Leica cameras are lovely, but wouldn’t it be nice if they made calls, too? That’s the logic behind Sharp’s Japan-only Leitz Phone 1 smartphone, the latest handheld gizmo to be infused with high-spec Leica tech, as explored by IT Media. Overall, the Leitz is a fairly typical smartphone, with the usual Android-powered specs that one would expect from a high-end device, but it’s elevated by an enormous lens and that unmistakable red dot on its rear.
The utility provided by Leica’s know-how is the Leitz’s real draw, as the phone itself doesn’t seem to have much else of intrigue. Luckily for Softbank, the camera really does deliver with quite a few nifty specs, like a “Leitz Looks” mode that allows for crisp black-and-white photos. Leitz Phone 1 buyers will also receive a special case — complete with a giant cut-out that fits the camera — and even a silver Leica-branded “lens cover” to protect the phone’s camera when not in use.
Furthermore, Sharp asserts that the Leitz Phone 1 camera’s one-inch sensor is the largest of any contemporary smartphone — any contemporary smartphone aside from the AQUOS R6 device that Sharp itself introduced in mid-May, which boasts its own giant Leica camera, though the effect is much more subdued. Smartphone partnerships aren’t inherently new for Leica, which previously worked on smartphones like Huawei’s P40, but the size of the cameras embedded into the Leitz and AQUOS phones are nothing if not novel.
Only available via Softbank’s website and Japanese stores for pre-order beginning June 18 (it launches in late July), the Leitz Phone 1 will retail for ¥187,920 (approximately $1,700).