Despite being the first in its line, the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel isn’t entirely unexpected on the gaming phone front. It’s no surprise that Lenovo markets Motorola phones since it already markets a line of gaming-centric PCs and laptops through Lenovo Legion. This sounds like a perfect marriage of products.

We probably have tested the best gaming phone in 2022 with the Legion Phone Duel. Lenovo has created a gaming phone that has a lot of everyday features without some of the issues found on other gaming-oriented phones.

In addition, the phone has a top-of-the-line Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset with 12GB or 16GB RAM, a 144Hz AMOLED screen, and dual front-facing speakers. Additionally, you will enjoy hours of gaming on the device’s long-lasting battery.

Despite having these specs, the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel stands out because of its non-gaming capabilities. Unlike many mobile gaming phones, this is as good a day-to-day smartphone as it is a gaming device.

Design

Lenovo Legion Phone Duel review

There’s no way you’ll confuse the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel with a non-gaming phone. There’s no holographic ‘X’ and a light-up LED ‘Y’ on the back of its design, but it’s still rather a brutalist and angular in appearance.

The phone has dimensions of 169.2 x 78.5 x 9.9mm, which isn’t too large for a gaming handset, although the dimensions might be intimidating to someone new to the market. It is quite heavy, weighing 239g.

You’ll find the power button on the right side, and it’s low down, so most people should find it easy to reach. Despite its convenient location, the left-side volume rocker doesn’t seem to be as convenient as it could be. In addition to the main USB-C port on the bottom, there is also a second port below the volume buttons for plugged-in accessories or fast charging from two ports at once.

The right edge – or the top when you hold it landscape – also has two controls for gaming. These haptic buttons are similar to Active Edge on Google Pixel phones, but they don’t have physical buttons. Just by looking at the phone, it’s easy to miss these triggers, as the only indications that they exist are the two patterns towards the top and bottom.

You’re getting a gaming phone, so the back lights up. There are people who dislike this design, others who like it ironically, and some who actually like it. No matter what category you fall into, the LEDs on the rear aren’t too large or obnoxious compared to the ones found on some other gaming devices.

It appears that Lenovo’s Legion Phone Duel is primarily designed to be used in landscape orientation (both when gaming and when used regularly). Two key design decisions indicate this. It is also low down so the lenses, which are flush with the backglass of the phone, don’t get accidentally covered when you are taking photos of the landscape.

Furthermore, the selfie camera on the top of the phone is technically on the side, at least when you’re holding it in portrait orientation. When in landscape orientation, however, it’s on top. Despite its wide profile, it doesn’t outshine most others, and it has a modest footprint.

Display

Lenovo Legion Phone Duel review

There’s a little less display on the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel than on some other gaming smartphones, but still not much. The display is AMOLED with FHD+ and HDR10+, so the images look very vivid and crisp. The streamed video looks great and will display any game at the highest graphical settings.

Having a 144Hz maximum refresh rate, the display updates 144 times per second, the same as other gaming phones. As a result, gaming should look smoother because of the higher refresh rate. However, no games are available for the device at the time of its release. Battery life can be extended by turning this down to 120Hz, 90Hz, or 60Hz when you don’t need it.

The pop-up camera on the phone allows you to enjoy games without being distracted by a notch, cutout, or punch-hole on the screen, which is a welcome feature for gamers.

Cameras

With two rear cameras – a 64MP primary and 16MP ultra-wide-angle lens – the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel has two good-looking cameras, although they’re not going to thrill you with their photos.

As far as the picture quality was concerned, we found that it was fine, but nothing to write home about. The quality of the photos was good, with plenty of detail, but in many cases, the photos had a yellowish cast – this was most apparent in lower-light settings, such as most interior images, but it was also seen outside.

Pictures with low light, or darker parts, did not seem as detailed and looked grainy. The ultra-wide camera was particularly affected by this problem, although the main camera wasn’t immune either.

There were also some muddled depth effects, particularly when it came to food shots – the depth of field tended to be too shallow, which caused a lot of the food to be out of focus.

Unlike most other smartphones cameras, this one takes pictures in a 19.5:9 ratio (the same as the screen), not a 4:3 aspect ratio as is on most others. However, you can choose that aspect ratio if you wish. As a result, our photos looked a bit ‘cooler’, for lack of a better word, as a result of wider shots like this.

We were able to take some fairly good selfies with the pop-up selfie camera, but there is no portrait mode (either on the front or rear camera). In this game, you have the option to tweak beauty modes, but not to blur the background.

While we did not take any award-winning photos with the Lenovo Legion Phone, we did take a few we liked, and we generally found it suitable for social media posting and the like.

There are only two main modes in the camera app, which are photo and video. Despite recording in 4K, the camera only runs at 30fps.

Performance and specs

Due to this device’s internals, the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel’s main appeal is its gaming-focused design.

Consequently, the phone uses the Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset, which at the time of its launch had the highest gaming performance of any Android processor. With this, you choose between 12GB or 16GB of RAM, which, as we’ve already mentioned, is unlikely to make a meaningful difference to you.

In our benchmark test using Geekbench 5, the 16GB model scored 3335. The Asus ROG Phone 3 is the only one to have a higher score, but that’s just by five points.

Lenovo’s Legion Phone Duel performs as fast and powerful as you could possibly expect at this end of the benchmark scale.

Currently, smartphones run games as well as they can. The graphics settings in every title we tried were always set to the highest, so lag and stuttering were never an issue, no matter how intensive the game was.

In addition, virtual trigger buttons were especially easy to use; they didn’t take a lot of squeezing, and their location made it easy to use them. Similar to phone controllers, you can assign a particular function to each trigger, but you may find that having to alter your selection between games is a bit inconvenient.

The Lenovo Legion Phone Duel comes with dual speakers. Their sound quality is excellent considering their size, and in it, you can go a lot louder without distorting sound than on most phones.

Pros Cons
Great gaming phone LEDs may be divisive
Well optimized for use in landscape orientation Pretty expensive
Fastest-charging phone so far Software issues
Fastest-charging phone so far

Conclusion

With the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel, you can’t go wrong when it comes to a 5G gaming phone – it has great specs, a long-lasting battery, and an attractive display. Also included are side triggers, dual USB-C ports, and a bespoke game software suite. The only real issues are its price (higher than some other gaming phones) and the fact that it does not yet support super-fast charging.