Today I will be reviewing one interesting gaming model of a smartphone from Xiaomi. As you might have guessed, today we will talk about the fourth generation of the Black Shark smartphone with the name Xiaomi Black Shark 4.
I will try to reveal the main question that sometimes affects ordinary users. Is this how efficient gaming smartphones are compared to regular everyday devices and do they even make sense at all?
Therefore, this article will be of interest not only to gamers but also to ordinary users. First, let’s talk about cost. I think most of you assume that gaming devices are much more expensive than even flagship smartphones. But this does not apply to products from the Xiaomi brand. Since the fourth generation of the Black Shark 4 gaming smartphone will set you back just $ 420 for the base configuration.
Naturally, the design of the new generation of the smartphone stands out a lot compared to regular smartphones from the Redmi or Xiaomi lineup. In addition, the device has a 6.67-inch AMOLED screen with a 144 Hz refresh rate. Also, the new gaming model of the smartphone received a modern Snapdragon 870 processor, which in some aspects surpasses its older brother Snapdragon 888.
Another advantage I can highlight is three main camera modules with 48-megapixels and a front camera with 20-megapixels. The built-in battery has a capacity of 4500 mAh and a very fast charging with 120 watts of power. Okay, from a technical point of view, the gaming smartphone turned out to be very good. But let’s find out his strengths and weaknesses before drawing short-term conclusions.
Xiaomi Black Shark 4: Specifications
|Xiaomi Black Shark 4:||Specs|
|Display:||6.67 inches Super AMOLED with 1080 x 2400 pixels, 144Hz|
|CPU:||Snapdragon 870 5G Octa Core 3.2 GHz|
|RAM:||6, 8 or 12GB|
|Internal memory:||128 or 256GB|
|Memory extension:||Not support|
|Cameras:||48MP + 8MP + 5MP main camera and 20MP front camera|
|Connectivity:||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, dual-band,3G, 4G, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC and GPS|
|OS:||Android 11, Joy UI 12.5|
|Dimensions:||163.8 x 76.4 x 9.9 mm|
Unboxing and packaging
I ordered a gaming smartphone from Aliexpress, so it’s no surprise that my version of the smartphone was Chinese. But I do not see this as a strong problem, since all functions and features will be similar to the global version.
The box itself was made of black thick cardboard, were on the front of the package was only the company logo with the letter S. But on the back of the package, you can see information about the smartphone model, its modifications and other features. As you can see, I have 8GB and 128GB versions.
Inside the box itself, I found an envelope with a protective plastic cover. But it is not quite ordinary, as on most ordinary smartphones. Since the cover has received various shapes, cutouts, and many other interesting design elements. Also in this box, you can find a needle for a SIM tray with documentation.
Further below, the smartphone itself lay in a protective transport film. But at the very bottom of the box, I found a Type-C charging cable and a 120W power adapter. Naturally, you can also find various stickers or decals. But I especially liked it – this is a rather heavy, but on the other hand, a powerful power adapter. Therefore, if you are interested in learning about the charging time of a smartphone, then you should read the review to the end.
Design, build quality and materials
Like any gaming smartphone, the new Xiaomi Black Shark 4 model stands out for its attention to appearance. Yes, maybe I didn’t find any additional LED backlight or diodes on the device case. But this does not mean that the smartphone is not a gaming one. Since the back of the smartphone tells us otherwise.
For example, the Black Shark 4 model received an interesting iridescent pattern on the back of the case in the shape of the letter X. But in its central part, there is the company’s logo with the letter S. Also here the name of the Black Shark smartphone line is written in small letters.
Another unusual design feature is the rear main camera module. It was positioned horizontally and not vertically like most smartphone models. Here I see triple camera modules with LED flash.
The case itself was made of protective glass on both sides of the device. But the frame itself was made of aluminum alloy. As for the quality of performance, I have no strong comments, since all the components were assembled with high quality and without any particular complaints. It is also worth noting that there is no protection against water on the fourth-generation gaming smartphone.
I have a black version, but you can also order the device in gray. But in gray, there will be no x-shaped pattern on the back of the case. That’s why I chose black as it is more in line with the playstyle. But if you want a more minimalist smartphone design, then gray is worth considering.
As for the dimensions, the Black Shark 4 smartphone measures 163.8 x 76.4 x 9.9 mm and weighs 210 grams. These are not the most compact sizes, as for an everyday device, but to call the Shark 4 model every day, I can’t turn my tongue. Usually, all gaming smartphones are slightly larger and heavier, as there are many interesting features in their design.
The bottom end of the smartphone received the following external interfaces, such as a Type-C port, a microphone hole, and a headphone jack. On the right side of the smartphone, there is a power button with a built-in fingerprint scanner. Also on this edge, there are triggers for game purposes and they will be useful in some games, for example in genres such as shooter.
Meanwhile, a volume rocker and a slot for two nano-SIM cards were installed on the left side of the device. Unfortunately, the gaming smartphone does not support microSD memory cards. On the top of the smartphone, you can find an additional second speaker for stereo sound with a noise-canceling microphone.
Screen and image quality
The new fourth generation of the Xiaomi Black Shark 4 gaming smartphone uses the most standard screen size of 6.67 inches. Its resolution was 1080 x 2400 pixels with an aspect ratio of 20: 9. At the same time, the pixel density per inch was within 395 PPI.
This screen reminds me very much of the Redmi Note 10 Pro. Which also had around a small notch at the top center of the camera’s selfie screen. But the frames around the screen were insignificant, except for the lower chin.
But the main feature of the game screen of the Black Shark 4 model is the Super AMOLED matrix with a lot of useful functions and features. For example, the onboard display device has a 144Hz refresh rate and support for the HDR10+ function.
