Japan is the first and currently only market to receive Leica’s first self-branded smartphone offering, the Leitz Phone 1. This is not Leica’s first foray into the smartphone market. The historic German company has previously had a partnership with the Chinese tech company Huawei and lent the Leica name to many of Huawei’s high-end smartphones. More recently, Leica partnered with Sharp on its new Aquos R6 smartphone, complete with a Leica-branded camera system.
Leica has gone a step further now with its own branded smartphone, which is actually a rebadged Aquos R6 with the former emphasizing a true Leica experience down to the level of industrial design and user interface.
The Leitz Phone 1, named after Leica’s original brand, shares a similar design language with its iconic cameras, and it comes complete with a Leica Red Dot plus a magnetic circular lens cap. But instead of a leatherback, the device sports a matt black glass cover to go with the “Leica silver” metallic body — this comes in at 9.5mm thick and 212 heavy. Leica claims that this is the first-ever smartphone that has seen its influence on every aspect of its design, particularly the industrial design of the phone body itself. The multiple rear-facing elements have been united into a single “camera bump,” providing not just a more slick visual design, but a single circular area that can be protected with a single Leica-branded lens cap.
Like the Aquos R6, the Leitz Phone 1 comes with a 6.6-inch OLED display at 2,730 x 1,260 resolution. The adaptive display also refreshes at an incredible 240Hz, and it’s powered by the 8-core Snapdragon 888 processor with 12GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD.
The big highlight is around the back where we find the massive 1-inch camera sensor. It’s a 20MP shooter with an f/1.9 aperture and 19mm equivalent focal length. The selfie shooter on the front comes in at 12.6MP. It has no ability to optically zoom, so for any narrower focal length you’ll need to digitally zoom – but from an ~6.2K source resolution, that should be at least somewhat possible even for a 4K delivery.
The Leitz Phone 1 runs on Android 11 which features a largely monochrome UI customized by Leica. The camera app offers a “Leitz Looks” monochrome mode at the back for taking pictures in black and white. Other than that, the interface looks largely similar to stock Android, based on the screenshots shown during today’s keynote.
The Leitz Phone 1 will be available only in Japan, at least for now. It will be available starting in July. Optional accessories include a premium soft case and a silver Leica-branded lens cap. Preorders start in Japan tomorrow, and the Leitz Phone 1 will retail for 187,920 yen, which is currently just over $1,700.
More info on SoftBank’s press release (translated from Japanese).