This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
Several manufacturers have released gaming-specific smartphones: the ASUS ROG Phone, Nubia's Red Magic, and the Xiaomi-based Black Shark, three of which are now available in Japan. Lenovo is a newcomer to this gaming smartphone market. Lenovo has been developing the "Legion" brand of gaming PCs, and has added a gaming smartphone to its lineup overseas. Globally, it is being sold under the name "Legion Phone Duel" and in China under the name "Legion Pro". In this article, I got the Chinese version of the Legion Pro, and I will review its usability.
The Legion Pro is a 5G-enabled smartphone. The chipset is Snapdragon 865+ and the memory configuration boasts high specs of up to 16 GB + 512 GB of storage. I got the 8GB + 128GB version with the smallest configuration. The price in China is 3,499 yuan (about 56,000 yen).
The device measures 169.2 x 78.5 x 9.9 mm and weighs 239 g. The display is 6.65 inches with 2340x1080 pixels. The display is flat and has no corners, so when you hold it in your hand, you can feel its weight and thickness. In addition, the front camera is a pop-up type, so the display does not have any notches missing.
The back has an interesting design with two cameras in the center, one 64-megapixel wide angle and one 16-megapixel ultra-wide angle. It also has Legion's trademark wedge-shaped logo in the center, which flashed during charging and notifications. Next to it, you can also see "LEGION," which is actually a pop-up front camera.
Looking at the side of the device, we can see a volume button and a USB Type-C port on the left side, and a SIM slot and another Type-C port on the bottom. The two Type-C ports are familiar to us from the ASUS ROG Phone, but the Legion Pro has a special use for them.
On the right side of the device, you can see the power button, which is located at the top of the pop-up camera. The patterned areas that can be seen at the top and bottom of the side are the soft keys, which serve as control buttons during gameplay. There are no buttons on the top of the device.
The Legion Pro has a built-in 5000mAh battery that can be fast-charged at 90 watts, with a 50 percent charge in 10 minutes and a 100 percent charge in 30 minutes. In addition, the battery is built into the body in two parts on the left and right sides of the body, and it can charge each battery by feeding power from both of the two Type-C ports to enable such a fast charge.
The standard home screen shows the CPU and GPU status next to the clock display. The operating system is Android 10, but due to the Chinese model, Google services are not supported. It uses ZUI, which has its own UI, and the app icons are unique and reminiscent of a gaming phone. From the quick settings panel, you can launch the camera and calculator.
When the device is turned on its side, the home screen is also turned on its side. This setting seems to be the default and is probably designed to be used as a normal smartphone while playing game.
The display refresh rate supports up to 144 Hz, just like a gaming smartphone. You can also switch to 120Hz, 90Hz, and 60Hz to save battery. There is also a mode that automatically switches to 144Hz when playing high-performance games. Its AnTuTuTu score of 617314 makes it a pretty high-specification smartphone.
Now, the front camera you're interested in comes out of the side of the unit. You can use it even if you hold the device vertically, but it will be easier to use in landscape mode. The camera's UI and settings are minimal, but the AI scene detection and facial processing functions are included.
To activate the dedicated gameplay mode, press the left and right softkeys simultaneously on the right side of the unit (top when in landscape mode). This will display the games installed on the unit and Lenovo recommended games. Swiping on this screen from the top will display the current status of the settings (CPU) and other information.
When you turn on the selfie in the live feed, the front camera pops up and a small screen of your face pops up in the display. This means that you can deliver your expression at the same time as the game screen. Detailed settings, such as the behavior of the soft keys on the sides, can also be done in this game mode. This is a similar function to other gaming smartphones. To exit the game mode, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and then swipe again. I was confused at first because there are no dedicated physical buttons.
Unfortunately, I rarely play games, so I did not experience the controls in gaming mode. However, it's the sound experience that made me feel that the Legion Pro is intended to be a serious gaming smartphone. When playing back a video, the volume is loud, and the sound is not distorted, even at full volume. Of course, if you turn the device sideways, it plays back in stereo from both sides. Also, the construction of the device is very well done, and the vibrations are transmitted to your hand in time with the sound, just like a speaker. It's a very immersive experience, not only when playing games, but also when watching action movies.
Lenovo's smartphone business is notable for its Motorola-branded products, which have shown a certain level of success, while its own-branded products have been unremarkable, with mid-range devices mainly in emerging countries. However, Lenovo has the power to design a product as high spec as the Legion Pro. In the future, we hope that they will develop products that are linked to the Legion PC and also develop smartphones for their own brand products such as ThinkPad.
This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.