If you wanted proof that gamers smartphones are more than just a passing fad, the fact that even with the high prices in this segment we now have options from two different brands to buy officially here in Brazil is exactly that proof.
The Legion Phone Duel is the gaming phone from Lenovo that has just officially arrived here in our country with Motorola distribution, which for those who do not know belongs to Lenovo. It brings all the gamer aesthetics and the powerful hardware that we expect from this type of device, including some unique features, both from the segment as a whole and from it specifically.
Except as much as he has now arrived in Brazil, there in the gringa he was launched in July last year, which means that his specifications are no longer the newest in the world of smartphones. Now that I’ve spent more than a week testing this Legion, I’m going to tell you if I think it still does the job in 2021.
In design you will not find that subtlety that ASUS has learned to put in its ROG line of smartphone gamers. Lenovo put the gamer foot deep, so on the glass back you find a bold line look, strong colors with a very flashy reflective effect, textured parts at the tips for the device to be less smooth and, of course, a large LED color that you can leave blinking when you have notifications, during games or even when loading.
You can customize all this and I prefer to switch off to save energy, but the decision is yours. In addition to the red I tested, the Legion Phone Duel comes with a blue option, which is almost as flashy. At the rear you also see that the LED flash, which can serve as a flashlight, and the dual cameras are in a different position, more in the middle of the rear, and you can also see the mechanism of the front camera.
It is one of those motorized cameras that open when you are going to use and close when you stop or when you detect that your phone is falling. In the short time that I stayed with it, the mechanism looks very durable, but I haven’t heard about a lot of people who had problems with that on other motorized cell phones. To be sure, just by pushing the bar and probably screwing up doing something that no one in their right mind would do in real life, or spending a lot of time with him, and I’m not going to do either.
An advantage of the front camera in this scheme is that the phone has no notch or hole for the camera on the screen, which is great. This does not mean that it has no borders in the front, because it does and they are quite big, but here it has some functions. First, this serves to house the front dual speakers, one on each side of the screen. Second, it also helps to give the phone a better grip when it comes to playing it horizontally, which is the idea.
In fact, even the fact that the front camera is in the position it is, leaving the side, indicates that this device was made to be used mainly horizontally. In addition, like the ROG Phones, it has a USB-C port down and one on the side opposite to the camera, so you can charge or connect one of its accessories while you play. But for now Motorola has not brought any of his accessories to Brazil.
The volume knob is next to the connector on the side, which I didn’t find an ideal position because I ended up accidentally pressing it with some frequency. The power button is on the other side, on top of the front camera module. On that same side are the ultrasonic sensors that you can configure for different functions in each game, which are one of the points that really give you a competitive advantage in online games when you use a device with this feature.
In addition to the position on the screen where the touch of these sensors will be equivalent, in the Legion Realm software of the cell phone you can configure the sensitivity, which makes their use very intuitive and easy.
Other than that, it is worth mentioning that this is a very large and heavy cell phone, which also matches the fact that you will be using it horizontally most of the time. Using with one hand, even vertically, is difficult even for those with large hands.
Dimensions (HxWxD): 16.92×7 85×0.99 cm
Weight: 239 grams
The Legion Phone from Lenovo has a 6.65 “AMOLED Full HD + screen and a maximum refresh rate of 144 Hz. That is, it is the best screen configuration available for gamer smartphones today, and it is very similar to what we saw on ROG Phone 3.
Reading time is also reduced, so you gain a competitive advantage and if you and an opponent with a regular cell phone touch the screen at the same time, your touch registers first and you are more likely to emerge victorious.
Regarding the update rate, the advantage is that the higher the number, the more fluid the movements become, so you are theoretically able to respond faster. And I say theoretically because no matter how easy it is to see the difference between a 60Hz or 90Hz screen, you already have to be playing at a very advanced level to notice the jump from 90 Hz to 120Hz.
On the 120Hz to 140Hz screens, you have to be at a really pro-player level to take advantage of the extra frames. Not to mention that the vast majority of competitive games are still nowhere near that frame rate per second.
