Gaming phones are a weird one. They make sense on paper to some degree. As we well know, everyone’s a gamer these days, and much or most of that gaming happens on mobile devices. So why aren’t devoted gaming phones a more popular phenomenon? It’s not for lack of trying.
Lenovo is the latest company to toss its hat in that highly specific ring. That’s the sort of thing you can do when you’re the size of Lenovo and can experiment with such things. Gaming phones are a kind of go big or go home proposition, and the company’s doing mostly the former with the Legion Phone Duel, a mobile addition to the company’s Legion line of gaming PCs.
For starters, the handset was briefly alluded to in Qualcomm’s recent Snapdragon 865 Plus announcement — and is now one of a very small club of phones sporting the chip. From where I sit, however, the most interesting thing about the category is the way it affords manufacturers an opportunity to experiment with ideas in a way that you don’t often see on flagships. And, indeed, there’s definitely some interesting stuff happening here.
For one thing, it has two batteries — something you don’t really see outside of foldables. Of course, those sport them for the very pragmatic reason that phone batteries don’t fold. Here, however, the batteries are separated to prevent overheating, leading the company the split the extremely healthy 5,000mAh capacity in two. You’re going to need that sort of battery for a gaming-centric 5G handset.
Also worth pointing out is the horizontal pop-up selfie camera — the most notable feature from early leaks. The idea here, of course, is that serious mobile gaming happens in the landscape configuration. As such, the design makes sense for video capture to stream to services like Twitch and YouTube. It’s a highly specific use case, of course, but this is a highly specific phone. And, of course, your results of taking selfie video on the mobile device you’re using to game may vary.
Speaking of unique feature positions, there are also two separate USB-C charging ports — one in standard position on the bottom, and the other on the side. Again, the idea here is to make it as easy as possible to remain in landscape mode. If you’ve ever attempted to charge your phone and play a game at the same time, you know how much of a pain that can be.
Along with the aforementioned Snapdragon chip, you’ll also find up to 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage. The display is 6.65 inches at 2340×1080, with a 144Hz refresh rate. The phone does not appear to be coming to the U.S. for now, but will be available this month in China (where it will be called the Legion Phone Pro), followed by the Asia Pacific region, Europe/Middle East/Africa and Latin America.
Pricing is TBD.