Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you’re no doubt aware of how big gaming has become. From live streaming to E-sports, video games are raking in the big bucks. That being said, mobile gaming has come a long way since Snake came pre-installed on your Nokia phone. With popular titles such as Fortnite and PUBG releasing mobile versions for your smartphone and games like mobile legends garnering a strong following, smartphone companies are realising that there is a niche market here worth investing in. Xiaomi is one of those companies. The Black Shark has returned with a sequel to its 2018 gaming phone, but is it worth your time? Lets find out.
It’s probably worth noting that I am by no means a mobile gamer. In fact, it wouldn’t be a long shot to say that I hate mobile gaming. My big fingers always tend to press on the wrong buttons and with battery life always being an issue, graphics heavy games have always been a no go for me.
- Dimensions: 163.6 x 75 x 8.7mm / Weight: 205g
- Rear illuminating Black Shark ‘S’ logo + Gaming lights
- Dual front-facing speakers
- No 3.5mm headphone jack
- Sturdy aluminum chassis
Now my first impression of the phone was that it was whack. Not only was my unit of the BLACK shark 2 not black, they handed me a unit without the box whilst still connected to the cooling fan add-on and I legit thought i’d just been handed some alien tech. But then I realised I was just stupid. Upon taking off the damn thing, the phone actually looked pretty cool. Barring the fact that it was silver.
I LOVE of the fact that the back of the device isn’t a finger print magnet. Pretty much EVERY android device bar the flagships now have this terrible shiny plastic? looking back. The black shark 2 doesn’t have this. The back of the phone comes equipped in a heavy metallic finish and when I say heavy, I mean it quite literally as well. The phone weighs 205 grams but to be completely honest, I loved it. Probably won’t still be saying it when I inevitably drop it on my face but still, I’ve always liked heavy phones.
The front is all glass, and you’ll definitely notice that the phone doesn’t have a notch, which means no compromises when it comes to full screen gaming. The ‘forehead’ and ‘chin’ bezels a little thick but that’s only because there are front facing speakers at the top and bottom of the phone, which I don’t mind at all.
What’s a gaming phone without fancy lights right? The black shark 2 doesn’t disappoint. There are two ‘breathing’ LED strips at each side of the phone and the S logo on the back can light up as well. Not exactly a fan of the S logo but it’s more subtle than most other gaming phones in the market. The breathing LED strips on the side also make for really good notification light and of course, you can change the colour.
One thing you’ll notice is that when you tilt it at a specific angle, there’s a subtle reflective green strip running around the device’s edge. I really think it gives the phone a touch of personality and it actually looks good, so kudos to the design team, really.
The phone also came with an external clip on fan thingy of sorts but it is big and bulky and not in the right kinda way. I’m just not a big fan… of the big fan. It did the job though so I suppose that’s all that matters.
One last thing worth mentioning is that the phone does NOT have a headphone jack… Which really annoys me! It’s not like the phone is thin either, it can comfortably fit one without compromising its thickness. There is no reason for it not to be there. None!!!!!
- 6.39-inch Full HD+ AMOLED
- 1080 x 2340 resolution (403ppi)
- In-screen fingerprint scanner
- 19.5:9 aspect ratio
- 430 nit Brightness
- Fast Finger low-latency & Magic Press pressure sensitivity
The phone comes with a big 6.39 inch full HD AMOLED screen with a 19:5:9 aspect ratio, which is actually an upgrade to the 5.99 inch LCD screen on the original black shark. The screen in my opinion actually looks really nice. The screen has gotten some slack for details that lack sharpness thanks to its lack of QHD capabilities, but one of the first things i noticed about the phone was that the AMOLED screen is really bright and offers great contrast. With most games optimized for 1080p resolution, the full HD+ screen feels right where it should be.
A lot has been made of the fact that the refresh rate can’t extend beyond 60Hz, and i suppose it’s fair given that the Razer phone 2 can go up to 120Hz, but with most games not supporting rates higher than 60fps anyway, I really don’t see the issue here. The company actually stated that they’d be looking at making displays that can support up to 120Hz in the future, but for now it’s difficult to implement on an AMOLED display without driving up the cost significantly.
One of the most heavily marketed features of phone is its low screen latency of 43.5ms, which is apparently the lowest in the world for a touchscreen on a smartphone. This is especially vital for gamers as a lower latency pretty much means a faster response time. And i could really feel it whilst playing PUBG, though it honestly could all just be in my head. Gaming on this thing was great though and I pretty much have no problems with the screen.
