Xiaomi BlackShark Review: A Beast of Smartphone For Gamers

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Every time we talk about a high-end smartphone we think that there are few that can overshadow it. More striking features, better hardware, and a more refined design are some of the improvements brought by the new mobiles. But lately, the users use the phones in a demanding way as far as entertainment content is concerned.  Manufacturers have seen in this audience an opportunity to present devices that give the best performance level and graphics. Xiaomi does not want to lose this wave and launches with the Black Shark, a competitor of the Razer Phone.

After talking about it a lot, imagining its possible design and features thanks to the leaks, the Xiaomi BlackShark, Xiaomi’s first mobile for gamers, is now a reality. The terminal arrives months after Razer opened the ban on mobile gaming, and a few days before Nubia opens its own. This “BlackShark” of the Chinese company arrives without skimping on features, to delight those who do not have enough to play on the PC or the console and want to take the game everywhere. Let’s see, in this review that Xiaomi’s new bet offers.

Configuration

The Xiaomi BlackShark phone is entirely for the game. The processor is Qualcomm’s current top-level Snapdragon 845. Its CPU performance is increased by 25% compared to the Snapdragon 835, and its GPU performance is improved by 30%. The overall power consumption is reduced by 30%. There are two versions depending on the RAM and internal memory. One has 6 GB and 64 GB and the other increases both figures, going to 8 GB and 128 GB.

The BlackShark also has a 5.99-inch screen in 18: 9 format and FullHD + resolution. As for the OS, we have a custom user interface called JOY UI, with functions similar to those of MIUI, the operating system of Xiaomi, battery capacity is 4000mAh with Quick Charge Quick Charge 3.0. The camera system opts for a front sensor of 20MP with aperture f / 2.2 and a rear one with a 12MP and aperture f / 1.8 and another 20MP with f / 1.8, having an LED flash in this area.

The highlight of the Xiaomi BlackShark and its 5 main facts specifically for games:
  1. Multi-stage direct contact integrated liquid cooling system: Depth combination of coolant, high thermal conductivity copper alloy substrate, and nano-composite graphite, compared with no heat pipe CPU cooling efficiency increased by 20 times, CPU running time increased by 70%, core temperature decreased by 8° C;
  2. Independent image processing chip: The image is more smooth and beautiful, MEMC insert frame technology and eye protection mode;
  3. X smart antenna: There are four ribbons on the corners that correspond to the GPS/WiFi, dual-4G LTE, and WiFi MIMO antennas.
  4. Game Space: A key to enter the high-performance “Shark” button that dedicates all the hardware resources of the phone to the game, for maximum performance.
  5. BlackShark Gamepad: The first gamepad designed specifically for mobile phones with simple zero delays.
Design and Appearance

When it comes to design, a gaming phone must adopt a special appearance. With measures of 161.6 x 75.4 x 9.25 mm and a weight of 190 grams, Xiaomi shows his BlackShark. As we said, it is a device that could pass perfectly through a high range, although it is aimed at the most gamers. Otherwise, we can not differentiate it from regular smartphones. In this sense, the Xiaomi BlackShark seems quite appropriate, in fact, for some, it is a work of art. It comes in two color combinations: black/ gray/green or black/green.

The mobile seems quite resistant, but also looks relatively thin and good size, which is good news for those who do not want a device too big. Still, it’s big enough to include some pretty important features.

The device includes a physical button at the bottom, but it is only the fingerprint scanner, and there are virtual buttons on the left and right for multitasking and going backward respectively. Also it has a separate button on the left side. This activates the high-performance game mode called “Shark” mode. As for the right side, we can find the power key along with the volume control. While on the top edge we can find a SIM card slot.

The design of the rear panel is quite different since the Xiaomi BlackShark has a rear plastic liner and a rough metal surface. This type of shell creates an easy-to-grasp body for users to enjoy their games without the fear of the phone slipping from their hands. In addition, the device comes with the Blackshark logo (an S) on the back that lights up when the phone is on. The logo also creates special effects according to the game and also lights up due to incoming calls or messages. This does not add anything to the phone’s performance, but it’s just great.

On the other hand, when looking closely we can see that the rear panel of the device has a glass section in the upper and lower parts. In turn, we have a double camera and an LED flash. While the bottom part, we find the name of the “‘BlackShark” phone.

Additionally, present an X type antenna. This is an innovation made by the company. The antenna layout of this smartphone is slightly closer to the center axis. There are four tapes in the corners that correspond to the GPS / WiFi antennas, dual-4G LTE and WiFi MIMO.

Although not using a full-screen ultra-narrow frame design, it did not bring a strong visual effect, but people who often play games know that the ultra-narrow frame will bring about annoying inadvertent touch problems. Overall, the appearance of the BlackShark is more in line with our imagination of the game phone, Imagine you play games on the subway, maybe a lot of people will think that you are holding a game console rather than a mobile phone.

