A new phone dubbed the Black Shark marks, in a roundabout way, Xiaomi’s entry into the gaming phone market. The device’s launch follows an investment made by Xiaomi in Black Shark Technology, a Chinese gaming company that will presumably form part of the Mi ecosystem.
The Black Shark’s black-and-green styling won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s seen the Razer Phone, the most prominent gaming phone on the market today, although it’s a lot smoother and curvier. (Also, check those green chamfered edges.) Inside, it has the appropriately high specs you’d expect: a Snapdragon 845, up to 8GB of RAM, a 1080p 21:9 display, and a 4,000mAh battery.
There’s no mention of a high refresh rate display, unlike the Razer Phone, but the Black Shark phone earns its gamer credentials by way of an attachable analog stick controller that snaps onto one side of the screen. The phone also supposedly has true “liquid cooling,” a term that’s previously been used for heat pipe-style cooling solutions on phones like the Lumia 950, which isn’t quite the same thing as what you’d find on a gaming PC. In any case, Black Shark is claiming temperature reductions of 8 degrees Celsius.
The Black Shark phone is available to preorder online now for 3499 yuan (about $480) for a model with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage — which is pretty cheap for a phone with a Snapdragon 845. It’s not clear whether Xiaomi will be selling it directly, however. We’ve reached out for clarification on this and the relationship between the two companies.
Although gaming phones are still a pretty niche market worldwide, they make more sense in China than most other places due to the overwhelming popularity of relatively hardcore mobile games like the dominating MOBA Honor of Kings and various spins on the PUBG battle royale formula. Dedicated consoles don’t have the same degree of penetration in China, so the idea of a phone focused on gaming performance could well be appealing to serious players. Last month, Xiaomi also announced its first gaming-first computer, the Mi Gaming Laptop.