While the big phone manufacturers focus on improvements in areas like cameras, screen real estate or how thin and light they can make a smartphone, an interesting niche market is popping up. Despite their small size, some consumers are very interested in using their smartphone primarily for gaming. This is driving the development of devices like the Razer Phone and Nubia Red Devil. Another gaming-oriented handset that has been in the works – the Black Shark – was officially announced today for the Chinese market.
The Black Shark gained some notoriety when Xiaomi made an investment in Black Shark, ostensibly to be able to include the Black Shark gaming smartphone in the portfolio of devices. Although the amount was never disclosed, suspicions are that it was sizable.
The Black Shark will be powered by a Snapdragon 845 processor clocked at 2.8GHz and has two options for RAM, either 6GB or 8GB. The variant models are paired with 64GB or 128GB of onboard storage respectively. The screen size is 5.99-inches running at full HD resolution. Black Shark has equipped the device with a 4,000 mAh battery. That is larger than many devices on the market, though not by much, especially for a device that was designed specifically for gaming and the increased processing and graphics demands of that market. Black Shark also included a dual lens camera on the back using 12MP and 20MP sensors and a front-facing 20MP camera. According to the company, the device also has a “professional microphone” and a fingerprint scanner.
While all of the hardware makes for a robust performance package, Black Shark did not try to match that in terms of design. If anything, they went the opposite of much of the current trends producing a smartphone with a bulky, all-metal case. That is not necessarily a bad thing for the intended use as it makes it easier to hold the device while trying to game. Not trying to minimize weight, Black Shark also packed in liquid cooling to try to combat the heat generated by gaming action.
The Black Shark will ship with Android 8.1 Oreo. Sources indicate a custom interface is running on top of that, but it does not appear to be Xiaomi’s MIUI skin that comes on their devices. Black Shark also equipped the phone with a “SHARK” key – taking the concept of the Bixby button from Samsung perhaps – on the side that can be pressed to put the device into a special performance or gaming mode that prevents it from throttling itself when being used for a game.
Along with the new phone itself, Black Shark also launched the Black Shark Gamepad. This is a Bluetooth devices that can be connected to the phone and provides an analog stick and some buttons. Black Shark also gave this accessory a 150 mAh battery to help reduce the demands on the phone’s battery.
The Black Shark is available for pre-order now, with units shipping next week on April 20th. Thus far availability appears to be limited to China. Pricing will come in at 2,999 Yuan ($477) for the 6GB variant and 3,499 Yuan ($557) for the 8GB model. Color options include Polar Night and Sky Gray.
Would you be interested in a Black Shark smartphone for gaming?