Review Xiaomi Black Shark 2 (6GB RAM, 128GB)


Design

Plus

  • Powerful, unique, industrial 'gaming device' design
  • Slick 'gaming lights'
  • The Black Shark logo on the rear of the phone can be customized to glow and pulse in just about any color
  • The included case has two small ledges onto which you can latch your fingertips - the grippy material of the case and these ledges really help you take firm hold of the phone when gaming
  • The buttons (a short volume toggle, a small power and screen button, and dedicated Shark Key) have excellent profiles and perfect action
  • Fast, effective face unlock

Minus

  • While the front of the phone is all glass, the rest of the chassis is some seriously heavy metal - this is a big and heavy device, no 2 ways about it
  • No IP-rated waterproofing
  • The in-display fingerprint sensor only has average accuracy (you will be better off using the face unlock mostly)
  • The Black Shark 2, like all gaming device tend to be, is a sharp, aggressive-looking piece of hardware, and it may be too much for regular, non-hardcore-gaming folk


Display

Plus

  • Large, crisp, punchy OLED display - you are going to enjoy playing games and watching videos on this device
  • Contrast, and viewing angles are great
  • The display also supports a 'MagicTouch' feature, that relies on the phone’s pressure-sensitive display to let you reassign controls to a more convenient location on the screen - which can make playing games in landscape mode (like PUBG) much more fun

Minus

  • Unlike some other gaming phones (such as the Asus ROG phone), the screen refresh rate is limited to a standard 60Hz
  • Brightness levels peak at 430-nits - it could have been a bit higher for better outdoor visibility




Software

  • The primary modification to the software is in terms of a number of options that help you optimize the gaming experience on the phone
  • The “Game Dock” and “Light Settings” found at the bottom of the settings menu let you adjust certain aspects of the gaming experience, such as notifications, frame rates, brightness, and the floating window that acts as a dashboard for all your key performance metrics (battery temp, CPU temp, CPU frequency, and so on)
  • The Shark Key on the right side grants entry to the phone’s gaming zone, called Shark Space that squashes notifications and will essentially help you focus 100 percent on gaming - it also dumps out the RAM to help boost speeds
  • Shark Space is also a central location for all your games - any titles you download from the Play Store are automatically loaded into the Shark Space launcher
  • You’ll also find controls for the optional gaming pads - if you purchase the pads you can customize the actions for each button here, as well as perform some baseline calibrations.
  • If you don’t have the controllers, you can map on-screen buttons to perform specific tasks
  • The display is also capable of 240Hz touch sensitivity with latency as low as 43.5ms - together, these translate to faster finger recognition and quicker response to your input


Performance

  • The performance as you would expect from a gaming device, is drool-worthy - the flagship Snapdragon 855, with oodles of RAM, and other modifications like liquid cooling, and a multi-layered heat dissipation system, means that this is simply one of the most powerful Androids you can get your hands on
  • From day-to-day use to complex games, the Black Shark 2 will chomp through everything, without batting an eyelid


Camera

  • Pretty good cameras for this price bracket
  • The dual-camera setup on the rear lets you shoot normal and telephoto images, as well as use the two lenses together for portrait/bokeh
  • The majority of photos show sharp focus, and even low light shots are better than average
  • The selfie camera does a decent job too
  • You can shoot video up to 4K - they generally come out clean, well exposed, and mostly free of noise
  • Overall, especially for a gaming-centered phone, the Black Shark 2 packs some pretty capable cameras


Audio

Plus

  • Good bunch of front-facing stereo speakers - can deliver 1W of audio output, which means the Black Shark 2 can get really loud
  • There is also a dedicated gaming mic on one side of the phone to ensure it isn’t covered by your hand while you play

Minus


No 3.5mm headphone jack - audio output is via USB-C, and there are no USB-C earphones included either - so you will need to get your own USB-C or wireless headphones

Battery

  • Very good battery life with a 4000mAH battery, and some good optimization - with regular use, it can breeze through 48 hours and power to spare - and even with a lot of gaming time, you will comfortable get through a day
  • Fast charging support (Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0) with some very good charging speeds - 30 min plugged into the included charger will provide a 60 percent boost in battery life


Conclusion

Plus

If you are into hardcore gaming, and spend a lot of your day engrossed in PUBG or Fortnite, this is the best value-for-money dedicated gaming phone you can get, period - it's big on both personality and performance - and the bang for buck it delivers is off the charts

Minus

The Black Shark 2 is primarily for gamers thanks to its lights, aggressive design and gaming optimizations - having said all that though, it’s a good smartphone generally speaking, and anyone looking for a standout handset, who doesn’t mind a bit of ‘grrr’, can also check it out

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