Xiaomi released a new phone called ‘Black Shark’ last week, and it’s completely different from the phones which they usually release. The marketing is intended to entice gamers, and taking a look at the design, specifications and other features it’s quite evident that Xiaomi’s Black Shark is a Gaming Phone.
One of the key differences between the Black Shark and the Razer Phone is that the Xiaomi Black Shark offers high-end specifications at a mid-range price, and lack of a 120Hz Display found in the Razer Phone. Here’s a quick run-over of the key features & specs of the phone – Snapdragon 845, upto 8GB RAM, Water-Cooling system,
Here’s a comprehensive overview of the phone, including the price, where to buy the phone, specifications, a comparison to the Razer Phone, battery test, camera quality, and other things.
The phone is available in two colors – Sky Gray and Black.
Price and Where To Buy
The Xiaomi Black Shark is priced at $479 for the 6GB RAM/64GB Storage variant, and $559 for the 8GB RAM/128GB Storage variant. This means that the expected price in India should be around ₹32,000 for the 6GB RAM variant and ₹37,000 for the 8GB RAM variant. However, because of import taxes, custom duties etc the phone could be priced even higher. This is around 20% lower than the price of the Razer Phone, which is priced at $699.
Winner – Xiaomi Blackshark
The phone is not yet available to buy by normal means yet. Currently, there are multiple flash sales being held on a Chinese e-commerce website called JD.COM for booking the phone. The phone is in high demand – the reported number of registrations is 1 million plus. To buy the phone in India, the recommended way is to just wait until it arrives on eCommerce Websites like Amazon & Flipkart.
Specifications, Features and Comparison to Razer Phone
Snapdragon 845 & Adreno 630 with 8GB/6GB RAM
The Xiaomi Black Shark comes with the Snapdragon 845, the latest SoC released by Qualcomm and it’s the best you can get right now. It can run anything with ease thanks to its Octa Core 8x Kyro 385 CPU with a clock speed of 2.8GHz, the Adreno 630 for graphics processing which features 30% more power efficiency & graphics rendering compared to the previous SoC.
Here is a GeekBench3 Benchmark for the Snapdragon 845, compared to the Snapdragon 835, Apple A11 Bionic, and other SoCs.
Image Credits – TechAdvisor UK
Of course, raw numbers don’t mean all that much. The iPhone X does beat the the Snapdragon 845 by quite a margin still, but no app or game takes advantage of so much of processing power, except video editing.
Not many English Tech YouTubers have been able to get their hands on the phone, so the gaming benchmarks on the device are from Chinese Tech YouTubers – it’s worth noting that the gaming performance will be extremely similar to other phones using the Snapdragon 845 like the Galaxy S9 Plus, so taking that as a reference is no problem. Here are the Gaming Benchmarks of the Xiaomi Black Shark –
Here’s a comprehensive gaming review of the Galaxy S9 Plus with Snapdragon 845 in English –
Now, the Razer Phone comes with an older Snapdragon 835 SoC. This means that the performance is significantly less than the newer Snapdragon 845 found in the Black Shark, and hence the Razer Phone loses in this criteria.
Winner – Xiaomi Black Shark
The Snapdragon 845 also has new features like higher security, X20 Modem, Quick Charge 4+ (50% charge in 15 mins!), better AI platform, Spectra 280 Image Signal Processor, etc.
You read that right. The Xiaomi Black Shark comes with a Water Cooling System. According to benchmarks and reports, the Water Cooling system is actually not a gimmick and it keeps the phone at lower temperatures compared to the Galaxy S9+ and iPhone X; around 4-5C lower than the S9 Plus and 2-3C lower than the iPhone X.
How does it work? Well, the phone has a larger heatsink compared to other phones, measuring around 60cm², and has a water coolant present in it. Compared to the Razer Phone (which also has a enormous heat pipe) both phones run at way cooler & comfortable temperature compared to phones like the Galaxy S9 Plus, iPhone X, P20 Pro, etc.
