CNET First Look
BlackBerry Leap ditches physical keyboardsThe Leap looks to establish a new generation of BlackBerry fans.
[MUSIC] Hey, I'm Nate today, and we're checking out the Blackberry Leap. Now this business focused smartphone is aimed at young career builders who want that Blackberry pedigree but don't necessarily want to spend too much. You can pick one up unlocked for 275 bucks from Amazon and Blackberry. The Blackberry Leap has a plain black slab that looks professional in a quaint soft of way. There's a vibrant display with a 1280 by 720 pixel resolution. That is a bit low for a screen this size but it looks great so that is not too much of a problem. The phone is also kind of chunky and heavier than it looks but you certainly will not have trouble turning it around. You can not remove the battery but Blackberry claims you will see about twenty five hours. Heavy use out of it. That's a bold claim, but the Blackberry Passport and the Blackberry Classic both clocked in around the same levels in our battery test. There's 16 gigs of storage space, but you can add up to 128 gig microSD cards through a port on the side here. There's something missing, and that's the keyboard. Blackberry's made plenty of touch screen only devices, but without one, the Leap doesn't do all that much to stand out. The phone is running the latest version of BlackBerry 10 OS which means you're only options for apps are BlackBerry World and the Amazon App Store. That offers a taste of Android but far less than you'll find on the Google Play Store. The BlackBerry Hub puts all of your mail, text and messages in one readily accessible place, but the average young career builder has far more choices for managing their messaging on Android and iOS devices. You can fire up the Blackberry Assistant by holding down this button on the side. And It'll answer questions. Set reminders, and do all of those helpful things. But we've had Google Now, and iOS' Siri, and Windows Phone Cortana for quite awhile now. The [UNKNOWN] virtual keyboard is fast and accurate. And it's a great text suggestion function tha superimposed suggestions right onto the keyboard. Swipe on a word to slide it in and you'll save precious screen space and time. But Android, and more recently iOS lets you pick whatever keyboard is right for you. Which is arguably more important for most users. If the IT department at your next corporate job hands you one of these you aren't gonna be disappointed. But the physical keyboard is what sets Blackberry devices apart. Without one the Blackberry Leap isn't really doing anything fundamentally better than your average smartphone. And you're dealing with a limited app selection. If there's something on a Blackberry that you can't get anywhere else. And you hate physical keyboards. This might be a phone for you. Otherwise you're going to be better off on a more robust platform. I'm Nate. Be sure to read my full review at CNET. Thanks for watching.