The Leitz Phone 1 is Leica’s very own smartphone (that’s also the Sharp Aquos R6)

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Camera brand Leica seems to have developed a taste for smartphones, thanks to its various camera partnerships, leading it to launch the Leitz Phone 1 — the company’s very first branded smartphone. But the handset itself might look a little familiar. That’d be because you’ve probably seen it before, it’s also known as Sharp’s Aquos 6.

You also can’t have the Leitz Phone 1

And, like the Sharp Aquos 6, you’re probably never going to own one. The rebadged handset (Leica isn’t trying to hide that, at all) will be sold exclusively through Softbank in Japan. Unless you’re planning a trip to the country, it’s unlikely you’ll ever lay eyes on one yourself. Which is a pity.

There’s not much between the Leitz Phone One and Sharp’s version — Leica did the cameras for both and the spec is more or less the same across the board. That means there’s a Snapdragon 888, 12GB of RAM, a 6.6in IGZO OLED (which Sharp specialises in) display with a 2,730 x 1,260 resolution and 240GHz variable refresh rate, a 5,000mAh battery and an IP68 rating to look forward to. If you’re in Japan.

Image: Twitter

The differences are largely design related, though Leica’s version will launch with 256GB of storage instead of just 128GB. The rear panel is also glass instead of leather, and the Leitz Phone 1 arrives with a hardcase cover and a magnetic lens cap to cover the circular camera bump — the major deviation from the Sharp handset in terms of design. The Aquos R6 has a rounded rectangle, whereas this phone looks a lot more like a traditional camera lens — especially with the lens cap in place. But both phones use a full 1in 20MP CMOS sensor as their main lens and it’s supposed to be… pretty nifty.

Leica’s phone drops in July (please don’t drop it, it’ll cost at least R24,000) but it will be exclusive to Softbank in Japan. It is up for pre-order from 18 June, so if you happen to be in the country for a few months (and loaded), check it out, maybe?

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Brett writes for Stuff's digital platform and edits Stuff's print magazine, in between reading science fiction and every Batman comic he can get his hands on.

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