The Blackberry Leap has finally leapt out into the public. It may not be up to the level of quality that you’ve experienced on the Apple iPhone or the more popular Google Android smartphones.
At US$275 unlocked, the 5” Blackberry Leap (Ralph, 2015) is appreciably well designed, sporting dimensions of 144 mm x 72.8 mm x 9.5 mm (5.67 inches by 2.87 inches by 0.37 inch) and weighting a featherweight 170 grames (6 ounces). What’s troubling though is that the 5″ screen has a resolution of 1,280×720-pixel resolution with 293 ppi (pixel density).
Unlike the US$419.99 Blackberry Classic (Deer, 2014, November 15) and the US$649.99 Blackberry Passport (Deer, 2015, February 16), there is no physical keyboard; it’s not missed but it feels strange to not have keys on a Blackberry device.
The Virtual keyboard is fast and accurate and like iOS 9.0 (Deer, 2015, June 22), makes suggestions and corrections that are only a swipe away. You only get one keyboard, but you can always use Swiftkey (Deer, 2014, September 22) to switch things up a bit.
Albeit HD, this is at the lower end of the spectrum when compared to the 5.1’’ Quad HD Super AMOLED Screen of the Samsung Galaxy S6 (Deer, March 8 2015), which blows it away with a resolution of 2560×1440 and 577ppi (pixels per inch).
In fact, it doesn’t compare well to other smartphones such as the HTC One M9 and the LG G Flex 2, albeit the US$275 Blackberry Leap isn’t in the same price bracket (Deer, March 8 2015) as these US$600 unlocked smartphones.
Blackberry Leap – Workhorse geared towards Corporate and Enterprise workers
The Blackberry Leap runs Blackberry 10.3.1 on a 1.5GHz Qualcomm 8960 Dual-Core Processor supported by 2GB of RAM with 16GB storage of Internal Storage.
That storage space can be augmented by an additional 128GB microSD card but so far these specs again pale in comparison to the Samsung Galaxy S6 or even the Apple iPhone 6 (Deer, 2014, September 21), both competitors of Blackberry.
The Blackberry Leap has a 2-megapixel front-facing camera and an 8-megapixel rear camera capable or recording 720p video only. It still gives great photos in low lighting conditions, with the colours being spot on.
HDR (High Dynamic Range) setting causes some images to be a bit oversaturated and the 8-megapixel rear camera is prone to blurring as there is no Optical Image Stabilization.
Call Quality and Internet speeds are subjective at best and depending on which Network your plan to use this smartphone. However, it is 3G/4G LTE Compatible and is compatible with 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 1900 MHz Networks, with 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi as an option to metered Internet.
With a 2,800mAh battery, it’ll last you at least two (2) days on a full charge with all-day usage. This gives seventeen (17) hours of talk time and nine point five (9.5) hours of video playback, albeit Blackberry claims twenty five (25) hours of battery life, even if you’re a heavy user.
This is thanks to the Power Management features on the Blackberry Leap, which is very similar to the Samsung Galaxy S6 Ultra Power Save Mode (Deer, 2014, July 30). It offers features such as the battery-saving mode that taps in once your battery power fails to a specific level.
At that point, it throttles the CPU, turns down the screen brightness and shuts off basic phone functionality. The device monitors will also give you an idea of how the Blackberry Leap is using its available power, even telling which Apps are the real processor and power hogs.
Still a workhorse not a funtoy, as this is geared towards the Corporate and Enterprise worker and not for personal use.
Blackberry 10.3.1 – Limited Amazon App Store but excellent Blackberry Assistant
Software-wise, Blackberry 10.3.1 is great but takes a little getting used to, especially as it has many different gestures from a typical Google Android or Apple iOS device. The Blackberry World Store has great Apps for work, many of which you have to purchase, with the games found on the Amazon App Store.
