Black Shark 4 review: the cheapest gaming smartphone!

The competition between gaming smartphones takes place between a few brands, but each of them tries to offer always different features to make it more attractive than the competition and increase its share of the market. Within this segment could not miss Xiaomi with its line for gamers and in more detail today we will analyze the new one Black Shark 4!

Unlike the variant BESS, on this standard we have a chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 870, magnetic pop-up triggers and support for quick charging a 120W! So how did he behave during our tests? Let's find out together in the article.

Black Shark 4 review

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Unboxing - Black Shark 4

The sales package is made of blue hardcover with a captivating texture in full gaming style and which incorporates the design of the smartphone. Inside there is the following equipment:

  • Black Shark 4;
  • plastic bumper;
  • wall power supply with 67W output;
  • USB cable - USB Type-C;
  • manuals;
  • adhesives;
  • pin for the SIM slot.

Design and construction

Compared to previous generations the company has decided to almost completely change the design switching to some more sober lines with a back cover in polycarbonate polished and an X-shaped plot that creates beautiful plays of light. So no more aggressive grooves and LED logos.

One thing you notice right away is it thickness, which makes one-handed use a little difficult. Indeed, its dimensions are of 163.83 x 76.35 x 10.42 millimeters for a weight of 210 grams.

Black Shark 4

Apart from that the construction is very solid thanks also to a aluminum frame, although the polycarbonate back cover holds a little too many fingerprints and does not shine in quality, but somewhere they had to cut costs.

Below we find a USB Type-C input, the system speaker, the main microphone and the 3.5 mm audio jack, while above we note the second speaker and the other microphone for the reduction of environmental noise. On the right side it is possible to unlock the two magnetic pop-up triggers and also boasts the presence of the power key with integrated fingerprint sensor, unlike the opposite part which sees the dual SIM slot, a third microphone and the volume rocker.

As anticipated poco ago, one of the largest news of this smartphone in the gaming field are precisely the trigger magnetic, which can be unlocked via switches and function just like buttons on the joystick. We will therefore have a concrete feedback when they are pressed and there will not be the classic vibration of the touch triggers present on other competitors.

Although these take up more space inside the smartphone, I personally believe they are the best buttons made on a gaming smartphone, as a physical response to touch is perceived much better than a vibration on a touch surface, effectively improving playability.

Display

Il Black Shark 4 It is characterized by a E4 AMOLED display da 6.67 inches diagonal with resolution Full HD + (2400 x 1080 pixels), aspect ratio 20: 9, maximum brightness of 500 thread (peaking up to 1500 nit), density of PPI 394, support HDR10 +, refresh rate a 144 Hz and touch sample rate a 720 Hz.

Black Shark 4

In short, the meat on the fire is really a lot and this Black Shark 4 it also boasts of one of the lowest touch delays on the market, just barely 8.3 ms. Apart from that the display refresh rate can go up to 144 Hz and we can also choose to use that a 60 Hz, 90 Hzthe 120 Hz.

I open a parenthesis on this speech, because from the display menu we can only choose 3 entries which do not give any information about the frequency, but only recite "Natural", "Fluid", "Standard". Instead, it will be possible to choose it only from quick game menu once the games are started. More in detail you can opt for "Smart gearbox", 60, 90, 120 o 144 Hz.

Joy UI 12.5

As for the rest, the smartphone panel is of ottima qualità thanks to a good color calibration, a good contrast and a perfect maximum brightness even in adverse light conditions. In short, for a smartphone of this type I think it is a great result, especially because we have goodies such as the sampling rate of the touch at 720 Hz and different settings for gamers.

In fact, in the game settings of the Black Shark Space we can activate theanti-accidental touch, change the touch sensitivity, adjust the colors, contrast and graphics, as well as activate the hunting mode which reverses the colors of the screen to identify hidden enemies.

Joy UI 12.5

Other features can also be found in the general settings, so it will be possible to calibrate the colors to your liking, activate the Dark Mode, the reading mode, the anti-flicker mode and choose from a wide range of always-on displays.

Sorry that there are no gods super wallpapers like those already present on the MIUI 12, maybe customized for Black Shark, but we can hope that they will be added in the future with some updates.

Hardware

To move the Black Shark 4 a chipset takes care of it Qualcomm Snapdragon 870, which is inclusive of an octa-core processor with a maximum clock frequency of 3.2 GHz, a GPU Adreno 650, 8 GB di RAM LPDDR5 e 128 GB di internal memory UFS 3.1 not expandable via microSD.

The Chinese company has chosen to reserve it Snapdragon 888 for the Black Shark 4 Pro, this to keep costs on the Standard variant. Despite this, it Snapdragon 870 it is however an excellent processor that inherits almost the same characteristics from the865+, therefore this translates into a smooth and smooth navigation, not even in the passage between particularly demanding applications.

The user experience is of a high level, thanks also to the very fast UI, and within the Shark Space we have customizations for all tastes. In fact, we can modify the graphics inside the menu and all the various message and call blocking functions, as well as set new macros, configure the triggers for each game while keeping the changes in memory, clean the RAM, manually manage the performance of the smartphone and much more. For more details I leave you the screenshots below.

Speaking therefore of real gaming, the smartphone behaves very well with any type of title, from the lightest to the heaviest such as PUBG, Call Of Duty Mobile, Genshin impact e Asphalt, which will be reproduced in maximum detail and without noticeable frame drops.

