Black Shark 2 Gaming Smartphone Review

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Black Shark 2, a gaming smartphone made by Chinese tech giants Xiaomi, has recently hit the shelves. The original Black Shark sounds like somewhat of a success at the time but how will it’s predecessor succeed in an ever growing gaming smartphone market.

According to Peter Wu, Founder & CEO at Black Shark: “Black Shark is a gaming company, composed of passionate gamers. Be sure that developing the best gaming experience will always lead our path”.

Tech Spec & Features

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, 8gb RAM, 4000mAh battery.
  • Dims 163.6 x 75 x 8.8 mm | Weight 205g
  • 6.39″ AMOLED screen with TrueClarity MEMC tech & HDR Tone Mapping – 1080 x 2340 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio (~403 ppi density)
  • Camera 1: 48 MP, f/1.8, (wide), 1/2″, 0.8µm, PDAF
    Camera 2: 12 MP, f/2.2, (telephoto), 1.0µm, PDAF, 2x optical zoom
    Selfie Camera: 20 MP, f/2.0, 0.9µm
  • Video recording: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
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  • 3 Customised microphones, 2 are noise cancelling for in-game chat.
  • Low latency touch screen, response time of only 43.5ms (Samsung S10 is 60ms).
  • A direct touch multilayer liquid cooling system, which allows heat board dissipation and covers all heat areas.
  • Ludicrous mode, which release all CPU power for supporting game performance.
  • Fast charge will offer 30 minutes of playing from 5 minutes charge. Play & charge at the same time.
  • Master Touch, allows you to be able to press firmly on both left and right customised touch zones to trigger multiple on-screen actions with just two thumbs.
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Look & Feel

It’s a large phone but relatively light in weight considering. It very much looks a feels like a gaming device. It’s black, with lime green trim around the screen and to the rear, the logo on the back also illuminates when on, which is exactly what most gamers want, they like RGB! Like most smartphones now, it’s minimalist in buttons and connections. Around the sides of the phone is the on/off, shark & volume buttons, plus a type-c USB port and sim card slot at the bottom. To the rear are two cameras and a flash, plus that selfie camera at the front.

It’s a large display, which doesn’t quite cover the entire front of the phone, as it has the traditional black top & bottom bezels. There are also two front-facing speakers at the top & bottom on the phone. As long as you are a gamer and can get over the generic gaming theme, the phone looks & feels quite good, and appears to be well constructed.

In the box you get the phone, plug & USB type-c cable for charging, a USB to jack headphone adapter, a clear rigid plastic case and of course, a few stickers for your laptop screen.

As a gaming device

Switch on the gaming mode via the button on the side of the phone and things start to get exciting. By turning this mode on, the phone free’s up some ram and boosts its CPU capabilities. It will also block any incoming calls and not alert you to any new text messages or notifications. This can however be changed in the settings if desired.

The phone performs exceptionally well as a mobile gaming device, capable of playing the most demanding of games, for a long period of time. The screen is vibrant, bright and graphically very nice, picking up details & shadows well. I played a few games including Asphalt 9, Modern Combat 5 and PUBG, all very smoothly, decent frame rates and they just looked fantastic. I tend to game without audio or via headphones, say on a commute but for those that use speakers, the two front facing on the Black Shark 2 do an excellent job.

Control wise, it’s all onscreen button or area touching, which worked well and the phone felt comfortable to hold. There is an option of turning Master Touch on, which allows you to apply pressure to two areas of the screen, acting as two additional buttons. I used this is MC5 and it allowed me to activate my special ability via the pressure button, instead of having to move my thumb to a different area of the screen.

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As a smart phone

It does a decent job of being a smart phone and does everything you would expect, plus higher tier features such as the in-display fingerprint sensor which works surprisingly well. It’s running on Android, a mostly stock interface, so it’s easy to navigate across various screens & options. The display is bright & vibrant, with good detail and colours.

The cameras to the rear take a decent image, very clear & detailed. The 10x zoom looks better than expected and didn’t blur too much when taking a handheld snap. There is a pro option if you wanted to adjust aperture & shutter speed etc. Likewise with video, the sensor is capable of upto 4K 30fps, which you can watch back on your 4K TV and enjoy. With most phones, I always get carried away with the slow mo features, 120fps is just great fun!

Verdict

If you’re into your mobile gaming, you have to consider the Black Shark 2. It’s full of power, gaming related features & options, plus the screen is excellent. The phone retails at £479 for cheapest option (8G ram + 128gb storage) and there are many accessories you can purchase with it. Two most notable being the gaming kit or pro kit and the cooling case. Yes, the phone gets warm after prolonged periods, but it’s really not that bad at all and you can tell the advanced cooling system is actually doing a good job. The pro kit includes two controllers, one for either side of the smartphone, so you can enjoy gaming even more. I wasn’t able to try the controllers out but I think they will be a must have to gain an advantage against other players in multiplayer games.

For more info and to purchase, head over to the official Black Shark 2 webpage.

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Black Shark 2 Gaming Smartphone Review
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