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BlackBerry Leap review

BlackBerry Leap review

The Leap is BlackBerry’s first full-touch device in 18 months. And at a pound under £200, it’s very affordable.

It’s not aimed at corporate fat cats, but future high flyers who are in their first jobs.

So does it scale the corporate ladder or hit the glass ceiling? Read on to find out...

First impressions and design

blackberry leap hands on

For a budget(ish) blower, we’re impressed by the build quality.

It might be a bit angular for some tastes – the word ‘slab’ comes to mind – but it’s got a nice big five-inch screen.

We also love the soft-touch back that’s covered in pin-size holes. It makes it feel much more expensive than a £200 handset.

blackberry leap rear hands on

One bugbear is that it takes an age to start up.

No doubt this is because of all the security software. But it felt like we were waiting forever for the little blue line to go around the square of the BlackBerry logo.

Software

blackberry leap hub hands on

The BB10 operating system is a world away from Android and iOS. It’s a lot more staid and serious looking, with sombre colours and a black background.

BlackBerry Hub is the standout feature. Swipe left from the home screen, and you’ll see all your emails, text messages, social networks and notifications.

It can be a bit confusing having so much on one page, but it’s handy accessing all the most commonly used methods of communication with just one swipe.

We can imagine you’d miss it if you switched back to Android, iOS or Windows Phone.

blackberry leap keyboard hands on

The keyboard is a delight. As you type, it suggests what the next word will be.

To input said word, just flick it up into the message. It’s one of the quickest ways to type.

And it gradually becomes more helpful by learning which words you use and when.

There’s no home button either. Instead, to exit an app you swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

Features

blackberry leap screen camera

The Leap runs on an ancient Qualcomm MSM 8960 chip clocked at 1.5GHz, though that’s backed up by a healthy 2GB of RAM.

There’s an eight-megapixel rear camera and two-megapixel front-facer, and it has expandable storage thanks to an microSD card slot.

The screen has a resolution of 1,280x720 pixels, giving it a pixel per inch count of 294ppi.

Usability

blackberry leap software

Despite taking a long time to start up, it’s fine at whipping through menus and opening apps.

Good luck opening a game from BlackBerry World though – we were left waiting for about a minute until it finally got to the page. And then we had to download it too.

You can open the camera straight from the lock screen. But again, it’s not that quick.

It’s a bit slow to focus. And 'contrast', which is the difference between dark and light colours, could be better too.

Dark areas tend to be lost, while brightly lit parts are blown out and oversaturated.

blackberry leap blackberry assistant

Though HDR mode does improve matters, and a handy 'on/off' toggle option appears when it detects areas of high contrast.

BlackBerry Assistant is also very useful.

It’s a virtual assistant, like Siri, Cortana and Google Now, but with one neat trick.

Speak to it, and it’ll speak back. But type a request, and it’ll respond with a web search.

That means you can find out vital info like the weather while stuck in boring meetings without anyone knowing what you're up to.

Verdict

If you’ll get a lot of use out of the business features, the Leap is great value for £200.

It’s not an amazing phone, but it’s perfect capable for the price.

If it’s purely a consumer handset you’re after, however, you’re better off with the Moto G or Moto E.

Category: News

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