How an Impromptu Road Trip Made Me Love My BlackBerry

BlackBerry Leap

Nick Leap 7

As the sun dipped below the horizon, I glanced up from my tablet. The QE2 Highway stretched far as the eye could see in both directions – an endless expanse of gray, broken by the occasional vehicle. I was seated on the passenger side of my friend’s pickup truck, making the long trek from Calgary to Edmonton.

The radio blasted wave after wave of childhood nostalgia through the truck’s cabin – music with the 1990s written on every beat – while I lowered my head to continue typing. To my right was my BlackBerry Leap. In my bag at my feet, my Samsung Galaxy S4; up to this point, my primary smartphone.

But I was having some serious second thoughts about that.

Connection Lost

The Canadian city of Edmonton is situated three hours north of Calgary, and is one of the many stops on the longest highway in the province of Alberta, in which both are located. This wasn’t my first time making the trek. I suspect it won’t be my last, either.

I wasn’t writing for BlackBerry the last time I traveled to Alberta’s capital city. Like many others in their 20s, I hadn’t kept up with the brand – though I did bear it some fondness. My first smartphone was, after all, a BlackBerry Curve 8900.

Leap_Close-UpLast time, I was taking a Greyhound bus up to the city with my girlfriend for a convention. Naturally, I brought along my phone, tablet, and laptop. It was a long, tiring trip, and we’d both need something with which to occupy ourselves along the way – I’d planned to use my Galaxy S4 as a hotspot for both the tablet and the laptop.

Before we even reached the halfway point, my Galaxy had lost its signal. So much for getting any work done. Or watching Netflix.

Or doing anything else online, for that matter.

Sadly, this failure was par for the course with my Galaxy. I was more or less used to having spotty connectivity, even in places where I shouldn’t have run into trouble, such as Calgary’s downtown core.  It was a connectivity quirk I’d originally attributed to my service provider, not my phone.

Turns out, I was only half right.

A Leap in Productivity

Several years passed before I visited Edmonton again. By then, I’d acquired a BlackBerry Leap, which I used almost exclusively for work. There were many things I enjoyed about it: the intuitive nature of the touchscreen, the utility of BlackBerry Blend, the 25-hour battery life.

For all its strong points, however, the Leap was still a work phone. I still bore a slight preference for the S4. That soon changed.

BlackBerry Leap in HandIt all started with a phone call from a friend. If memory serves, his exact words were “what are you doing for the next six hours?” I was working, so a small part of me wanted to tell him I was too busy.

At the same time, I knew he wouldn’t have called me if he didn’t truly need my help.

I grabbed my phone, my tablet, and my keyboard and set out. I also opted to take along my Leap, mostly so that my clients could keep in touch with me. I was lucky I did.

As with my previous journey to Edmonton, my Galaxy’s connection died only a few hours in. I was in a bind. I had deadlines to meet, so unless I wanted to pull yet another all-nighter, I needed to keep working.

But my service provider clearly wasn’t up to the task of offering coverage over the QE2. With a sigh, I put my tablet back in my bag. Looks like it’d be another late night.

Then I had a thought. On a whim, I swapped my SIM card from the Galaxy to the Leap. When I did, something shocking happened.

Where my other phone couldn’t find a signal, BlackBerry’s phone had three bars.

I was back in business. I tethered my Leap, pulled out my tablet, and set up my keyboard. It was time to get to work.

I’ll spare you the details, but the trip didn’t go entirely as planned. Rather than six hours, the total time was closer to eight or nine. When at last we arrived back in Calgary, it was nearly 11 p.m. My Leap still had 40% battery life remaining, and over the course of the journey, it lost connectivity only twice – and then just for a brief time.

Two weeks later, and the Leap is now my primary device – the Galaxy S4 is collecting dust on my desk.

Closing Thoughts

For a long time, I was one of many people making do with two devices. After my impromptu road trip, though, I’ve changed my mind. Especially in light of the release of the PRIV security-enhanced Android smartphone, I’m on the verge of retiring my old phone for good.

In a way, I suppose I’ve come full circle. BlackBerry was my introduction to the world of smartphones. It seems sort of fitting that one is now my main device.

BlackBerry Leap Availability and Pricing

Nick isn’t the only person who’s found happiness after making the switch to the Leap. Check out how the Leap helps other professionals – it keeps this entrepreneur on his feet, it’s this executive’s most important communications tool, it’s a virtual “personal assistant” for this pro wrestler-turned-CEO, it’s a vital tool that keeps this UK doctor professionally healthy, and it even helped a team of German athletes become world champions.)

Ready to take the BlackBerry Leap to better on-the-go productivity? It’s available at

BlackBerry Leap White, $199

BlackBerry Leap Black, $199

You can buy a Leap in “shadow grey” at, and it’s also available from carriers in the U.S., France, Germany, the U.K. and Canada. For the latest news on the Leap’s availability, check our one-stop blog.

About Nicholas C. Greene

Nicholas C. Greene is a technology writer based in Calgary, Canada. An English graduate of the University of Calgary, he's written for publications and organizations such as VPN Haus, Streetwise, Northcutt, and The Coolist.

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