Black Shark 4 Pro Review — Setting The Benchmark For Gaming Smartphones?
Powered by the Snapdragon 888, the Black Shark 4 Pro comes with physical triggers, a super fast 144Hz refresh rate AMOLED display and impressive dual speakers. Does it impress in real-life though? Find out exactly that right here.
+ Super fast 120W fast charger
+ Pretty AMOLED 144Hz refresh rate display
+ Cameras are decent even when they're not the real selling point
+ Temperatures are good when gaming
+ Dual speakers is surprisingly good
- Battery efficiency could do better
- Could do with bigger storage for base variant
- English usage is questionable on their software
- Physical triggers could do with less travel
Recently, the folks at Black Shark has launched their new flagship device in Malaysia. So if you’re curious on what it has to offer, here’s our Black Shark 4 Pro review. Is it the gaming smartphone for you? Let’s find out.
Black Shark 4 Pro Unboxing
From the packaging, you can expect the following items to be included:
- Black Shark 4 Pro
- Hard case
- SIM ejector
- 120W fast charger
- USB-C cable
The Black Shark 4 Pro sports a 6.67-inch AMOLED display that comes with 144Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ support. As you can see, there’s a punch-hole camera on the top of the display, centered in position. Bezels are minimal, which is certainly pleasing to the eyes..
At the bottom is where you’ll find a microphone, 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C port, and one of the phone’s speakers.
Over on the right side of the device, there’s the power button right in the middle. You’ll see that the magnetic physical triggers are located over here as well, at the end of the edges, accompanied by their switch (for the triggers).
On the opposite left is where you can find the SIM tray as well as the volume rockers.
As for the top, there’s the secondary speaker of the device plus a secondary microphone.
We got our hands on the blue variant of the device and it’s quite the eye-catcher. The triple camera layout is located in the upper-middle part of the rear, arranged horizontally. Just sitting below it is the phone’s triangle LED light. Of course, you have the Black Shark branding right in the middle.
Black Shark 4 Pro Specifications
|CPU||Snapdragon 888, 5nm FinFET
1 x Cortex-X1 @ 2.84 GHz + 3 x Cortex-A78 @ 2.42 GHz + 4 x Cortex-A55 @ 1.80 GHz
|Display||6.67″ FHD+ (2400 x 1080) AMOLED display, 144Hz refresh rate, HDR10+|
|Audio||Dual speakers, DTS Ultra X|
|Camera||64MP f/1.8 main camera, PDAF
8MP f/2.2, 120-degree ultra-wide
5MP f/2.4, macro, AF
AI Camera, Auto HDR, Pro Mode, Portrait, Beauty, Panorama
|Selfie camera||20MP f/2.5 selfie camera|
|Connectivity||WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, WiFi 6
USB Type-C 2.0
3.5mm headphone jack
|Software||JOYUI 12 based on MIUI 12.5|
120W fast charging
|Dimensions||163.8 x 76.4 x 9.9 mm|
Kicking off with the Antutu V9 benchmark, we see that the Black Shark 4 Pro takes top spot with a score of 822,014. Off to a pretty good start, I’d say.
We see similar results in Geekbench 5, where it outperforms every other device on the list. It just manages to outperform the Xiaomi 11 by a small margin, as you can see from the graph.
To my surprise, I expected a similar result on 3DMark for the device. Here you’ll find that it doesn’t even make it to the top three on this list. That being said, it still performs admirably in all three tests.
Heading to PCMark’s Work 3.0 test, we find that the smartphone takes back the top spot, outperforming other flagship devices that we’ve tested so far.
Finally, we head over to the battery test on PCMark. Despite how you can see that it’s bottom of the list, you have to remember that it’s running on Ultimate mode, with the refresh rate set to 144Hz (mind the error on the image). It managed to last 6 hours and 20 minutes.
As for personal use, I find that the smartphone would last me around a day and a half before I need to recharge the device. Of course, this is subjective as it’s dependent on your usage. This is what I found after turning the highest possible settings available. You could find better battery life out of it by switching to a lower refresh rate and turning off the RGB lighting at the back.
When it comes to charging, it is a speedy experience thanks to the 120W fast charger. I had no issues in getting a maxed out charge from 18% in just 30 minutes.
The Black Shark 4 Pro has, what I would describe as, a massive redesign where it looks like a proper smartphone, especially when you compare it to the Black Shark 2 Pro that we reviewed previously. The back of the device is flat with a sleek appearance.
It uses a Samsung E4 AMOLED panel and it’s definitely more than enough to enjoy watching content. The experience is further helped with the offering up to 144Hz refresh rate and 720Hz touch sampling rate, which makes everything smoother. When it comes to the dual speakers, I can say that I was impressed by it. Sound quality has depth and it’s pretty loud. I would rate it as one of the best that we’ve tested so far.
This is probably the reason why we’ve all come here: the gaming part of the review. The physical triggers utilize a magnetic mechanism where the triggers will pop out when you slide the buttons on top. When you bring them out or close them down, there’s a reloading sound that activates. While I personally enjoy them during my gaming sessions, I think they could further improve it by making the travel distance shorter.
We then head on to thermals of the device. I found that it does a rather good job in keeping temperatures in check. Games such as COD Mobile and PUBG Mobile ran without issues. So I went ahead and test the game on the most challenging game (for a smartphone), which is Genshin impact. I played the game on the highest setting possible and recorded about 42°C after 20-minutes of gameplay.
This is pretty impressive to be honest. Black Shark has stated that they’ve used a “Sandwich” Liquid Cooling System and it has definitely helped out. I find that it spreads the heat out to the sides of the device, hence why it’s able to keep itself at good temperatures.
The phone comes pre-installed with Game Space, their very own app that lets you customize your experience with the smartphone. Here, you will find settings that you can tweak around such as performance, display, touch, audio, network and more. You will also be able to connect your other Black Shark accessories, should you happen to have them too. If there’s one thing that I’d complain here, the usage of English is questionable on some parts.
The phone sports JOYUI 12 as its skin, which is based on MIUI 12.5 from Xiaomi. I can’t complain much right here as I find no issues with it whatsoever. The UI is smooth and there’s no sense of sluggishness. It’s generally straightforward to use.
The camera UI is just the same as the recent smartphones from Xiaomi. As I’ve said before, there’s nothing much to complain right here where it’s pretty straightforward. You can easily customize the modes to your liking, so that’s a win.
Moving forward to the cameras, the smartphone comes with a triple camera setup consisting of a 64MP main camera, 8MP ultra-wide lens, and finally a 5MP macro shooter. The Night mode does help out surprisingly well in getting sharper details. Overall the cameras give a decent performance but if it’s one thing that I find lacking is its macro mode.
When I tested it out, results were a bit of a hit or miss. If I try to focus on a certain part, it sometimes has trouble doing so. Then again, I’m not expecting much since the main focus of the device isn’t the cameras.
Check out the full-sized images by heading to the link right here.
Black Shark 4 Pro Verdict
Starting from the price of RM2,599, the Black Shark 4 Pro is a worthy offering in the gaming smartphone market. It offers several top-of-the-line specifications and it does rather well when it comes to gaming itself. There are pros and cons as you’d expect.
The review unit that we had is slightly different from the one offered in Malaysia, where it comes with 12GB RAM mated to a 128GB internal storage. If anything, I wished that the battery would perform slightly better. There is the speedy 120W fast charger however to combat that and get you up and running in no time.
After all is said and done, we award the Black Shark 4 Pro with our Silver Pokdeward.
We would like to thank Black Shark Malaysia for providing the Black Shark 4 Pro that was used in this review.
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