Black Shark, the gaming-focused subsidiary of Xiaomi, has today revealed that the Black Shark 4 is finally due for release in the UK – almost an entire year after the range was initially revealed in China. While the vanilla variant of Black Shark 4 was released internationally, there was no sign of the Black Shark 4 Pro for the longest time.
However, the Black Shark 4 Pro is here at long last, offering top-level specs and unique gamer-focused features that Black Shark devices are known for. That includes an impressive 6.67in AMOLED display with a 144Hz refresh rate, giving gamers the buttery-smooth visuals they crave, custom-designed internals to help aid cooling and, of course, customisable RGB lighting on the rear.
The real headline of the Black Shark 4 Pro is its magnetic triggers. The triggers sit flush in the frame of the smartphone when not in use, held in place with magnets to stop the rattling, and pop out with the flick of a switch.
The triggers simulate on-screen touch, so you don’t need developers to add support, and it means you’ve got a console-like gaming experience with physical triggers without carrying any extra accessories. It’s a game-changer for FPS titles like Call of Duty Mobile and PUBG Mobile on the go, helping give gamers the edge in competitive online gameplay, and these can be used for other shortcuts when not gaming too.
As you’d expect, you’ll find competitive hardware powering the experience under the hood – but herein lies the problem of a delayed release.
You see, while the Black Shark 4 Pro is still a beast in the performance department – you can find out more in our full Black Shark 4 Pro review – the specs aren’t quite as exciting as you might expect.
While the combination of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, 8/12GB of RAM and 128/256GB of storage was comfortably flagship in March 2021, there are cheaper mid-range smartphones (like the Motorola Moto G200) that also offer a 144Hz display and an even more powerful Snapdragon 888+ chipset in 2022 – not to mention the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1-touting Red Magic 7, which is due for an international release next week.
You can see a full breakdown of specs here:
163.8 x 76.4 x 9.9mm
67in AMOLED display with 144Hz refresh rate, 720Hz touch sample rate and HDR10+ support
FHD+ (1080 x 2400) resolution
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
8GB/12GB of LPDDR5 6400MHz RAM
128/256GB of UFS3.1 storage
4500mAh battery with 120W Hyper Charge
Rear camera: 64Mp f/1.79 main, 8Mp f2.2 ultrawide and 5Mp f/2.4 macro lens
Front camera: 20Mp f/2.45
Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.0 & NFC
Fingerprint scanner (power button)
Shark Eye lighting effects
Magnetic pop-up triggers
While Black Shark has tuned the internals of the Black Shark 4 Pro to sustain powerful performance over longer periods than smartphones from the likes of Motorola, it doesn’t look good on paper – especially when you consider that most gamers like to have the best of the best at their fingertips.
It does fare better in other departments, however, with the Black Shark 4’s 120W HyperCharge fully charging the 4500mAh battery in just 15 minutes – and unlike most of the competition, the charger ships in the box.
There’s also top-end connectivity including 5G and Wi-Fi 6E, and although not quite flagship-level, the combination of 64Mp main, 8Mp wide and 5Mp macro camera lenses on the rear should suffice for most users. The 20Mp selfie camera isn’t to be sniffed at either!
While the specs will suffice for most gamers, the problem is that the release is so delayed that the follow-up Black Shark 4S range is already available to buy in China, and it has been since October 2021, offering an upgraded Snapdragon 888+ in a similar chassis.
That means that if you buy the top-end Black Shark 4 Pro, it’s not even the fastest Black Shark available, let alone the fastest gaming phone – and that has the potential to hurt international sales. Judging by how delayed the Black Shark 4 Pro is, we wouldn’t expect an international release of the 4S range until Q4 2022, or maybe even some time in early 2023.
With that in mind, if you are tempted by the Black Shark 4 Pro, the smartphone will be available to buy directly from Black Shark and other third-party retailers from 23 February 2022 in the UK, US and Europe starting at £489/$579/€579.
If you want to get a better idea of the competition before taking the plunge, we’d recommend taking a look at our selection of the best gaming phones.
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