The 430-nit brightness rating may seem great on paper, but in reality, it isn’t quite as impressive. You’ll have no issues indoors, but on a hot sunny day, it does seem a little too dim for my liking. The phone doesn’t quite pump out enough light for easy outdoor performance. It’s not disastrous, but it could be better.
Another thing I would complain about is the auto brightness feature that seems to dim the phone excessively at all the wrong times. Like Pendidikan Moral, it is essentially useless and I opted to turn it off in the settings.
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, 6/8/12GB RAM configurations
- Shark Space gaming mode & Ludicrous Mode for max CPU
- Direct Touch liquid cooling system 3.0
- 4,000mAh battery, 27W fast-charging
- Joy UI software (built on Android 9)
Performance wise, the Black Shark 2 does not disappoint. Under the hood is Qualcomm’s top of the line Snapdragon 855 and the phone actually comes in 6, 8 and 12GB RAM configurations. 12GB! Thats pretty insane. The review unit I got was actually 256GB storage and 12 GB RAM and it was way more than enough. Overkill would be the right term.
I played PUBG on this thing without any issues whatsoever. In fact, this was probably the best PUBG experience I’ve had graphics wise. There is a switch on the side of the phone that you could be forgiven for thinking toggles silent mode. I made that mistake in the cinema and was treated to an epic intro sequence for the phones Shark Space mode, which basically shuts down background apps in favour of gaming performance. All calls and notifications will be blocked for an uninterrupted gaming experience. Its safe to say that I got a few angry glares. That being said, the Dashboard feature actually allows you to monitor the FPS your device is outputting, the battery temperature, and the CPU usage, all in real-time while playing games. Very impressive stuff.
Thanks to the liquid cooling system in the device, the phone managed to stay far cooler than other devices I’ve used, especially when gaming. Apparently the cooling system covers every component of the chipset, thus ensuring efficient dissipation of heat. That doesn’t mean the phone feels cool at all times though, as it does tend to heat up after a while but its more of a case of the phone emitting warmth than any kind of heat.
In terms of battery life, the 4000mAh battery is more than sufficient for intense gaming sessions and the phone actually lasted a good day and a half of use before needing to be charged. One thing that I didn’t like is that the phone took FOREVER to charge. I don’t know if I got a faulty unit or if it was the charger (I tried two different cables and heads) but it charged excruciatingly slowly. The phone can support 27W fast-charging but I wouldn’t know anything about that, really.
The phone comes equipped with Android Pie and it felt very intuitive and smooth. There wasn’t any bloatware either which i particularly loved. It did have a few additional gaming features and apps here and there but it is, after all a gaming phone. I really enjoyed using the phone and i’m an iOS user so that says a lot.
- Dual rear cameras: 12MP f/1.75 main, 12MP f/2.2 2x zoom lens
- Front camera: 20MP f/2.0
The Black Shark 2 is no pushover in the camera department. But it’s no P30 Pro either.. In fact it’s not even a P20 Pro… It’s a gaming phone so the camera situation isn’t really all that important. Regardless, knowing that its an important factor for any flagship smartphone, the phone comes equipped with a dual 12-megapixel setup complete with a standard wide-angle and a 2x tele lens. I’ve seen a fair bit of reviews describing the camera as lacklustre, and i’d have to agree. I thought the camera was decent but not great. I mean yes, for a flagship (I consider the Black Shark 2 a worthy flagship model) it is rather underwhelming but it’s not particularly bad either. The photos do seem to lack colour though.
i’m going to be straightforward here, I love the phone. I really really do. From the metallic finish to the AMOLED display to the fact that if you were to use it as a projectile, you could probably do some serious damage with it. I normally tend to stay away from gaming phones given how flashy and tacky they tend to look but the Black Shark 2 doesn’t scream gaming phone, it looks you dead in the eye and lets you know it means business. The only thing i dislike about it is that it doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack. Call me old fashioned but i like to be able to charge my phone while listening to music.
I’ve yet to see a gaming phone that I would actually buy but at RM2499 for the 128GB variant and RM2999 for the 256GB variant, this phone offers incredible value for money. I would without a doubt purchase the Black Shark 2. The phone is on sale exclusively on Shopee so you guys might want to head on over to the site if you’re looking to get your hands on this beauty.
Black Shark 2 Gaming Phone
The sheer amount of power under the hood of this thing for the price it goes for gives it unbelievable value for money. The phone is without a doubt a worthy competitor to the Razer Phone 2. I would even say it looks and feels better too. I would also even say that non-gamers would enjoy this phone. Aaaa!!! I've been converted.