Discover the Leica Leitz Phone 2, a phone from the famous German camera manufacturer exclusive to… Japan? If smartphones are eating away at the camera market, it makes sense that some camera companies are trying to go the other way.
Leica is not a smartphone company, so the company that builds this phone is Sharp! Now Japanese exclusivity takes on its full meaning. If you’re going to base your branded smartphone on someone else’s hardware, it’s hard to go wrong using the Sharp Aquos R7, a surprisingly unique Android phone that ditches many dumb phone trends that other makers have come up with. stand without thinking. The R7 came out with Leica-branded optics, so that’s apparently the other half of that deal.
Sharp is no stranger to unique smartphone designs, and the Leica and its sister phone R7 make a lot of good decisions. Instead of a bunch of tiny, dubious rear cameras, you get one giant camera: a 1-inch Sony IMX989 sensor. It’s the largest currently available on a smartphone. Normally the IMX989 is 50MP, but Leica crops it down a bit and lists an “effective pixel count of 47.2 megapixels”. The screen is flat, a big departure from the insane, distorted screens that companies typically put on flagship Android phones. The curved screen gimmick is driven by Samsung, the display provider for most of the world’s smartphones, but here the display is done by Sharp, a 6.6-inch 2730×1260 OLED with a refresh rate of 240 Hz clearly excessive.
The other unique feature that Sharp brings to the table is that it’s apparently the only company interested in Qualcomm’s giant 3D Sonic Max fingerprint sensor. The biggest problem with in-screen fingerprint sensors is that there’s no tactile guidance for where to stick your finger, so it’s easy to miss the sensor slightly and get a bad read. . Qualcomm’s 3D Sonic Max sensor is massive, though, big enough to fit two fingers, so you won’t miss it. This sensor was released in 2019, but nobody uses it because it is expensive.
As for Leica’s actual contributions to this phone, it has a redesigned aluminum frame with 90-degree corners and a grippy, knurled texture on the side of the frame. Screen design could be better. The 90-degree corners make the front a little awkward, since the screen is still pulled from the rounded-corner Aquos R7, so the phone now has a screen that doesn’t match the corners of the body. You get rounded display corners with a matching black bezel, and then the 90-degree aluminum corners, which give the front a weird double-bezel look. Some phones, like the Galaxy S22 Ultra, have 90-degree corners, but they do better in the looks department thanks to matching screens.
Leica naturally paid a lot of attention to the design of the rear camera. The 1 inch camera sensor needs a big rear camera bump, but not as big as the one Leica decided to use, and the circular camera bump now extends to cover the LED flash and sensor non-photographic 2 MP distance measuring device. To replicate the “real camera” feel, the Leica Leitz Phone 2 features a large magnetic camera lens cover that clips over the entire rear camera bump. There’s even a black casing for it, which seems to try to replicate the traditional black and silver camera design, but it doesn’t appear to be textured.
Leica isn’t the camera maker here, but it has created a “proprietary software engine” that “brings that typical ‘Leica look’ to smartphone photography.” It has three filters named after Leica lenses that attempt to reproduce bokeh and different focal lengths. There’s a “Golden Hour widget” that probably tells you when it’s an hour before sunset and a widget that displays images from the Leica Fotografie International Gallery.
The technical sheet is the same as that of the Aquos R7: a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, 12 GB of RAM, 512 GB of storage (it’s actually double the R7), a 5000 mAh battery, a resistance IP68 dust and water resistant and Android 12. There’s even a headphone jack.
You will, however, pay a bounty for this red dot (and storage bump). Pricing in Japan is 225,360 yen (~$1,580), while the normal R7 is 189,360 yen, or ~$1,365.
List image by Leica
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