Camera maker Leica launches its first self-branded smartphone

However, a closer look shows that it is mostly a rebadged Sharp Aquos R6

Photo: Leica As shown here, Leitz Phone 1 is actually a rebadged Aquos R6 (which isn't a bad thing at all), with the former emphasizing a "true Leica experience" down to the level of industrial design and user interface.

Throughout the years, German camera maker Leica has worked with many smartphone makers before but never launched a phone under its own banner. That changed today with the introduction of Leitz Phone 1. Named after Leica's original brand, this is the first smartphone that not only features a Leica-made camera system but also gets its signature branding.

Announced at a Tokyo press event (via Engadget Japan), the new Leica phone shares a similar design language with its iconic cameras, although its back looks very similar to Huawei’s Mate 40 series, at least at first glance. However, internals are actually shared with another Japan-exclusive phone – Sharp’s recently launched Aquos R6. The only difference lies in the phone’s design including the camera bump which is now circular and comes with its own Leica-branded lens cap.

So let's see what exactly the phone has to offer. Familiar to other smartphones, the Leica one comes bearing a single, huge 20MP 1-inch camera sensor - the biggest one there can be on a phone, which comes with an f/1.9 aperture and 19mm equivalent focal length. The camera module also gets a magnetic circular lens cap.

There’s a 12.6MP selfie shooter on the 6.6-inch OLED display with an adaptive 240Hz refresh rate and a 2,730x1,260-pixel resolution. There's also a "3D ultrasonic" fingerprint sensor under the display, and this can read up to two fingerprints simultaneously for extra security.

At the core of the phone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip with 12GB of RAM and to roll out the spec sheet, there’s an IP68 rating and a 5,000mAh battery.

As mentioned above, these are the exact specifications of the Sharp Aquos R6, right down to the 1-inch camera sensor. The only difference is that here you're getting 256GB of storage space which is twice as much as the Aquos R6; and you can expand by up to 1TB via the microSD card slot. 

And well, thankfully, Leica wasn’t shy of acknowledging that the two phones are essentially the Leitz Phone 1 is actually a rebadged Aquos R6 (which isn't a bad thing at all), with the former emphasizing a "true Leica experience" down to the level of industrial design and user interface.

Additionally, just like the Aquos R6, the Leica Leitz Phone 1 is only available through Softbank in Japan and there’s no word on global availability. As far as pricing is concerned, the Leica Leitz Phone 1 will retail for 187,920 yen or about $1,700.

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