Black Shark (already) passes the fifth with the Black Shark 5, its new gaming smartphone. The price-performance ratio continues to guide the brand and it arrives rather well.
Announced at the start of the year, the Black Shark 5 and 5 Pro landed in France in June. An expected formalization for a brand that matters in the field of gaming smartphones. This segment managed to silence the critics and make a name for itself, as evidenced by the arrival of a 5e iteration of the Black Shark. The Xiaomi subsidiary wants to stay true to what made it successful, namely performance at the right price. After Black Shark 4 and Black Shark 4 Pro convincing, she comes back with a Black Shark 5 that we were able to test for several weeks. Enough to give us time to discover from every angle a smartphone that brings a wind of novelty, without denying its origins.
The Black Shark 5 in a nutshell
Black Shark uses the same pattern as for the previous generation, namely the existence of two different models. The one we are interested in is the Black Shark 5 “classic”, a smartphone with a flattering technical sheet without however going overboard. At its launch, this gaming-oriented model does not ship the most powerful SoC of the moment and is satisfied with a Snapdragon 870 5G. Already present on the previous version, this chip remains high-end and must offer comfortable performance on a daily basis as in any game.
Compared to the Pro model, our model is limited to a 64-megapixel main sensor (f/1.8). He adds a 13 megapixel ultra wide-angle (f/2.4, 120°) and a 2 megapixel macro module (f/2.4). All the technical characteristics are summarized in this table:
|Black Shark 5|
|Screen||– 6.67″ AMOLED screen
– Full HD+ definition (1080×2400)
– 20:9 aspect ratio
– Max brightness: 1300nits
|SoCs and GPUs||– Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G
– Adreno 660
– Liquid cooling system
|Memory||– 8GB or 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM
– 128GB or 256GB storage in UFS 3.1
– No memory expansion
|Colors||– Mirror Black
– Explorer Gray
|Camera||– Three cameras on the back:
– Wide-angle main camera: 64 Megapixels, f/1.8, PDAF
– Ultra-wide-angle camera: 8 Megapixels, 120°, f/2.4
– Macro camera: 2 Megapixels, f/2.4
– Phase detection autofocus
– Front camera with a 120 Megapixel sensor
|Audio||– Stereo speakers|
– Fast charging up to 120W (100% in just 15 min)
– Mains adapter supplied
|Connectivities||– Magnetic Pop-Up Triggers
– Physical fingerprint reader
– Wi-Fi 6
– 2x nano-SIM
– A-GPS+GLONASS, DNLA, Miracast (WiFi Direct), Google Cast
– USB 3.1, USB Type-C
– Barometer, Gyroscope, Accelerometer
– Proximity and light sensor
– JoyUI 13 (based on MIUI 13)
|Height and weight||– 163.83 x 76.35 x 9.9mm
|Starting price||– 549 euros (8GB + 128GB)
– 649 euros (12GB + 256GB)
|Availability date||– June 2022 (in France)|
For its Black Shark 5, the Chinese brand is completely revamping its copy compared to the latest iterations. This new model completely changed look to propose more aggressive and rectangular lines. This contrasts with the rounded aspect that versions 4 offered us and this is not necessarily unpleasant.
The design remaining a matter of taste, the Black Shark 5 remains a quite divisive smartphone. You have to like the codes from the world of PC gamers to appreciate the lines of this smartphone. Nevertheless, it is clear that we are entitled to a model rather classic behind this gamer aesthetic. All you have to do is add a shell to the Black Shark 5 to make it forget its gaming orientation.
Overall, it turns out even quite pleasing to the eye despite an imposing size and this aggressive spirit. The Black Shark leg ultimately remains quite discreet, especially with our black model (Mirror Black).
Once in the hands, the device is pleasant even if it does not use the finest materials. Instead imposing (163.8 x 76.3 x 10 mm for 218 g), its weight is well distributed and this template ensures a good grip. The soft coating is pleasant and the retractable triggers are always very well integrated.