In this phone with the maximum settings, the PuBG was locked at 40Hz, Call of Duty gets there at 60Hz and Pokémon Go rotated a little above 70Hz. Do you have games that can reach 144Hz? There is, for example, Alto’s Adventure, and the experience really looks great, even though I can’t differentiate between that and 120Hz myself. Still, not all games take advantage of this screen.
At the rear it comes with a main 64 MP with f / 1.9 and PDAF and another ultrawide 120 ° with 16MP and f / 2.2. Typically, the main one merges four pixels into one to take 16MP photos, but you can use 64MP mode if you want more detail in exchange for less HDR.
In one way or another, the photos of the main one are great during the day, however occasionally the colors look a little whitish. At night, the photos also look cool, and you can even use the Night Scene mode to improve color and detail.
Ultrawide can also take good pictures during the day, but Lenovo made a little mistake in the interface of the camera app here. To access ultrawide, you have to click on the zoom button to go from 1x to 2x, then again to 1x and only on the third touch you go to 0.6x ultrawide.
You can also get there by making the pinch gesture in reverse, but it would be nice to have a simpler form, as it already exists on almost any other smartphone. Anyway, at night the photos on ultrawide are still good, but with less detail and more noise. It has a macro mode that uses ultrawide to allow close-up photos, in which case the result will be better than that of many dedicated macro cameras that we see out there.
It also manages to make 4K videos at 30fps at the rear and the result comes out with good quality and a stabilization until dignified. Using Dual mode, you can record with both the front and rear cameras at the same time, both in side-by-side mode and in Picture in Picture.
It looks like what we saw on the Galaxy S21, only apparently this one had it first. And in the Picture in Picture mode of the Legion Phone you can make the background of the front transparent and even use augmented reality effects if you want.
And speaking of the front camera, the Legion Phone has a 20MP sensor with f / 2.2. Deactivating the beautifying mode so that it doesn’t look like a wax doll, selfies come out cool during the day, even against the light. At night they are still reasonable, but they have more noise, which can be solved using the screen as an LED and adjusting the intensity as you prefer.
Main Camera: 64 MP | 80 ° lens |
Aperture f / 1.9
Hybrid Camera – Ultrawide
and Macro: 16 MP | 120 ° lens | Aperture f / 2.2
Digital Zoom: 8x Photo | 5x Video
Optical Zoom: 2x
Front Main Camera: 20 MP | 82 ° lens | Aperture f / 2.2
Hardware is a strong point here. As much as the chip is the Snapdragon 865 Plus (3.09 GHz Octa-Core) and the version sold here in Brazil is with 12GB RAM, this set is still more than enough to run everything without the slightest problem.
Seriously, he put up with everything that I put to run at maximum and without showing any suffering, even when it got hot. In fact, in the most demanding games and in long sessions, he already heats up a bit, but it doesn’t bother him at all.
But when I tried to play and stream at the same time, then the deal got ugly. If I hadn’t been using the case that came with the box, it would have been hard to keep holding it so hot it got. At this point, I would like Motorola to have brought a cooler to it that looks like the one that comes with some models of the ROG Phone.
Regarding storage, it comes with 256 GB in the version sold here. The tray has space for two operator chips, but not for a memory card. Oh, and the Legion Phone Duel is compatible with 5G networks, but not with the DSS standard that some operators are implementing here in Brazil. So to use 5G around here you will have to wait for the installation of Sub-6 GHz towers in the future.
The power of the hardware is accompanied by some cool functions in the ZUI12 software, which is the gamer version of Lenovo for Android 10. The brand, incidentally, said that it will receive an update for Android 11 and has not promised anything else, so this it is a point worth considering if you care.
Anyway, the interface comes with some theme options, with more square icons and animated backgrounds for those who want the more gamer option, or else with round icons and simpler backgrounds for those who prefer the more standard Android. The notification tray has its own style that I even liked, but otherwise the system itself works smoothly and very close to normal Android.
As expected, the main highlights are the customization options for the screen refresh rate and the features focused on the games. On the screen, you can choose to leave the refresh rate at 60, 90, 120 or 140 Hz, and here I prefer to leave it at 90 Hz to enjoy a good fluidity in navigation without wasting battery. And then there is an option to automatically jump the rate to the maximum whenever a game is opened.