If there is a function that demands power it is undoubtedly that of the games. Especially the demanding games. And the BlackShark is a terminal designed specifically for it. So it is not surprising that it has a Snapdragon 845 as a central processor.

The Snapdragon 845 is Qualcomm’s flagship processor the most powerful of the moment, using a 10nm FinFET process technology, and an ARM-based magic-reformed eight-core architecture design, including 4 Kryo 385 cores (A75) and four clocks at 2.8GHz. The Kryo 385 small core (A55) clocked at 1.8 GHz boasts a 25% performance improvement compared to the Snapdragon 835. On the GPU side, it is upgraded to the Adreno 630. Compared to the previous generation, the performance is improved by 30% and the energy consumption ratio is increased by 30%.

Xiaomi BlackShark Performance and Game Test

The model of 8GB of RAM and 128GB of ROM has a score of 277,209 against the 179,377 of Razer Phone, which demonstrates the superiority of Xiaomi’s new mobile gamer. On the Geekbench 4, its single-core points are 2399 and multi-core points is 8379, the overall performance of the current Android camp the highest level. In addition, according to AndroBench 5’s scores, the BlackShark gaming phone uses UFS 2.1 flash memory.

In terms of games, we tested the 4 exciting games of “Jade for survival: stimulating the battlefield”, “Glory of the King”, “Cross Fire: Gun Shooting King” and “Bangling 3”. The results show that in the BlackShark, four games can keep running smoothly for a long time, the average frame rate of 15 minutes is full, and the heat is not high.

Jedi Survival: Stimulating the Battlefield

In the game test, all four games have the highest quality and the highest frame rate. First of all, in the test of “Jade for survival: Stimulus”, the BlackShark has consistently maintained at 40 FPS (currently stimulating the battlefield Android version with a maximum frame rate of 40 FPS).

As shown in the data above, the average frame rate for 15 minutes is 40 FPS, and there has been no significant change in the frame rate during the game. From this, it can be seen that the “Chicken Eating” game is relatively easy for Xiaomi BlackShark. Even if the game is open to a high frame rate mode of 60 FPS, I think the BlackShark can run very smoothly.

As for heat, we tested it after the game. The results show that the body temperature of the BlackShark is only 40.8 degrees, power consumption and heat are relatively good.

The King’s Glory

In “The King’s Glory”, the BlackShark can also maintain full frame running status, and the fluency can be compared with the iPhone 8 Plus.

Judging from the monitored frame rate data, the BlackShark gaming phone played this game with occasional minor changes in the frame rate curve, but overall it was very smooth.

After 15 minutes of playing, the maximum body temperature of the BlackShark is only 39.7 degrees, with little heat.

“Cross Fire: The Gun Shooter”

As for the “CrossFire: Shooting King”, the average frame rate for running 15 minutes is also 60 FPS.

However, from the perspective of the frame rate curve, at the beginning of the game, the picture frame rate fluctuates greatly. This is true for multiple tests. The reason is that there is a dropped frame when entering the game. It is estimated that it is a problem of game optimization.

In terms of heat, as in the previous two game tests, the temperature is not so high. After 15 minutes of the game, the maximum body temperature is about 40 degrees.

The Ring of Fallage 3

Compared with the last three games, the “Crack ring 3” will have a greater need for hardware performance, after all, it has a lot of cool screen effects. However, it is worth mentioning that the average frame rate of the BlackShark when running this game is still full frame.

As for the point where the number of individual frames on the frame rate curve jumps a lot, this is the frame dropping situation when the level is switched, and the frame rate of the frame is very stable during the checkpoint process.

In terms of heat test, because the “Crash 3” has most of the cool screen effects, which increase the pressure on the GPU, so the heat is significantly larger than the other three games, then after 15 min game test the maximum body temperature reached 44.5 degrees.

Judging from the test results of the above four games, there are no problems with most of the popular games currently being played by the BlackShark. Under normal circumstances, many mobile phones will lower the frequency due to the heat of the mobile phone when playing games, thus affecting the smoothness of the game. For the BlackShark, this does not exist, which may be due to a good thermal design.

System: One- click to open the game space

The Xiaomi BlackShark runs on Android 8.0-based JoyUI system and is still at version 1.0. Means that the model is also the first appearance of JoyUI since it is a game phone, then the game function should be correspondingly strengthened. Performance is worth looking forward to.

First of all, see the system interface, the UI elements of the icons, wallpaper and interface are kept in line with the black and green of the fuselage, the style is very cool, there is a style of game equipment. And even when it’s cool, the feeling is still refreshing and not too cluttered.

