Black Shark 2 Arms-on Assessment: A Gaming Cellphone With Severe Chunk

Whenever you need gaming hardware, whether or not it’s a pc, a mouse, or a smartphone, it’s sensible to have a look at these made by gaming corporations. Razer and Asus, for instance, make smartphones with all of the options players need, from particular screens to quick processors. Black Shark is a relative newcomer, having solely began making telephones in 2017. Nevertheless it not solely has a wealth of trade expertise behind it, the crew from the highest down are additionally players themselves.

What’s extra, Black Shark will stay a gaming smartphone-maker, and doesn’t intend to make a mainstream smartphone. This focus makes a distinction, and provides us confidence within the fledgling model. The Black Shark 2 is the corporate’s second telephone, and is filled with thrilling tech at a really inexpensive worth. It’s extra in-line with the Honor Play, than the Asus ROG Cellphone, but with specs that may make the Honor telephone blush.

Gaming aesthetic

Black Shark hasn’t gone mad with the design — it’s nonetheless formed like a standard smartphone, simply with a particular rear panel. With a mix of plastic, glass, and metallic, the physique is kind of giant, thick, and heavy. This isn’t a draw back, because it feels strong and safe within the hand — important for lengthy gaming periods.

It wouldn’t be a gaming gadget if one thing didn’t gentle up, and certain sufficient the S brand on the again glows and pulsates. The telephone is available in two colours: A cool silver and a deep blue. Undoubtedly, the silver appears greatest.

Activate the Black Shark 2 and also you’re greeted with an virtually fully inventory model of Android. It’s a welcome sight, after the intensive customization on the Asus ROG Cellphone, and a detrimental expertise with the primary Black Shark. Black Shark says the display could be very particular. and makes use of expertise referred to as DC Skilled Dimming, reasonably than Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM), lowering flicker and making it a lot simpler on the eyes. Moreover, it’s claiming the display has the world’s lowest latency fee, right down to 43.5 milliseconds, which mixed with human response instances will give regular recreation gamers, pro-level response instances, in line with Black Shark.

The controller can truly be clipped to the edges of the telephone, turning it right into a Nintendo Change-style handheld.

Android was clean and easy to make use of, as anticipated from the OS with no customized interface, and we performed an Asphalt racing recreation to check the velocity. It performed very properly certainly, and was particularly spectacular when the telephone was plugged into a giant display. Black Shark calls this Host Mode, and it requires a USB Kind-C to HDMI cable to function. The sport appeared wonderful on the monitor, with none noticeable delay or body fee drop.

That’s possible because of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor powering the telephone, paired with 8GB or 12GB RAM choices (you get 128GB storage with the primary possibility, or 256GB with the 12GB RAM mannequin). The processor is identical one you’ll discover powering flagship Android smartphones in 2019 such because the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus and the LG G8 ThinQ.

What made it much more playable was Black Shark’s handheld recreation controller.

Recreation-centric options

The controller is available in two elements and might be both clipped to the edges of the telephone, turning it right into a Nintendo Change-style handheld, or snapped collectively individually to regulate the motion wirelessly on a giant display. The controller isn’t too small, however it’s fairly gentle. One facet has a D-pad, and the opposite a flat analog management in addition to all kinds of buttons. Whereas I favored it, I’m an informal gamer at greatest, and it didn’t strike me as one thing a devoted gamer would need to use typically. I didn’t get the possibility to attempt utilizing it with completely different video games both, or to map buttons to various controls. This may be problematic if it doesn’t have large assist, and may cut back the usefulness of a controller.

Black Shark 2 review Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

Together with the controller and Host Mode, the Black Shark 2 can stream its gameplay to a pc utilizing a particular cable, and it could actually achieve this with each audio and video. All this definitely will increase the Black Shark 2’s attraction to recreation followers, offered the options are easy to make use of.

There’s additionally a large case with two built-in followers you may add to the telephone. It actually is big, however the firm mentioned it’ll wipe 10 levels off the temperature in simply 10 seconds. That is simply a part of Black Shark’s dedication to retaining issues cool, as contained in the telephone is a copper cooling plate and a cooling pipe, making certain key heat-generating parts — the CPU, charging interface, and battery for instance — don’t get too sizzling. Cooler temperatures imply elevated stability and efficiency when operating the CPU at 100% too.

Better of all, there’s a four,000mAh battery inside to be sure you can recreation for prolonged intervals of time.


The twin-lens digicam on the again of the Black Shark 2 features a 48-megapixel sensor, however the venue the place I noticed the telephone was very darkish, and didn’t showcase any of its skill in any respect.

Cool worth

The value? Simply 480 British kilos (round $625) for the 8GB mannequin, which is offered within the U.Ok. and Europe now, or 560 kilos (about $730) for the 12GB mannequin coming quickly. Dialogue of a U.S. launch returned conflicting feedback, however it doesn’t appear to be a North American launch will occur instantly, if in any respect.

At a number of hundred lower than Razer Cellphone 2 or Asus’ gaming telephones, and with the very highly effective Snapdragon 855, the moderately priced 8GB Black Shark 2 is significantly tempting. The design goes to place informal players off, because it’s very a lot geared toward individuals who need that gaming aesthetic. However the inventory model of Android, a giant four,000mAh battery, and the particular display might earn the Black Shark 2 loads of followers. In my brief time with the telephone, it left an excellent impression.

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