Black Shark 2 analysis: a predator for a good price

by Kelvin
Black Shark 2 analysis: a predator for a good price

The second generation of smartphones For games it is here and with the Black Shark 2, we found a powerful device with unique features improving the gaming experience. In this analysis, we find out if the Black Shark 2 belongs to the big fish.

Pros

  • Powerful hardware
  • Good autonomy
  • Excellent command
  • Touch introduction customization
  • Attractive price

Cons

  • Lack of NFC
  • No IP rating or waterproofing
  • 60 Hz display

Best offer: Black Shark 2

Cheapest price

Black Shark 2 – Availability and price

Although it is an independent company, Black Shark is backed by Xiaomi, and therefore can take advantage of the Chinese manufacturer's supply chain to offer the tempting prices that are associated with it. In Europe, the device costs 549 euros for the 8 GB model of RAM / 128 GB of internal storage, and 649 euros for 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal storage.

The first model comes in the color Shadow Black (which is more dark gray than black), the second is Frozen Silver (which is light gray).

An elegant shark that can't swim

The Black Shark 2 has a design that is quite bland in the front and very striking in the back. The screen is surrounded by relatively thin bezels, which house the camera for traditional-style selfies. There is no notch, drop, retractable camera or any other trick that is being used to house the camera.

From the front, it seems quite ordinary. / © AndroidPIT

On the back and on the sides, the design becomes more interesting, with a combination of matte painted metal and a reflective glass frame with green accents that houses a rear camera with two sensors, quite pronounced, and at the same time surrounds the logo of the "S" in the center. Of course, the S has customizable RGB lighting, and the sides of the phone also have 2 RGB strips. This is a very typical feature in gaming phones, not very subtle, but it is a matter of taste. In a world in which smartphones they look more and more, the pride of the players for their hardware opens a market of different styles. At leisure, it has been a small pleasure to see the green sparkles on the sides of the device.

AndroidPIT xiaomi blackshark 2 side But from behind, it is clearly a video game phone. / © AndroidPIT

The Black Shark 2 measures 63.6mm x 75mm x 8.77mm and is somewhat heavy (208g) for a phone of its size. However, it feels good and solid in the hand, and the angles of the back are very adherent. There are very subtle speaker grills on the upper and lower bezels, but there is no minijack input, what there is is a 3.5mm USB Type-C port. On the one hand we have the volume control, and on the other the power key and the robust switch Shark space, which switches to a high speed game mode. The SIM tray (dual SIM card, without expandable memory) goes on the bottom.

AndroidPIT xiaomi blackshark 2 usb port Emerald accents are very striking. / © AndroidPIT

An important note, and an ironic inconvenience for a device called "Shark" (shark in English). The Black Shark 2 has no IP rating or waterproofing, so it is better not to take it to the beach.

A screen that gets to know your touch

The Black Shark 2 leaves the LCD screen of its predecessor to get a Full HD + (2,340 x 1,080) AMOLED 6.39-inch screen with 19: 5: 9 format. A welcome improvement, thanks to the generally richer color representation of OLED panels. The Black Shark 2's screen looks vivid in the default 'cinema' mode, but can be customized to look more natural or more eye-tolerant. The maximum brightness is 430 nits, which makes visualization difficult in sunny climates, and the automatic brightness is not very good … you will often have to adjust it yourself to adapt it to the lighting conditions. There is a fingerprint scanner on the screen, with a crisp animation that has always seemed very agile, although facial unlocking is also an option.

AndroidPIT xiaomi blackshark 2 front detail The screen improves compared to the previous generation. / © AndroidPIT

But in terms of smartphones For games, the Black Shark 2 screen has a weak point: the refresh rate is 60 Hz, which means a limit of 60 fps in games. A disappointment for fans of action games who are waiting for a faster frequency to rival the Razer Phone 2 (120Hz LCD), the Asus ROG Phone (90Hz AMOLED) and the new Nubia Red Magic 3 (90Hz AMOLED). Unfortunately, our shark lags behind in this category, but do not discard it by this factor.

