Rarely do I look at a smartphone and say “damn, I really want that”, but the Leica Leitz Phone 2 has made me say it. Not because of the hardware, or the unique Leica camera on its back, but the overall design. The sharp frame with a softer rectangle set into the frame makes me feel things that I have not felt about a smartphone in a long, long time. And yes, it’s also probably going to be ridiculously hard to get, which is yet another one of my fetishes… But, more on that later.
Leica Leitz Phone 2: 47.2MP f/1.9 camera, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, 240Hz OLED display
As you would expect of any smartphone bearing the Leica badge, this is a imaging-focused device. It has but one single main camera on its back, which is surely odd in these times where up to five cameras can be seen adorning the rear of a smartphone. But Leica worked closely with Sharp to develop the sensor: a 1-inch, 47.2MP sensor that sits behind a seven-element Summicron lens with an equivalent focal length of 19mm. Accompanying it is a 1.9MP portrait sensor, which probably does little more than provide depth data.
But as with any smartphone, the photography experience will be heavily dictated by the software. The Leitz Phone 2 can bring the “Leica look” to your shots by simulating three iconic M lenses: the Summilux 28, Summilux 35 and Noctilux 50, covering the main trio of focal lengths that street photographers swear by. And to add on to the feel, there are the Leica Monochome, Cinema Classic and Cinema Contemporary profiles to pick from. It also comes with a Leica lens cap that magnetically attaches to the camera to protect it, so no one can mistake it for a non-Leica plebian device.
The rest of the hardware are great, but probably not the main focus. We have a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 along with a 6.6″ 240Hz IGZO OLED display from Sharp. Not sure why we need such a high refresh rate in a smartphone though, but it has already graced the Leitz Phone 1, so they are just carrying it over here. Other software tweaks added by Leica include the Golden Hour widget to help you ascertain the “golden hour” times in your area, as well as the LFI widget, that inspires you with shots from the Leica Fotografie International gallery.
So, why is it hard to get? It’s not just the price. It comes in at a whopping 225,360 yen, or around RM7,513, which I admit is eyewateringly expensive for a smartphone. But we might not even see it outside of Japan. The Leitz Phone 1 launched in 2021 was exclusive to Japan. I would expect the Leitz Phone 2 to be the same. Now, how do I find the money to go to Japan after 18th November, and have RM7,500 to splurge on a smartphone?