Lenovo has announced its first gaming phone, the Legion Phone Duel, and I have to discuss the most interesting feature up front: the pop-up selfie camera embedded on the side of the phone, just as rumors suggested in May. Since most popular games are played in landscape mode, it makes sense for the camera as it ensures your palm doesn’t obscure the lens when you’re video chatting or live streaming during a game.
The pop-up camera is a 20 megapixel sensor with an f / 2.2 aperture and a field of view of 81.7 degrees. This may not lead to the best selfies or video quality, and it is not an ideal location for taking a quick selfie. Lenovo offered enough space in the camera body to include a camera status light, like most laptops.
That said, the Legion game phone is not a laptop, and while I can imagine a few use cases where it would be helpful to have a side-mounted selfie camera on a phone, I have to admit I hate to see you take a selfie with this phone. The rear camera array is right in the middle of the back of the phone, which is also not the most convenient location. Nevertheless, gaming phones have become a playground for interesting features like this, so I’m willing to give Lenovo the honor of trying something new here.
The Legion Phone Duel (or the Legion Phone Pro, as it is called in China, where it will first be released this month) has the Snapdragon 865 Plus processor, up to 12 GB LPDDR5 RAM and 512 GB UFS 3.1 storage. With this chipset, it is also a 5G-ready phone that can take advantage of the sub-6GHz spectrum. Lenovo has also packed in dual vibration motors that are said to make games more immersive, as well as ultrasonic touch-sensitive sensors, so you can map the virtual buttons on the screen to the edge of the phone itself, recreating the feel of a real controller.
Like the Asus ROG Phone II, the Legion Phone Duel has multiple USB-C ports, one on the bottom of the phone in portrait mode and another opposite the pop-up selfie camera on the side. You can use both to charge the phone, but interestingly, you can quickly charge the 2500mAh two internal batteries in about 30 minutes by connecting USB-C cables to both ports. It may look weird, but at least you get charged quickly.
Now the bad news: Lenovo has no plans to release this phone in the US. It first comes to China in July and then to select markets in Asia, Latin America and the EMEA regions (Europe, Middle East, Africa). That’s a little disappointing to hear, because I honestly think we all deserve a phone with the words ‘Stylish Outside’ and ‘Savage Inside’ on the back.