Leica Unveils First Smartphone, Leitz Phone 1, With 1-Inch Sensor and Snapdragon 888
Updated: Aug 21, 2021
After working with a number of smartphone brands in the past, German camera and lens maker Leica has finally unveiled its very own smartphone.
Behold, the Leitz Phone 1, a smartphone with a 20MP 1-inch rear sensor – the largest sensor to ever be fitted on a mass-market smartphone. The sensor additionally features an f/1.9 Summicron wide lens with a 19mm focal length. In front, the smartphone has a 12MP selfie sensor housed in the display’s punch-hole notch cutout. Of course, all the smartphone’s cameras are Leica-branded since this is Leica’s own phone.
The Leitz Phone 1 flaunts a 6.67-inch IGZO OLED display with a 2,730 x 1,260 resolution and variable refresh rates of up to 240Hz. Powering it under the hood is a flagship Snapdragon 888 octa-core chipset, 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM, 256GB of internal storage expandable up to 1TB via microSD and a 5,000mAh battery.
If these specs look familiar, it’s because these are the exact specs of the Sharp Aquos R6. The Leitz Phone 1 is essentially a rebranded, redesigned or, as Leica calls it, “rebadged” version of that phone.
The biggest difference between the two comes down to the smartphone’s overall design. The Leitz Phone 1 touts design sensibilities that are reminiscent of Leica’s signature cameras. This is most noticeable in the magnetic circular lens cap, which has a silver sheen that’s unmistakably Leica. Additionally, the smartphone’s rear has the brand’s iconic red dot logo situated at the top right corner. The smartphone’s colour scheme is also very much Leica through and through: the glass rear panel is matte black while the metallic body is silver.
On top of all this, the Leitz Phone 1 runs on Leica’s custom version of Android 11. This version of the mobile software features more monochrome aesthetics and a unique “Leitz Looks” mode for the camera app, which allows users to capture photos in black and white.
As mentioned earlier, Leica previously only partnered with different smartphone brands, supplying them with camera technology and helping in its implementation. The most notable of which is Huawei, which the camera maker has been working with since 2016. Leica is credited for improving the camera performance of Huawei’s flagship releases. That partnership, however, is reportedly ending with the release of Huawei’s P50 series rumoured to be later this year, and Leica is likely focusing on its own line of smartphones moving forward.
For now, the Leica Leitz Phone 1 is exclusive to Softbank in Japan, as reported by Engadget. It will retail for 187,920 yen, which is about US$1,700. Pre-orders are already being taken, but the smartphone is not expected to be out until later next month. Hopefully, the Leitz Phone 1 will eventually come to Singapore.
Written by Kyle Chua