After Razer introduced its gaming phone, Razer Phone, a trend began for gaming-oriented smartphones. Now, how will Xiaomi stay away from that, right? The Chinese giant recently released its own version on designing a smart phone for gamers, the Xiaomi BlackShark. The device comes with a price tag of 2999 Yuan (~ Rs. 31,000) in China, but you can buy it online through the Chinese retailer Banggood for a price of Rs. 36,000. Now, while the device comes with iconic hardware, it promises an experience like no other. But is it really that good? Well, I've been using the Xiaomi BlackShark for over a week, so here is my in-depth review of the device, Beebom-style:
Note : Our review unit was purchased directly from China. In case the phone sees a global launch in the future, certain parts of the review may seem irrelevant at the time.
Xiaomi BlackShark Specifications
Before we start with the actual review of the device, how about we discuss the type of power that comes with the BlackShark device? The Xiaomi BlackShark comes with top-of-the-line hardware, which you can see below:
|Dimensions||161.6 x 75.4 x 9.3 mm|
|Monitor||5.99-inch IPS Full-HD + LCD|
|RAM||6GB / 8GB|
|Internal storage||64GB / 128GB|
|Primary camera||Double 12MP (f / 1.8) + 20MP (f / 1.8)|
|Secondary chamber||20MP (f / 2.2)|
|OS||Android 8.0 based on Oreo JoyUI 1.0|
|Sensors||Fingerprint, accelerometer, proximity, compass|
|Connectivity||Dual Nano-SIM hybrid, Wi-Fi 802.11 A / b / g / n / ac, Bluetooth 5.0, -GPS, GLONASS|
Now that we have put it aside, let's continue with the actual review of the device.
Design and build quality
The Xiaomi BlackShark's design is something that definitely sets it apart from the pack. The front of the device looks like any standard device, some sensors and a camera on top, a display panel, followed by a start button on the bottom. However, it is on the back that the exquisiteness of the device really shows.
In the left side of the device, you get the SIM card tray followed by the Shark key, which is used to toggle the SharkSpace mode (which we will see later). In the right side, you get the volume controls accompanied by the Power button. While there is no nothing on top, it has a USB-C port on the bottom between two speakers.
For me, the Xiaomi BlackShark is a thing of beauty, designed, or should I say, designed for an exquisite hand feeling.
For anything related to games, the screen is going to matter a lot. Fortunately, Xiaomi understands that, and the BlackShark features an absolutely stunning display . The Xiaomi BlackShark features a 5.99-inch screen with Full HD + resolution (1920 2160). The panel is IPS LCD, which is not bad either.
For me, the Xiaomi BlackShark has a big screen, something that gaming enthusiasts would certainly expect . The device is also shipped with a standard screen protector, which should be good enough for most users.
The Xiaomi BlackShark UI is quite disappointing, to be honest. I have never been a fan of MIUI, but neither have I hated it. However, with the BlackShark, Xiaomi has provided a very simple user interface, it is not that, unlike its name, it is not a pleasure to use it.
The JoyUI itself is similar to its standard MIUI, and offers no app drawer with all apps right in front of your face. The user interface looks like they tried to give MIUI a Razer look, and then failed miserably, but decided to launch it anyway. . Yes, for the most part, you can get used to the user interface, but the fact that some of the essential things about the device are still in Chinese really disappoints.
However, one thing that players want is the SharkSpace feature . It's the mode, which is activated with the shake key on the left side of the device, and the mode basically allows you to add games to your list. The software optimize the game for better performance. Also, SharkSpace can be used to customize the gamepad controller they use. Now once again, although this feature is quite good, some of it is still encoded in Chinese, which, again, is disappointing.
Pretty sure everyone has been waiting for this section, right? Simply put, the Xiaomi BlackShark is a beast. You could throw just about anything on this device, and it would tame it like its little puppy . Yes, the user interface is awful, but thanks to the flagship Snapdragon 845 SoC and the staggering 8GB of RAM, one could experience absolutely zero lags, no matter what.
Now, I have said it before and I will say it again, I am not a reference type. But for those of you who are, hang on, because this one is going to make your mind go crazy! The Xiaomi BlackShark scored a massive score of 2, 90, 499 on the Antutu Benchmark and scored a multi-core score of 8, 528 on the GeekBench. Yes, you read it right! This thing is a jerk and can handle literally anything.
Another thing worth noting is the temperature on this device. I played PUBG on it continuously for about 2 hours, all up, and the highest rating I achieved on this thing was 38 degrees centigrade, which is simply amazing. The cooling of the liquid inside the device certainly works, which was evident from the fact that I managed to keep the device cool despite such heavy use.
If you are a performance enthusiast, this is the device for you. Period
I'm sorry I popped that bubble for you, but the GamePad is not included in the box, but is available as a separate accessory. But, to tell the truth, You * don't * really need this accessory. Listen to me
I am a gamer who is very interested in FPS titles, even on mobile devices, and when I first heard about the BlackShark controller, I was very excited to try it out. However, a couple of hours of gameplay spent on it, I am of the opinion that you can do it without it. It is not stupid, but it is not something extraordinary either.
Personally, the GamePad is not something extraordinary, and you can also do without it.
