Leica appears to have found a new mobile camera partner after Huawei pulled out of the international smartphone market. Sharp just got it Aquos R6 in Japan, and the Leica brand lens sits in front of what is now the largest camera sensor on any phone.
In terms of specifications, the 20 megapixel 1-inch sensor is comparable to what you would find in the high-end RX100 compact cameras from Sony. It’s only the second 1-inch sensor ever to make its way to a smartphone, and the first to make its way to a phone from a traditional phone manufacturer – Panasonic released the Android-powered CM1 in 2014, but that wasn’t exactly a regular device. The closest phone today to a 1-inch sensor is Xiaomi’s new Mi 11 Ultra, which has a 1 / 1.12-inch component behind the lens.
The f / 1.9 “Summicron” lens is also much wider than on other phones’ primary cameras, with an equivalent focal length of 19mm – that’s in ultra-wide range. Oddly enough, it is the nothing but outward-facing camera on the R6, so you’ll need to use digital zoom for more conventional focal lengths. The camera bump also includes an LED flash and a time-of-flight sensor.
The Aquos R6’s other big feature is its display, which Sharp calls a Pro IGZO OLED. It is a 2.730 x 1260 6.6-inch panel with a peak brightness of 2,000 nits and a variable refresh rate from 1 to 240 Hz. Most Android phones have not been able to offer OLED displays with truly variable refresh rates that adapt to content in real time – this panel sounds like the most advanced currently available on any phone.
Elsewhere, the specifications of the R6 are standard for a 2021 flagship: a Snapdragon 888, 12 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage and a 5000 mAh battery. It will go on sale in Japan in June through providers NTT Docomo and SoftBank. The price is not yet available.