There appears to be a new name in SSD storage. It’s called Leap, and I’d probably take this one with a big pinch of salt. This is partially due to how the device is presented, partially due to the dodgy AI voiceover on their promo video, and partially due to the crowdfunding platform on which it resides. It looks pretty dodgy to me, but we’ll get back to those in a bit. First, let’s look at what they claim to offer.
Leap is a wireless and Thunderbolt 3 compatible (but not USB 3.2 Gen 2 compatible) SSD with capacities of 1TB, 2TB and 4TB. It boasts 802.11ax WiFi 6 connectivity with speeds of up to 900MB/sec and wired transfer speeds of up to 2400MB/sec. As it’s a wireless device, it contains its own battery with up to 10 hours of use and supports up to 10 simultaneous device connections.
Leap Wireless SSD
The Leap Wireless SSD boasts fast Thunderbolt 3 wired connectivity for transfer speeds up to 2,400MB/sec – which they also note as 2,200MB/sec in another part of their campaign and show as high as 2,827MB/sec in a purported Blackmagic Disk Speed Test run. There are no visible speed tests of its wireless capabilities, but it claims 900MB/sec wireless transfers over WiFi6 compatible 802.11ax.
Its built-in battery provides up to 10 hours of use without a recharge – which can be done via the Type-C Thunderbolt socket – with capacities of 1TB, 2TB and 4TB in a package that looks to be of a similar physical size to the Crucial X8 SSD (buy here), albeit it with much faster claimed transfer speeds and added WiFi capabilities. The Thunderbolt 3 connection doesn’t appear to be backwards compatible with USB 3.2 Gen 2 (AKA, USB 3.1), as there’s no mention of it anywhere. This wouldn’t be the first time such a drive existed, as the OWC Envoy Pro SX only works with Thunderbolt 3, too – which is probably why it was rapidly discontinued and replaced by the Envoy Pro FX (buy here) which supports both Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.2 Gen 2.
The WiFi capabilities include 900MB/sec transfers over 802.11ax WiFi6, and support for up to 10 simultaneous users, all accessing it at once. This sounds like a great idea for collaborative work, with multiple people creating content for a single editor. Everybody can periodically upload their work over WiFi while the editor has nice fast, wired access to everything as it comes in.
Sounds great, right? Well, not so fast…
Why I am hesitant to invest in this campaign
First, there’s the device itself. Despite the fact that there have been a handful of other Thunderbolt 3 SSDs on the market that don’t offer USB 3.2 Gen 2 compatibility, many of them have been discontinued and replaced by newer models that support both Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.2 Gen 2. It seems a massive oversight not to include backward compatibility in a new drive today.
Then there’s that promo video. While the script may very well have been written by a human, the voiceover used in the video is clearly a text-to-speech engine. With such a potentially great product for creatives as this, one would have thought they’d have hopped on Fiverr or somewhere and hired even a cheap voiceover talent to record it.
There’s also the company’s own website, which didn’t exist until March 2023, and still says that the device is launching soon. There’s no link to the crowdfunding campaign, nor even a mention of it. You can “pre-book” your purchase for $1, though. Almost all of the photos of the device also look like complete renders or rendered units composited into photographs. There are also no public videos on the company’s YouTube channel, which was also only created a month ago.
The campaign features reviews from a number of “customers” – that all read very much like sales speak, promoting specific tech features. For a company that didn’t even own a domain name until two months ago and a product that isn’t yet available to actually purchase and hold in your hands, I’m curious how these “customers” managed to get hold of a unit and how they were able to feed back their thoughts to the company in time for the campaign to be published.
Then there’s the fact that they sent us their media pack from a Gmail address. Not to mention the fact that the four members of the Leap Team don’t exist at all on LinkedIn. Sure, LinkedIn isn’t a directory of the entirety of the human population, but for people involved in this kind of tech, not being on LinkedIn is at least somewhat suspicious.
Now, the Leap website might not mention the crowdfunding platform, but I will here…
Who the heck is GadgetAny?
Leap is being crowdfunded. What platform? I hear you ask. Is it Kickstarter or Indiegogo? No, it’s neither of those. It’s on an apparent tech crowdfunding site called GadgetAny. It’s not unusual these days to see crowdfunding platforms pop up for specific niches and target audiences, but this one looks extremely suspect when you do a little poking around.
On the surface, it actually does look quite good, like any other legitimate crowdfunding site. But, if you ignore the Leap SSD campaign for a second, there are no other current and active campaigns on the site. In fact, even with completed campaigns, there have only been a total of 13 campaigns on the site since its creation. And one of those is for magnetic USB cables that are 3-5x the price of identical cables commonly available on Amazon, with a claimed 1,327 backers.
It appears that before they got into building a crowdfunding platform of their own, they assisted companies in getting their campaigns going on the likes of Kickstarter and Indiegogo. According to Trustpilot, they have several five-star reviews from companies claiming that GadgetAny has helped them. The wording used in these reviews looks very specific, scripted, and not written by actual customers, except for one. One of the reviews looks genuine, which rated them at 1 star after allegedly taking their money and running with it.
GadgetAny’s YouTube channel also appears to just be a dump for more computer-generated voiceover videos claiming to be reviews, along with the occasional clickbait. These “reviews”, though, are based on nothing more than on-paper specs, with no actual use of the devices they claim to be reviewing, using footage stolen from other sources.
It’s all just a little bit of history repeating
I got to Googling because there are a couple of clips of a real device being shown on the campaign page. I wanted to see if there was another device out there that had a similar form factor, and what did I find? The AirMini SSD, a fast wireless SSD (sound familiar?) that ran on Indiegogo at a campaign URL which now appears to have been completely redacted. This one also turned out to be a scam, and Reddit sleuths managed to uncover that the person promoting it also runs or at least participates in none other than GadgetAny.
Price and Availability
In case the post hasn’t made it clear already, this campaign raises some serious concerns, and I would be hesitant to invest in it. You do so entirely at your own risk, and if you lose your money, you have nobody to blame but yourself. We’re posting this to make potential customers aware of this so that they don’t risk being taken in by a fake campaign and losing their money.
If you haven’t been deterred and still wish to risk your money on a device that probably doesn’t exist on a website that’s known for running scams in the past, you can head on over to the campaign page at GadgetAny, where the Leap SSD is priced starting at $160 for the 1TB version, $260 for 2TB and $399 for the 4TB version. The “estimated delivery” stated on the campaign page is July 2023, although I expect you can wait until July 2033 and it still won’t have arrived.
We have reached out to Leap SSD to find out more information and some proof of the SSD status. We will update this post when we receive a response.
May 11th, 2023 update: Leap replied to our questions as follows:
Thank you for your concern. I understand your confusion regarding the Leap Wireless SSD.
We are currently in the process of uploading the complete test videos and speed test videos that showcase the speed of the Leap Wireless SSD prototype. In addition, we have received positive reviews from customers who have already booked the Leap SSD from offline testing. These customers include friends and family who have booked Leap based on the prototype and idea.
Our team is small and we have been working together on the Leap SSD. Prior to launching the campaign, we did not have a website. However, we require funds for mass production and crowdfunding is an excellent way to achieve this. We have recently registered a website and we are currently working on the development of a mobile app.
As soon as we upload the test videos to the campaign page, we will inform you via email.