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Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 – Unique Design with Cooling Fans, But is it Durable?

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Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 is the latest iteration of Legion Phone Duel. It is vastly improved compared to its predecessor with its two cooling fans, eight active triggers, and the latest and powerful chipset in the market today. It is armed to the teeth of gaming features and premium specs. If you wonder, Gaming-Centric phones have different characteristics than flagship phones. That’s why the Legion Phone Duel 2 has a different design and functionality. But is it the best gaming phone yet? Find out in our review.

Pros

  • Improved cooling system
  • Unique design
  • Cooling Fans
  • 720Hz Touch Rate
  • Octa Trigger

Cons

  • No Expandable Storage
  • Less Durable Back
  • Acceptable camera
  • nontextured shoulder keys

READ: Lenovo Legion Duel Review – What does it feel like to have a Gaming Phone?

Design and Build

The main difference between the Legion Phone Duel 2 versus its predecessor is the back’s design and built. It is still a robust and brick-like smartphone with RGB Legion Logo, but it now has three layers of glass–left, middle, and right. All of those are wrapped by a metal frame and they are all protected by a Gorilla Glass 5.

The middle features an exclusive ATA 2.0 body primarily designed to provide excellent cooling for a better-uninterrupted gaming experience. By means, placing the chipset in the middle around the thermal system prevents users from touching the heating part and provides better hold.

The thermal system has two spinning fans–the intake and the exhaust twin turbofan– with their own respective vents on top and the bottom of the device. These fans and a vapor chamber help the Legion Phone Duel 2 cool down during intense gaming of up to 30% thermal efficiency. But there’s a catch, this design makes the phone more efficient in heat management, but the bend test result from JerryRigEverything snaps the Legion Phone Duel 2 in three pieces. The back is sliced into three different parts for the middle part to have more room for the unique cooling chamber. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that the phone is fragile. It only has a different structure that you must be aware of, and putting a hard case on it will add more durability.

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Meanwhile, The back has a glossy finish that attracts fingerprint smudges. Our unit is the Ultimate Black but if you love a flashy, bright, and light color, you can grab the “Titanium White.” Furthermore, the Legion Phone Duel 2 weighs 259 grams and has a thickness of 9.9mm. It doesn’t feel chunky but more of a robust gaming smartphone. It has a console-like feeling when holding the device. In the middle, again, you can see a Legion branding with a chromatic effect when light strikes on it. Also, the RGB Legion logo is glowing whenever the device is turned on, and it also has a chromatic reflection around it. It has a dual-camera setup with LED flash.

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Around the frame, the main microphone is at the bottom alongside the USB Type-C port and the Simtray with no expandable storage slot. Another Type-C port is on the left, and the two more microphones, a volume rocker, and an exhaust grille. Up top is the secondary microphone, while on the right-hand side is the power button, second exhaust grille, and the Ultrasonic shoulder keys.

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Legion Phone Duel 2 is different from its predecessor in terms of design. However, there are still some features left, like the 44MP motorized pop-up selfie camera, 2 USB C ports for different gaming orientations, or charging it using 90W Dual turbocharge.

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Triggers

Legion Phone Duel 2 offers pressure-sensitive trigger buttons. It has a new Octa-trigger with a console controller-like array, and those keys are divided into three categories.

First is the four on its frame, located on the top part when holding the phone horizontally. They are called Ultrasonic shoulder keys labeled R1, R2, and L1, L2. These are often used for aiming down sights or as firing triggers for FPS games.

Next are the two capacitive sliders around the middle part of the back called a Capacitance key. It acts just like the volume slider in TWS headsets.

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Lastly, the two pressure touches on its display are called the Force touch. These are the triggers that can serve you well during your gaming session.

It is hard to locate each shoulder key since they are a tad too small and lack texture. So everything will rely on muscle memory. Despite this, the trigger functions as it should be, which will surely improve the gaming experience without using claw-type control.

Display

Moving on the front part, Legion Phone Duel 2 boasts a huge 6.92-inch FHD+ AMOLED display paired with a 144Hz refresh rate. These numbers are high but there’s also a whopping 720Hz multi-finger touch sampling rate that hardcore gamers will appreciate. It really feels premium and responsive with real-time controls. It made my aiming more accurate than usual, which is a good thing. However, it has a noticeable bezel, especially on top and bottom, as it has Dolby Atmos speakers on both that fires stereo sound directly to the users. But still, having a full-screen device means less distraction.

