Having used the BlackBerry leap for some two weeks now its been yet another surprise on how BlackBerry have changed over the last year or two,once a hater of the devices i have changed my mind and the OS has also improved too which is quite good offering lots to its consumers and after using the BlackBerry Passport for a few months it really is a credit to the company despite its funny shape,the Passport is a powerhouse and if size is not an issue you should try it,But we are here today to talk about the next model up which is a 5 inch touch screen not shaped weirdly and not sporting a physical keyboard does it perform well all around,well lets find out.
Unboxing and walkaround
Typical candybar,solid feels good in hand and robust its a perfect sized device,perhaps a tad too small for me but i could happily live with it,this is just my opinion i am far suited to bigger devices. At 144 x 72.8 x 9.5 mm (5.67 x 2.87 x 0.37 in) and weighing 170g you will notice it,even in pocket which is a good thing,it’s slightly thicker than some devices but its good and the rounded edges on the back flow nicely and the device fits well in hand,it’s hard to drop it too the backing feels grippy,it picks up dirt but can be easily cleaned off.
Having used the passport as my main device i hardly used anything else to be honest,i got to like the physical keyboard,something which i have not used in many years in fact,though i was looking forward to going back to the virtual set-up and the keyboard on the Leap reminded me of the one that’s presently on Lumia devices which alone are good but this keyboard is also excellent and has many features present and again i found myself typing fast in no time from coming from the one on the passport.
Quite impressive it must be said so photo fans can relax since mobile photography is a big thing with the camera on board it takes pretty decent photos with many settings to toy around with too,even as a point and shoot it takes nice pictures and to the untrained not fussy eyes this does a good job.
The camera is just 8MP 3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus and LED flash doesn’t mean it can perform,it does and the more you tamper with the settings the better it gets,it’s also got a HDR feature which pops up to remind you it’s there and again it works well.Also on board is panorama mode,time shift and burst mode,this is quite a common feature nowadays.
These are taken under normal conditions which is the ideal situation to be using the camera,in low light we have the flash to help out and pictures turn out fine ,depending on conditions some photos may look noisy and flat,this again is not a device aimed at camera fans but for its price it does the job quite well so you have a decent snapper should you need it,personally i aint a camera happy guy but it done the job when needed,recording too is also quite good autofocus works quite well,sometimes to well and often locked on target especially with just taking photos so its quite responsive.
Lets not waste time really here,native apps are not reaping but we have a choice to add the play store if you like,one good thing here apps i used all worked well on the Leap as opposed to the passport and that was just the screen design which made some render rather odd and pointless on screen,all my apps on android i use worked fine on the leap so again its an option for users to consider,BB10 has improved but we are missing some apps similar to windows phone which i also use and can feel the pain to some extent,the maps are just ok and there is several other apps missing but again the play store can help out with alternatives.With the Blackberry world,Amazon app store and the play store you will be covered.
Its got a 5-inch, 1,280 x 720 (720p) LCD display,its good for its price but not great either ,sunlight legibility is not great this is expected for the screen and its price it would be unfair not to say plenty of others have the same problem even high end phones like the HTC ONE M9 this beat it,viewing angles also shabby but not bad im not one to pay much attention to detail here but at times when i want to read my device outdoors i expect to but this is a common problem all round regardless.
Its good,easily get the average user through a day,nothing like the passport but good even for my standards,im a heavy user and mostly carry two phones but with my main sim here in this it done the job well better than expected in fact,with 2,800mAh under the hood it can take a pounding,with me spending much time browsing,checking mails and social media i never had to worry about looking for a charger during my time and for me that is a very good thing,we are more battery concious nowadays than before and find ourselves needing back up or to be close to a charger,this is something you do not need to worry about on the Leap.
BlackBerry Blend is on board the leap,seamlessly brings messaging and content that’s on your BlackBerry smartphone to your computer and tablet. Send and receive messages and access your files in real time, from whatever device you’re on.
Home-screen and accessibility.
As before with the passport we just have our static screen with icons,you can of course make folders which is useful,the drop down menu offers us plenty of settings to access so to move around the device is simple which is nice,there is many settings on the phone too giving a great level of customisation.Swiping to the left will bring you to additional apps you have stored and swiping to the right takes you to the blackberry hub which is simply great.
Browsing,Music – Media
Stock browser seemed fine depending on connection but again you can work around this at times but to be fair i could partly blame my Wi-Fi here,on 4G it was fast,this was also similar on the passport,overall it served well though and things looked good on the Leap Pages rendered quite quickly and viewing was on par with other devices at the price point,the speaker which is placed on the bottom is not bad but depending on where you let it sit sound will get muffled,aside that its loud .Listening to music is also quite good and with a decent pair of headphones you will not be disappointed overall for media.
BlackBerry here in Ireland is pretty much a no go area for our providers which is a shame,it once was huge here but since the Z10 things went downhill with little or no option to buy it here in stores leaving business and enterprise fans annoyed who prefer Blackberry,this device is aimed at the younger generation but offers more than one might think,one thing that lacks is NFC again this is no big deal in Ireland but its catching on with the like of wireless charging,I think between the Leap and the Passport blackberry have turned a corner,having said that BlackBerry is now a niche but if they continue to dish out good devices they have a chance to re claim their stake. On a personal level i think the device is well priced and it offers pretty much the same as any other device in the price range alongside the added security.
The BlackBerry Leap costs just £199 sim free which is not bad and can be bought HERE or other leading online sellers.For the price its worth it..