Without making a splash, the design and construction of this smartphone do not have any real flaws. We can regret that the Black Shark 5 does not present no degree of protection. It also ignores the microSD port or the 3.5mm jack, like many models.
The Black Shark 5 has a 6.67-inch AMOLED display displaying in Full HD+, or 1080 x 2400 pixels. Its refresh rate goes up up to 144Hz and it has a touch sampling rate of 720 Hz. The panel also promises a peak in brightness at 1,300 nits.
Behind these figures, there is a screen that meets the expectations of players. The slab is large enough to provide a pleasant gaming experience and the performance is there. Again, the Black Shark 5 isn’t the most impressive on paper and some models feature a higher touch sampling rate (1000Hz). In fact, we take pleasure in taking advantage of this screen and advanced users will appreciate the customization options. The device offers to personalize the experience by adjusting the sensitivity or precision of the screen.
These options are expected on a smartphone of this caliber, as well as colorimetry at the level. Regulars of the Xiaomi brand will not be surprised to learn that the default setting offers colors that some will consider “flattering” and others “too saturated”. Indeed, it is better to opt for Standard mode if you want to have the most faithful rendering.
On a day-to-day basis, the screen has proven to be one of the strengths of the smartphone. Its size and features make it a powerful ally whether for web browsing, reading multimedia content or playing games.
Performances and Games
A Snapdragon 870 5G in a smartphone available in France in the middle of 2022, is that reasonable? Performance enthusiasts may have been surprised to discover that Black Shark has recycled the chip from its old model in this Black Shark 5. Qualcomm’s SoC, supported by 8 GB of RAMnevertheless remains at the top of the basket and offers always great performance. Admittedly, the benchmarks prove that it is currently behind compared to market benchmarks; but it takes more to spoil the experience.
The Black Shark 5 is comfortable for all everyday uses and shows no weakness. The fluidity is there and even the most demanding games – his favorite field – are managed without difficulty. We really take fun to play to Genshin Impact, Apex Legends, Call of Duty Mobile, Diablo Immortal, LOL Wild Rifts, Asphalt 9 Legends…
Black Shark’s smartphone even brings two icing on the cake with it. The first is known since it concerns physical triggers who contributed to the reputation of the range. These retractable “triggers” are particularly efficient and pleasant to use.
The other advantage is that the Snapdragon 870 heats up moderately. This makes the Black Shark 5 pleasant to use and accentuates the feeling of being in the presence of a controlled gaming smartphone. Even after long sessions (or benchmarks), the heating remains reasonable and stable.
Equipped with a 4650mAh battery, the Black Shark 5 does not overbid and offers satisfactory autonomy. It is in the average of the moment in normal use and it will not be very difficult to hold a busy day. To last two days, it’s a little more complicated since we are in the presence of a gaming smartphone. A greedy practice and ultimately not very embarrassing for this model which has the120W HyperCharge.
The technology, also used by devices stamped Xiaomi, allows a full charge in about 15 min (depending on the brand). In practice, the promise is almost kept with a full charge in less than 20 minutes.
Photo and video
Even if it is not strictly speaking a photophone, the Black Shark 5 makes it a point of honor to offer a complete photo block. On the back there is a triple photo module including a 64-megapixel (f/1.8) main sensor; a 13-megapixel ultra-wide-angle (f / 2.4) and a 2-megapixel (f / 2.4) macro module. On the front, a 16-megapixel selfie camera is available.
This configuration includes no surprises and turns out to be efficient in use. Do not expect to compete with the best in the field (or in this price range), but the necessary to take daily shots. In normal conditions, the main sensor and the ultra wide-angle offer satisfactory photos. They will do for social media.
The macro sensor is more anecdotal while the front camera is effective. On the experience side, it is similar to that of Xiaomi’s “classic” smartphones. In video, it is possible to shoot up to 4K at 60 frames per second.
The decision to go with the Black Shark 5 – or any other gaming smartphone – is unlikely to be photo-related. Nevertheless, it is reassuring to note that our model is not set back and offers a correct block.