Two years ago, BlackBerry Leap was lastly set free of the boring pattern it had established before by releasing the first all-touch screen system, the Z10. Despite being an expensive fail, the organization formerly named RIM was going to discover the touch screen display area with the help of the user-friendly BB10 OS. Today, BlackBerry is no more an unfamiliar element to the human factor: they quickly followed up the Z10 with the Z30, and today, the new BlackBerry Leap.
There is little that distinguishes BlackBerry’s three primary touch screen gadgets as far as internals are included, and therein can be found the issue with the Leap. Instead of attempting something different, BlackBerry has been well within its comfort area and forced out another mid-range, touch screen display that is partially divergent from its forerunners. Do not get us wrong: if a Leap is on your table to substitute an old functioning mobile phone, you will no doubt get on with it in a great way. But, if your own dollars are on the table, you are probably going to want to put spend elsewhere.
There are some things to like about the new BlackBerry Leap, such as its longer battery life, amazing digital camera and the efficiency provided by BB10 OS. The device is not without its own problems, though. It can be complicated to use due to its massive size; its 720p display has a rather poor quality and even some of the more well-known applications are not available on the BB10 system directly. And, just unforgivably, the phone comes with its ageing internals, this making it similar on the inside with to its two-year-older relative BlackBerry Z10.
Seriously, it is difficult to suggest the Leap over less expensive devices with excellent requirements and other consumer-friendly technology. As a working phone, the BlackBerry Leap will more than likely be enough, but if you are looking for your personal gadget that is not used only for maintaining up with your e-mails and online surfing, you can probably do better than that.
Let us be honest: BlackBerry is not really known for a modern style. The latest keyboard-toting devices are almost like an admission to all of that, some being a regression for this company, as opposed to the daring gadgets that had a great reputation some years ago. Even the Porsche Design partnerships, the pocket-killer Passport or the unreleased and curved-screen slider are all various styles of an old tired concept. That being said, their new Leap is at least a marked modification from the two previous touch screen BlackBerrys that were released before it. The organization is not exactly going on a new the pattern, though: the Leap requires more than just a few style hints from the older BlackBerry Z3, the lower-end touch screen system that has only been launched in a few creating marketplaces.
Distancing itself from the smooth shapes of the Z models before that, the Leap is a real dull item of a smart phone. It is a dark and grayish piece of technology with a distinct shape, intended for serious companies and we cannot help but discover that it is missing in a strong personality – unless that personality is actually a center administrator at a strategies corporation unfortunately. There are advantages and disadvantages to these options that scream an “all work and no play” style.
On one side, that device looks and seems like you could hit nails with it and it would not break. That is to say that it is hard as a stone, to the point where its body will not bend or twist, even under a significant pressure. The construction of the device is just admirable: all the components fit together very well, though the joints around its glass frontal part are prone to getting dirt and lint. Also, the dimply, rubbery materials that are covering most of the product seem like your built-in shock carcass, providing the visual impact that the device can be dropped enough times without breaking it.
On the other side, however, the BlackBerry Leap being a strong rectangle gadget makes it a tad complicated when you are holding it in your hand. Sure, its dimply back, with its minor curves, as they go along the sides, gives adequate grip and comfort for the user, but, the product is tall, extended, dense and reaching a heavier weight at 170g (or six ounces for those using imperial measurements). The Leap’s 5” screen is flanked on every side by solid bezels, and while the thinner fingers have no problem to control the product, the thumbs can go over dead areas to get at the display.
The user can regularly move his hands freely so the thumbs can reach the sides of the screen, mainly because the BlackBerry 10 OS is based around several swiping actions that have to begin off-screen. This goes to strengthen the sensation that the Leap is large for a 5” gadget, the power button’s main positioning on the top part next to the earphone slot does not help too much either in this regard.
The volume button, or rather, the couple of volume buttons on both sides of the BlackBerry Assistant key – is more properly placed towards the top of the right part, and its micro-USB slot is exactly where you would anticipate it to be: at the bottom of the device. Because the Leap’s back part is set in its place (the battery cannot be removed), the micro-SIM and microSD holes are placed discretely behind a small panel on the rear part. Beyond the regular control buttons and slots, BlackBerry has included some simple accessories here and there.
The backside has a commercial look to it, with the dimply grayish fabric outlined by a rectangle, punched-out speaker grill, discrete silvered BlackBerry business logo and glass components protecting the camera lenses, introducing its specks with an innovative typeface. The front-facing electronic digicam and ear piece are joined with by a big and red notice LED on the front of the product that shouts “Check your smartphone” with another silvery BlackBerry nice logo (this time with its name together with it) rests below the screen.
