A phone specialized for gaming is an odd beast. We’ve seen the Razer Phone attempt to capture this market with mixed results — but the concept has its fans and it’s clear that focusing a phone toward gaming is going to score dividends with certain parts of the population.
It seems that Xiaomi is now ready to capture its own part of that pie with a new phone called Black Shark. The device certainly seems aimed at appealing to gamers — it’s powerful, features plenty of green lighting, and should be able to easily handle any mobile game you can throw at it. It’s important to note that the phone isn’t actually being built by Xiaomi, but rather a Xiaomi-backed company called Black Shark Technologies. Here’s everything you need to know about the new gaming phone
The phone may not be as sleek or stylish as the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S9, but the black-and-green styling also isn’t all that surprising given the fact that it’s a gaming phone and the fact that it’s targeted specifically at gamers.
The phone looks pretty rugged, but it also seems to be relatively thing — which is good news for those that don’t want an overly large device. Still, it is big enough to pack some pretty hefty features, including a relatively large battery. On the back of the phone, you will find green highlights and the phone’s logo, as well as a dual sensor camera at the top.
While plenty of manufacturers are moving the fingerprint sensor around to the back of the device, Black Shark has stuck with a fingerprint sensor right under the phone’s display. Speaking of the display, it sits in at 5.99-inches, with an aspect ratio of 18:9 and a Full HD+ resolution. Now, some may want a slightly higher resolution — but the good news is that the slightly lower resolution with help the phone last a little longer. Rumors indicated that the display would be OLED, but it’s not — the phone has stuck with LCD technology here.
If you’re going to push yourself as a phone for gamers, or even as a media-centered device, then you’re going to need the power to back those words up. Thankfully for the Black Shark, it seems that it won’t be lacking any punch. The phone features the latest and greatest Qualcomm processor, the Snapdragon 845, coupled with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM, depending on the model you go for. For storage, the 6GB RAM model boasts 64GB, while the 8GB RAM model has 128GB of storage. You will want to get the phone with as much storage as you need here — the device does not have a MicroSD card slot.
Unlike any other phone we have seen, this device has a multi-stage integrated liquid cooling system in an effort to help keep the phone performing flawlessly.
To help enhance the gaming experience, there is also the Black Shark Gamepad, which can attach to the phone and has a 340mAh battery of its own. The gamepad connects through Bluetooth and makes it a little easier to control many mobile games. If you want the gamepad for yourself, you better act quickly — the first 50,000 buyers get it for free.
When it comes to software, the phone comes with Android Oreo, along with Xiaomi’s JOY UI and some of Xiaomi’s apps.
Then there is the camera. The dual-facing camera offers a 12-megapixel primary sensor, along with a 20-megapixel secondary sensor. Both of the sensors have an f/1.75 aperture.
Release date and price
Looking to buy the phone? Unfortunately, it’s really only available in China right now, and we’re not yet sure if it’ll expand to other regions. Thankfully, it’s not overly expensive though. The phone is available for pre-order until April 20, after which it will be up for purchase in Polar Night Black or Sky Gray. The base model comes in at around $477. If you want to upgrade the RAM and storage, you will have to shell out around $557. That’s actually a very good price — it’s the least expensive phone with a Snapdragon 845 processor so far.
The Black Shark Gamepad is sold separately for around $28.
Updated on April 13: The Black Shark gaming phone is now available, and the story now includes official specs and release information.