Following the long-time collaboration with Huawei and the more recent Sharp Aquos R6, Leica is finally launching its own smartphone. Announced at a Tokyo press conference earlier today, the Leitz Phone 1 is Leica's first self-branded mobile phone, and it'll 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 "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 leather back, the device sports a matt black glass cover to go with the "Leica silver" metallic body — this comes in at 9.5mm thick and 212g heavy. You can protect the back side with the bundled hard case.
Just like the Aquos R6, the Leitz Phone 1 packs a 1-inch 20-megapixel sensor for its f/1.9 main camera, along with a 12.6-megapixel selfie camera on the other side. Its 6.6-inch IGZO OLED display offers a sharp 2,730 x 1,260 resolution, as well as a 240Hz variable refresh rate by way of black frame insertion (to reduce motion blur; so it's really just 120Hz). There's also a "3D ultrasonic" fingerprint sensor under the display, and this can read up to two fingerprints simultaneously for extra security.
While you'll also find the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 flagship processor and 12GB of RAM 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. The generous 5,000mAh battery and IP68 dust/water resistance rating are here to stay.
The Leitz Phone 1 runs on Android 11 which features a "largely monochrome" UI customized by Leica. Unsurprisingly, the camera app offers a "Leitz Looks" mode for capturing black and white photos, which should keep Leica fans happy. Other than that, the interface looks largely similar to stock Android, based on the screenshots shown during today's keynote.
For now, the Leitz Phone 1 is a Softbank exclusive in Japan, and it's asking for 187,920 yen or about $1,700. Pre-orders start on June 18th, and the phone will be available in late July. There's no word on international availability just yet, so we'll be keeping a close eye on further announcements.