None of these is an unwanted addition, but they do not merge to make the BlackBerry Leap a lot more than a distinctive gadget. If its handset would not feel so large in your hands, the huge style might combine better with the effective characteristics of the product. But, being a little uncomfortable to use with just one hand, it does not seem like a more stunning look was given up in the desire of improved efficiency.
The Leap has a 5” and 1,280 x 720 (720p) LCD screen, which is nothing unusual for a mid-range gadget at this affordable price. In fact, we would be amazed if the figures were any different). Some experts are not great believers in the fact that a large number of pixels matters in creating a huge distinction to user experience on smaller displays, but many clients appreciate a high top quality gadget. Unfortunately, the Leap’s screen might left them seeking for more stuff. Colors are light enough and its white balance installment is right on, although you can modify this in the configurations if you want otherwise.
Darker shades have the intricate details common to LCD screens, but not as black as you see on an AMOLED device. When you are on a particularly dark display, you can choose some places along the border where the light is fading into the display. The evaluation for the device’s display is specifically ill fitting in its top left-hand area, although the irregular illumination is hardly recognizable with less heavy colors.
Viewing perspectives are acceptable, but sunlight readability is the part where it rather lets us down. The display is missing the type of energy you need to get through sunrays and there seems to be no distinction between 50 % illumination and full lighting when the sun is going directly over the screen. It is not absolutely unreadable – you are still able to see a map quite nicely, read your Twitter followers or just edit an image through the glare – but it is just not funny having to scrunch and squint and rotate it around in search of the color of your own preference.
The Leap operates on BlackBerry 10. To be more precisely, it works on Build 10.3.1, like the BlackBerry Classic. No matter if you have no previous experience with the BB10, you will discover that all are basically the same, although it is based more heavily on actions than the other mobile OS. You will see a simple home screen when you start the gadget, swipe to left gets out your app list. Gesturing becomes quite important when you are actually working with an application and swiping up from the display’s bottom will successfully minimize what you are looking at the moment and pin it to the screen, which acts also as your task manager.
It indicates that you can get rapidly at your most used applications and see what programs are running in the background. In addition, just like the Windows Phone’s Live Tiles, a few display snippets with live data – your most recent WhatsApp call, for instance. Swiping right in some applications delivers contextual choices and swiping down anywhere in the OS will give you immediate access to quick-settings dropdowns. In short, it will be relatively user-friendly to anyone who has managed a smart phone before and you get used quite easy to the focus on your actions.
From the display, swiping to the right gets you to BlackBerry Hub feature, one of the key functions of BB10. It is probably best described as your e-mail client/persistent notice bar. By far, the best part about the OS, is the fact that it places all of your details and notices in just one place, from text messages, e-mails, twitter posts and IMs to social networks, like Facebook or LinkedIn, your to-do list, schedule sessions and low-battery pointers. You can narrow, focus on and read notices from personal services or accounts, of course, but it is awesome to have everything at the tip of your finger.
You can disregard a missed phone call, indicate a few WhatsApp messages as read, remove an SMS, archive the e-mails and jump directly into Facebook to see the images where you have been tagged in directly from the BlackBerry Hub. The users who are Google clients almost exclusively probably wish that they could tag and store their e-mails in a simpler way , without having to navigate through a lot of choices, but even they will find the BlackBerry Hub incredibly effective, to say the least.
We think that you could consider your BlackBerry Assistant another primary function of BB10, especially because it has its own dedicated button placed on the case in between the volume keys. To put it simply, it is BlackBerry’s version of Google Now, Siri or Cortana. You can advise the voice-controlled assistant to modify configurations, open applications, message to a buddy, discover for you the best supper location, execute contextual queries of material on the product or on the Internet and so on.
We cannot say that there is anything extra-special about this specific version of a virtual assistant, although it can quickly respond to a rather complex search. What it accomplishes, it accomplishes well, even if you have to delay a task for a few moments for it if the procedure is too demanding. As with its colleagues on the other platforms, though, you might not find yourself using the BlackBerry Assistant. We would rather tap on your smart phone than talking to it. And let us be frank: so would you.
A function presented in BB 10.3 that certainly should get a prolonged discussion is the BlackBerry Blend. Set up the Blend client on the PC and Android/iOS device, couple it with the BlackBerry and then you can access that phone from virtually anywhere. Within Blend, you will find the contact list and schedule sessions, as well as a less heavy edition of the BlackBerry Hub, such as e-mails, SMS details and BBMs.
