While everyone was focused on the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro announcement this morning, Xiaomi quietly made an announcement of its own. The Black Shark 4 and 4 Pro series of devices are on the way, providing a formidable opponent to the ASUS ROG Phone 5 for best gaming phone of the year.
A Competitive Gaming Edge
The specs for the Black Shark 4 comes with a little surprise in the performance department. Powering the base model device is the Snapdragon 870 processor, which is essentially nothing more than an over-clocked Snapdragon 865 SoC. This was likely done in an effort to keep cost down for an entry-level gaming smartphone, without sacrificing too much performance. Coupled with the SD870, Black Shark included either 6GB or 12GB of RAM for the Black Shark 4.
Meanwhile, the Black Shark 4 Pro will be the true competitor to ASUS’ and RedMagic’s gaming behemoths. With the Snapdragon 888 at the helm and either 8GB or 12GB of RAM, this should be more than enough power to play all the games you want to play or handle anything else you want to throw at it.
Since the primary focus of the 4 Pro is gaming, Black Shark included an all-new dual-layer liquid cooling system. The company claims that this cooling system will be able to lower the CPU down to a comfortable 18°C (64.4°F).
As we’ve seen from both ASUS and RedMagic, there are some new features that have been included with the Black Shark 4 series to help you gain that competitive mobile gaming edge. There are new “mechanical should buttons” which provide more control while playing your favorite mobile games. These can also be programmed to act as shortcut buttons while you’re not gaming, so you can quickly open the camera app or take a screenshot.
The rest of the specs
One area where the Black Shark 4 and 4 Pro share some similarities is in the display. Both devices feature a 6.67-inch Samsung AMOLED display, which not only looks amazing, but also boasts a 144Hz refresh rate. This gets turned up to 720Hz when looking at the touch sampling rate, which provides a delay of just 24ms when gaming. Plus, you’ll be able to adjust the refresh rate between 60Hz, 90Hz, or 120Hz, based on what you’re doing on the phone.
Battery life is a key concern when it comes to these gaming phones, and Xiaomi’s gaming sector thought of that. While the 4,500mAh cell may not seem like much, the somewhat lower battery size is compensated with the 120W fast charging. This means you’ll be able to go from 0-100% in just 16 minutes with the Black Shark 4, and 15 minutes with the 4 Pro.
When it comes to gaming phones, you likely don’t think too much about the camera array. Xiaomi packed a triple camera setup in both devices, headlined by a 64MP primary sensor in the 4 Pro, while the Black Shark 4 features a 48MP main shooter. These main cameras are flanked by an 8MP ultra wide camera and an additional 5MP lens to complete the ensemble.
Pricing and Availability
The Black Shark 4 will arrive in three different colors, along with four different overall configurations.
- 6GB / 128GB – CNY2,499 ($383)
- 8GB / 128GB – CNY2,699 ($415)
- 12GB / 128GB – CNY2,999 ($460)
- 12GB / 256GB – CNY3,299 ($505)
Meanwhile, the same colors will be coming in the same three color options, and three different configurations.
- 8GB / 256GB – CNY3,999 ($615)
- 12GB / 256GB – CNY4,499 ($690)
- 16GB / 512GB – CNY5,299 ($815)
All of these devices are available today from the Black Shark website, with the exception of the 16GB/512GB Black Shark 4 Pro. While Samsung and OnePlus duke it out for best overall smartphone of the year, the gaming smartphone race is just heating up.