Gaming phones are becoming increasingly common, and Xiaomi is keeping up with its Black Shark series. The Black Shark 4 and 4 Pro, the most recent version, have appeared on the Chinese market. You can pre-order one today, and the phones will be available in China on Thursday, November 25th. An international release date has yet to be determined.
Black Shark 4 Pro
The no-holds-barred Black Shark 4 Pro is operated by Qualcomm’s largest and baddest processor, the Snapdragon 888. It’s paired with either 8GB or 12GB of ultra-fast LPDDR5 RAM, and both versions have 256GB of storage. But those aren’t exactly difficult to come by these days. The dedicated mechanical shoulder buttons on the side are the more obvious giveaway that this is a gaming phone: slide the locks away to allow them to pop-up. They, like the Black Shark 3’s shoulder buttons, can be bound to touch areas on the screen for incorporation with virtually any game.
The 4 Pro has a 6.67-inch AMOLED 1080p screen with a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz, which outperforms most gaming phones. It also has two pressure response zones (as in the amount of pressure applied, not just touch sensitivity), allowing for more integration into games that can accommodate it. Its battery capacity is 4500mAh, which is fairly standard for a phone of this size, but it supports quick charging at a totally insane 120 watts (with the charger included in the box). Xiaomi claims that it can charge the battery to 90% in just over 30 minutes.
Cameras on the Pro are respectable: 64MP main shooter, 8MP ultrawide, and 5MP macro, with a 20MP centered front camera. In terms of style, the flat black version actually looks fairly button-down—if you don’t notice the side buttons (and the LED triangle logo on the back stays unlit), you’d have a hard time telling it’s a gaming phone. Of course that goes out the window if you get the “So Empty Black” version (that’s auto-translated, so we’re unsure if that’s the official name). Its layered, semi-transparent glass shifts around as you look at it, in a much more flashy but not unappealing way.
The phone is 9.9mm thick, which is enough to accommodate a headphone jack and a side-mounted fingerprint reader. The dual-SIM radio supports 5G, and for the most intense sessions, you can attach the sold-separately cooling module. The Black Shark 4 Pro starts at $4000 for the base edition, which is only available in black, and goes up to $4500 for the 12GB RAM version. That works out to $615 and $690, respectively.
Black Shark 4
What about the non-Pro? The standard Black Shark 4 ditches the pricey Snapdragon 888 for an 870, basically a refreshed version of last year’s go-to flagship chip. It has an identical body, screen, and battery with 120 watt fast charging, but the base model goes down to just 6GB/128GB. Upgrades all the way to 12GB/256GB are available.
You lose that dual-zone pressure sensitive screen and drop the main camera down to “just” 48 megapixels, but the Black Shark 4 keeps those signature shoulder buttons and most of the rest of the hardware. It costs between ¥2500 and ¥3000, depending on your RAM and storage choices.
Both phones are running JoyUI, based on Xiaomi’s MIUI, which has been generally well-received. The phones are launching in China only for the moment, but previous models were made available globally as unlocked devices. With a current boom in gaming phones, it seems likely that the 4 will follow.