In the top configuration of the Snapdragon 845 with 8GB of RAM, the operating experience is naturally smooth. It is worthy of praise that BlackShark, as a new small factory, did not engage in such a routine of pre-installed software. The system was clean and tidy. In addition to its own investor, Xiaomi’s store, almost no third-party pre-installed applications could be seen.

Since it is a game phone, everything from hardware to software should be born for the game. So in the system part, we focus on what’s special about the game’s functionality.

First of all, in terms of the ecological construction of the game, JoyUI comes with an application named “games” that provides various types of game downloads. The experience is similar to that of MIUI’s game center, and it is quite complete from stand-alone to online games. As a game phone, it is very important to be able to provide sufficient game resources.

Shark Mode

Unique place, just in the Shark key on the left side of the mobile phone, by dialing up and down, you can let the system directly into the “shark mode”, a key into a professional game device.Black Shark Gaming Phone Review: 5 Big Black Technologies Create Switch in Mobile Phones

After switching modes, you can see very cool cutscenes. The black background shows light effects and “Shark” words, giving people a very stunning look. In shark mode, the phone will automatically optimize the background of the system for best results.

Black Shark Gaming Phone Review: 5 Big Black Technologies Create Switch in Mobile Phones

Shark mode interface is concise and intuitive, it will present the current mobile phone installed games with large icons. It is very comfortable to use the big screen mode to select games on Steam. At the same time provide the parameter settings of the peripheral handle, the user can choose the appropriate operation according to their own needs.

Handle pairing is very simple, just press and hold the handle power button until blinking to begin pairing. And Xiaomi BlackShark connection is basically the speed of the second, the key input almost no sense of delay exists, and even if the handle and the mobile phone separation radius of about 3 meters within the distance, the operation is still sensitive and smooth, more stable Bluetooth and the gamepad is also reliable.

According to the current game operation, the user can also select the location of the handle button mapping. For example, the L key can be set to “fire” in the action game, the LT key can be set to “target”, and can also be replaced by actions such as changing bombs, jumping, etc. The joystick position can also be mapped according to the actual situation.

Black Shark Gaming Phone Review: 5 Big Black Technologies Create Switch in Mobile PhonesWith the use of the gyroscope aiming, you can even play action games with one hand. With aiming, shooting, and the help of the handle, the game’s fun experience can match or even surpass the current mainstream game console, even with the feeling of playing Switch.

In the shark mode, the user can also turn on the dive mode and temporarily refuse to answer the call. For users who play games on common mobile networks, the call may cause the connection to be disconnected. Turn on the dive mode and the game can be more focused.

黑鲨游戏手机评测:5大黑科技打造手机中的Switch

In the game, Xiaomi BlackShark also provides a very convenient feature. By sliding on the fingerprint module, you can call out the “game dock”. Here, you can see the current GPU and CPU load conditions and can be cleaned up. At the same time, there is anti-misoperation function, very useful for the fingerprint module in front of the phone. When turned on, you can prevent sudden withdrawal from the game because of the Home button.

If it is not the user who frequently plays mobile games online, the BlackShark also provides various functions such as AI assistant, hanging screen hanging and other functions for other types of mobile games. Even if you don’t pay for gold, you don’t have to be strong until dawn, and you are very friendly to all kinds of mobile game users.

Assist Artifact: System Level Game Features

If you look at the hardware parameters, it is not uncommon to use the Snapdragon 845 model, but for the gaming experience to focus on optimization, it can be said that only this one.

First of all, thanks to the incorporation of a separate graphics processing chip, the BlackShark supports MEMC interpolation technology, which is called “motion estimation and motion compensation”. This function is mostly seen in the processing of TV signals and is used to compensate for the movement of the picture after signal transmission. The problem of lack of frames makes the picture smoother.

In other words, even if the picture is about 40 frames, the effect of 60 frames full frame can be achieved under the interpolation of frame interpolation technology, and the smoothness that can be seen with eyes can be realized. In the case of 40 frames of game lock frames, the Xiaomi BlackShark with a frame interpolation technology is significantly smoother. Although the actual number of frames to be rendered is maintained at around 40 frames, the output picture or the picture that is seen by the naked eye after inserting a frame, are all ultra-smooth levels of 60 frames.

Although the contents of VR games are not yet rich on mobile platforms, BlackShark are not slack on VR functions. In the screen setting, not only the setting of the screen color mode but also the low-delay mode for the VR function can be seen. When the user uses the VR function, it can bring about faster response speed, improve immersion and reduce vertigo.

If you are a mobile game player, then the built-in screen recording function of BlackShark’s must be very attractive. The video resolution is available in a variety of formats, up to FHD+ quality, and options such as video bit rate, recording sound, and more. Even if there are professional mobile video production needs, it is enough to meet.

