After playing Apex Legends Mobile for a week, I am beginning to think that I should probably use a gaming phone so that I will be a little frustrated with the framerates and the overall graphics performance. OK. Or maybe the new iPhone. Thankfully, there is no lack of gaming-centric smartphones that aren’t iPhones. Xiaomi’s Black Shark sub-brand is one of them and its latest, the Black Shark 5 Series is looking pretty good.
More importantly, they are very much more affordable than current flagships despite rocking flagship specs. There are three flavors to choose from: Pro, RS, and the standard Black Shark 5. The Pro is rocking the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip while the RS and the standard version are powered by 888/888+ 5G and 870 5G chips, respectively.
Black Shark 5 Pro
But here’s the thing. Heat is an issue whether not it is or it is not a gaming smartphone. In respect, Black Shark 5 Pro claims to utilize a dual vapor chamber cooling solution with a total surface area of 5,320 mm2, to mitigate the heat generated. If that’s not enough, there’s always an external fan to help keep things cool when things get heated up.
Other key highlights of the Pro model include a 144 Hz 6.67” flexible OLED display, 720 Hz multi-touch sampling rate, “magnetic lifting shoulder buttons”, LPDDR5 RAM, UFS 3.1 + NVMe SSD storage, dual SIM support (nano), support for both SA/NSA 5G bands, Wi-Fi 6E, Hi-Res Audio support, 4 mic array, Audio Zoom, stereo speakers comprising of 2x 1216p drivers, a 4,650 mAh battery with 120 W fast charging, support “Shark Eye” rear RGB light, a 16 MP AI beauty selfie camera, and a tri-camera setup (13 MP 120-degree super wide-angle, 100 MP 1/1.52” pro-grade main camera, and a 5 MP 3-7 cm AF tele-macro camera) that is capable of 4K60p video recording, 960 fps super slow-mo, HDR10+ videoing, and more.
The Black Shark 5 Pro is available in 8+256, 12+256, and 16+512 configurations, and has a starting price of 4,199 yuan (about US$641).
Black Shark 5 RS
The RS model is almost identical to the Pro. The key difference is in the SoC, the display, the cameras, and the battery capacity. Also, it has a single VC solution as opposed to a dual-layer.
Key notables include a 144 Hz 6.67-inch AMOLED display, 720 Hz touch sampling rate, “magnetic lifting shoulder buttons”, LPDDR5 RAM, UFS 3.1 + NVMe SSD store, 4,500 mAh battery with 120 W fast charging, support for both NR SA and NSA 5G bands, dual SIM support (nano), support “Shark Eye” rear RGB light, a 20 MP AI beauty selfie camera, and a 64 MP tri-camera array (64 MP main, 8 MP 120-degree super wide-angle, and 5 MP macro) that supports 4K/60p videoing, 960 fps super slow-mo, HDR 10+ videoing and more.
The Black Shark 5 RS is offered in 8+256 and 12+256 configuration and sells for 3,299 yuan (around US$504) and up.
Black Shark 5
Last but not least is the Black Shark 5 which is blessed with the 870 5G cheap and bolstered by LPDDR5 and UFS 3.1 storage. Like its more powerful sibling, it also rocks the so-called “magnetic lifting shoulder buttons” for gaming.
In addition, it features the same 144 Hz 6.67-inch AMOLED display with 720 Hz touch sampling as the RS, dual nano-SIM, supports both NR SA and NSA 5G bands, support “Shark Eye” rear RGB light, 4,650 mAh with 120 W fast charging, a 16 MP AI beauty selfie camera, and a 64 MP camera setup (64 MP main, 13 MP 120-degree super wide-angle, and a 2 MP macro) with 4K60p videoing as well as 960 fps super slow-mo at up to 1080p.
Black Shark 5 is currently available in China in 8+128, 12+128, and 12+256 flavors, and with a starting price of 2,799 yuan (or roughly US$428).
Black Shark 5 China Spaceflight Edition
In addition to the three standard variants, Black Shark has released a special China National Space Administration edition that commemorates China Spaceflight Day.
No words on when the new Black Shark 5 Series gaming smartphones will be on the international market and for how much.
Images: Xiaomi [CH].