New handset is leap of faith for Blackberry (Tech Review)

| Saturday, June 6, 2015 - 09:54
First Published |

New handset is leap of faith for Blackberry (Tech Review)

Blackberry, which has been facing stiff competition from several key smartphones brand in the market, recently launched the Blackberry Leap priced at Rs 21,490. 

The third touch-based device from the erstwhile RIM's stable is a follow up of the Z10 and the Z30 smartphone.

Here is Leap's evaluation:

Design: Although the phone looks chunky, the build of the Leap is quite good and so is the grip. It is a durable handset with dimensions of 144 mm x 72 mm x 9.50 mm and weighs around 170 grams.The back panel houses the camera and the speaker mesh (which results in sounds muffling once the phone is lying on its back). The front panel of the device houses the screen with the earpiece unit at the top. The mute and Volume rocker keys are placed on the right side while the power key is placed at the top. The microUSB port is located at the bottom edge and the left edge houses the micro-sim and microSD card slots. The 3.5 mm headphone jack is integrated at the top.

Display, Camera and Sound: The Leap's display is sharp but could have been better. It ships with a 5 inches touchscreen display with a resolution of 720x1280 pixels at 294 PPI (which is less than the current competition). There were no issues with viewing angles. 

The Leap comes with an 8MP rear camera unit with auto-focus and LED flash and sports a 2MP front-facing camera. One of the unique things about the camera is the 'Time Shift' feature that allows the user the option to select the best photo from a series of still shots. Photos were a little grainy in low light but otherwise the camera unit seems to be working fine. The front unit will not serve as a very good selfie camera but is decent for video chats. When it comes to sound, the Leap has good output quality and a good pair of headphones will make music enjoyable on the go. 

Hardware & performance: At the core, the new device gets its juice from a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor combined with a 2GB RAM unit. Although there has been no change at the processor front, the user will experience lesser lags and delays while multi-tasking or switching between apps. The device comes with 16GB of internal storage which can be expanded to 128GB using a microSD card unit. Casual gaming on the phone was smooth although heavy games caused the device to stutter a bit. 

Operating system and apps: The device runs on the latest BlackBerry OS 10.3.1 which looks better than previous versions. Interestingly, the Leap comes with BlackBerry Meetings, the company's new video and voice conference app that can help a user to start a video and audio conference with up to 25 participants from their mobile device. Also, the phone allows the user to download and use Android apps (third-party). The OS piggybacks on the BlackBerry Blend that brings messaging and content on a user's phone to a computer or a tablet.The Leap can also read gestures, lift to wake, flip to mute, and flip to save power. It also offers FM radio without recording capability. 

Battery and connectivity: A 2,800mAH battery is what keeps the smartphone running. The device has a good battery backup and can last nearly 16 days on standby. On the connectivity front, the device supports 4G and Bluetooth but there is no near field communication capability. 

Verdict: The Leap is a mixture of so many things but we feel that the firm is still banking on the enterprise-use approach which might not aid the sales of the device. The device is nowhere close to competition from Android, Cynanogen or Windows device. Plus it lacks a USP making the Leap look overpriced from certain angles. For blackberry die-hards, it's a leap of faith.

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