Moreover, to be able to see this info, you can also add schedule sessions and deliver messages from your client app without even touching the phone. For business customers, it indicates that you can sort out a few select e-mails on your desktop computer without signing into a company VPN, or consult your next conference hours and written text to your co-workers to tell them that you will be delayed if you leave your phone somewhere else.
It is not smooth or stylish in the way that Apple’s Continuity function performs between iOS and OS X, and you cannot switch out or even see your contact list within Blend. But, it is a simple and truly efficient app. We cannot say to have used it substantially, but being able to get all information on the smart phone from the convenience of a laptop makes transferring the camera taken images a piece of cake. So, even if you are not a company user, there are still projects that Blend can make simpler for you.
Since the BlackBerry Leap is one of a few of the brand’s devices without an actual key-board, it is important to note that the writing experience is still amazing, and as great as you will discover on any touch screen display. BlackBerry uses a model of predictive-text options that shows a number of terms you might be using towards above what might be the next letter in that term. You can secure in various predictions by swiping way up on the letters below, but focusing on these only bogs you down. Regardless of it, you can still produce written texts at a fast speed allowing the prediction engine to do its job without your feedback, and for many, it is almost as efficient as SwiftKeythis being the vital program to install on every OS working system on which you get your hands on.
There is a lot to like about the BB10 and yet, it still seems like it is lagging behind the other significant systems. And that is not totally about app accessibility either. The Maps program, for example, just is not as easy or as smooth as Google alternative. In the same way, the inventory web browser does not have a deeper substance and other main options that are not as user-friendly as their opponents are. Saving an alarm alert requires far too much tapping and various choices are needlessly complicated.
The app choice, too, is an issue for many users, and they must acknowledge that they hold onto an extra Android OS while using the Leap as their everyday device. You have accessibility to applications from BlackBerry World, which is said to be the place to go for efficiency resources, and Amazon’s Android Appstore, which has a bit of everything. Still, the variety of applications available through some of these mixed options is nothing in comparison to Google Play and Apple’s offers.
The preinstalled YouTube application, for example, is a web link to the mobile site, and it is no formal Instagram client in either app online store, let alone all the unknown Android OS applications you use consistently. You can sideload some Android applications if you have the tendency and the know-how, but this is no actual remedy to app lacking – plus you have to personally upgrade any sideloaded applications when new editions are launched. It is the same critique of BB10 (or Windows Phone, for this matter) you see over and over again. Now, if you are offered a Leap as your work phone, you are probably not going to sweat too much about stuffing it with applications. But, if you are looking at one for your own use, a poor app choice might be cause for future issues.
Like a Z10 or Z30, the Leap has a moderate 8MP digi cam, with a 2MP front-facing capture for all your selfies and video-calling necessities. Considering that the Leap is really a business system that was designed toward efficiency, not getting performing images, its main camera is amazingly flexible. The inventory cam interface is awesome and easy, just how you like it, with only a few configurations. From its viewfinder selection, you can modify the display behavior, turn HDR on/off, aspect ratio, set the timer and choose among regular, panorama, burst-captures and time-shift capturing modes (the latter is generally burst capture, but you choose your preferred picture to keep).
There is no playing around the ISO principles, exposure setting or white stability options: all of this is managed instantly. One thing that is lacking and should not be, however, is the choice to turn off an annoying shutter audio.
The stock camera application has one particularly nice that you can pay interest to. It indicates certain configurations and ways based on what it recognizes through the lens, like suggesting HDR values if it finds distinct illumination, or burst capturing if it sees a face in the picture. You should agree to these recommendations more often that you decline them, discovering that you usually get the best results if you adhere to the digital camera app’s guidance.
Like all similar cameras, the Leap’s main capturing function does the best work in positive illumination circumstances. Effective auto-exposure setting makes for a well-saturated image, and even when artificial lighting is at play, the smart phone has a good assessment of white balancing. Shutter lag is virtually nonexistent, and we are particularly attached to the HDR method, which contributes a lot to the extra details to images when used properly. It is no use when the lighting begins diminishing, however, as the distance between the three images it requires to develop the HDR image is elongated and you end up with an unclear image that looks like the impressionist artworks.
In the evening hours, the camera tries to cope with the appropriate configurations. Pictures either are under- or over-exposed, more often than not, but it gets well when darker hours truly come around and they can display the amazing low-light efficiency. It certainly does not give up when the light is of top quality, nor does it turn up the exposure with the level that images appear smooth and extremely noisy.