Xiaomi Black Shark 4 review

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Introduction and specifications

Uncompromising gaming experience cheap. That’s what Xiaomi is aiming for with its second-best gaming phone, the Black Shark 4. It offers pretty much everything the Pro version has, but tones the chipset down to the Snapdragon 870 and swaps the main 64MP camera for a 48MP. It may sound like a significant downgrade, but the competitive price of only € 500 may be enough to convince you to pull the trigger. And Black Shark 4 has two of them.

Xiaomi Black Shark 4 review

On top of the already standard 144Hz OLED panel, Xiaomi has included other game-specific features such as the physical shoulder triggers. It may not sound like much considering that Asus and nubia do too, but these are physical, clickable buttons. And nothing beats them when it comes to games.

Overview of Xiaomi Black Shark 4 specifications:

  • Body: 163.8×76.4×9.9mm, 210g; Glass front and back, metal frame.
  • Screen: 6.67 “Super AMOLED, 144Hz, HDR10 +, 1300 nit (peak), 1080x2400px resolution, 20: 9 aspect ratio, 395ppi; Always on display.
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SM8250-AC Snapdragon 870 5G (7 nm): Octa-core (1×3.2 GHz Kryo 585 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 585 & 4x 0.80 GHz Kryo 585); Adreno 650.
  • Memory: 128 GB 6 GB RAM, 128 GB 8 GB RAM, 128 GB 12 GB RAM, 256 GB 12 GB RAM; UFS 3.1.
  • OS / software: Android 11, Joy UI 12.5.
  • Rear camera: Wide (head): 48 MP, f / 1.8, 1 / 2.0 “, 0.8 um, PDAF; Ultra wide angle: 8 MP, f / 2.2, 120 °, 1 / 4.0 “, 1.12 ;m; Macro: 5 MP, f / 2.4, AF.
  • Front camera: 20 MP, f / 2.0, (wide), 0.8 .m.
  • Video recording: Rear camera: 4K @ 30 / 60fps, 1080p @ 30/60 / 240fps, 1080p @ 960fps; Front camera: 1080p @ 30 fps.
  • Battery: 4500mAh; Fast charging 120W, 100% in 17 minutes (announced).
  • Various: Fingerprint reader (side mounted); NFC; 3.5 mm plug; Physical pop-up shoulder triggers.

The handset is also equipped with a set of powerful speakers and a proper cooling system that ensures that the performance lasts. However, the camera setup only covers the absolute minimum. So again, this is probably not what you’re looking for if you’m already here reading a gaming phone review.

What worries us the most is the battery capacity below 4,500 mAh below average. Hopefully, the extra fast 120W charge keeps the charging sessions as short as possible. Xiaomi promises a full charge in just 17 minutes.

Xiaomi Black Shark 4 review

It is also important to note that if you live outside of China, the Pro model is probably out of range anyway, so this model is as good as it gets from Black Shark. 4 Pro is in China only exclusive at the time of writing, so the non-Pro model has the troubling task of challenging the Snapdragon 888-equipped nubia Red Magic 6, which falls in the same price range.

So in this review we will see if the compromise with Snapdragon 870 is worth it considering the competition and pricing. We will also test different games in the Play Store and see if Xiaomi’s mobile phone can saturate the 144Hz screen with the corresponding settings. Gaming optimization is the Achilles heel of modern gaming smartphones, and so far, Asus has the lead with the most supported HRR games.

Unpacking the Xiaomi Black Shark 4

The Black Shark 4 comes in a standard retail box that weighs a little more than expected, mainly due to the thick 120W charger. The USB-A to USB-C cable for charging and data transfer is also at hand along with a hard, plastic, semi-transparent case as a bonus.

Xiaomi Black Shark 4 review

The case does not wrap around the entire handset and we can not say that it provides a good grip. On the upside, it does not make the phone bigger than it already is.

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