Xiaomi has taken the wraps off its new Blackshark handset that was teased earlier this week, thereby giving Razer some competition in the Android smartphone gaming space. It’s a niche category for sure, though the specs on these devices rival (and in many cases surpass) flagship phones from other manufacturers that are not necessarily aimed at gamers, but boast high-end hardware nonetheless.
In this case, the Blackshark does not match the 120Hz refresh that is a standout feature of the Razer Phone’s display. However, it does boast a 5.99-inch IPS Pixelworks panel will a Full HD+ resolution and 97 percent coverage of the DCI-P3 color space, and an impressive 550 nits brightness level. Xiaomi is pitching the display as a highlight of the Blackshark, noting that it offers a comprehensive tone-mapping pipeline to render HDR410 videos that are true to the creator’s intent.
Powering it all is Qualcomm’s top-end Snapdragon 845 processor with an Adreno 630 GPU, paired with a generous 8GB of RAM. That combination should give the Blackshark plenty of pep, just as we have seen on a spattering of other phones that run the same system-on-chip (but typically with less RAM). On the storage front, the phone offers up to 128GB of space (minus whatever is needed for the OS and other custom bits).
“We all witnessed the performance wars that pushed console and desktop gaming to unprecedented levels,” said Peter Wu, CEO at Xiaomi Blackshark. “Now that smartphones are taking center stage, mobile gamers expect the same level of performance and enjoyment they’ve historically only experienced on larger devices. With Pixelworks Iris chipset, Blackshark is the first to offer this type of superior user experience on a smartphone.”
Though the focus is on gaming, Xiaomi also paid attention to camera performance. The Blackshark is equipped with dual camera sensors on the rear, one that is 12 megapixels and the other at 20 megapixels with an f/1.75 aperture and dual-tone LED flash. It also features phase detection autofocus, HDR support, 4K video capture, and Xiaomi’s dark light enhancement technology. On the front of the device, there is a 20-megapixel sensor with an f/2.2 aperture for taking selfies.
Other notable bits include a fingerprint scanner on the front, USB-C connectivity with Quick Charge 3.0 support, a 4,000 mAh battery, and Android 8.1 Oreo.
The phone has a unique design, and part of that is due to the cooling. Xiaomi implemented an integrated cooling system. There is a “Shark key” that users can press to ramp up performance, and also a gamepad that can be attached with a battery of its own tucked inside.
Pricing for the Blackshark sits at 2999 yuan (around $479) for 6GB RAM/64GB storage model and 3499 yuan (~$559) for the 8GB RAM/128GB model. The control costs 179 yuan (~$29).