In addition, this game phone also joins the anti-addiction function of games that most mobile phones do not have. For users of long-time games, they will be reminded of heavy games and support parental control. Provide eye protection mode, for a long time users of the game, or can play a role in protecting eyesight.

After the game, JoyUI will also generate its own game report, analyze the user’s game preferences and game time, and give game recommendations.

From the system experience point of view, the various game optimizations and “shark mode” built in JoyUI really give people a mobile phone that is not a game. This is the illusion that Taiwan can make a phone call. In short, that is, It can bring a sense of focus. Why the game can make you indulge in an afternoon of isolation, and mobile games have to be interrupted by chat, and even bored to post the microblogging friends circle, whether a device can bring a sense of focus, is here.

Although the experience is quite good, as a game phone, the weakness of the game quality still exists. If you can provide an exclusive game masterpiece, let the game fully play, and make full use of the handle features, then there must be a lot of console and handheld players will rush.

Battery Life Test

For the main game mobile phone, how much battery capacity can make people feel at ease? After all, the game has always been a big consumer of mobile phones. The BlackShark is equipped with a 4000mAh high-capacity battery, which is a very good number of current smartphones. And how about its endurance, we have to test it before we know it.

Project One: One hour “Glory to the King” power test: Turn on Shark mode, turn on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, volume 50%, brightness indoor automatic, “King of Honor” set to high frame rate, high quality.

Project II: One-hour “Jedi survival, stimulate the battlefield” power test: Turn on Shark mode, turn on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, volume 50%, brightness indoor automatic, “Jade survival” is set to the highest frame rate, HDR HD quality.

It can be known from the test that the Shark Mobile’s high-intensity “King of Honor” dropped from 95% to 72% of its charging in one hour, and consumed 23% of the total power. Drop to 45%, a total of 27% of charging consumption. Therefore, it can be predicted that the BlackShark can play 4 to 5 hours of games in a situation where heavy games continue to light up. This performance is quite good compared to the flagship models on the market.

Camera Specs

Although it is the main game mobile phone, BlackShark still retains a good camera configuration. The camera system opts for a front sensor of 20MP with aperture f / 2.2 and a rear-mounted 12MP + 20MP dual camera combination supports PDAF phase focus. Provides portrait mode, automatic HDR, video stabilization and other functions. The camera interface is very simple, some basic functions are complete, the mode is switched by sliding the frame, and there is a manual professional mode for setting more parameters.

Seeing the camera performance, the BlackShark camera function gives people the same feeling. The focusing speed is fast enough, and the automatic HDR will also turn on the HDR function in compliance. Imaging resolution is still good, color is biased towards real adjustment, the overall law-abiding.

There is still a certain distance between the camera and the flagship, but it is often used to record the life more than enough, plus the dual camera function, when you want to use the camera function, most users will not be disappointed.

Camera Samples

In the past, game phones mostly focused on game functions, but they ignored some of the more commonly used configurations. So for some ordinary consumers, the game handset becomes more inaccessible. The Xiaomi BlackShark must also take this into consideration. Apart from allowing you to play mobile games, you can take a self-portrait and use a virtual mode to shoot great photos.

Conclusion

The childhood experience of playing gluttonous snakes on his father’s Nokia feature mobile has never been forgotten. With the passage of time, now mobile phone technology has rapidly developed, replacing the former Games, Little Overlord, and PSP as “game consoles for today’s children and young people”. 

However, many mobile phones are not just for the game. Compared to professional devices such as the Game Boy and PSP, the mobile phone has too many limitations and often does not enjoy playing. The emergence of the BlackShark, to solve the phone’s performance on the game, cooling, battery life and control points of pain, if you are serious game enthusiasts or even professional e-sports players, BlackShark phone will be you Great choice.

The Xiaomi BlackShark comes with a relatively affordable price. The editions of 6GB of RAM + 64GB of storage and 8GB of RAM + 256GB of storage are priced respectively at 2999 yuan ($ 477) and 3,499 yuan ( $ 557) . The Shark GamePad can be purchased at a price of 179 yuan ($ 29) . It will be available for sale as of April 20. It is not yet known when it will be sold outside China, but we suspect that it will be very soon if it is successful in its homeland, and knowing Xiaomi, it is most likely.

Update Date Product Name Final Prices Link on Coupon Limited Qty Expiry Date
2018/04/21 Xiaomi Black Shark Gaming Phone 8GB 128GB Black $708.99 BLACKSHARK8GB 100 2018/05/24
2018/04/21 Xiaomi Black Shark Gaming Phone 6GB 64GB Black $628.99 BLACKSHARK6GB 100 2018/05/24
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