I magnetic triggers then they are the flagship of the device and will really help us a lot in the gaming sessions. However, the motion sensing, or the association of certain movements of the smartphone with movements in play. This could be particularly useful in titles such as Asphalt o Real Racing.

The only point I want to point out is that in the heavier titles after half an hour of play at maximum performance the smartphone starts to heat slightly, nothing out of the ordinary, but usually the battery reaches a temperature of about 37 °.

Ottimo instead the haptic feedback both in gaming and in daily use, which can be adjusted in intensity through the menu. Great work from Black Shark.

Camera

Aboard Black Shark 4 we find a triple camera with main sensor from 48 mega-pixels and f / 1.8, a wide angle from 8 mega-pixels f / 2.2 and 120 ° wide angle and a macro sensor from 5 mega-pixels ef / 2.4, which is supported by a PDAF autofocus and LED flash.

Black Shark 4

Unfortunately in the photographic sector the smartphone does not shine, as the shots are in line with those of devices in the 250 euro range. In fact, although with the main sensor the photos have a decent definition and color management, with the 2x zoom you can see some digital noise, while with the wide angle we have a definition not at the highest levels and slight distortions on the sides.

In all this, the management of the lights is sufficient and the macros have a good natural bokeh for the type of sensor mounted on board.

At night the digital noise increases and the night mode only partially saves us, as it increases contrast and clarity, but to have a sufficient shot there must be a minimum of lighting and you must have a good steady hand. The wide angle you will hardly be able to exploit it for sufficient photographs and overall the results are not excellent.

On the other hand, on the other hand, there is a sensor from 20 mega-pixels with aperture f / 2.45 whose shots reflect the performance of the main sensor. The management of the lights is not excellent as well as the general quality, obviously all brought back to its price range, or that of 380/400 euros.

I video they can be recorded up to a maximum of 4K at 60 fps, as well as the more classic Full HD at 30 and 60 fps and slow motion at 1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 960 fps. Here we find a good digital stabilization, which is supported by a fairly fast autofocus and good colors, as well as definition.

Audio and connectivity

The audio output from the two speakers of the Black Shark 4 is characterized by delle fluctuating performances. In fact, during the Gaming the audio is very powerful, with a good presence of bass and perfect for ensuring maximum playability. Among other things, you can choose the SuperSurround which will be an explosion of sounds with the highest volume and the most balanced GameMusic which will give a little more fidelity to the frequencies.

In traditional use, however, the audio seems to be a little neutered due to a not very high and slightly muffled volume. In the headphones the situation improves a lot and I was also satisfied with the microphone and the audio in the ear capsule.

Turning to connectivity, however, the Black Shark 4 supports 5G NR SA + NSA as well as the most classic 4G +. Reception has proven reliable in various contexts, as has satellite navigation with GPS / A-GPS / GLONASS / Beidou / Galileo / QZSS. The distribution of the antennas was done in an intelligent way, as a game handle was thought of and therefore strategic positions were studied so as not to cover them. For the rest we find support for the Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 (aptX HD) and USB Type-C input with audio / video output.

Big absent unfortunately theNFC and in 2021 it becomes difficult to accept it since even basic smartphones of the 150 euro range now always equip it.

Software

Il Black Shark 4 has software based on Android 11 with proprietary interface Joy UI 12.5 and security patches updated to March 1, 2021.

The UI is practically one MIUI adapted and with slightly different colors and icons. I have to say that I really liked the material design style they gave to the settings menu. For the rest there are many features dedicated to the world of gaming, most of which we have analyzed previously, as well as many typical features of MIUI more suitable for traditional smartphone use.

The interface is very fluid e very complete, but it is not exempt from smudges. In fact, I noticed that some translations have not been done with precision and some items in the menus are not understandable at first glance. In addition, there are also many translations in Latvian (some also in English and Chinese) instead of Italian.

In short, from this point of view Black Shark must correct the shot, but otherwise I found everything pretty neat and functional.

Battery

Under the body of the Black Shark 4 we find a battery from 4500 mAh, or rather two batteries from 2250 mAh with support to super fast charging da 120W. We point out immediately that, however, on the market you will find it with a 67W charger. The other can be purchased separately.

Apart from this aspect, theautonomy è excellent as with intense use it allows us to reach almost 1 day and a half of use in which I have been playing for approx 1 30 hours and minutes it's about 6 hours di active screen.

If you take advantage of the fast charging from 120W il Black Shark 4 it will just take 20 minutes to go from 0 to 100%, if instead with the power supply from 67W it will take approx 40 minutes.

Conclusions - Black Shark 4

Il Black Shark 4 is proposed as one of the cheapest gaming smartphone on the market and, in fact, you can find it on AliExpress about 428 € in the variant 8 / 128 GB thanks to the coupons we share on ours Telegram channels from GizDeals and which are selectable through the product page. So it will be possible to discount from 20 to 40 euros, making the smartphone arrive between 380 and 400 euros.

From the first Black Shark we have seen some course changes, one on the whole design, but at the same time many improvements have been made. Currently at Black Shark 4 really missing poco to be perfect, but these figures are hard to ask for.

In these days of use I found myself very well and I think it is an excellent solution for those who want to buy a gaming smartphone without spending too much money. After all, we are still talking about a device just below the top of the range and the figure is more than honest for the technical data sheet offered.

The excellent display, the ultra-fast charging, the excellent autonomy and performance, the fantastic pop-up triggers, the competitive price and a complete software for gamers overshadow the need for some interface optimization and a back plastic cover. It remains more difficult to accept the performance of the camera, but if it is a secondary aspect for you then you can go without much hesitation.

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