It seemed like only yesterday when Razer announced their gaming smartphone, promptly called the Razer Phone. Fast forward a few months and now we have an aggressive competitor: Xiaomi’s Black Shark.
The Black Shark is a solely gaming-focused smartphone, built from the ground up to provide you the ultimate noob-pwing experience. Considering smartphone gaming has only gotten better in the last few years, the market is starting to get more and more competitive. Hardcore titles such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds have taken the world by storm. It’s only fitting you have the best smartphone to tackle the business in the right way. And after dipping their toes in the gaming laptop market, it only made sense for Xiaomi to make a gaming smartphone.
The smartphone comes with the now flagship standard Snapdragon 825 processor, 6 or 8 gigs of RAM, a 1080p 5.9″ IPS 18:9 display and a massive 4000 mAh battery to back it all up. But those are specs you can find on any other flagship today. What makes the Black Shark so special you ask? The design.
For starters, there’s an integrated cooling system to bring the CPU down by 8° C. It comes in 2 variants: 6 GB RAM+64 GB storage or 8GB RAM+128 GB storage. Yep, it won’t have any micro SD slot. Much like other flagships, the phone comes with one speaker, although the earpiece acts as a secondary speaker to provide a stereo experience.As for the camera, the phone comes rocking 2 sensors: a 12 MP (f/1.8) and 20 MP (f/1.8). The selfie camera has a 20MP sensor, but with an aperture of f/2.2. The phone will launch with Android Oreo, thereby supporting project Treble. That should mean it will get all the latest Android updates on time. There is no mention of a higher refresh rate, something which should benefit gaming a lot, considering Razer had that feature.
But the attention-grabbing thing about this, (or rather, gimmick?) is an optional gamepad. Much like the Nintendo Switch, the accessory can be used in conjunction with the smartphone to give better control during gameplay. This will come handy for those who find the touch controls a bit too hard to master. While it is an optional accessory, the first 50,000 customers will get the gamepad for free with their order of the phone. It connects via Bluetooth and has to be charged separately. There’s also a dedicated button to turn the smartphone into a dedicated gaming mode, subtly called the “Shark” button. It will cost CNY179 (roughly €23/$28).
The phone can be purchased from JD.com until 20th April. The 6/64 GB version costs CNY2,999 (roughly €387/$477) and the higher end 8/128 GB version costs CNY3,499 (roughly €452/$557). Do note that the phone hasn’t been launched officially in the US or any European markets. We’ll have to wait and see if there will be any variation by region, much like the Galaxy S9.