Out of 10
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G|
|Display||6.67″ FHD+ Super AMOLED @ 144Hz, 1300 nits Peak Brightness, HDR 10+|
|Camera||64 MP – Wide|
8 MP – Ultra Wide
5 MP- Macro
20 MP – Front Facing
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.2 ,USB Type-C 2.0, 5G, Up to WiFi 6|
3.5mm audio jack
|OS||Joy UI 12.5 (Android 11)|
|Battery||4500 mAh, 120W Fast Charging|
|Available Colors||Black, Grey|
|Retail Price||8GB/128GB – RM 2,599|
12GB/256GB – RM 2,999
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall “
The Black Shark 4 Pro raises performance from the Black Shark 4 with very mild changes in design to set them apart. The price ceiling is set higher, climbing towards RM 3000 but still technically under, which is probably what people want to see these days but the reality is, would the Black Shark 4 Pro have enough to justify the buy over the Black Shark 4 itself?
Holding the review unit, I definitely felt the weight on my hands. It’s a solid glass and metal sandwich that’s balanced all over compared to the Black Shark 4 that’s more on the top-heavy side. Seems like the weight distribution’s just right this time around. It has rounded edges and it’s nearly 10mm thick, and slapping on the included grip case makes it even thicker. Most gaming class phones are thick any way, and for good reason. It didn’t feel uncomfortable playing for prolonged periods of time so that’s already a good sign.
The black color I have gotten is a full mirror design, which makes fingerprints still a primary issue but that’s not out of the ordinary these days.
At the back there’s a small Black Shark 4 logo can be seen with the Black Shark wording towards the bottom. Right below the camera module is a little triangle that lights up in any color of your choosing, with of course the option to switch it off. It barely impacts battery life anyway so I just leave it on for flexing.
The camera module is in a slit position, bringing back some memories of the Galaxy S10. Definitely as expected for a gaming phone. The case is already thick enough, so the camera module doesn’t stick out too much.
The 6.67″ display is sleek and tall, plenty of screen real estate for all my gaming. The bezels were surprisingly thin all around, with a little tiny cutout for the front-facing camera. There’s a pre-installed film on the display so there’s some assurance out of the box that it’ll be free of scratches.
The Black Shark 4 Pro retains the same Super AMOLED panel, capable of 144Hz gaming with options to tone down to 60Hz or 90Hz, adding versatility right off the bat. Adding to this is an astronomical 720Hz touch response, which is pretty damn fast for your fingers. It’s pretty much the same with the Black Shark 4 here in this respect.
Colors were excellent and sharp, taking full advantage of the Super AMOLED panel to provide inky blacks and vivid spectrums.
“Surprising Performance for a Snapdragon 888 “
Since the dawn of its existence, the Snapdragon 888 chipset has been riddled with a mix of issues, from throttling to instability in term of gaming. This time around, it seems that the Black Shark 4 Pro is equipped well enough to keep such issues at bay, from cooling to perhaps even optimization. I expect the thermal threshold limit to be more or less the same as the Black Shark 4, but it seems harder to hit that limit here, which implies that it’ll take a longer time of gaming to reach that threshold. Either way, if you got yourself the external game cooler, it’ll make a world of difference here.
Navigation was buttery smooth and with no delays. There was nothing on the Play Store (game-wise) that the Black Shark 4 Pro (or even the 4) wasn’t able to run. I particularly enjoyed Honkai Impact 3 because I was able to confidently set everything to max including refresh rate and still managed to enjoy more than an hour of my weekly grinding missions.
If you’re more of an FPS player, you can take advantage of the pop-up trigger buttons and setting them up to aim-down my sights and fire your gun. It felt like my phone was also a game controller and it was something that’s way better than air triggers that had no actuation and clickiness.
Tip: CODM, PUBG Mobile and FreeFire users, you won’t be able to get the full 144Hz refresh rate as most titles have their own FPS caps, so forcing it would cause things to stutter. I highly suggest setting the refresh rate to “Intelligent Switch” in the drop-down performance manager when you’re in game to keep things running smooth.
The 4500 mAh battery is charged via the provided 120W charger in the box. At first I thought it was overkill, but considering that the battery was only able to last about a day on a single charge as a gamer, being able to charge back to full under 20 minutes offsets that problem. This however, is proprietary technology, so you can’t just use any 120W charger AND cable. You’re going to have to buy spares if you want easier accessibility.
The Black Shark 4 Pro runs on Joy UI 12.5, which looked and felt a little close to stock Android with some gaming aesthetics integrated into the design. You’ll also get Shark Chan, an interactive AI that you can set to even appear on your home screen. You can poke her around and even have her as your alarm for you to wake up. Was quite a shocker to here a cute anime-girl voice trying to wake me up for my morning!
Shark Space is the dedicated gaming centre of the Black Shark series. You can either tap on the app or press and hold both the trigger buttons to activate it.
From there you can manage all your games, accessories and all game-related settings like universal brightness, auto-rejecting phone calls and choosing refresh rates. Shark Space is also able to be called on by swiping the corners of the Black Shark in any game that you’re playing to change things on-the-fly.
The power button is on the right side and doubles as a fingerprint reader. I guess that’s one way to keep costs low without annoying the hell outta anyone.
Camera System isn’t half bad.
Under assuming circumstances, we would expect gaming phones to have only half-decent camera systems. The Black Shark 4 Pro however actually had a pretty usable set. It has pretty much the same setup as the Black Shark 4 except for the main wide angle lens (64MP vs 48MP).
. The main sensor is a 64MP wide angle that offers good dynamic range but lacks sharpness and color in some cases. Under overcast weather, you can see that colors look really all over the place, with some reds looking brighter than others, and even some flatness to yellows.
The 8MP ultrawide does a decent job correction distortion but occasionally hits off the wrong white balance and goes towards the green side of things.
The digital zooms were usable as well, capable to making words even readable from a distance. You’ll definitely see some watercolor effects as part of the post-processing effort, don’t worry about that, as that’s common practice for smartphones these days that offer a digital zoom over an optical.
The 20 MP selfie camera here does so-so, passing in exposure and skin tones. You can choose how much bokeh you want your portrait shots to have, but do take it mind that there’ll be a lot of software post-processing in the works so you’ll definitely see a difference in quality when you’re taking shots in normal mode or portrait. My skin tone seemed to have gone up a notch in portrait which is not a bad thing. I purposely did a peace sign to see how well could the camera do to get the blurs right.
It did well with the head, but could only work out 1 out of 2 fingers, I would consider this passable considering that this is a gaming phone and this would not be the right focus of its existence. Well done Black Shark!
You and I both know who would buy this.
The Black Shark 4 Pro is an awesome gaming phone with strong specs all across the board. The physical trigger buttons were a pleasant experience and the device didn’t even break a sweat on max settings on high refresh rates. However it doesn’t have enough oomph over the Black Shark 4 itself who already has more or less the same specs except for the processor and wide angle sensor. The raw power of the Snapdragon 870 is strong but it definitely won’t beat the likes of the Snapdragon 888 but the draw is too close to call.
If you’re upgrading from the Black Shark 2 or 3 even, then going to the Pro just gives you the maxed out option, but if you’re on a budget but really want a gaming phone, go for the Black Shark 4 instead, and use the money you save for extra support like their gaming cooler and a spare charger.
We officially certify the Black Shark 4 Pro to be worthy of the Silver Award.