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April 13, 2018

Xiaomi’s $480 Black Shark gaming phone is designed to take on the Razer Phone

by John_A

Xiaomi’s Black Shark gaming phone offers liquid cooling to keep thermals in check.

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The introduction of battle royale games like PUBG and Fortnite has catalyzed the mobile gaming market, and manufacturers are now starting to roll out products aimed at gamers.

Razer got in on the action early with the Razer Phone, and now Xiaomi is making its foray into this segment with the Black Shark phone. The device in question has an aggressive black-and-green color scheme and an X-type layout at the back that’s designed to make it easier to hold the phone.

Coming to the hardware side of things, the Black Shark gaming phone has a 5.99-inch FHD+ display with 97% DCI-P3 color gamut, and is powered by the Snapdragon 845 chipset. There’s a liquid cooling system that is claimed to reduce the temperature by up to eight degrees Celsius, allowing you to play for a prolonged duration of time without having to worry about the phone overheating.

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There’s also a dedicated button on the left hand side that kicks the phone into high-performance mode, essentially delivering the maximum performance. You get dual stereo sound — with the earpiece doubling up as the secondary speaker — but oddly enough, it doesn’t look like the Black Shark phone has a 3.5mm jack, as there’s no cutout for the analog port at the bottom and no indentation at the top.

Other specs include a dual 12MP + 20MP camera configuration at the back, 20MP camera up front, and memory variations that include 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The phone doesn’t come with a microSD slot, but the 128GB option should be more than adequate for mobile gaming. There’s a 4000mAh battery, and you also get Quick Charge 3.0.

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On the software side of things, the Black Shark phone is running Android 8.0 Oreo based on Joy UI, a custom skin that includes a few apps from MIUI. Another interesting feature is a Nintendo Switch-style controller that can be attached to one side of the phone. The Black Shark Gamepad has its own 340mAh battery that’s touted for 30 hours of playing time, and it connects to the device over Bluetooth. The first 50,000 orders of the phone will get the controller for free, and following that it will retail for ¥179 ($30).

As for the phone itself, the Black Shark will go on pre-order in China starting April 20 for ¥2,999 ($480). That’s for the variant with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and the model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage will set customers back ¥3,499 ($560). There’s plenty to like in the phone, and the pricing makes it one of the best deals in the market if you’re interested in a gaming-focused device.

The only issue will be availability, as it looks like this is yet another phone that will be limited to the Chinese market. We’ll let you know should that change, but what do you guys make of Xiaomi’s gaming phone?

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