Xiaomi subsidiary Black Shark launched its first gaming smartphone in early 2019, and followed up with the Black Shark Helo.
Now it’s time for the company’s third smartphone designed for gaming… which is obviously called the Black Shark 2. Go figure.
Anyway, the new phone has a big, bright touchscreen display with an emphasis on low touch latency, a speedy processor, a pretty large battery, and plenty of RAM. It also works with Black Shark’s accessories including a new GamePad 3.0 game controller.
The phone will be available in China starting today for about $475 and up.
The Black Shark 2 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and comes in four memory/storage configurations:
- 6GB/128GB for 3,199 CNY ($475)
- 8GB/128GB for 3,499 CNY ($520)
- 8GB/256GB for 3,799 CNY ($565)
- 12GB/256GB for 4,199 CNY ($625)
The smartphone has a 6.39 inch, 2340 x 1080 pixel AMOLED display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, maximum brightness of 430 nits, and 43.5ms touch latency.
It features LPDDR4X 2,133 MHz dual-channel memory and UFS 2.1 storage, a liquid cooling system to keep the phone from overheating, and a 4,000 mAh battery and 27W Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 support.
You can use the GamePad 3.0 with the phone to add game control buttons to the left and right sides of the phone, making the Black Shark 2 look a bit like a Nintendo Switch handheld game console. Or you could just use it as a somewhat geeky-looking smartphone.
There’s a 20MP camera on the front of the phone, along with an in-display fingerprint sensor. ON the back there are two cameras: a 12MP primary camera and a 12MP, 2x telephoto zoom camera.
This gets points for:
– Slide-on gamepad
– front-firing stereo loudspeakers
– fair price
– decent battery size
– HMDI out support via USB-C
– great front camera
– good radio design
– fast charger
– heat management
– good HDR-OLED display
This loses points for:
– Pretty bad software support, stability, and interface
– Gamepads not included in the box
– No IP68 water resistance
– No headphone jack
– No QuadDAC
– No NFC
– No IrDa
– No microSD slot (where to store all your games/content)
– USB 2.0 (why isn’t this 3.1 ??)
– Optical sensor/camera for fingerprint (instead of ultrasound)
– Pretty slow/laggy touchscreen (43ms is a joke, iPhone has <10ms, Samsung/Pixel have <20ms)
– Bad 19.5:9 aspect ratio (why not stick with 16:9 or even 17:9 ?!?)
– Display could be brighter
– Very lacking camera performance (pointless second camera)
– Camera hump/not flush
– Quite eyesore rear design and chunky
– Very limited customer service/external support (in contrast to iPhones, and to a lesser degree Pixels)
….I'd say this is a major improvement over the original BlackShark and Razer Phone, but somewhat falls short of the ASUS RoG Phone, Samsung S10+, and the iPhone XS Max when it comes to the entertainment prospect. And yes, Apple does get an unfair advantage for having more optimised Apps, Accessories and Ecosystem.
Best check those prices again.
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