Gaming

Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 review: A mini content machine

A little bit of something for all types of gamers and creators

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Mobile gaming is a thing of the present, and everybody wants in on it. Even with people opting to build PCs, a good mobile gaming device becomes part of the setup. It’s a platform that almost everybody in the world shares, and the device of choice is easily accessible too!

For Lenovo, playing games at a high level requires a device that will keep up with that. Apart from being an all-around device for everyday use, this particular smartphone should enhance your grind to Mythic or Conqueror. Not only that, this should also let you share your journey with your friends, and possibly the entire world. 

This is what the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 hopes to achieve, as the second iteration of the company’s flagship gaming smartphone. It seeks to provide mobile gamers a total package not just for gaming, but for content creation, as well. In essence, what you’re supposedly getting is a content machine on-the-go. Well, at least that’s what I initially thought.

What you’re getting in this black box

Before we get into the thick of things, let’s first discuss this black box. At first, I thought I was getting a 10-inch gaming laptop with the packaging they provided. It goes for subtlety, with the Legion logo on the top and lettering at the sides telling you exactly what you’re getting.

Inside the black box, you are greeted by the Legion Phone Duel 2 itself, with some choice words for you. These four words, “Stylish Outside. Savage Inside,” concisely get the message across, while also plastered on smaller compartments.

Now, my review unit came in the Ultimate Black colorway, but it also comes in Titanium White.

Along with the unit, you also get a 90W dual USB-C, fast-charging charger, a hard plastic phone case, a USB-C to 3.5mm headphone dongle, and a customized SIM ejector pin.

Honestly, this feels like a complete package for any gaming smartphone, and I didn’t mind that they didn’t have any over-the-top gimmicks. 

A dedicated gaming machine in your pocket

Here’s the burning question on everyone’s minds: is the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 one of the best gaming smartphones out there? My initial yet rather short answer to this was a definite yes, and the gaming performance backs this up quite well. Generally speaking, this device will literally play any game you throw at it.

The components responsible for giving the Legion Phone Duel 2 its gaming power are the Snapdragon 888 CPU and the Adreno 660 mobile GPU inside. In essence, these two components allow you to maximize your gaming performance, and play at roughly higher frame rates for games that support it.

Also, you could activate this thing called Rampage Mode, which allows you to increase CPU usage to boost performance. This is great and all, but the obvious trade offs include higher temperatures and using more battery. Nonetheless, you will only have access to this by using the Legion Realm swipe-down menu.

Does the Legion Realm app aid the experience?

Speaking of, the Legion Realm app comes pre-installed when you set up the phone for the first time. What you’re getting out of it is just a one-stop shop for all the games that Lenovo recommends, based on the features of the Legion Phone Duel 2. Also, you have access to performance optimization options to boost gameplay and connectivity.

Apart from these, the Legion Realm app also allows you to customize the RGB lighting on the logo at the back of the phone. Whether you’re playing games, charging your device, or listening to music, there are lighting options dedicated for all of them. It even allows you to edit what features you want the swipe-down menu to include.

However, the app doesn’t do individual game optimizations, which was a bummer for me. I would have loved to have unique settings per game, instead of assigning a default configuration for all of them. Other than this, the Legion Realm app improves the gaming experience just a little bit.

Best suited for the shooters of all kinds

I mentioned before that the Legion Phone Duel 2 will play any game you throw at it, but I want to take it one step further. See, this phone comes with all sorts of features that simply throwing any game won’t allow you to maximize it as much as intended. To make the most out of what the Legion Phone Duel 2 offers, try playing shooter and sports games on it.

One key feature of the Legion Phone Duel 2 is the Octa-Triggers, which essentially act as trigger buttons on a controller. As the feature suggests, you have up to eight programmable air triggers that you can assign to in-game controls of your choice. Although, in my experience using them, you might have to apply a little bit of force for them to trigger properly.

When you’re able to trigger them properly, shooter games like PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty Mobile, and even the recently released Apex Legends Mobile feel different. Also, I would argue that some sports games like NBA 2K are somewhat easier to play with them. Obviously, using these triggers takes some time to get used to, especially if you’re used to touch controls. 