Winner – None
In terms of Camera Specs, the Black Shark features a Dual 12MP (f/1.8, 1.25µm) + 20 MP (f/1.8, 1.0µm) shooter with 2x Optical Zoom, Features like Dual Pixel Phase Detection Autofocus, and a dual-LED dual-tone flash.
Taking a look at this camera comparision, it’s evident that the Razer Phone produces more contrast in most pictures, while the Black Shark seems to catch more detail in pictures. Color seems to be a little off in the Black Shark while the Razer Phone is more consistent in color quality. Overall, the Razer Phone seems to win although in some cases the Black Shark produces a better picture. It’s good to wait for actual final tests by professionals to determine the actual quality of both phones though.
Winner – Wait for more tests!
In terms of the Display, the Black Shark has a 5.99-inch 18:9 Aspect Ratio IPS display, with a resolution of 2160×1080. The screen to body ratio is 76%.
In comparison to the Razer Phone which has a 5.7-inch 16:9 Aspect Ratio IGZO IPS 120Hz Display with a resolution of 2560×1440 72.7% Screen To Body Ratio, the Razer Phone wins by a significant margin as it has a 120Hz UltraMotion Display which is twice as fast as the Black Shark, and a higher resolution & display quality.
Some people may prefer the higher screen to body ratio and 18:9 Aspect Ratio of the Black Shark, but overall, the Razer Phone clearly wins in this department.
Winner – Razer Phone
The Xiaomi Black Shark has a 4000mAh battery with support for Qualcomm QuickCharge Technology. The Razer Phone has the exact same battery capacity, so it lasts around the same time compared to the Black Shark. No winner here, both phones support QuickCharge and have Type-C to charge the phones.
It’s still worth nothing that with the 120Hz Display and a little higher resolution of the Razer Phone, the battery run time is significantly reduced compared to the Black Shark but it will be very similar when the Display is set at 60Hz in the settings.
Winner – None
Design & Build
The Xiaomi Black Shark features two color options as said above – sky gray and black. Both have insane hints of ‘Gamer DNA’ in them with even a glowing Black Shark branded logo at the back. There’s also the inclusion of a better ‘X-Shaped’ antena design which Xiaomi claims to increase signal range in both WiFi and Mobile Data, and supports 5G Network Speeds with ease. The Razer Phone on the other hand has a way more minimalist approach to the design and doesn’t have the inclusion of the better antena systems.
To be honest, it would come down to personal preference. Personally, I find the Black Shark having an overly funky gaming look and prefer the Razer Phone’s sleeker, minimalist approach while still retaining the tank feel and look. In terms of build quality, it’s good to wait for tests by reviewers (the article will be updated with the results!)
Winner – It all comes down to personal preference.
Other Minor Features
Xiaomi also released a proprietary Bluetooth controller which attaches to the left, camera side of the phone. This costs $30 and honestly there are better options at this price, like a fully sized bluetooth gamepad styled like console controllers.
The Xiaomi Black Shark also boasts stereo speakers, which produce great quality, loud sounds and give a surrounding sound effect as well. The Razer Phone on the other hand has Stereo Speakers as well but the difference here is that the Razer Phone features Dolby Atmos Branded Speakers with THX-Certified Amplifiers.
Winner – Razer Phone
The Xiaomi Black Shark supports Dual SIM configurations (both nano SIMs), while the Razer Phone supports a single nano sim.
Winner – Xiaomi Black Shark
Both the Xiaomi Black Shark and the Razer Phone support Android 8.0 Oreo, although the Xiaomi Black Shark runs a custom Joy UI which matches the dark theme of the phone. The Razer Phone comes with Android 8.0 with Nova Launcher Prime, and that’s way better than the Xiaomi Black Shark.
Winner – Razer Phone
Conclusion & Who Wins?
To conclude, the Xiaomi Black Shark wins. The Xiaomi Black Shark is an excellent gaming phone at a great price.
The Black Shark has way better value for money and is more future-proof compared to the Razer Phone because of the Snapdragon 845 SoC present in it. Razer is surely going to come out with a Razer Phone V2 or differently named successor to the Razer Phone with Snapdragon 845, or wait for a new SoC, so if you can actually wait and have the money, wait for it.