The Black Shark 5 Pro retains the signature pop-up magnetic triggers that made its predecessor such a good gaming smartphone. Key specs like the processor and main camera have also been upgraded. In short, one of the best, and more affordable gaming phones in the market gets even better.
- 6.67-inch Super AMOLED screen (2,400 x 1,080 pixels), up to 144Hz
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage
- Triple cameras: 108MP (main), 13MP (ultra-wide), and 5MP (macro)
- 4,650mAh battery
The Black Shark 5 Pro comes with Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. It is the best processor for Android phones, for now. To ensure that its phone performs up to its full potential, Black Shark says it has a larger, improved liquid cooling system. In my testing, the Black Shark 5 Pro was only slightly warm in games like Call of Duty Mobile. But the temperature peaked at 56 degrees Celsius — too warm to touch — in the 3DMark Wild Life Extreme Stress Test. Performance also declined by around 27% (from 2,561 to 1,868) over the course of the 20-min stress test. In comparison, the Apple iPhone 13 never felt uncomfortably warm in this test. The iPhone also recorded a performance dip of only 11% (2,566 to 2,029) due to its better thermals. Thankfully, Black Shark sells a magnetic cooler that can prevent things from getting too toasty.
The battery is now a 4,650mAh version, up from 4,500mAh. Despite the upgrade, the Black Shark 5 Pro lasted just 20 mins shy of 13 hours, or roughly the same as its predecessor. It will last a hectic day, but not much more than that. It also has the same 120W fast charger that lets you top up the phone in around 15 mins. Interestingly, the phone has a new bypass feature that powers it directly when plugged in, without charging the battery. This can help to conserve the lifespan of the battery. The phone also feels cooler since the battery isn't being recharged. It makes much sense as gamers will probably keep the phone plugged in for long gaming sessions. Another upgrade is the 108MP main camera — it was only 64MP previously. In good lighting, this camera produced sharp images with little noise, while low-light performance was also decent.
Despite the upgrades, what makes the Black Shark 5 Pro a great gaming phone are the physical triggers. Not only can they offer gamers a real advantage in games, they can also be configured for everyday use. For example, I set one trigger to take a screenshot, while the other opens my Reddit app. They can also act as shutter buttons for the camera. The phone's OLED screen and symmetrical stereo speakers enhance the gaming experience. The former has a maximum 144Hz refresh rate, though most games cap out at 120Hz. It's also bright enough to be used outdoors in the sun. The speakers are excellent, but sadly the headphone jack has been removed. I also really like its haptic motor, which produces tight vibrations.
The Black Shark 5 Pro runs the gaming-themed JoyUI interface. Except for cosmetic differences and the Shark Space app to customise gaming settings, JoyUI is basically Xiaomi's Android 12-based MIUI. Minor grouse: Swiping right on the Black Shark 5 Pro's Home screen does nothing. It doesn't bring up Google Discover, unlike other Xiaomi phones. At S$1,099 for the 12GB + 256GB model, it is more expensive than its predecessor (from S$790). However, I think the upgrades are worth the price hike. Besides, the Black Shark 5 Pro is still more affordable than other gaming phones like the Asus ROG Phone 5. Get it now on Lazada and Shopee.
Note: Review unit provided by Black Shark.
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