Leitz Phone 1: This is Leica’s attempt at making a smartphone

Leica, the much beloved camera company, isn’t a stranger to smartphone users. Their name has been on Huawei devices in the past, with the latest smartphone to bear their cameras being the Sharp Aquos R6. Now, Leica seems to be taking the next step into the smartphone industry with their own smartphone — the Leitz Phone 1.

Okay so maybe their ‘own’ smartphone is a bit of a stretch. Named after the original name of the Leica company, the Leitz Phone 1 is actually a rebadged Sharp Aquos R6, with the same specs and mostly similar design. However, the big difference is the back of the device. Instead of the Aquos R6’s rectangular camera bump, you instead get a huge circular camera bump reminiscent of the Leica camera on the Huawei Mate 40. The rest of the rear is covered in the ‘Leica silver’ metallic chassis, with the iconic Leica Red Dot on the top right.

As for the camera itself though, it’s the same sensor as the one in the Sharp. There’s a single 20MP sensor that’s a full inch in size, the largest you’ll find in any smartphone these days. It comes with a f/1.9 ultrawide lens, so you’re gonna need to use digital zoom for other focal lengths. Meanwhile on the front, you’ll find a 12.6MP camera.

The similarities with the Sharp Aquos R6 continue, with a 6.6-inch IGZO OLED display offering a 2730 x 1260 resolution and a 240Hz refresh rate. It also has a 3D ultrasonic fingerprint sensor under the display capable of reading two fingerprints at the same time for extra security.

Inside, you’ll get a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 system-on-chip, mated with 12GB of RAM. You do however get 256GB of storage — twice the storage of the Aquos R6, presumably to store all of those photos you’d be taking. There’s even support for expandable storage up to 1TB through microSD card. Battery-wise it sports a 5,000mAh battery, and also has an IP68 water resistance rating.

The Leitz Phone 1 also has its own custom Android 11 skin, which as a monochrome feel to it. You can also use a ‘Leitz Looks’ mode on the camera app to take your black-and-white photos. In the box, the Leitz Phone 1 comes with a bundled case as well as a lens cap.

Pricing and availability

The Leitz Phone 1 is currently only available in Japan through SoftBank, with pre-orders beginning on the 18th of June. There’s no word on international availability yet though, so if you fancy yourself a Leica-branded smartphone you’re going to have to keep an eye for it.

As for the price, it retails for ¥187,920 in Japan, which is roughly RM 7,080.09, so it’s certainly not cheap. But SoftBank has pointed out that the Leitz Phone 1 isn’t meant for the mass market. Instead it’s targeted at those who are fans of Leica’s hardware design. Whether or not that’s enough to actually tempt users into buying a rebadged Sharp smartphone however remains to be seen.

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