If it ain’t broke, stick to the touch

If the triggers aren’t your thing, that’s alright because even the touch controls in most games work well with the Legion Phone Duel 2. Now, the device rocks a 6.92-inch AMOLED display with a maximum of a 144Hz refresh rate. Naturally, I would assume that a higher refresh rate allows you to react to things a lot faster, especially with touch controls.

For the most part, this was the case for the games I felt are better off with touch controls. Whether it’s an MMORPG like League of Legends: Wild Rift or music games like SUPERSTAR, this device caters to all of them. If anything, you could play these games at frame rates that match the refresh rate of the display.

Hot like the rest of them

The thing is, like most smartphones, they get warm when you play for too long. In my usage, the phone shoots up in temperature around the area where the logo is pretty quickly. For instance, I immediately felt the warmth of the phone after one Apex Legends match, which took about 25-27 minutes.

Again, this is a necessary trade off for maximizing game performance, regardless of what refresh rate you’re playing on. This is especially true when you consider turning Rampage mode on, since it will put the CPU on overdrive and start pumping more performance. Even with the little fan near the logo, it still doesn’t stop this machine from being warm while playing.

Unfortunately, Lenovo doesn’t even provide you with any cooling accessory to subdue the heat. If anything, the hard plastic case that came with the phone helped out only little bit — especially near the area where your hands are. Honestly, I wished they took the opportunity to provide one.

For everything else, this phone is just overkill

Let’s say after a hard day’s worth of playing, you just want to relax a little bit through social media or watching videos. Well, the Legion Phone Duel 2 will handle all of those with relative ease. In fact, I feel that this phone is just total overkill for everything non-gaming related, that you don’t even need to use all of its power for these use cases.

Another aspect I wanted to highlight was how great it blasts sounds straight from the speakers. To be fair, these are Dolby Atmos speakers found on each end of the phone, and they’re pretty great for binge-watching videos on YouTube and Netflix. Even while playing games, the speakers are loud, but they still don’t allow you to hear footsteps as well as earphones would.

For once, the cameras were done a’ight

In terms of the camera situation, the Legion Phone Duel 2 comes with a rather improved setup for the front and back. For the rear cameras, it still comes with a 64MP main sensor and a 16MP wide-angle sensor, and it’s still placed beside the Legion logo. Meanwhile, the front camera now comes with a 44MP single lens hidden underneath the power button.

With the rear cameras, I honestly think they improved on the image quality just a little bit. When you’re just taking pictures of individual people or objects, it applies a decent bokeh effect. For wider shots, there is some effort to make the colors and details pop a little. During night time, it’s a bit of a mixed bag of “okay” and “probably needs more light.”

For the front camera, it’s pretty clear that there’s a step up in quality with the more powerful sensor. Honestly, if you needed a camera for video calls, this selfie camera provides much better quality than most PC webcams. Plus, you can even use this when you want to stream your gameplay through your preferred streaming service.

SEE: How to start streaming with the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2

As close to how most gaming laptops last, when gaming

As with most gaming smartphones, battery life is a key component to consider when you want something of this caliber. Throughout the entire time I was using the Legion Phone Duel 2, I managed to max it out in over 20 to 22 hours, which isn’t bad considering the hardware. Of course, this was when I was using it as any smartphone out there.

If you want to use this solely as a gaming phone at its fullest potential, I only got about four hours worth of total playtime before the phone battery went to zero. Dialing down some of the in-game graphics settings extends the battery by a couple of minutes, at best. In essence, this gaming smartphone lasts as long as most gaming laptops would.

Fortunately, the 90W dual USB-C charger helps you get back into the action when you run out of juice. When using one of the two charging ports, I managed to do a full charge within an hour and 20 minutes. If you plan to use both, the charge time just decreases by about 30 minutes, which is pretty great.

So, is this your GadgetMatch?

Starting at PhP 39,995, the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 is a gaming device with a lot to offer for gamers and creators alike. The hardware pretty much speaks for itself when it comes to the power and performance it brings to the table. Whether you want to stream your gameplay or watch other gameplay, this phone gets the job done.

If you were looking for just any device to play casually, it overachieves in that regard. I felt that this device was truly built for those who crave to compete, while adding a bit of color to it. Of course, there are plenty of other options for those who just want a smartphone to game on from time to time. However, if you want to go for this device, you have to commit yourself to its potential.

The Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 takes pride in being a powerful machine for a select group of individuals. It’s not the only powerful machine out there, but it’s something worth considering.

Gaming

Zelda sequel Tears of the Kingdom has a release date

Priced at $70

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Barely more than a month into the new year, 2023 already looks like a phenomenal year for gamers. A lot of upcoming games are looking like exciting additions to everyone’s to-play list. Though we already knew the title is coming this year, Nintendo officially announced the release date of Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

After revealing a flurry of games, Nintendo capped off their recent Direct with the fresh trailer of the upcoming sequel to Breath of the Wild. As was showcased in previous teasers and trailers, Tears of the Kingdom is a much darker vision set in the same world as Breath of the Wild. Ganon (or what looks like a zombified version of the villain) is back to terrorize Hyrule. This time, however, the iconic villain has a voice!

Plus, Tears of the Kingdom adds a lot of verticality by introducing floating terrain and more aerial movement. While the world looks similar to Breath of the Wild, the sequel still has a lot to show players.

Finally, the trailer caps off with the release date. Tears of the Kingdom will launch on May 12. Preorders have already begun for the title. Additionally, dedicated fans can also get a Collector’s Edition which includes a SteelBook, a poster, an art book, and a pin set. The release also coincides with the launch of a new Amiibo to commemorate the launch.

Priced a bit higher, Tears of the Kingdom will sell for US$ 69.99.

SEE ALSO: Zelda: Breath of the Wild Sequel trailer breakdown

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Gaming

Nintendo adds Game Boy titles to Switch Online

And Game Boy Advance

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Nintendo Switch Online is the gift that keeps on giving. More than giving players the ability to play online, the subscription service also offers subscribers a gallery of classic games from bygone eras. The feature remains one of the most convenient ways to play old titles from the NES and the N64. Now, the service is adding Game Boy and Game Boy Advance titles.

Announced during the most recent Direct, Nintendo has announced that several titles from the Game Boy and the Game Boy Advance are now playable through the subscription service. While all subscribers will have access to the Game Boy titles, Game Boy Advance titles will come only with Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscriptions.

The starting lineup of Game Boy titles include Tetris, the original Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX and Kirby’s Dream Land. Meanwhile, Game Boy Advance titles will include Super Mario Bros. 3, Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, and WarioWare, Inc: Mega Microgame$. Games included will come with local and online multiplayer, if applicable.

Nintendo will continue to add more titles to the roster throughout the year. Since the Game Boy generation is one of the company’s biggest, expect a ton of announcements as the roster fills up. (We’re still holding out hope for the classic Pokémon games.)

SEE ALSO: Nintendo Switch is now third-bestselling console in history

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Nintendo Switch is now third-bestselling console in history

Overtakes Game Boy and PS4

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Though there are more powerful consoles now, the Nintendo Switch is the most representative of the world’s situation since its launch. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the console keeps breaking records. Now, it has crossed its most important milestone to date. The Switch is now the third-bestselling console in history.

Released back in 2017, the Switch is the quintessential console for hybrid gamers who play at home and on the go. In its first few years, the console already spawned classic titles such as Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. However, its big break truly came during the 2020 lockdowns. The timing of Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ release created a worldwide moment when everyone stuck at home wanted a Switch to play the island life simulator. Since then, the console, despite launching an improved OLED version, is gradually mellowing out, especially when opposed to even more powerful consoles like the PlayStation 5.

Regardless, the Switch’s effect on the world is palpable. Today, Nintendo announced that the console has sold over 122 million units worldwide. With such a figure, the Switch moves up to the third spot in the list of bestselling consoles of all time. It squeaks past the Game Boy (118 million units) and the PlayStation 4 (117 million units).

Now, the next consoles in the Switch’s sights are the Nintendo DS (154 million units) and the PlayStation 2 (155 million units). The console is in for quite a climb, though. Unless it hits another golden age, it will take a while before another overtake.

It’s still possible, of course. The Nintendo Switch is still set to release a few much-awaited titles like Tears of the Kingdom, the sequel to Breath of the Wild.

SEE ALSO: Cult classic GoldenEye 007 is coming to Xbox, Switch

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