However, its attempt at providing Android App via the Amazon App Store is a leap of faith at best, as Amazon’s App selection is severely limited when compared to the massive Google Play Store. Both App Stores scream “Developers Wanted” as without Developers to support the smartphone with productivity and entertainment Apps, there will be no compelling reason to purchase a US$275 Blackberry Leap that has such lacklustre specs.
At least in terms of the overall experience, it’s not different from its keyboard-swilling counterparts. The Blackberry Hub puts you in arms reach of all of your emails, text messages and Notifications.
Blackberry Assistant is only a side button press away, answering questions and allowing you to set appointments and reminders so you don’t forget your dinner date or your meeting with your boss. Blackberry Assistant compares fairly well with Google Now, Apple’s Siri Voice assistant and Windows Phone Cortana and indicates that at least this time, they’re going with the Voice Command Assistant trend.
Blackberry Blend is their Remote control feature that allows you to do emails, check appointments and access your files on your Blackberry Leap from a Mac, Windows computer or Apple iOS or Google Android device.
Given that these are features copied from Android and iOS, Blackberry Balance available exclusively for Corporate and Enterprise customers on BES10 was expected to be unique. Actual it isn’t, as Blackberry Balance is a lot like Android at Work (Deer, 2015, February 25), allowing you to separate your work files from those associated with your personal life on your Blackberry Leap.
The takeaway here is that the US$275 Blackberry Leap is a very basic smartphone. It’s their attempt to get a touch screen smartphone right while still retaining the experience of the US$649.99 Blackberry Passport and US$419.99 Blackberry Classic. So far, based on the specs, it looks like a good Leap into the Unknown for Blackberry.
- Deer, L. (2014, November 15). US$450 Blackberry Classic coming December 17th 2014 – What the Blackberry Q20 has become with QWERTY Keyboard and Android Apps. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2014/11/us450-blackberry-classic-coming.html
- Deer, L. (2014, September 21). Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus with 128GB Storage and Apple Pay in Apple’s Biggest iPhone Launch. Retrieved from http://www.geezam.com/apple-iphone-6-and-plus-with-128gb-storage-and-apple-pay-is-biggest-iphone-launch/
- Deer, L. (2014, September 22). @SwiftKey for Apple iPhone and Apple iPad on Apple iTunes – Why Full Access for Predictive Typing compromises Apple iOS 8 Security. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2014/09/swiftkey-for-apple-iphone-and-apple.html
- Deer, L. (2015, February 16). US$649.99 @Blackberry Passport and US$419.99 Blackberry Classic – Why Americans are ready to fall in love with Blackberry. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2015/02/ATT-Blackberry-Passport-and–Blackberry-Classic.html
- Deer, L. (2015, February 25). Google Launches @Android at Work – How Google’s BYOD for @google @Android 5.0 Lollipop will win over Corporate and Enterprise World. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2015/02/Google-Android-at-Work-BYOD-Lollipop-Corporate-Enterprise.html
- Deer, L. (2015, June 22). Apple WWDC 2015 debuts OS X 10.11 El Capitan, Watch OS 2.0 and Apple Music. Retrieved from http://www.geezam.com/apple-wwdc-2015-debuts-os-x-10-11-watch-os-2-0-and-apple-music/
- Deer, L. (March 8 2015). @Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge coming to Jamaica in April 2015 is 64-Bit Octa-Core Best of MWC 2015. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/samsung-galaxy-s6-edge-64-bit-octa-core-mwc-2015/
- Deer, L. (March 8 2015). Samsung Galaxy S6 and Edge at MWC 2015 coming to Mash up Jamaica. Retrieved from http://www.geezam.com/samsung-galaxy-s6-and-edge-at-mwc-2015-coming-to-mash-up-jamaica/
- Ralph, N. (2015, June 3). BlackBerry Leap review. Retrieved from http://www.cnet.com/products/blackberryleap/
- Deer, L. (2014, July 30). Samsung Galaxy S5’s Ultra Power Save Mode – Samsung gives you 24 Hours to Die Another Day as This is Not The End. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2014/07/samsung-galaxy-s5s-ultra-power-save.html