The Black Shark 2 smartphone is an affordable alternative to the Razer Phone 2 for mobile gaming. However, the phone lacks a headphone jack. Perhaps even more curious is how the company shared with Tech Radar its intentions to return the 3.5mm port to its subsequent phone.
A Black Shark spokesperson shared in the same statement that including the port would deviate from current smartphone designs. Considering that Huawei already backpedaled on its nixing of the jack by returning it to the P30, this seems an odd claim. What’s more, rumors indicate that the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 XL Lite will include the headphone jack.
Black Shark’s reasoning for ditching the jack is more tenuous than other OEMs’ excuses. After all, the omission appears rooted in following the pack. A previous statement made by the company to Tech Radar cites the phone’s dual front-facing speakers and noise canceling headphones to justify its absence by. This explanation reads like an afterthought at best.
Black Shark is already reversing on its move to ditch the headphone jack. Meanwhile, we expect to see more companies in addition to Huawei include it in 2019 releases.
In all fairness, Black Shark throws consumers a bone and includes a dongle adapter, which is appreciated considering USB-C audio is dead. Yet, since the company is openly stating that its future products will include a 3.5mm headphone jack, this gaming smartphone feels like a product that was spit balled in the dark.
One could say that Black Shark is a daring company open to experimentation. One could also say that the sky is green. In both instances, one would be incorrect. Again, seeing how Black Shark is already asserting its future products will have a headphone port, it’s sheepishly admitting the “follow what’s trendy approach” didn’t work.
Although it is aggravating to witness Black Shark waffle on its smartphone audio decisions, the light at the end of the tunnel remains: others are seeing the errors of their ways and returning the port to their 2019 phones. In the meantime, companies like LG and Samsung—which remained true to wired audio as others patently followed Apple—are likely feeling smug when it comes to audio, and rightfully so.