The Black Shark 4 is a high-end gaming phone that doesn’t look like one

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Xiaomi’s Black Shark brand has announced its fourth series of gaming phones, the Black Shark 4 and 4 Pro. They improve on the previous series in most of the ways you’d expect them to. There’s a faster processor, moving up to the Snapdragon 870 in the standard Black Shark 4 and the Snapdragon 888 in the 4 Pro. Both phones also come with fast LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage, though each will come in different configurations.

The Black Shark 4 starts with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for 2,499 Chinese yuan (roughly $383), while the 4 Pro starts at 3,999 yuan (about $613) and has 8GB of RAM with 256GB of storage. These will debut in China on Friday, March 26th, while the company says an overseas launch will happen “in the near future.”

Black Shark 4

Image: Xiaomi

As is almost a given in the realm of gaming phones, Black Shark has leap-frogged Asus and RedMagic — some of its biggest competition in the niche gaming phone space — when it comes to touch sampling rate or how many times the display can register a touch. Both the Black Shark 4 and 4 Pro have a 720Hz touch sampling rate with a 8.3ms touch delay, which it claims to be an industry best. This spec likely won’t make a difference in most people’s day-to-day usage of these phones, but some hardcore gamers might care.

Both phones have the mechanical shoulder buttons introduced in the previous Black Shark phones, though the company claims it has improved their look and feel with “magnetic power lift” tech, making them feel more tactile to click, as well as fitting more seamlessly into the phone’s design. Speaking on the look of these new phones, they’re decidedly more attractive than the previous models.

Here’s the Black Shark 2, which introduced the pressure-sensitive display that lets you map two functions to one spot on the screen.
Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

In addition to the shoulder buttons, these phones still have a pressure-sensitive display that I really liked in the Black Shark 2. With the shoulder buttons and a screen like this, you can re-map the controls of a mobile game to be a little more comfortable.

Unlike last year’s model, the Black Shark 4 and 4 Pro have displays that are the same size. They both have 6.67-inch OLED screens with a 144Hz refresh rate. Like the Asus ROG Phone 5 Ultimate that I recently reviewed, these phones have dual front-facing speakers with claims that they have good spatial audio separation. Also like that Asus phone, Black Shark announced that a fan accessory called the FunCooler 2 Pro can be attached to keep it cooler. The price for that is 199 yuan (about $30).

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