A new contestant is entering the arena to claim the top spot as the best gaming phone of 2021, and it’s coming from an unlikely source. Lenovo has announced the all-new Legion Phone Duel 2 (known as the Legion Phone 2 Pro in China). This phone packs all of the specs and more features than you would expect even from a gaming-centric smartphone. In fact, the Duel 2 rivals some of the best Android phones, including the likes of the Galaxy S21 Ultra and OnePlus 9 Pro.
On the spec front, you’ll find a 6.92-inch AMOLED display with a 144Hz refresh rate, which is great for gamers, but the Duel 2 also features a 720Hz touch sampling rate for an even better experience. There’s a dedicated Pixelworks i6 processor designed to help with color accuracy and sharper detail for gamers and those who want to watch streams, shows, movies, and more.
Power’s the name of the game with the Legion Phone Duel 2, as you’ll see the Snapdragon 888 at the helm, paired up with 12GB, 16GB, or even 18GB of RAM, along with either 256GB or 512GB of onboard storage. This phone is a beast in more ways than one, as you’ll find a total of eight capacity “keys”, with the placement being touted as “perfectly matching a gamer’s natural grip when held horizontally”. And with ZUI 12.5, the software can be tweaked to bind different actions to each of those keys, so you can forget about dealing with third-party controllers.
Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2
|Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2|
|Resolution||2460 x 1080|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888|
|RAM||12 / 16 / 18 GB|
|Storage||256 / 512 GB|
|Rear camera||Dual-cameras: 64MP, f/1.9 (standard), 16MP, f2.2, 123 degrees (ultrawide)|
|Front camera||44MP, f/2.2, pop-up|
|Dimensions||176 x 78.5 x 9.9 mm|
|Software||ZUI 12.5 (Android 11)|
|Special features||65W quick charging, 90W Turbo Charging Eight (8) virtual keys, 720 Hz touch-sampling rate, Dual USB-C Ports, dual 5G SIM compatibility, Twin Turbo-Fan Cooling System|
What about the battery?
Alright, so everything about the Duel 2 looks pretty great so far, so there had to be a compromise made somewhere. Surely, it was in the battery, as companies are still seemingly afraid to put anything much larger than a 4,500mAh cell in new smartphones. Lenovo said “forget that” and packed a massive 5,500mAh battery into the Duel 2, which is more than you’ll find from any of the other flagship smartphones launched in 2021.
In order to do this, Lenovo included dual 2,750mAh batteries into the Duel 2, each of which is positioned on either side of the CPU which is housed in the middle of the phone. With this design, that opened the door for a unique charging method, with TWO built-in USB-C charging ports. One is positioned in the middle of the left side, while the other is found at the bottom. This isn’t the first time that we’ve seen dual USB-C charging ports, but Lenovo has another trick up its sleeve to stand out from the crowd.
When making use of both charging ports at the same time, you can go from 0-100% in just 30 minutes thanks to the 90W Turbo Charging capabilities. Quick Boost charging makes it possible to fill up the batteries to a combined size of 4,500mAh in just 17 minutes. Lenovo is definitely throwing some shade at the likes of OnePlus, OPPO, and Xiaomi, as it states that this “leaves those other smartphones just offering 4,500mAh with 120W in the dust”. Bold claims from Lenovo, so we’ll have to see how this pans out in the long run.
The pop-up camera is back
As we’ve noted in our coverage of other gaming smartphones like the ROG Phone, RedMagic 6, and Black Shark 4 Pro, mobile gaming has never been more popular. Our smartphones are more powerful than most gaming laptops and computers that you would consider, regardless of whether you have been able to get your hands on those new NVIDIA or AMD GPUs and CPUs or not. Going hand-in-hand with mobile gaming is the fact that game streaming is also at its highest point ever.
Lenovo recognized this and is trying to bring back the pop-up selfie camera. But instead of just loading a boring 12MP or 16MP sensor for those “beautified” selfies, the Duel 2 sports a 44MP pop-up selfie camera. This lens features an 84-degree field of view along with autofocus and a slew of software features for you to take your game streams to the next level.
Considering the battery placement and unique overall design of the Duel 2, you’ll also find the primary wide-angle camera and 16MP ultrawide lens in the middle of the phone. This is some questionable placement, as you’ll likely want to keep a microfiber cloth with you for those times that you want to snap a picture with the main camera.
Pricing and availability
When you take everything into consideration, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the Legion Phone Duel 2 came with a hefty price tag. But surprisingly, it’s not too bad, as the phone will be priced at €799 for the base model with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. That price jumps up to €999 for the 16GB / 512GB model, which also includes Lenovo’s unique charging dock for this impressive specimen of a gaming phone.
So when are you going to be able to get your hands on it? Those in China will be able to order the Legion Phone Duel 2 this month, while select markets across Asia and Europe will see a launch in May. If you’re here in the U.S., you’ll just have to hang onto your hat because Lenovo has not yet shared when or if this phone will be coming State-side, only stating that “availability is to be determined”.