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Black Shark announces new gaming phones with physical shoulder buttons

Front and rear views Black Shark 4

Many companies have been trying to push their own brand of gaming phones in recent years, with well-known brands like Lenovo and ASUS, but also some names that are a little less familiar to users, like RedMagic. Black Shark is one of those names you may not have heard before, but it's consistently been releasing new gaming smartphones for a few years now, and today, the company introduced the Black Shark 4 series of phones.

There are two phones in the lineup, and the biggest differences are in the silicon, RAM, and storage configurations. The Black Shark 4 has a Snapdragon 870 chipset and starts with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, going up to 12GB and 256GB, respectively. The Black Shark 4 Pro has a Snapdragon 888, and a minimum of 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, but can be configured up to 16GB and 512GB, respectively. Both phones use LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage.

Angled view of the back of the Black Shark 4 in a horizontal position

Black Shark touts a new cooling system that independently cools the 5G model, SoC, and the charging chipset, and promises a 30% increase in cooling efficiency over the previous generation.

Performance aside, the lineup is mostly similar between the two phones, most notably the mechanical shoulder buttons. This isn't a new addition for Black Shark, but it's still a distinctive factor of its phones, since even other gaming phones opt for capacitive touch areas.

Right-angle view of the Black Shark 4 display

The display is also the same between the two phones, with a 144Hz refresh rate and a whopping 720Hz touch sampling rate. While the refresh rate of the display itself is slightly outdone by the RedMagic 6, the touch sampling rate is much higher than what's found on that series. Black Shark also includes Master Touch 5.0, which uses detects different levels of pressure on the display to activate different actions. The panel is AMOLED and it's built by Samsung, and you can also see a hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera.

Audio is also a big deal, with Black Shark packing two symmetrical stereo speakers and a large resonance chamber into the phone. The company says it worked with DTS, Cirrus Logic, and AAC Technologies to develop audio profiles for specific types of games, and it also incorporates noise reduction technology with the help of Elephant Sound.

Other gaming features include the Shark Space gaming hub, with features like network usage controls and the ability to hide notifications. Black Shark has also updated the design of the phone to be more subdued while retaining the "gaming design".

Finally, the camera setup is one area where we see some cut corners, with a 64MP main camera, an 8MP ultra-wide lens, and a 5MP macro camera. The main camera supports 4K video recording at 60 frames per second, there's a super night mode, and phase detection autofocus along with electronic image stabilization. The Black Shark 4 Pro can also record HDR10+ video.

The Black Shark 4 series will be available for pre-order in China on March 26, with a global release coming "in the near future". The Black Shark 4 will cost ¥2,499 ($383.60) for the 6GB/128GB model, ¥2,699 ($414.30) for 8GB/128GB, ¥2,999 ($460.35) for 12GB/128GB, and ¥3,299 ($506.40) for 12GB/256GB. The Black Shark 4 Pro will cost ¥3,999 ($613.85) for the 8GB/256GB model, ¥4,499 ($690.60) for 12GB/256GB, and ¥5,299 ($813.40) for 16GB/512GB.

Black Shark also introduced a couple of accessories alongside the new phones. The FunCooler 2 Pro is an external cooling fan powered by the USB Type-C port, and it promises 15% more cooling efficiency than the previous version, while being 25% quieter. It has RGB lighting that matches the action on the display and a new screen that shows the current temperature of the hardware. It costs ¥199 ($30.55). There are also 3.5mm headphones coming in both normal and Pro variants and costing ¥149 ($22.87) or ¥249 ($38.22).

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