforce buzz surrounds. In theory it'll allow you to make use of ALL Salesforce functionalities from your mobile, including all custom objects, apps and even Visualforce pages. It's also feed-first, so Chatter is central to it.

Unfortunately SF1 does not support offline capability but Salesfoce Classic does support offline feature.

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    SF1 does it as well as of Summer '14: Offline access is enabled by default when you install one of the Salesforce1 downloadable apps. You can manage these settings in Setup from Mobile Administration > Offline. When offline access is enabled, data is downloaded to each user’s mobile device based on the objects in the Recent section of the Salesforce1 navigation menu, and on the user’s most recently viewed records. Data is encrypted and stored in a secure, persistent cache. – Robin De Bondt Sep 25 '14 at 14:13
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SFI provides offline read-only access to records, however Salesforce classic permits editing of records offline.

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