ROG Phone 5 vs. Legion Phone Duel 2 vs. RedMagic 6S Pro : Gaming Phone Comparison | Tech Reviews
At the beginning of the year, the Legion Phone Duel was just ahead of the ASUS ROG Phone 3 in our comparison. When comparing the next generation, a new adversary enters the ring: The Nubia RedMagic 6S Pro is well positioned with Snapdragon 888+, 165 Hz refresh rate and cool design. I compared it to the new Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 and the ASUS ROG Phone 5.
Gaming smartphones no longer occupy a small niche. With unique designs, massive performance and various gaming features, they sometimes differ greatly from the smartphone mainstream. Features such as high display refresh rates appeared for the first time in gaming smartphones, for example. Gaming accessories such as docking stations with a second display, gamepads and the like are often only found in the gaming smartphone segment. The development is not a surprise as the mobile gaming market is growing and growing. Although there is often a lot of crap among the games, there are also really good games. You can find a hand-picked selection from all genres on our topic page.
But what are the differences between the many gaming smartphones and which phone is best suited for which purpose and which game? At least that’s what we want to find out in this ASUS ROG Phone 5, Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2, and Nubia RedMagic 6S Pro comparison. Admittedly, the ASUS ROG Phone 5 is already available in the Pro version with an additional display on the back, more memory and a larger scope of delivery. Since the differences are rather marginal in this respect, the ROG Phone 5 is still very well suited for this comparison.
Case and power supply make the difference
Let’s start with what else is in the box besides the gaming smartphones. In addition to various stickers, the ROG Phone 5 also includes the 65-watt power adapter and a charging cable (Type-C to Type-C). The RedMagic 6S Pro has a transparent and rubbery protective cover, but the power supply only comes with 30 watts and has the Asian power plug. However, this is probably due to the test device, which was sent directly from China. Positive: Nubia gives the RedMagic 6S Pro a screen protector ex works.
The Legion Phone Duel 2 has the most accessories: With a 65-watt power supply, two charging cables and a transparent hard plastic case, this point also goes to the gaming smartphone from Lenovo.
In any case, unusual design
As always, the design is a matter of taste, but there are clear differences between the three gaming smartphones. The test device of the Legion Phone Duel 2 comes in a chic white and relies on a large horizontal hump on the back, in which the logo, the two fans (one visible) including RGB lighting and the camera module are installed. The air outlets and inlets are located on the side. Incidentally, the cover does not ensure that the hump on the back is “balanced”.
The ROG Phone 5 comes closest to the “classic high-end smartphone” in terms of design, since the back is relatively simple apart from the matrix with the illuminated RGB logo and the red accents and with the 4th generation – the ROG Phone 4 was skipped – also completely is kept smooth. As with its predecessors, the camera hump is at the top, but the design generally takes another small step towards the mainstream.
The RedMagic 6S Pro takes a slightly different approach. Half of the back is transparent and allows a view of the interior including the RGB fan. The look is garnished with many lines and the features of the gaming smartphone, which are highlighted in gold lettering. The whole thing looks pretty cool even with the included case, without appearing too fancy. The vertically arranged triple cam protrudes only minimally and is balanced by the case to a flat level.
Heavy and big towards the horizon
Gaming smartphones are about gaming, so the focus is mainly on horizontal use in everyday life. Most mobile games are played horizontally, so aligning them in this orientation can bring benefits. The Legion Phone Duel 2 hardly makes any compromises here. The layout and the design are predestined for horizontal use: symmetrical hump on the back, pop-up selfie cam as well as the second USB-C port in the middle on the side and many special keys on both sides, which only when used horizontally are easily accessible. However, the phone is also a real chunk and at 260g it is noticeably heavier than the other gaming smartphones in this trill. A finger or hand often gets lost on selfies when used vertically.
Like the RedMagic 6S Pro, the ROG Phone 5 has the selfie cam in the upper display frame, but the former also offers a side USB-C port, which the RedMagic 6S Pro does not have. Two gaming keys are located on both smartphones at the top and bottom on the left side. With 220g and the smallest dimensions, the RedMagic 6S Pro is a bit easier to handle in everyday life than the ROG Phone 5 (239g).
Anyone looking for the best smartphone for gaming and streaming will most likely find what they are looking for in Legion Phone Duel 2. However, normal everyday life is most pleasant with the Nubia RedMagic 6S Pro. The point for the best gaming experience goes to Lenovo.
Processing weaknesses at second glance
At first glance, all three gaming smartphones appear to be flawlessly processed. The aluminum frames are cleanly milled, the gaps are narrow and there don’t seem to be any weaknesses in terms of stability. Only the videos from JerryRigEverything ( ASUS , Lenovo , Nubia ) provide information about where the real weak points are – some of the gaming smartphones are very prone to breakage when they are bent.