The Black Shark 2 screen allows you to upload the hertz in a different way. Black Shark claims to register the contact point on the screen at 240 Hz to reduce the input latency on the touch screen to 43.5 ms. This should make the touch screen more sensitive than that of the rivals, but where to draw the line about whether a few milliseconds made the difference between life and death the last time they beat you on PUBG?

An additional feature on the screen is what Black Shark calls Magic Touch. Basically, the screen can distinguish between a light touch and a stronger one, such as the 3DTouch function of Apple. This sensitivity can be assigned to different functions in games.

In my experience, although the screen is very sensitive most of the time, for action games I have preferred to use the gamepad as much as possible. But it is good to know that, if you only have to use the touch screen, there are ways to customize the controls according to your own tastes and needs.

The gamepad makes a difference

The Black Shark gamepad has a left and right module. These modules are inserted into a special input of the phone, connected by Bluetooth after switching on, and charged separately with a USB Type-C cable. Each pad has 4 buttons on the surface and two on the sides, with a thumb to the left and a trackpad on the right. The gamepads and the case are sold separately and cost 89.90 euros. Even so, if you are squandering in the Black Shark 2 as a gaming device, I recommend you go for everything and make the most of it.

AndroidPIT xiaomi blackshark 2 controllers The gamepads come with a special cover for the Black Shark 2. / © AndroidPIT

You just have to couple the pads, activate the Shark Mode and voila, you will have transformed the mobile into a full-fledged portable console. Don't get me wrong, I don't say that it becomes a Nintendo Switch, but the equipment is still impressive for a smartphone.

Once the gamepads are connected, the next step is to assign the controls in the game studio options, with a very simple interface that only requires dragging and dropping the controls on the buttons to be assigned.

AndroidPIT xiaomi blackshark 2 key mapping To assign controls, just drag and drop. / © AndroidPIT

This works wonders with action games that use virtual buttons, such as PUBG and Fortnite. But it's not just for shooters. The gamepad also goes great with fighting games like Street Fighter IV and Samurai Shodown. The operation of action RPGs or Metroidvania-style games such as Grimvalor It is a dream. My fingers quickly settled into a fluidity that is difficult to achieve with a touch screen. It hasn't been long, and now I don't want to play these games in any other way.

AndroidPIT xiaomi blackshark 2 gaming Action games and fighting games feel much better using the gamepad. / © AndroidPIT

In general, the input latency is imperceptible, but may vary depending on the game. For example, when trying some of the classic SEGA side scrollers or even the most modern Shadowgun Legends, the game did not accurately follow the thumb, which is a shame, since they would have won a lot with the gamepad.

Slider or gesture-based controls are difficult to assign to the controls. The trackpad on the right can be assigned to a slide or a long press, as long as things don't get too complicated.

Android Pie with player padding

The software is basically Android 9 Pie series with some video-oriented extras. In the settings, the function Game dock It has useful features to optimize frame rate and voice chat in the game, but the good thing comes when you press that slider Shark mode.

AndroidPIT xiaomi blackshark 2 buttons This is the Shark Mode mode switch. / © AndroidPIT

Said switch activates the Shark space, a horizontal mode that serves as a virtual base for mobile games and allows you to deactivate calls and notifications so that the user can concentrate on their games. In addition, a long slide down from the upper corner in this mode displays some additional options. This is a difficult gesture to master and I ended up accidentally opening the quick settings more than once.

AndroidPIT xiaomi blackshark 2 setup bar Controller configurations, block notifications and more. / © AndroidPIT

Additional functions that can be activated include a fps counter, tools to manage performance (which goes up to the absurd) and the ability to keep the game running with the screen turned off (mode Hangup).

But the most important thing is the customization options to assign the Magic Touch function, and the gamepads, which although they are optional extras, are highly recommended.

First class performance

The best Snapdragon 855 from Qualcomm feeds this predator, and even the version with less specifications has 8 GB of RAM, so it is not surprising that the Black Shark 2 ends up being a powerful performance engine, handling the most demanding games of Android with ease, and also be prepared for the future. In fact, the price-performance ratio is simply excellent.

