Leica, the German camera manufacturer, has just released its first smartphone, the Leitz Phone 1, which is named after the company’s original brand. The device is developed in partnership with the Japanese carrier SoftBank and will be exclusive to the local market. So unless you live in Japan and are a SoftBank customer, you will not be able to buy it.
The Leitz Phone 1 is the first Leica-branded smartphone. The company has previously collaborated with various smartphone OEMs for camera systems but it’s the first time the iconic red dot logo is appearing on the exterior of a device.
That said, it’s not an exactly new phone. Leica’s Leitz Phone 1 is, in fact, a rebadged Sharp Aquos R6, another Japan-exclusive phone. The only difference is the phone’s design, which now has more sharp corners as opposed to rounded ones on the R6. The back panel on the new phone is glass-made instead of leather. The rear camera setup also has a circular bump over a rectangular one, though the position of the sensors remains unchanged.
Interestingly, Leica had collaborated with Sharp to co-develop the Aquos R6’s camera system. It’s now taking the same phone, making a couple of minor design changes, slapping its logo, and releasing it as a new phone. The company isn’t even trying to hide the fact that the Leitz Phone 1 is a rebadged R6. It is proposing this phone to those who want its hardware design and not just its camera systems.
Leica Leitz Phone 1 specifications
If you’ve checked the specifications of the Sharp Aquos R6, then you already know what Leica’s Leitz Phone 1 stores internally. The device features a 6.6-inch IGZO OLED display with a resolution of 2,730 x 1,260 pixels and a 240Hz variable refresh rate. Well, it’s still 120Hz but with reduced motion blur. Under the hood is the Snapdragon 888 chipset with 12GB of RAM and 256GB UFS 3.1 storage. Yes, Leica’s phone is offering twice the storage capacity as the Aquos R6. Both phones offer a MicroSD slot that supports cards of up to 1TB capacity though.
On the back of this phone is a single 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor with an f/1.9 aperture. This lens has an equivalent focal length of 19mm, which is in the ultrawide territory. For other focal lengths, you’ll have to rely on digital zoom. The circular camera bump also houses an LED flash and a time-of-flight sensor. Leica is offering a “Leitz Looks” mode for capturing black and white photos. The front-facing camera is a 12.6-megapixel sensor.
The Leitz Phone 1 runs Android 11 out of the box, with Leica’s “largely monochrome” custom UI on top, though the interface largely looks stock Android. It also keeps the in-display ultrasonic fingerprint sensor as well as the IP68 rating for protection against dust and water. There’s a 5,000mAh battery inside that takes about 130 minutes to refill fully. The whole package has a dimension of 74 x 162 x 9.5 mm and weighs about 212 grams.
The SoftBank-exclusive Leitz Phone 1 comes in a single silver color option. The device will be available for pre-order from June 18th for a price of 187,920 yen (approx. $1,700). While this phone is unlikely to ever come out of the Japanese territory, we will let you know if things change in the future.