In addition, the peak brightness was 1300 nits, which is very high for everyday use. That is, even outdoors in sunny weather, it was easy for me to read information from the smartphone screen.
As for the color rendition, it is really very rich and contrasting here. The viewing angles are just perfect and I did not find severe eye fatigue during my testing. But it’s worth mentioning here that the smartphone has received a useful function that removes noise at a low brightness level.
Even in the screen settings, you can set the desired color gamut, set the Always-on display function, select the refresh rate of the screen at 60, 90, or 144 Hz. During normal use, such as watching a video, I recommend choosing a 60Hz screen refresh. But during games, 144 Hz will be the best solution. Also, keep in mind that the higher the refresh rate of the screen, the faster your battery capacity will tend to zero.
Performance, benchmarks, games, and OS
The new gaming smartphone Black Shark 4 was equipped with not the most powerful processor from Qualcomm. This is the Snapdragon 870 5G with 7-nanometer technology. Its maximum frequency was 3.2 GHz, which is very good for your needs.
Why Black Shark did not dare to install the Snapdragon 888 processor on the next generation of a gaming smartphone, you may ask me? And the answer is quite simple since the cooling system still cannot cope with the power available on the 888 processor model. Therefore, at the expense of a small loss of power, the gaming smartphone will not heat up as much as, for example, some flagship models using the most powerful processor in 2021.
If we look at the test results of various benchmarks, we can conclude that the performance will be enough even for all the needs of gamers. For example, the Antutu test showed a result of about 615 thousand points, which is very good. At the same time, during this test, the device warmed up to 40 degrees.
The graphics accelerator Adreno 650 also showed itself on the positive side. Since in games it has a big advantage over its older brothers. That is, even the most demanding games ran with ease and had no problems during my testing. And most users will especially appreciate the 144 Hz screen refresh rate, which will make your gaming life very smoother and smoother.
Of the interesting chips, I can note the presence of triggers on the right end of the smartphone case. They will help you kill your opponent with lightning speed in shooters. I can also highlight the pop-up window if I swipe down during the game.
Here you can monitor the frame rate, temperature, Wi-Fi signal quality, and more.
My version of the device received 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage in UFS 3.1 format. That is, the read speed in the AndroBench test was about 1700 MBps, and the write speed was about 770 MBps. It’s pretty fast for a gaming smartphone. But the disadvantage is the lack of a slot for a microSD memory card.
Wirelessly, I also had no problem as the Black Shark 4 uses the latest wireless connectivity on board. For example, the device received Wi-Fi 6 generation, Bluetooth 5.2 version, support for high-speed GPS module, and the presence of an NFC module.
Okay, now let’s talk about the user interface, which has received many interesting features. In fact, the user interface of Joy UI 12.5 was built on the basis of MIUI 12, except that the shell has completely different wallpapers and icons. In general, I did not find any serious problems with the operation of the operating system.
Also onboard the smartphone, there are already installed Google services and applications. This is despite the fact that my device was intended for the Chinese market. I also had no problems with the language barrier, because the smartphone has many languages available, including English, Spanish, German, Russian, and many others.
Camera and sample photos
As I said, three camera sensors were installed on the back of the Xiaomi Black Shark 4 device. Where the main module received a 48-megapixel resolution with f/1.8 aperture. You can see examples of photo quality in the album below.
I understand that gaming smartphones are not famous for good quality shooting. But the model from Black Shark takes photos pretty well, both in the daytime and at night.
The second module of the main camera received 8-megapixel resolution and was created for ultra-wide shots with a capture angle of 120 degrees. There is also a 5-megapixel macro sensor.
On the front, there is a 20-megapixel selfie camera, which takes very high-quality pictures.
If we talk about the camera application itself, then it is absolutely the same as on the MIUI shell. That is, the same modes, functions, features are used here as on smartphones from Redmi or Xiaomi models. Thus, you will definitely not have any difficulties using the camera.
Battery and run time
A 4500 mAh battery was installed inside the body of the Black Shark 4 gaming smartphone. Yes, maybe this is not the highest battery capacity for a modern device.
Also, the battery life will depend on your style of use. For example, during normal use, as a daily user, the device can work for about 1.5-2 days. But if you play games for several hours in a row, then you shouldn’t expect more than one day of battery life.
But one thing that can please any inhabitant of the gaming world is fast charging with a 120W power adapter. The manufacturer promises a full charge of up to 100% in 17 minutes. But my practice showed a slightly different time, for example, from 0 to 100% the device was charged in just 29 minutes. This is very fast, it is also worth noting that the heating of the smartphone was quite high, both on the adapter and on the device itself.
Conclusion, reviews, pros, and cons
The fourth generation of the Xiaomi Black Shark 4 gaming smartphone will be a good choice for real gamers at a relatively low cost.
The advantages I can attribute are a very bright, high-quality, and rich Super AMOLED screen with a high refresh rate of 144 Hz. Also, I cannot say anything negative about the performance of the new Snapdragon 870 processor.
On top of that, the device got pretty good battery capacity and runtime with the fastest charging option I’ve ever seen.
Yes, most likely the camera is not a strong point for the new model of a gaming smartphone. But it also takes pretty good photos and videos.
On the downside, I can attribute this to its large dimensions and weight, so in everyday life, it will be a little problematic to use the device with one hand. Another disadvantage I can highlight is the lack of a slot for an additional memory card.
Price and where to buy cheaper?
Currently, the cost for the gaming model of the Xiaomi Black Shark 4 smartphone will be $419 for the base configuration. But the version with 8 and 128 GB of memory will cost you $479 with a 20% discount.
Of course, if you spend most of your time playing games, then the updated generation in the Black Shark line will be a good buy.