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For the quality, the colors are punchy and vibrant. The screen is bright even with direct sunlight outdoor. Furthermore, the display has tweaks in the display setting. It has tons of display enhancement options like the Gaming HDR enhancement that enhances the details in-game and improves the gaming experience. It also has an option to choose four different display refresh rates from 144Hz, 120Hz, 90Hz, and 60hz. But the best option is the Smart high refresh rate that adapts the refresh rate of the currently running game or app, which will improve battery life. It also has an option for natural and standard color for more true-to-life color reproduction.

Camera

As for the cameras, Legion Phone Duel 2 is a gaming-centric phone means that there surely will be a compromise on the camera. It only has a dual-camera setup–a 64MP f/1.9 main camera and a 16MP ultrawide. But just like its predecessor, it has an option to shoot portrait and macro mode.

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The main snapper can shoot 8K [email protected]. However, It’s a shame I didn’t saw any other 24fps options for the lower resolutions. Still, both selfie and rear cameras can shoot up to [email protected], which is a good thing.

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As for the quality, I still saw an off-white balance detection on its main camera, just like its predecessor. It’s not a hit and miss but rather a struggle on detectors when we introduced whites on the scene. Like my table and the white color of the sky, it tends to be in drastic warm tones indoors and cooler tones outdoors. The HDR enhancement is calm on giving rich photos compared to the non-HDR photo, which is an AI thing. I wish they improve this on the later update. The upside is when the scene is close to the subject, or there are no whites, the colors are great and true to life, the blacks are good, with no missing details in the shadow parts. There are no grains and noise as well.

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As for the portrait shots, white balance is great, but the bokeh feels unnatural, it is soft and blurry, but it still does its job even without a depth sensor to aid the main camera.

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The ultrawide outputs have noticeable pale colors and lesser exposure, but turning on HDR mode will boost the color reproduction and some shadows. Sharpness is great, the blacks introduced details, and the white balance is much better in the ultrawide lens.

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The macro shots are detailed, have good and acceptable qualities, and it has an autofocus system. It has three different zooms from wide, 1x, and 2xwhich have impressive quality. I believe the main and ultrawide lens is capable of shooting close-up subjects. It can still shoot detailed close-up subjects. It doesn’t introduce drastic grains and noise, but it’s not the best of the best.

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As for the 44MP motorized pop-up selfie, the blacks have details and my face is clean. However, the white balance detection is still off the charts. That doesn’t mean it has poor quality and the only thing I noticed was the overprocessing of its AI enhancement. The filter or beautification feature makes the output quite soft and looks overprocessed. Shooting in portrait orientation makes your eyes feel like your looking somewhere else, but I am just looking directly at the screen. This is due to the selfie being on the side rather than in the middle. The subject to background separation is now great compared to the predecessor with only 90% accuracy. Skin tone color is not the issue since there’s an option to change the skin tone color in the native camera app. Selfie quality is flattering if it captures without enhancements.

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The camera app has tons of useful and technical features, but there are no fun and gimmicky features. It offers macro video, dual view video, director view, and slow motion. It also has a pro mode for photo and video with up to 6400 ISO and 32s shutter speed. It can also shoot DNG or RAW files, but it can’t switch lenses, and there’s no other option for shooting different resolutions in the video pro mode. It shoots HDR10+ which is nice but, again, the versatility of its camera is limited. Good thing it also offers EIS for [email protected] below.

Overall I can’t say it’s the best shooter, but it’s better and acceptable in the premium standard. There are missing features but I’m not surprised nor disappointed since I already knew this was coming as it is a gaming-focused smartphone. It offers a selfie that first seems far-fetched, but it’s made mainly for streaming while in landscape mode, which is great architecture in a single handset. Legion Phone Duel 2 still gave what we needed.

READ: Lenovo IdeaPad, Legion gaming laptops discounted up to P23K off for 9.9 Sale

Performance

Speaking of Streaming, The Legion Phone Duel 2 is stream capable thanks to the 12GB of LPDDR4 Ram. Meanwhile, the device is powered by the latest Snapdragon 888 5G (5nm) and paired with 256GB of USF 3.1 internal storage. The ATA 2.0 body and the 5nm chipset will give efficient power and thermal. Even using a 5G connection while gaming, the device is handling the heat. There are no heating problems on the screen as well. Gaming is quite convenient in the Legion Phone Duel 2.


Speaking of gaming, it runs almost all games like Call of Duty Mobile, PUBG Mobile, Honkai Impact 3, and Genshin Impact with great visuals and high framerates. The Legion realm monitoring feature shows fps, temperature, and internet signal. These are mostly green and with good numbers when playing. It also can boost the gaming experience even more by turning on the rampage mode and the Turbo Fan. Throughout the whole game, I didn’t experience any heat built up on both sides of the device, because like I mentioned earlier, all the heat is redirected to the middle and out to the vents. And that means the design is really working.

