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Black Shark 3 series announced: It has real shoulder triggers!

Black Shark's new phones also sport big batteries, high refresh rate screens and, yes, a headphone jack.

Published onMarch 3, 2020

The Black Shark 3 Pro.
Supplied by Black Shark

Black Shark made quite a splash (heh) when it revealed its first gaming phone in 2018, and the firm raised the bar in 2019 with its Black Shark 2 phones. It isn’t stopping there either, as it’s just announced the Black Shark 3 and Black Shark 3 Pro.

As you’d expect from a 2020 flagship, the Black Shark 3 series delivers a Snapdragon 865 processor with 5G capabilities. You’re also getting an improved, fourth-generation liquid cooling system here, which is a must for sustained performance in demanding games.

Read: The best smartphones for gaming

The phones also stands out thanks to their charging capabilities, offering 65W speeds via USB-C and 18W charging via a proprietary magnetic charging port at the back. The Black Shark 3 packs a 4,720mAh battery while the Pro variant delivers a 5,000mAh battery. Either way, the company says it takes only 12 minutes to reach 50% capacity and you’re fully charged in 38 minutes.

The two phones also differ in terms of screen details, as the Black Shark 3 touts a 6.67-inch FHD+ OLED screen while the Pro variant has a monster, 7.1-inch 3,120 x 1,440 OLED panel. Black Shark’s new devices also sport a 270Hz touch sampling rate and claims record low latency of 24 milliseconds.

What else should you expect?

Don’t expect a 120Hz refresh rate as we’ve seen on the ASUS ROG Phone 2 and Galaxy S20 series, but the Black Shark 3 phones both sport 90Hz refresh rates and a dedicated MEMC chip for interpolating content to 90fps.

Other noteworthy specs include a triple rear camera setup (64MP+13MP ultra-wide+5MP depth), a 20MP selfie camera in the top bezel, a 3.5mm headphone port (yes!), front-facing stereo speakers, USB-C, UFS 3.0 storage, and LPDDR5 RAM.

It wouldn’t be a gaming phone if it didn’t have gaming-focused features, so we’re glad to see the Black Shark 3 series offer a few related capabilities. For one, both phones have four pressure-sensitive zones on their screens, giving you additional inputs in games.

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The Black Shark 3 Pro also gets two so-called Master Buttons, which are shoulder buttons. We’re glad to see this option here, as extra inputs are always appreciated. It’s not the first time we’ve seen shoulder inputs on a gaming phone, as the ASUS ROG Phone series offers capacitive triggers. But Black Shark is offering full-blown physical shoulder buttons here, which should offer better tactile feedback.

Black Shark 3 release date and price

The Black Shark 3 launches in China on March 3 2020 and the Black Shark 3 Pro will be available from March 10. The company says you can expect a global release in the “near future.”

As for Chinese pricing, you’ll be paying 3,499 yuan (~$501) for the 8GB/128GB model, 3,799 yuan (~$544) for the 12GB/128GB variant, and 3,999 yuan (~$573) for the 12GB/256GB option. Meanwhile, the Pro model starts at 4,699 yuan (~$673) for the 8GB/256GB option, and 4,999 yuan (~$716) for the 12GB/256GB variant.

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