Say hello to the Black Shark 4, the lower standing member of Xiaomi’s latest gaming smartphone duo. Differentiated from the Black Shark 4 Pro by the Snapdragon 870 in place of the 888 and a slightly different set of cameras, the Black Shark 4 is still an impressive phone.
We got the Chinese version model with an included 120W charger that can top up the 4,500mAh battery of the Black Shark 4 in just 17 minutes, but depending on where you live you’re likelier to get the 67W charger in the box. As that’s still plenty fast, so we really can’t count it against it.
Our unit comes with a 120W charger, but you might get a 67W one
With the Black Shark 4 Xiaomi set out to innovate, particularly on gaming features. As gaming phones go, this one is understated – it doesn’t scream FPS or LED LIGHTING, and that’s a nice change of pace.
Xiaomi has included a clever cooling “sandwich” that promises 30% increase in heat dissipation over a regular cooling solution. There is no built-in fan here, but there is an external one you can buy from Xiaomi for €37.90.
Then there are the shoulder triggers, which are the best we’ve seen on a gaming phone so far. They’re fully mechanical buttons, but you can hide them inside the phone’s body, using the levers on either side.
The magnetic pop-up triggers on the right side of the Black Shark 4
The buttons have lovely tactility and they become completely flush when you’re not using them.
In between the shoulder triggers sit the 5G and Wi-Fi 6 antennas, so that you don’t lose signal while you’re gaming.
Now you see me, now you don’t
The rest of the Xiaomi Black Shark 4 fits the conventional high-end smartphone perfectly. You get a 6.67-inch Super AMOLED with a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz, HDR10+ support, up to 1,300 nits of brightness and a maximum touch sampling rate of 720Hz, which is the fastest yet. Combined with the refresh rate it leads to a touch delay of just 8.3ms, which should give you a leg up in competitive gaming.
Software is Android 12, under the MIUI12 skin, under the JoyUI 12.5 skin, specially designed for Black Shark.
There’s a Snapdragon 870 chipset, 128GB or 256GB of storage and 6GB, 8GB or 12GB of RAM. A main 48MP camera is aided by an 8MP ultrawide and 5MP dedicated macro with autofocus. Selfies are covered by the 20MP selfie camera – all in all an adequate if not necessarily impressive set of cameras.
The Xiaomi Black Shark 4 is on pre-order now, starting at $499/€499/£429 for the 8/128GB trim and $599/€599/£519 for the range-topping 12/256GB. Shipments begin on May 6, but we’d suggest waiting for our detailed review before you make that jump. Coming soon!