BlackBerry Leap launched in the UK

Today sees BlackBerry's latest attempt to regain the hardware high ground with a 5in, all-touch smartphone

The BlackBerry Leap is now officially available in the UK.

The 5in all-touch smartphone, aimed at young professionals and startups, marks the company's latest attempt to bolster its ailing hardware business. Despite winning a coveted Red Dot award for the Passport, the company has slipped behind rivals in recent years.

True to form, BlackBerry is squarely targeting business users with this model, with encryption facilities, back-up, wipe and restore and built-in malware protection all included.

Also present and correct are the host of native apps such as BlackBerry Hub that have been so beloved of enterprise customers in the past, as well as a "best-in-class" virtual keyboard to compensate for the lack of a physical QWERTY keypad.

However, the newest - and most notable - feature is the battery. BlackBerry claims the 2800 mAh battery at the heart of the Leap can power the device through a full 25 hours of heavy use on a single charge.

While this is possible mainly by virtue of aging, mid-tier internals that aren't as power-hungry as cutting-edge components, it's nonetheless incredibly impressive, and likely to be a major selling point for many prospective users, as is the 199 price-point.

BlackBerry has also realised that one of its biggest weaknesses in the face of competition from Android and iOS was its lacklustre suite of third-party apps. Happily, a partnership with Amazon has rectified this, and in addition to the aforementioned native productivity apps available through BlackBerry World, customers will also have access to a whole host of popular, pre-existing Android apps through the Amazon Appstore.

The device also comes loaded with BlackBerry's own OS, now on version 10.3.1. This comes with the BlackBerry Assistant, the company's answer to Siri, Cortana and Google Now, and BlackBerry Blend, which allows the sharing of documents, tasks and notifications between your BlackBerry, tablet and computer.

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