Gaming phones are interesting blends of high-perfamcne specs, angular design, and usually one gimmick, the latest being the side-mounted pop-up camera on the Lenovo Legion smartphone. But this is a gimmick Twitch streamers should appreciate.
We’ve already seen the Lenovo Legion teased on Chinese social media, but a new slew of teaser videos and details have popped up on Lenovo’s Weibo account, and they confirm there will indeed be a 20MP pop-up selfie camera mounted on what would appear to be its right edge. And Lenovo envisions it being used as a means to provide game streaming on the go.
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While we’ve seen strange cooling attachments and touch-sensitive trigger buttons on gaming phones before, but this oddly located selfie camera is a first.
But it also makes a lot of sense, as you’d usually expect to hold a gaming phone horizontally to take full advantage of its widescreen display. In this case, the Lenovo Legion phone has a rumored 6.6-inch screen with a 144Hz refresh rate. As such, a sideways pop-up camera would be a good way for you to snap selfies or capture video of your face while gaming without needing to flip the phone into portrait mode.
Going by a teaser video, the pop-up camera could be used as a way to record faces while gaming, with potential for it to be linked to streaming services. That means people could set up game steams without the need for external camera equipment; we could see this being particularly neat with game streaming services such as Google Stadia.
For people concerned about how durable such a camera will be, it Lenovo has said it will automatically retract in 0.5 seconds if the phone detects it’s been dropped. And a metal backplate should aid its durability.
The Weibo posts also give a more detailed look at the design of the Legion phone, which Lenovo appears to call it the "Rescue Gaming Mobile Pro", though that could be a name reserved for the Chinese market.
Not only do the posts show off a red and black color for the Legion, they also show how it will have angled edges; very in-keeping with the so-called ‘gamer’ aesthetic of such gaming-orientated devices. The renders of the Legion phone also reveal that it will have a pair of rear cameras, comprising a 64MP main sensor and a 16MP ultrawide sensor.
The Legion phone also reportedly has Air triggers on both sides of the phone, which are basically touch-sensitive controls on the phone’s edges that we’ve seen with the like of the Asus ROG Phone. The teaser videos also confirm the Legion phone will use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 Plus chip and will come with 90W fast charging.
All that could make it a strong rival to the Asus ROG Phone 3, which is expected to have an impressive spec list that will position gaming phones as contemporary powerhouse rivals to premium phones like the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 20.
Samsung’s next flagship phone is set to use the Snapdragon 865 Plus chip in the U.S. but only the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is expected to get a high refresh-rate display. Even then it will be a 120Hz panel, like those of the Galaxy S20 series, meaning if you want the very fastest smartphone screen you’ll need to opt for a gaming phone.
Pre-orders of the Legion phone are already live on Chinese site JD.com and Lenovo’s first gaming phone is set for a full reveal on July 22. So we’ll soon get an idea whether it will be the gaming phone of choice or a device with an odd gimmick.