The term of Mobile games is familiar to us. In past two years, the mobile gaming has been rapidly expanding, and a number of mobile games have flourished. It’s gone viral like a chemical reaction. So that’s not accidental to hear about a new category of mobile phones named the gaming smartphones. Today, the Xiaomi Black Shark was released. It is considered to be the first true gaming smartphone and it comes our way from a company that likes to invent. Although many think this is not the first gaming smartphone, as there is the Razer Phone. But where is it? Who is using that phone? Unlike it, the Black Shark gaming smartphone is going to win the world. The only device that can prevent this handset from reaching its goals is the Nubia’s model that is set to release on April 19. Anyway, the Black Shark is out and we are going to get acquainted with all of its features.
Xiaomi BlackShark Design
When it comes to the design, a gaming smartphone should adopt a special look. Otherwise, we can’t differentiate it from regular smartphones. Probably, the biggest shortcoming of the Razer gaming phone is a regular design. In this sense, the Xiaomi Black Shark looks quite appropriating. Earlier, when there has been no leak concerning the appearance of the phone, someone published a photo showing an ugly design. Fortunately, later Wu Shimin, founder and CEO of Black Shark Games Mobile posted on Weibo saying what we had seen has nothing common with the appearance of their device. Now we can say that’s it.
When looking at the Xiaomi Black Shark, we see a familiar look with a 5.99-inch Full HD+ resolution screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio. Below it, we can find a non-pressed home key. But when we turn the phone backside, we see what a great job the designers have done.
The rear panel clearly shows we are dealing with a gaming smartphone. It uses a sports design with a bossy body. Thanks to the black metal and green light bar it looks amazing. However, when looking closely we can see the back panel of the device has glass section on the upper and lower sides. The upper side carries a dual-camera and flashlight, while the lower part carries the phone’s name of ‘Black Shark’. On the center part, we can notice the S logo, which stands for Shark. It is surrounded by a triangle of laser grooves. The central area diverges outwards and gradually decreases in area, creating a nice diffuse feel. What’s more interesting, the S logo flashes when there is a message or a call notification. When there is an incoming call the S logo will be flashing to the beat of the ringtone.
On the left side of the Xiaomi Black Shark, we can find the power key along with the volume rocker.
As for the right side, there is a special rocker we’ll talk about later. Above it, we can find a SIM card slot.
Previously, the manufacturer published a sketch showing this handset will be using an X-type antenna design. This is an innovation made by the company. A regular smartphone has an antenna placed on the four corners. The antenna arrangement of this smartphone is slightly closer to the center axis. That’s why it won’t suffer from ‘death’ when playing games. There are four ribbons on the corners that correspond to the GPS/WiFi, dual-4G LTE, and WiFi MIMO antennas.
The Xiaomi Black Shark comes with a gamepad. Probably, this accessory was the reason why many have been thinking it will look like a handheld gamepad. It’s made of plastic material. It is attached to the top side of the phone. So when you turn into the landscape mode it will be in your left hand.
The L key is in the upper left corner, while the joystick is in the middle part of the front. It comes with an anti-slip design. The USB Type-C charging connector is on the bottom. There is a built-in 340mAh battery that can provide up to 30 hours of playing on a single charge. It weighs just 40 grams and can be carried seamlessly. At last, the pad supports Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity and it’s compatible with all devices running Android 4.4 or later.
Xiaomi Black Shark Hardware
The Xiaomi Black Shark has leaked on AnTuTu and GeekBench. So we knew it will come with the most powerful processor made for mobile devices, the Snapdragon 845. Plus, the SoC is coupled with an 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It can be used together with its own Hexagon 685 DSP chip to match the CPU. Moreover, the GPUs perform AI calculations together to ensure maximum resource allocation during the game.
Such a powerful hardware will let users play games for hours. So it will heat. For this reason, the Black Shark has also made certain protection mechanisms – liquid cooling. First, the heat source generated is conducted to the heat pipe through the high thermal conductivity material. Second, the heat pipe conducts heat to the heat-dissipating substrate with coolant and high thermal conductivity copper. At last, the multi-graphite with excellent heat dissipation performance transfers heat from the heat-dissipating substrate to the entire mobile phone for uniform heat dissipation. As a result, the heat is uniformly transmitted from the single heat-generating component to the outer layer of the mobile phone for effective heat dissipation and cooling.
Though we call it a Xiaomi smartphone, actually, it’s made by another manufacturer. So, it’s quite reasonable to see another software. The Xiaomi Black Shark runs on a custom-made Joy UI that has inherited many MIUI elements. It comes with cloud services and a lot of built-in features. Of course, it’s based on Android 8.0.
Now let’s take a look at the special toggle on the right side of the phone. Officially it’s called the ‘Shark key’. Its function is to enter the special game mode after dialing the top part. In this mode, all covered games will be included in the mobile phone and will be displayed in a horizontal view. This is similar to the display style of the Nintendo handheld. Moreover, it will be based on the users’ preferences. Thus, users can set which games they like to play and include them in this mode. The latter will also show the remaining power.
In the ‘Shark’ mode, we gently slide the Home button from top to bottom to call up a Dock bar. Here we can see the CPU /GPU’s resource load and some of the details of the function of the switch. They include the ‘anti-missing’ and ‘do not Interference’ modes, notification blocking, and background cleanup features.
As we are dealing with a gaming phone, it’s a must to test its gaming capabilities. For this goal, we used Jade to survive: stimulate the battlefield. Plus, we chose Gamebench, a professional game testing tool. To understand whether it differs from other top-end models we compared it with the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S, which comes with identical hardware. As we can see, the Black Shark shows way better gaming performance, which is also quite stable.
Xioami Black Shark
Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S
Plus, though the Xiaomi Black Shark’s heat is slightly higher than the Mi MIX 2S, we should take into account the hot spot is isolated by the Bluetooth handle area and Mi MIX 2S is using ceramic.
As for the power consumption, the Xiaomi Black Shark comes with a 4000mAh battery. A half an hour of playing games reduced the battery power to 23%.
We didn’t review the camera, as people are more interested in gaming capabilities of this phone. But the Xiaomi Black Shark also comes with a dual-camera using a primary 12MP sensor with a f/1.75 aperture, and a 1.25µm pixel size, while the 20MP shooter comes with a 1.0µm pixel size and a f/1.75 aperture. For selfies, you have a 20MP snapper with 1.0µm pixel size and f/2.2 aperture.
Well, the Xiaomi Black Shark is the best smartphone showing the most stable gaming performance. It is packed with a hardware that can be seen on other models, but this is not the case when we should praise its hardware. The overall appearance, the left-hand-side gamepad, the newly-made system and the gaming optimizations made for this handset make it the best offer in the niche. Of course, this is a new niche and there are not many representatives. But Xiaomi has already proven it can be a pioneer and lead to mainstreams. The 6+64GB variant is priced at 2999 yuan ($477), while the 8+128GB model costs 3499 yuan ($557). The gamepad costs 179 yuan ($29).