TL;DR
  • Black Shark has launched the Black Shark 4 series.
  • The phones pack a pair of shoulder buttons that retract into the phone.
  • The vanilla variant with a Snapdragon 870 chipset is available to pre-order now globally, with prices starting at $499/€499/£429.

Update, April 28, 2021 (12:50 PM ET): If you have your eye on the vanilla variant within the Black Shark 4 series, you can now pre-order one, even here in the United States. The phone starts at $499/€499/£429 for the 8GB/128GB model and goes up to $599/€599/£519 for the 12GB/256GB version. It has a Snapdragon 870 under the hood.

Unfortunately, the Pro model with a Snapdragon 888 is still unavailable. It should have pre-orders soon.


Original article, March 23, 2021 (08:10 AM ET): Xiaomi-affiliated Black Shark has been producing gaming phones since 2018, and the company has refreshed its lineup with the Black Shark 4 and Black Shark 4 Pro. So what should you expect from these phones?

As you’d expect from any decent gaming phone in 2021, the Black Shark 4 Pro is powered by a Snapdragon 888 SoC. Meanwhile, the vanilla model gets the Snapdragon 870 instead, which should still yield smooth performance in advanced 3D games and emulators.

We saw shoulder buttons on last year’s phones and this year is no different, but the Black Shark 4 phones now have shoulder buttons that retract in and out of the body. These shoulder buttons can be raised via a pair of nearby switches, but otherwise sit flush with the rest of the phone when not in use. Check out a GIF below for a better idea of how this works.

Black Shark 4 series shoulder button gif
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Both phones get a 6.67-inch FHD+ E4 OLED screen running at 144Hz, along with 720Hz touch sampling rate for more responsive input. The shared features don’t end here either, as the devices have the same 4,500mAh battery with 120W charging via a “standard” charger. The brand says you can expect a full charge in under 15 minutes as a result.

Both Black Shark phones have triple rear camera setups too, with the Pro model offering a 64MP main camera and the standard variant packing a 48MP main shooter. Otherwise, the phones share an 8MP ultra-wide lens, 5MP macro shooter, and a 20MP selfie camera in a center punch-hole cutout.

Other notable features include Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, Wi-Fi 6, and JoyUI 12.5 based on MIUI 12.

The vanilla Black Shark 4 starts at 2,499 yuan (~$384) for the 6GB/128GB model, 2,699 yuan (~$414) for the 8GB/128GB variant, and 2,999 yuan (~$461) for the 12GB/128GB option. In China and want the Black Shark 4 Pro? Then you’ll be spending 3,999 yuan (~$614) for the 8GB/256GB model and 4,499 yuan (~$691) for the 12GB/256GB variant. There’s no word on global availability just yet, although the global website is allowing users to sign up for Black Shark 4 series news.