Blue Lenovo Legion phone Duel gaming smartphone laying on its side with a popup camera exposed

Lenovo’s first gaming smartphone has a pop-up camera on the side and two batteries

The mobile gaming scene is heating up with a bigger selection of titles and 5G enabling super-fast speeds in more places for all-out gaming adrenaline.

Three years after the launch of their gaming sub-brand, Lenovo has unveiled the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel —a device the company describes as “powerful, immersive and fast-charging” with sub-6 5G and tested speeds up to 2.52 Gb/s. It’s created for on-the-go gamers who want higher performance than what you’d find on standard smartphones and who prefer playing entirely in horizontal mode (you can switch to portrait mode if you need to). The phone has six specially customised layout themes to choose from, each with distinctive design details, colours, and icons. The home mode, not to be confused with the home screen, allows you to cast to or play on a connected external monitor/TV while using either a wireless keyboard and mouse, or your preferred wired accessories via a dock.

Lenovo says that the Legion Phone Duel is designed from the ground up for gamers, which is why it plays like a mobile gaming console complete with virtual tools, gaming capabilities, and a battery optimised to last up to a full day of average phone usage. Its virtual joystick and dual ultrasonic trigger buttons are embedded, and dual vibration engines provide life-like feedback. All of this means that you’ll get the full functionality, ergonomic feel and pocket portability of a smartphone without the chunky function controls.

Packing a 6.65-inch Full HD (2340 x 1080) AMOLED display with 144Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch sampling rate and dual USB-C ports, dual 2500mAh batteries, 90W turbo power charging which provides 50% battery life in 10 minutes, liquid cooling and copper tubes, the Duel is an impressive beast on paper.

If you’re wondering about audio quality, you’ll be happy to know that the Duel has dual front-facing stereo speakers with large 1.4cc acoustics chambers for “amazing far-reaching sound quality.”

There are also four noise-cancelling microphones to record audio from all around to allow live streamers to easily record themselves at eSports events and other busy environments, or to just stream your gameplay on YouTube or Twitch.

The unusual side-mounted pop-up camera is able to capture HD 1080p footage and record in 4K at up to 30 FPS (frames per second) with the 20MP front camera. There’s also a 64MP rear camera which has a quad pixel sensor for shooting 16MP resolution photos in dark and bright conditions.

To self-record your voice and reactions as you play, simply wake the built-in front camera while gaming to simultaneously record and overlay your image on-screen. This feature is compatible with popular streaming apps. You can also remove the background and use AI to auto-enhance your image via our selfie editor featuring several unique retouching filters and correction options. At launch, users can auto-enhance images with our programmed adjustments for a more balanced appearance, and later via a phone update, this feature will also allow users to adjust filter settings to their liking (up to 100 levels of varying intensity), before sharing stylised clips. Device also supports application of fun augmented reality stickers called Playground “Playmoji”.

With the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel, as soon as you end a session you can review all the gaming highlights on-the-fly via a preview screen, so all you need do is select, then merge recorded clips together if desired, before sharing with others.

If you’ve forgotten to hit record— just use a finger to slide your right ultrasonic trigger key to the left to go back in time to relive hero moments and instantly reversely-record what just happened to share proof of your victory.

It’s a weird, wacky phone that somehow seems to make it all work, but I’d hate to be seen in public taking a selfie on it.

Pricing and Availability The Lenovo Legion Phone Duel (called Lenovo Legion Phone Pro in China) is expected to be available starting July in China and in select markets in Asia Pacific, EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) and Latin America to come later. Availability and timing may vary per geographical market.