The BlackBerry Leap and BlackBerry Classic follow in the footsteps of the high-end BlackBerry Passport and offer much of the same experience but without the hefty price-tag.
The BlackBerry Leap offer up a full touchscreen experience while the BlackBerry Classic delivers an experience that is guided with a35-key backlit keyboard, which incidentally can be used as an optical trackpad for scrolling and cursor positioning.
Leap vs Classic design
The BlackBerry Leap has a 5-inch screen that boasts a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels. It looks much like any other smartphone and its design traits include sharp 90-degree edges on the front with more palm-friendly curves on the back where the edges seamlessly blend into the rear cover.
The BlackBerry Leap weighs in at 170 grams with a 9.5mm thick body. A dual-core 1.5GHz processor with 2GB RAM powers the experience and the 16GB internal memory can be boosted with a memory card of up to 128GB.
The story is much the same for the BlackBerry Classic but it is slightly heavier at 178 grams and marginally thicker with a body that measures 10mm. As the screen sits above the keyboard it takes on a smaller square format that measure 3.5-inches and there are less pixels overall (720 x 720).
Leap vs Classic camera
The BlackBerry Leap and the BlackBerry Classic have the same camera and camera software. The 8-megapixel resolution delivers excellent results and you get to enjoy a 5x digital zoom and video recording at a quality of 1080p.
The Story Maker and Picture Editor features are built in and on the front there is a 2-megapixel camera for taking a selfie, making a video or recording video as a quality of 720p.
The biggest difference between the two smartphones here is that the BlackBerry Leap will allow you to capture landscape scenes by turning it onto to its side. With the BlackBerry Classic you can tap the settings button and change the aspect to 16:9 for landscape photography.
The camera will remain in the 16:9 aspect the next time you open up the camera app. The slight negative to this though is that the viewfinder achieves this view by placing a black band across the top and bottom of the screen. This means that the image in the viewfinder is smaller and this will of course show your photographic results like this in your gallery.
Leap vs Classic features
The BlackBerry Leap and BlackBerry Classic are both supplied with the BlackBerry 10 OS and there really is a lot on offer. Your first port of call may be the BlackBerry World app store where you can find made for BlackBerry apps. You also get the bonus though of having access to the Amazon App Store which is full of Android apps that will work on your BlackBerry device.
A simple finger swipe opens up the BlackBerry Hub which houses all of your calls, messages and social networking notifications in one place and this really works well. The BlackBerry Assistant can be used with either text or voice commands and this is simply superb and much quicker when you want to setup reminders or make an internet search.
GPS with BlackBerry Maps is included on both smartphones and any app you open can be minimized to create a tiled effect on the homescreen. These then work a little bit like widgets and display for example the temperature for weather apps or a rotation of your friends latest updates with the Facebook app.
Wi-Fi and 4G power your internet browsing experience and the BlackBerry 10 Browser has a handy Reader feature that removes all of the adverts and clutter from the screen leaving you with just the text and pictures of the article you may want to read.
The BlackBerry Classic has a slight advantage here as you can slide your finger over the keys to scroll up and down the page. Entering text is of course the big difference and probably the deciding factor as to which phone you would choose. The physical keys on the Classic give you the confidence of accuracy while the virtual keyboard on the Leap is slightly quicker as you swipe your finger from letter to letter. In both cases you can take advantage of next word prediction for more efficient typing.
Leap vs Classic battery
The BlackBerry Leap has a 2,800mAh battery which has a slightly higher capacity than the 2,515mAh battery included with Classic. The Leap does have a larger screen to power but it still performs slightly better than the Classic’s.
The Leap should give you up to 25 hours usage under a mixed usage scenario or 12 hours talk time, 15 days standby, 80 hours of music playback or 9.5 hours of video playback. The Classic offers up to 22 hours usage under a mixed usage scenario or 70 hours of music playback or 13 hours of video playback.
Verdict: The BlackBerry Leap certainly has a slight edge on the Classic but if a physical keyboard is preferred then the minor compromises of a smaller screen really shouldn’t put you off.