The ROG Phone 5 breaks almost as quickly under medium pressure as the Legion Phone Duel 2. Due to the flat hump in the middle, the latter also quickly gets scratches on the glass back. Since the back of the ROG Phone 5 is completely framed in glass, you should definitely use a sturdy bumper.
The only exception: the RedMagic 6S Pro. At least the almost identical RedMagic 6 survives the JerryRigEverything bend test unscathed and thus also gets the point in this comparison. However, you should still use the enclosed case due to the glass back. Incidentally, none of the three gaming smartphones is waterproof.
All three gaming smartphones can face unlock
When it comes to unlocking, all three gaming smartphones can score with pretty fast and reliable in-display fingerprint readers. The differences in speed are very small and therefore negligible.
All three devices also have the option of unlocking the display via face recognition. While this works very quickly with the RedMagic 6S Pro and ROG Phone 5, the disadvantage of the pop-up cam becomes apparent here. Since it first has to extend so that the face can be recognized, it takes longer with the Legion Phone Duel 2 and the loud noise when extending is also annoying in the long run. Point for ASUS and Nubia.
Differences between USB and jack
When it comes to ports, gaming smartphones often offer more than normal high-end phones. This not only applies to the jack connection, which has now been categorically omitted, but also to USB connections, of which many gaming smartphones often have a second one installed on the side for any accessories.
This is the case with the Legion Phone Duel and also with the ROG Phone 5, which offer an additional USB-C port on the left side. The latter also has a jack connection again, but the USB-C port on the underside is still not placed in the middle, which makes it difficult to use universal third-party accessories such as car mounts. Although the RedMagic 6S Pro also offers a jack connection, this round goes to the ROG Phone 5 with a total of three connections.
All rely on WiFi 6(e) and Bluetooth 5.2
When it comes to wireless connectivity, all three gaming smartphones are very modern with Bluetooth 5.2 and 5G, and all devices also use a dual SIM slot. The small but significant difference is in the WiFi, because only the ROG Phone 5 and the RedMagic 6S Pro offer the brand new WiFi 6e.
Rapid AMOLED displays with up to 165 Hz
In addition to performance, the display naturally plays an important role in gaming smartphones. All three derivatives rely on very color-intensive AMOLED displays with FHD+ resolution. There are small differences in size, because while the Legion Phone Duel 2 comes with 6.92″, the displays of the ROG Phone 5 and the RedMagic 6S Pro are slightly smaller at 6.78″ and 6.8″, respectively also benefits the dimensions. The pixel density is also on a very similar level with 387, 388 and 395 PPI.
However, there are differences in brightness and white point. The display of the Legion Phone Duel 2 does not get that bright under direct light and is also set a little too warm ex works. The displays of the ROG Phone 5 and RedMagic 6S Pro are noticeably brighter and at most about the same brightness. There are plus points for the RedMagic 6S Pro for the factory screen protector, the highest maximum refresh rate of 165 Hz and a sampling rate of 720 Hz. The ROG Phone 5 offers “only 300 Hz”, but the differences are honestly hardly or not at all noticeable in everyday life.
Android 11, dark mode and lots of special keys
Let’s get to the software. All three gaming smartphones rely on Android 11, over which different gaming UIs have been ironed out. All come standard with a special icon design and dedicated gaming menus, where you have direct access to your game library or the RGB lighting and fans – if available. This also applies to in-game access using your own interface such as the Game Genie at ASUS, etc. – they all offer it.
There are only a few differences between the ROG Phone 5 and the Legion Phone Duel 2 in terms of functionality, but the LPD2 offers a total of six special keys as well as a fan and logo with lighting. The ROG Phone 5, on the other hand, scores with a configurable RGB ROG logo on the back. Certainly cool for gamers: If the X mode is activated for more performance, the appearance of the icons and the screen background changes. The Legion Phone Duel 2 also offers a similar mode – but without optical adjustments.
The RedMagic 6S Pro even relies on four different power modes and a physical button to bring up the gaming menu. In the long run, however, this is a bit annoying, and the fan’s lighting cannot be adjusted. Too bad: In some menus, the UI struggles with missing or wrong translations. It only rains points for ASUS and Lenovo.