The Xiaomi BlackShark comes equipped with a dual rear camera setup with a 12MP f / 1.8 primary sensor along with a 20MP f / 1.8 secondary sensor for a depth effect. In the front, there is another 20MP f / 2.2 shooter . As for videos, BlackShark also has the ability to record videos on (email protected)So that's another great point. Now that we've gotten past the numbers part, let's take a look at the actual performance of cameras on this device.
For me, the performance of the camera from the device was sublime . It is not bad or anything, but nothing you would expect from a device of its price. But, once again, keep in mind that this device is designed to provide the best gaming experience and performance, as you have already seen in the previous sections. As for the quality of the camera, the camera manages to capture images with decent detail and slightly out of place color quality. There's a fair amount of color rendering, but there's nothing to brag about.
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Thanks to the dual camera setup on the back, the Xiaomi BlackShark also features a portrait mode. The results produced are decent, at best. The depth effect is there, but the blur feels mostly unnatural. In addition, the edge detection is highly unstable, sometimes managing to highlight the subject almost perfectly and, sometimes, simply blurring everything in front of the camera, including parts of the subject.
Regarding low light performance, the camera cannot justify the inclusion of two sensors with an aperture of f / 1.8. There is only the minimum amount of light available and the Most of the captured images are full of grains . The noise is slightly less compared to other cameras, but the grain is out of the graphics. The overall tone of the image is also too soft and generally just plain bad.
Now I am quite active on my Instagram channel, and for me, the front camera plays a very important role. So if you have been following me and lately you have noticed only a few selfies, it is because I have been using Xiaomi BlackShark as my daily controller. The front camera is decentBut once again, nowhere does it meet the expectations of a selfie enthusiast. The camera is good and balances the light evenly, but that's about it. There is a substantial lack of detail, and once again the images turn out to be extremely smooth. . Also, there is no portrait mode available on the front camera, which, again, is a disappointment.
Overall, the Xiaomi BlackShark's camera is like any other decent Chinese device, but not for photography enthusiasts, despite its price tag.
Telephone and Audio Quality
Considering the quality of the call, there were no complaints with the Xiaomi BlackShark. The calls rang clearly on both sides as the phone produces very good noise cancellation. The speakers on this are also quite loud and good for speaker calls as well as decent media consumption. In fact, they are one of the loudest speakers I have used on a smart phone in recent times, which is quite good. And besides, it's not just the overall volume, but also the fact that the levels are managed on this device.
The Xiaomi BlackShark comes with the USB Type-C port for connectivity, something I really appreciate, considering it's 2018. However, I don't like the fact that the BlackShark booted up a Razer with this device by skipping 3.5mm audio. . Jack. I can understand its removal as many manufacturers are doing it too, but if you are creating a gaming phone, it is hard to justify removing the audio port.
Other than that, as for the SIM tray, BlackShark has a hybrid SIM traySo you can choose to use two nano SIM cards or pair one with a microSD card.
The Xiaomi BlackShark is packaged in a non-removable 4,000 mAh battery, which is ideal for a device that is designed for heavy use. In my tests, the device managed to easily last a day of heavy use, which involved playing lots of PUBG, checking my emails, adding lots of stories on Instagram, and listening to music on SoundCloud.
Also, when it comes to charging, thanks to the Type-C port, it supports fast charging. I was able to fully charge the phone in less than 100 minutesWhich is pretty impressive. It may not be as fast as OnePlus Dash Charge, but again, Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 does the trick.
Xiaomi BlackShark Review: Should You Buy It?
The 6 + 64GB variant is priced at 2,999 yuan (Rs. 31,000), while the 8 + 128GB model costs 3499 yuan (Rs. 36,500). This puts him against the likes of Honor 10 and OnePlus 6. Honestly, If gaming and performance matter to you the most, the Xiaomi BlackShark offers better value for money than the other two . However, the average cameras are a big disappointment, something that both the Honor and the OnePlus will impress you with. Also, BlackShark may never see a global launch, so you may have to turn to Chinese retailers like Bangood, which offer the device at a high price of Rs. 36, 300 (6 + 64GB) and Rs. 42,000 (8 + 128GB), which is just a lot!
Now, while the device certainly seems to be fine, does it really make much sense to buy it if you're living outside of China? To tell the truth, it is not so. Other than liquid cooling, there is virtually nothing special about the device that a mobile player would benefit from. The gamepad is good, but once again, nothing that gave you a great advantage. As such, opting for a device like the OnePlus 6 represents a higher value for your money, as you also get the same hardware with a much better and cleaner Android look. Or you can go for the Honor 10, and save a couple of thousand dollars instead of the OnePlus 6, and once again get similar performance.
- Unbeatable raw performance
- Great build quality
- Good screen
- Cameras are average at best
- User interface is horrible
- Most of the menus and apps are still in Chinese.
SEE ALSO: Review of Vivo X21: Innovative but worth the price?
Xiaomi BlackShark Review: the ideal for gaming enthusiasts
If you can look beyond the cameras and the doubtful guarantee of an international purchase, the Xiaomi BlackShark offers a lot to its users, at an incredible price . You get the top-of-the-line processor, with lots of RAM, and a device designed for gaming and pure performance. Cooling the liquid inside the device does wonders and certainly helps keep temperatures down. It's not for anyone, but the fact that it's a gaming phone indicates who this device is for.