The gamer features can be customized in the Lenovo Realm app, including the quality of replays recordings, the sensitivity level of the side buttons and other interesting functions. Then, when you open a game, swiping from top to bottom on the screen opens the resource interface for games. There you can see the speed and ping of your WiFi and 4G side by side to see which is better, you can control the brightness of the screen and audio volume with ease.
It is also possible to see the current frame rate per second of the open game, the processor temperature and even the current consumption of your GPU and CPU. By tapping the Rampage button, you activate the maximum performance mode, which is not an overclock, but a way to force the device to use its maximum CPU and GPU capacity.
And you can access several other functions, such as recording the last fifteen seconds of your game, customizing the side buttons, activating the streaming mode, taking screenshots, controlling calls and notifications and many other things. And if you want to open the notification tab, you have to slide it down again, touching the middle of the top part of this interface, which took me a while to get used to.
One thing I need to talk about is the streaming mode, which in my tests seemed to have potential and lets you record your face while broadcasting the game live and overlay it with transparency and everything on your live. Except that I was in no way able to make the cell phone record my voice at the same time. Sometimes he just took the audio from the game, sometimes not even that, and then it was totally mute, which I imagine is not good for a streamer. It may be just a problem with the device that is with me, but if it is not Lenovo you need to fix it.
Going now to the battery, the Legion Phone Duel comes with reserves of 5,000 mAh divided exactly in the middle in two separate batteries. In practice, this does not affect the duration of energy reserves, but it does affect recharging capacity. In my experience, in general he endured the whole day of moderate use, but when I abused a little more online games it was normal for him to ask for a charge in the middle of the afternoon with just over six hours with the screen on.
That is, the 140Hz percent has a high cost here, even though most games do not take advantage of that. At this point the ROG Phone 3 does better, not least because his battery is a little bigger.
Here in Brazil, the Lenovo Phone Duel comes with a Motorola 45W Hyper charger, which on its own guarantees a very fast recharge for it, going from zero to 100% in less than an hour and five minutes.
Here in Brazil, the cell phone even comes in the box with a second USB-C to USB-C cable, but as the charger is only a Motorola Hyper, it does not have both inputs, so to enjoy the maximum potential you will need a second 45W charger and two outlets. In that case, the promise is that the device would be full in half an hour. As an hour of recharge is already a very fast time, I don’t think this is really necessary.
I already said here that the phone has two front speakers, but it was missing to mention that they are very strong and have a cool quality, so they are good for both games and other content. The device has no headphone jack and does not even come with a USB-C headset, but at least it includes an adapter in the box.
In addition, it has a cover that I already mentioned and a film for you to protect the screen. The fingerprint sensor is optical under the glass. He doesn’t always get it right the first time, but he also doesn’t make much mistakes and is quick to unlock his phone. Oh, and it’s worth mentioning that it doesn’t have water resistance certification or wireless charging, but as far as I know no gamer phone has these things.
IT IS WORTH IT?
From what we’ve seen so far the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel is a great gamer phone, with features that give it a competitive edge and hardware that isn’t exactly current, but is side by side in almost everything with the ROG Phone 3, the other big one gamer cell phone that we have available here in Brazil. The biggest disadvantage of this one is the battery life, but it makes up for it with a better recharge, more RAM and double the storage.
For me, the biggest disadvantage of this one compared to the rival is the timing, which causes a nice discrepancy in prices. The Legion Phone Duel was launched now with a full price of R $ 7,200 in installments, or R $ 6,480 in cash.
The ROG Phone 3 can already be found from R $ 5,700 in cash, which is a considerable difference even with less memory. Both are very expensive, don’t get me wrong, and as much as I would love to have any one of them to be able to play at will, I would never pay these values by any cell phone, but if it is to choose, for now the cost-benefit here is with ASUS.
It’s as if Legion was late for the party, and then he’ll need to be smart to be able to compete. Let’s see if in a few months Lenovo and Motorola lower the price of this one enough for it to be more worthwhile.