Following the long-standing collaboration with Huawei and the most recent Sharp Aquos R6, Leica is finally launching its own smartphone. Announced at a press conference in Tokyo earlier today, the Leitz Phone 1 is the first Leica-branded mobile phone, and it will be a Softbank exclusive when it launches in July.
The camera maker isn’t afraid to admit that the Leitz Phone 1 is actually a rebadged Aquos R6 (which isn’t a bad thing at all), with the former emphasizing a “real Leica experience “down to industrial design and user interface level.
The Leitz Phone 1, named after the original Leica brand, shares a similar design language with its iconic cameras, and it comes with a Leica Red Dot and a circular magnetic lens cap. But instead of a leather back, the camera sports a matte black glass cover to go with the metallic “Leica silver” body – this one has a thickness of 9.5mm and a weight of 212. You can protect the back with the hard case provided.
Much like the Aquos R6, the Leitz Phone 1 packs a 1-inch 20-megapixel sensor for its f / 1.9 main camera, as well as a 12.6-megapixel selfie camera on the other side. Its 6.6-inch IGZO OLED display offers a crisp 2730 x 1260 resolution, as well as a variable refresh rate of 240Hz via the insertion of a black frame (to reduce motion blur, it doesn’t is therefore really only 120 Hz).
While you will also find the same flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor and 12GB of RAM here, you get 256GB of storage space, which is twice as much as the Aquos R6; and you can expand up to 1TB through the microSD card slot. The generous 5,000mAh battery and IP68 dust and water resistance rating are here to stay.
The Leitz Phone 1 runs on Android 11 which has a “largely monochrome” user interface customized by Leica. Other than that, the interface largely resembles that of the original Android, based on the screenshots shown during today’s keynote.
For now, the Leitz Phone 1 is exclusive to Softbank in Japan and costs 187,920 yen, or about $ 1,700. Pre-orders begin June 18 and the phone will be available at the end of July. There is no word on international availability yet, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on future announcements.
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