In the top configuration, all three gaming smartphones come with 16 or even 18 GB of RAM (ROG Phone 5 Ultimate) and Adreno 660 graphics chip. When it comes to storage, Lenovo and ASUS offer a whopping 512 GB, while Nubia only offers a maximum of 256 GB of UFS 3.1 storage. Unfortunately, since all three devices use a dual SIM slot, the memory cannot be expanded. There is also a small difference in the SoC: The RedMagic 6S Pro is the only gaming smartphone in the comparison that uses the brand new Snapdragon 888+. After all: With the ROG Phone 5s, ASUS will soon be launching a device with the new SD 888+.
Although the increase in performance is hardly noticeable in everyday use and even graphically demanding games run very smoothly on all devices, the point in this comparison goes to Nubia. In the stress test, the RedMagic 6S Pro offers the highest stability and still achieves a reliably high score even after several runs. Legion Phone Duel 2 and ROG Phone 5, on the other hand, both lose a good 12% of their performance over the long term.
Few or no accessories lose out against the all-round carefree package
In a year-on-year comparison, it was already clear that ASUS is bringing out the heavy artillery when it comes to accessories with the Twinview Dock, ROG Kunai Gamepad and ROG Clip, thus offering gamers the right support for every purpose. The Legion Phone Duel 2 looks the worst here, because there are almost no accessories for it. After all, a clip-on fan called Ice Dock, an “e-sports handle” and various cases are available for the RedMagic 6S Pro. So ASUS is still ahead of the pack here.
Macro lenses hardly bring any advantages
The camera is often the Achilles’ heel of most gaming smartphones, since a lot of savings are made here and the most potential to stand out from the competition is wasted. Therefore, most gaming machines are given a 0815 triple cam and left at that. Unfortunately, the third lens does not bring any real advantage, as with most mid-range mainstream smartphones. It just sounds like more – and more is always better. At least in marketing.
With the three test devices, however, the appointment of a photo king is not that easy. In comparison, the ROG Phone 5 takes decent photos with the main camera in good light. The Legion Phone Duel 2 sharpens a bit too much and the RedMagic 6S Pro weakens a bit in the details. Night mode and zoom of the Nubia are also not really convincing, but the macro of the mushroom makes the best impression.
The ultra-wide angle of the Legion Phone, on the other hand, depicts the forest most naturally. So it remains difficult and I would prefer not to give a point, but the bottom line is that the camera setups of the ROG Phone 5 and Legion Phone Duel 2 are the most convincing, so there are for both a point.
Pop-up is best selfie cam
And what about the selfie cam? The Legion Phone Duel 2 with the 44 MP pop-up cam wins this capital. The selfie cam is clearly superior to the other two in terms of sharpness and detail. The ROG Phone 5 follows in second place, which also scores with good sharpness but fewer details. The selfie with the RedMagic 6S Pro, on the other hand, looks very washed out, poor in detail and slightly greenish. The point clearly goes to Lenovo.
High power leads to high temperatures
This chapter shows that the fans are not completely far-fetched. The gaming smartphones get pretty warm in the long-term stress test. The Legion Phone Duel 2 and the RedMagic 6S Pro even get so hot on the back that you can no longer hold them permanently. On the Nubia, the heat is concentrated in the area above next to the camera, on the Legion Phone Duel 2 in the camera hump in the middle. Surprising: Although the ROG Phone 5 does not have an internal fan, it does not get quite as hot as the other two gaming smartphones.
At least the devices only get lukewarm on the back when playing 3D titles like GTA: Vice City – so the stress test remains the exception. The point for the best cooling management still goes to ASUS.
Fan debut makes a lot of wind
Let’s come to a category that has not been used in gaming smartphones before. In addition to fans that can be plugged in and are therefore found to be obsolete in everyday use, there are now also internally installed active coolers that start when needed. As a precaution, Nubia relieves the user of the complex decision, at least ex works, and activates the fan automatically when starting a game or when loading. The fan is relatively loud and also tends to whine, which in my opinion disqualifies it for actual everyday use. The quick deactivation option in the status bar is therefore no coincidence.
The Legion Phone Duel 2 even has two internal fans, one of which is visible on the back and is also illuminated. Lenovo offers you two “courses” for cooling. The fan is actually barely audible in first gear and doesn’t bother us in everyday use either. It’s audible in second gear, but not as loud and annoying as on the RedMagic 6S Pro. I would still only want to activate it in an emergency.
ASUS makes it as easy with the ROG Phone 5 as with its predecessors and completely dispenses with an internal fan. However, the attachable AeroActive Cooler 5 is only included with the ROG Phone 5 Ultimate.
“Surprise”: The largest battery offers the longest runtime
When it comes to the battery, the three gaming smartphones use different solutions. The ROG Phone 5 has two 3,000 mAh batteries installed. The Legion Phone Duel 2 also offers a “split” battery and has a total of 5,500 mAh. The Nubia RedMagic 6S Pro has a battery with a capacity of 5,050 mAh.