The Black Shark 2 makes the difference absolutely in our benchmark results, leaving the competition behind whether it is the smartphones of games like the last flagships. It is an open secret that benchmarks do not always translate directly into usage performance – many manufacturers, including Xiaomi, have been discovered "cheating." But, at least in this case, it seems to confirm it. Multitasking with different applications, graphically demanding games such as Shadowgun Legends or Darkness Rises, Asphalt 9, etc., all without problems with the maximum settings whenever possible.

Black Shark 2: benchmark comparison

3D Device Mark Sling Shot Extreme ES 3.1 3D Mark Sling Shot ES 3.0 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited ES 2.0
Black shark 25504731972727
Razer Phone 24001508463325
Asus ROG Phone4376496362481
Samsung Galaxy S9 +4731450356128

Black Shark 2 – Audio

The Black Shark 2 has front speakers but they are not the ones found in the smartphones Razer They seem, and sound, more subtle. Even so, they are more potent than most of those with smartphones normal and do their job admirably, whether you're listening to the steps in PUBG or listening to music casually throughout the house.

As we have already mentioned, there is no audio jack, so you will have to connect or use Bluetooth headphones.

A phone for games with decent cameras

In the rear we find a set of two cameras: 48MP primary sensor, (aperture f / 1.75) plus a 12MP telephoto lens with 2x zoom (aperture f / 2.2). The front selfie camera has a 20MP sensor, (aperture f / 2.0).

AndroidPIT xiaomi blackshark 2 camera Black Shark 2 cameras are not bad at all. / © AndroidPIT

The first wave of gaming phones was characterized by the lack of cameras, but the Black Shark 2 is a pleasant surprise in this regard. Not the best, but nothing to be ashamed of. AI is present (and literally, if you take it with beauty mode), intervening to sharpen things, add a blurred background and so on, but it can be deactivated.

Although the camera cannot wait to match the main flagships such as the Galaxy S10, it behaves well. Enthusiastic photographers will find objections quickly, as in the case of granulated details in zoomed shots, and occasionally in faded colors. It really goes wrong in difficult light conditions.

There is also a professional mode that offers you more customization options and some fun features like Tilt Shift. Players who want to play a little with their camera from time to time will find some things to experiment with. 4K video recording is possible at 30 FPS, in slow motion at 120 FPS.

Awesome resistance

The Black Shark 2 battery has a capacity of 4,000 mAh with a fast charge of 27W, and stands out as another impressive point in its favor. Not only did it help me overcome the "normal" day of phone use and a couple of gaming sessions at night, but the PCMark Work 2.0 battery test took 11 hours to drop to 20%, and it was recharged to the maximum in just over an hour.

Wireless charging is not possible, but in all other aspects, the battery is excellent.

Black Shark 2 – Technical Specifications

Dimensions:

Weight:

Battery size:

Screen size:

Display technology:

Screen:

Frontal camera:

Rear camera:

Flash:

RAM:

Internal memory:

Chipset:

Number of cores:

Connectivity:

163.6 x 75 x 8.77 mm
205 gr
4000 mAh
6.39 inches
AMOLED
2340 x 1080 pixels (403 ppi)
20 megapixels
48 megapixels
LED
6 GB
8 GB
12 GB
128 GB
256 GB
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
8
HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM, Bluetooth 5.0

Power at the right price

The Black Shark 2 can be the most interesting gaming phone on the market thanks to its excellent performance and its complete set of functions at an affordable price. I admit that I would recommend the gamepad set to get the most out of it, although that makes it more expensive. Still it is cheaper and versatile than the expensive ROG Phone and the Razer Phone 2, and more than enough power to handle anything you ask for a smartphone.

AndroidPIT xiaomi blackshark 2 setup After this analysis, I don't want to give up the gamepad. / AndroidPIT

If you are looking for a lightweight smartphone with a superior camera, then I am impressed that you have come here. This is not for you. But if you prefer to spend your free time with your smartphone playing action games instead of on social networks, the Black Shark 2 is a weapon worthy of your choice. When you're not playing, you can enjoy the quality experience of a clean Android powered by first-class internal devices for which you didn't pay a cent.

If the screen had a faster refresh rate and a resolution of 2K, the Black Shark 2 could be the perfect gaming smartphone. However, as it stands, it remains one of the best options, with a price point and unmatched performance.

Black shark 2

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