We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.

This is BlackBerry's newest smartphone: the BlackBerry Leap. Sporting a 5-inch 720x1280 IPS LCD display, an 8MP rear camera, and 16GB of storage, the phone offers quality mid-range specs at an affordable $275 off-contract. We've been told the phone's built by Wistron, the manufacturing arm of Taiwan-based Acer. It has a Foxconn feel to it, but this is more the entry-level design language of BlackBerry than simply what Foxconn made for the Z3 (there are some differences in the layout between this and the Z3).

The Leap's full touch design does have some fairly substantial bezels to it, and the 9.5mm thickness isn't the thinnest out there. But, again, we're talking about a sub-$300 phone here, we wouldn't expect the highest of tech here anyway. It sports a microSD card slot (up to 128GB) and a hefty 2800mAh non-removable battery that's good for 25 hours of battery life. That life comes in part due to the dual-core Qualcomm S4 Pro 1.5GHz processor running things.

There's the top-mounted power button, the volume and mute buttons on the right side, micro USB on the bottom, and micro SIM and microSD under a door on the left. The front's a solid sheet of glass with the BlackBerry logo at the bottom and front-facing camera and speaker at the top. The back and sides are rubberized with a grid of nubs all around that give it an absurd level of grip.

This isn't the most impressive BlackBerry ever (that might just be the crazy new curved-screen slider, but it's impressive for what it is. In our brief time with the Leap we saw a phone that was solidly built and nicely responsive. It might be kind of a BlackBerry Z10 at it's heart, but there's nothing wrong with that, especially at that price.

Join the BlackBerry Leap Discussion in our Forums

Read more