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Camera phone competition: This Sharp phone's 1-inch camera sensor dwarfs everything else

sharp aquos r6
(Image credit: Sharp)

Years ago, several people said that smartphones would approach point-and-shoot camera levels of photo quality, greatly surpassing the iPhone 12 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. It looks like that day has arrived. Japanese tech company Sharp just announced the Aquos R6, a smartphone with a massive 1-inch camera sensor.

Yes, that's the biggest sensor to be on a smartphone as long you don't count the Panasonic DMC-CM1 from 2014 (which wasn't exactly a smash hit). The results from Sharp's sample photo gallery are stunning and this phone could give Apple and Google a run for its money for the smartphone photography crown.

The 20MP sensor beneath the Leica-branded lens has a focal length of 19mm, with an f-stop of f/1.9. That's some crazy stuff right there. The Aquos R6 only has one camera, plus a time-of-flight sensor, so this massive camera is doing some heavy lifting. Whereas Google and Apple take a more software-focused approach to smartphone photography, Sharp looks to just overwhelm with sheer power. 

The camera isn't the only standout feature about this phone, though. It's packing a Snapdragon 888, 12GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 5,000 mAh battery. Around front, it looks like a pretty standard 2021 phone with a centered hole punch cutout for the front camera. That's great, but wait until you check out the display specs. 

The large 6.6-inch display is a product of Sharp's screen technology prowess. The Pro IGZO OLED features a resolution of 2,730 x 1,260, a peak brightness of 2,000 nits, and a variable refresh rate of 1 to 240 Hz. Yes, you read all of that correctly.

The Aquos R6 looks like the ultimate smartphone in many ways, and it even runs Android 11 out of the box. Of course, Sharp usually keeps its phones for Japan and we don't expect to see this device in the US any time soon. It's a bummer, because I want to get my hands on that camera and display for myself.

Jordan Palmer

Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. It's hard to nail down one thing that Jordan is passionate about, since his attention span for a single given topic or activity doesn't last long. Jordan tends to lurk on social media, but you can best reach him on Twitter: @jccpalmer — his Instagram feed is mostly photos of his cat.