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As for software, It runs on the latest Android 11.0 with ZUI or Legion 12.5 on top. Aside from its chipset and configuration, the 144Hz refresh rate and the UI work very light and fast. The Legion UI also offers a stock Android experience, although it does have a few design changes like the icons and the options on the notification bar. It gives a quite different mood than the standard Android experience.

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One of the applications that come with the device that I love is the Legion Realm. It is located in the settings menu or the app drawer. It has an option to configure the device’s semi-real vibration and lighting effect. But the real Legion Realm is the Legion Duel 2’s on Game Launcher. Long-pressing both Y triggers will instantly launch Legion realm from its non-gaming mode. The Legion Realm gives a gamer feel with a little bit of vibration and some sound effects. Inside, you can access the games, features that will boost your gaming performance, download some games, network and news for gamers which is a cool ecosystem.

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There are also in-game features available using Legion Realm Panel like shadow record– which will record games even the gameplay is 15-30seconds behind. You can also map buttons for the Octa trigger and enable streaming.

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Battery

For its battery, the 5500mAh is quite a handler, but it does sip a lot of juice quickly. Especially when gaming at a higher refresh rate. It ensures at least 5-6hrs of gaming nonstop and more than a day of use in average usage. It’s a good score considering the device has a twin fan, RGB lights, multiple sensors, and a high refresh rate. The 5nm chipset, cooling system, AMOLED panel, and auto-refresh rate surely did an amazing job maintaining the power-hungry components. I just wish they add more mAh to the battery, like the 6000mAh of the Rog Phones.

Nonetheless, the Legion Phone Duel 2 has the advantage thanks to the 90W fast charging. The 90W charging brick that comes in the box has two USB-C ports–just like its predecessor. Using a single cable will input a 60W charging to the phone, but two USB-C cables will enable the 90W dual turbocharging. And for the record, it took 33 minutes to fully charge–close enough to what the company advertised.

Verdict

The Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 is a gaming beast with a lesser impression on its camera and durability. But the design and architecture are solid, they solved the heating problem when playing for a long period of time and if you’re not going to force it to bend, there are no problems at all.

Legion Phon Duel 2 is priced at P39,995 for the lower variant of 12GB of ram and 256GB of storage. If you are opting for the 16GB plus 512GB variant, it will cost P49,995. P10k more to double the storage and more ram for multitasking, it is quite a bummer as the phone doesn’t offer expandable storage, but the 16GB of ram is perfect for stream games on a single handset.

If you are not into gaming, other choices in the market would satisfy your needs, like the flagship models. But if you are really opting for a gaming focus machine with an innovative build, astonishing gaming features paired with top-of-the-line specs, the Legion Phone Duel 2 is surely one of the top picks in the market of Gaming focus mobile devices.

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  • Display: 6.92-inches, AMOLED, HDR10+, 144Hz, 720Hz multi-fingerprint touch response
  • Design: Glass front (Gorilla Glass 5), glass back, aluminum frame
  • Dimension and Weight: 176 x 76.5 x 9.9mm, 259g
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 5G (5nm)
  • CPU: Octa-core
  • GPU: Adreno 660
  • RAM: 12/16 GB, LPDDR5
  • Storage: 256/512 GB, UFS 3.1
  • Main Camera: 64MP, f/1.9, 16MP Ultrawide
    video up to [email protected][email protected]/60fps, [email protected]/60/240fps, gyro-EIS, HDR10+ rec
  • Selfie Camera: Motorized Pop-up 44 MP, f/2.0 | video up to [email protected]/60fps
  • Connectivity & Ports: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot, Bluetooth 5.2, A2DP, LE, GPS with dual-band A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, QZSS, NFC, 2 x USB Type-C (2.0 & 3.1), USB On-The-Go
  • Security: Fingerprint (under-display, optical)
  • Features: Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, built-in two cooling fans, RGB light-panel (on the back), 6 pressure-sensitive zone (Gaming triggers), 4 ultrasonic buttons (top), 2 capacitive sliding buttons (back)
  • Battery: 5500mAh
  • Charging: 65W (single USB-C port), 90W fast charging (dual USB-C ports)
  • Audio: Dolby atmos with stereo speakers
  • OS: Android 11, ZUI 12.5
  • Colors: Titanium White, Ultimate Black
  • Price: P39,995 (12GB+256GB), P49,995 (16GB+512GB)
  • Release Date: June 18-30, 2021 (Pre-order; Philippines)
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