After three hours of playtime (at 120 Hz and maximum display brightness), the ROG Phone 5 unsurprisingly wins with a battery level of 65%. Lenovo is only slightly behind with 61%, but the display is also significantly darker. Due to the smallest battery, the RedMagic 6S Pro comes last with 52%.
When it comes to loading times, Lenovo doesn’t fool anyone
Sure, Neocharge is nice and Hypercharge sounds pretty good too, but a real smartphone gamer knows that the real deal can only be Turbo Charge. Because only Turbo-Charge relies on a 65-watt power supply with two ports, which is connected to the Legion Phone Duel 2 via two USB-C cables. Sounds pointless, but after thirty minutes the gaming smartphone is almost fully charged at 98%. The ROG Phone 5 is then at least a good 85%. The meager 64% of the RedMagic 6S Pro is due to the 30-watt handbrake included in the scope of delivery, because the 66-watt power supply is only available at an additional cost.
Funny: Even with the 65-watt power supply from ASUS, the gaming smartphone from Nubia only ends up at 70% after 30 minutes. Conclusion: point for Lenovo.
Stereo speaker sets the tone
The ROG Phone 5 and Legion Phone Duel 2 each use real stereo speakers on the front. The latter offers the better – if not currently the best – smartphone sound, since the sound is still balanced even at maximum volume and the lows are a bit better than with the ROG Phone 5. Just like that: For a smartphone, it is actually a rarity that the bass is not just on the edge of the subsistence level.
The RedMagic 6S Pro follows the principle of mainstream smartphones: the speaker on the top is supported by a speaker in the frame that radiates downwards. The maximum volume surpasses the other two gaming smartphones, but this is at the expense of the balance, because the highs are uncomfortably loud and the bass is hardly present. If you reduce the level to 80%, then the aggressive highs disappear. Overall, the still good speakers don’t come close to those of the other two phones.
Big difference in price
Not entirely unimportant: How much does the respective fun actually cost. ASUS calls for an RRP of a whopping 999 euros for the ROG Phone 5 in the tested configuration. The Legion Phone Duel 2 starts for 100 euros less, although it even offers 256 GB more memory. At 729 euros, however, the RedMagic 6S Pro clearly undercuts both. If you do without the transparent back, you can get it for 699 euros RRP.
Conclusion: ASUS “ROG”t the booth, but only just
While Lenovo narrowly won the last comparison with the Legion Phone Duel 1, the crown now goes back to ASUS and the ROG Phone 5.
The reason? The ROG Phone 5 often finds the best compromise between gaming and everyday life, and thanks to its cool UI it is still a genuine gaming smartphone with many connections, state-of-the-art wireless connectivity, tons of accessories and a triple cam that is convincing in comparison. Although it doesn’t have an internal fan, it doesn’t get as hot as the competition in the stress test and still offers the longest battery life with the 6,000 mAh battery. It’s also pretty quick when fully charged. However, ASUS also calls for a proud RRP of 999 euros. The ROG Phone 5 also revealed weaknesses in stability in the bend test.
The Legion Phone Duel 2 is designed entirely for horizontal handling. This makes it quite unique among all smartphones, but also a bit unwieldy in many everyday situations apart from gaming. It’s big, very heavy and gets quite warm under high load, but scores in this comparison with an extensive scope of delivery, first-class sound, lots of gaming functions including six special keys, a good selfie cam and a rapid loading time that is second to none . However, the display is not quite as bright and there are weaknesses in stability, but the gaming smartphone with 512 GB of memory costs 100 euros less than the ROG Phone 5.
The Nubia RedMagic 6S Pro offers the most for the money, because it is a real value for money at 729 euros RRP and looks damn chic. In addition, there is a comparatively “normal” form factor and the lowest weight. With the Snapdragon 888+ and 165 Hz display, the focus is clearly on performance. The performance differences are only marginal in everyday use, but thanks to the fan, the performance can be maintained even under sustained high loads. Not so great: The fan gets uncomfortably loud and the battery is a bit tight at 5,050 mAh, and it can also get very hot on the back. Despite support for fast charging, there is only a 30-watt power adapter included in the scope of delivery. In view of the price, the Nubia also has to make small cuts in the speakers and the camera.
There you have it: despite the fact that the three gaming smartphones have the same focus, there are definitely major differences in implementation. Basically, you can’t go wrong with any of the devices, because depending on the intended use and budget, you will find the right companion for extensive gaming sessions and everyday life with the ROG Phone 5, Legion Phone Duel 2 or RedMagic 6S Pro.