I’ve often criticized gaming Android phones for being an unnecessary gimmick. Any high-end smartphone, whether it’s an Android or iPhone, will be a powerful gaming device. I will admit, however, that gaming phones have pushed the industry forward, as standard flagship smartphones now ship with specifications that you’d expect to find on a gaming phone. I’m not talking about the CPU or GPU combo, as it’s often the latest Snapdragon flagship that powers the latest high-end Android and gaming phones. But gaming phones usually had more RAM and storage, a beefier battery, and higher refresh rate screens.
All those features are now available on high-end Android handsets, and the Galaxy S20 series is the best example of that — the phone has at least 12GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, high-capacity battery, and fast-charging. In other words, it’s a lot more difficult for gaming phone makers to come up with unique, gaming-centric features for their newest devices. This brings us to the latest gaming phone, which finally packs a feature that will actually help with gaming — one that you won’t find on other devices, competitors included.
The Black Shark 3 and Black Shark 3 Pro were just launched in China, featuring incredible hardware. Let’s look at the specs differences between these two devices first. We have two screen choices: 6.67-inch Full HD or 7.1-inch 2K OLED, both featuring 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 90Hz screen refresh rate, and 270Hz touch refresh rate. As for the batteries, we’re looking at 4,720 mAh and 5,000 mAh capacities, respectively, both supporting 65W fast charging tech.
Both handsets share the same core specs: Snapdragon 865 processor, 8/12GB of LPDDR5 RAM, 128/256GB of UFS 3.0 storage, liquid cooling, triple-lens rear camera (64-megapixel primary, 13-megapixel wide-angle, and 5-megapixel ToF lenses), 20-megapixel selfie camera, 5G, Wi-Fi 6, USB-C, and 3.5mm headphone jack.
The Black Shark 3 Pro phone also features two physical shoulder buttons — a first for gaming phones. Yes, devices like the Nubia Red Magic Mars (November 2018), and the first-gen Asus ROG phone (June 2018), both featured shoulder buttons, but those were capacitive ones. This time around, you’re getting buttons similar to what you’d find on console controllers, and they could actually come in handy when playing certain types of games.
The phones will be available in China at first, and they’ll be quite affordable, especially compared with the Galaxy S20 that just launched. We’re looking at a starting price of 3,499 yuan ($502) for the 8GB/128GB Black Shark 3, while the most expensive 12GB/256GB Black Shark 3 Pro costs 4,999 ($718).