Black Shark gaming smartphone. Wait, what? - Stuff

Black Shark gaming smartphone. Wait, what?

Black Shark gaming smartphone. Wait, what?

Okay, gaming is becoming portable, we get it. But really, this portable?

It’s not like mobile phones optimised for gaming aren’t already on our Christmas list. It just feels like the gaming community isn’t quite as ready for them as some companies seem to be hoping. First we saw the Razer phone earlier this year, and now Xiaomi has launched its Black Shark device, which is — you guessed it — a mobile gaming phone. Frankly, we’re still not quite sure how to feel about it.

Mobile gaming since the GameboyToday we have had a whole line up of portable consoles to choose from, including the Gameboy, PS Vita and of course the (highly recommended) Nintendo Switch. The biggest issue with mobile phone gaming, and the reason it doesn’t really compete with dedicated portable consoles, is the quality of the games. Sure, there’s the odd really compelling one (like Alto’s Adventure, Monument Valley, Clash of Clans and the dreaded Candy Crush) but few will find you still playing them 12 hours in (okay, maybe Candy Crush).

That said, we need to acknowledge that Fortnite launched on iOS a few weeks ago, and the Android version is apparently in the works, so maybe the days of mediocre mobile games are over and we can’t expect to see even more great games becoming truly cross platform by offering mobile ports.

It’s safe to say that mobile devices are getting powerful enough to run pretty decent and demanding games. Heck, a full-blown version of Civilisation recently turned up for iPad. How does Xiaomi’s pocket gaming rig stack up? The Black Shark is fitted with the brand spankin’ new Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and comes with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM. It should be able to handle way more than Candy Crush.

We should also keep in mind that mobile phones are getting so much muscle some of them are being turned into desktops — like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S9 via DeX, and the aforementioned Razer smartphone that doubles as a laptop brain/trackpad.

Black Shark (No, not that new Jason Statham movie)It’s evident that the phone’s designers want to impress the gamers among us, and have included some funky green on the back of the (chunky looking) phone. Interestingly, the Black Shark isn’t really made by Xiaomi, but rather by a Xiaomi-backed company called Black Shark Technologies.

The fingerprint sensor is still situated right under the phone’s display (so 2016), which is a 5.9in LCD, with an aspect ratio of 18:9 and a Full HD+ resolution. They’re not at 4K quite yet, probably to save battery life. As for the battery, there’s a 4000mAh battery, which should stand up to some heavy enemy fire.

The 6GB RAM model has 64GB of storage, while the 8GB RAM model has 128GB of storage. Sadly there’s no microSD slot to expand that down the line.But more importantly, this mobile gaming smartphone has a multi-stage integrated liquid cooling system built right in to keep it running smoothly for those long gaming sessions. This is a first for smartphones (as far as we know). Xiaomi also announced a controller dock for the smartphone. It includes a joystick and a trigger button configuration that can be connected to the handset.

Bad news first? It’s only been launched in China for now, and we have no word of it coming to our sunny shores. Good news? If Xiaomi does decide to send it our way, the prices won’t empty your pockets as much as mainstream flagships would. Using a straight currency conversion, the 6GB RAM variant will cost around R5,800 and the 8GB RAM variant around R6,800.

Source: Digital Trends

Marce is the Deputy Editor at Stuff Magazine.

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