BlackBerry Leap Review

BlackBerry, which was once considered the king of the smartphone segment, is trying to keep itself relevant today. The company is working on a new strategy for this. Earlier this company was mainly in the business of manufacturing handsets, now it is providing services for all platforms. This strategy has proved effective to a great extent.

In terms of hardware, BlackBerry has kept its focus on business users and enterprises, and beyond that there is no investment idea in the sub-Rs 10,000 price range segment. Every phone launched by the company is for a specific customer group. The BlackBerry Passport is for customers expecting top quality and standing out from the crowd. The BlackBerry Classic is for QWERTY keypad lovers, and now the BlackBerry Leap is for touchscreen users who think this device might be better than the current product. It is clear from the company’s strategy that BlackBerry Leap is not for price conscious customers. Read the review of the phone.

Look and Design
BlackBerry Leap is an elegant phone, whose black front face is very sleek. You will not be able to see anything on the screen except the company logo in silver color at the bottom. The sides and back of the phone have been given a rubber finish, which gives it a premium look. You can’t remove the back cover of the phone, so you can’t access the battery. We saw only one drawback in the look, the label of 8 MP auto focus next to the rear camera looked very strange. Well, this is a very professional looking device.

There are many similarities between the BlackBerry Z3 and the Leap model launched last year. If you do not know much about both the phones then you will not be able to differentiate. Compared to the Z3 model, the Leap model is a few millimeters wider and also a little heavier. However, there are some differences between the two phones, such as the power button being on the top. The SIM and microSD card slots are on the left and the volume control buttons are on the right. The 3.5mm audio jack is at the top of the phone and the micro USB port is at the bottom.

Leap is available in dark gray and white colors. The phone looks solid and reliable. However, it is too large to be used in one hand. The company seems to have reused the same look, taking seriously the positive feedback received on the Z3’s build quality and styling in some Asian markets. The surprising thing is that Leap is not made by Foxconn, the company that makes Z3.

Specifications and Software
Z3 was a budget segment phone, due to which there was a slight lack in the specifications of this product which is not the case with Leap. The display of the phone has been greatly improved, the resolution of the 5 inch screen is 720×1280. While this isn’t a unique feature, it’s a far cry from the Z3’s 540×960 resolution screen. Texts look quite crisp, colors do not put pressure on the eyes, overall the phone gives a fun experience. There are some shortcomings regarding the display of the phone in sunlight. Sadly, Leap has only tried so hard to improve on the older model.

It’s surprising how far technology has come, but BlackBerry still sticks to the dual core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus processor. The company started using the MSM8960 processor in the Z10 model two years ago. If BlackBerry has to compete in this price range in terms of performance, then this strategy is wrong.

The rest of the specifications of the phone are a bit modern, but not high-end at all. The phone has 2 GB RAM. The handset has features like 16 GB internal storage, support for microSD card up to 128 GB, Wi-Fi b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0. Sadly, there is no support for LTE in the Indian 2300MHz band. Its battery capacity is 2800mAh. You get a proximity sensor and a basic accelerometer. The features provided by BlackBerry do not impress you.

The company claims that the value of its platform lies in software and services. BlackBerry is the second company after Apple to have its own hardware and operating system. The company hopes that people will trust Leap to get their work done. BlackBerry OS 10.3.1 has a lot of nice tricks, you can use most Android apps and it has a central communications hub through which you can easily see messages from many services. However, we’re not convinced that different gestures are the most natural way to use the OS. On the other hand, the touch keyboard of the phone is the best till date.

In terms of features, nothing much has changed since the launch of Z3. However, one difference is that the first menu page is now limited to 8 menu tiles instead of 4 app tiles. This has been possible by increasing RAM.

performance
Some shortcomings were noticed in BlackBerry Leap during use for several days. Many times, while launching apps or switching, the phone would go into pause mode for a while. Some OS animations were taking too much time. However, there was no problem while using the interface, hub and other simple apps.

Everything cannot be told about the capabilities of this phone on the basis of Android benchmarks. In cross-platform browser based SunSpider and Mozilla Kraken tests, the phone got a score of 1284.8ms and 26889.7ms respectively. Similar figures are seen in ultra-budget Android phones also. The battery lasted 7 hours and 19 minutes in the video loop test, which is respectable, but certainly not spectacular. The battery performance of the phone was good. Call quality was also excellent.

Camera performance is adequate, not great. But it works for casual shots. The textures come out beautifully. There is also less noise and compression in the image. However, when taking a photo of a moving object, the frames get distorted. The camera took good photos at night. The camera shoots 720p video by default, which is sharp but a little shaky.

our decision
Talking about the price, BlackBerry Leap competes with great Android devices like OnePlus One. At half the price or even less, many Android phones give a tough competition in terms of experience. Being committed to the BlackBerry platform can be a reason to buy this phone. The biggest difficulty for the company is to convince people to use the BlackBerry platform.

The good thing for the company is that many people are committed and more may be committed in the coming days. The target audience of the phone is youth, or professionals who are ready to invest money for a hardcore business tool, but this smartphone should be great for work. There is also a possibility that many corporations will buy this phone in large quantities for their employees in view of secure communications.

If the Leap is treated as a secondary phone and used only in the workplace, then BlackBerry wins. This is enough to sell the company’s products, thus BlackBerry will remain relevant. However, we would like the company to be aggressive and invest in the mainstream pricing segment.

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