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Black Shark 3 Review: A Top-notch, But Expensive Gaming Phone

Pros

  • Lighting Effects
  • Good Build
  • Decent 90Hz AMOLED Display
  • Excellent Gaming Performance
  • Front Firing Speaker
  • Good Battery and Fast Charging

Cons

  • No Gaming Triggers
  • Camera Performance Below Par

Black Shark 3 was launched recently at daraz and it’s one of the only gaming phones available in Nepal. Also, it’s the first time Black Shark has introduced a phone in Nepal.

Black Shark is a gaming front for Xiaomi. Black Shark 3 is the update to Black Shark 2 and is the lite variant of the Black Shark 3 Pro. Black Shark 3 price in Nepal is Rs. 98,490 for the 12/256GB variant.

I have been using this for more than a week now and this is my full review.

Black Shark 3 Specifications

  • Body: 168.72 x 77.33 x 10.42 mm, 222 g, Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
  • Display: 6.67 inches AMOLED, 1080 x 2400 pixels, HDR10+, 90Hz
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SM8250 Snapdragon 865 (7 nm+)
  • CPU: Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 585 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 585 & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 585)
  • GPU: Adreno 650
  • Memory: 256GB 12GB RAM, UFS 3.0
  • OS: Android 10, JOYUI 11
  • Rear Camera: 64 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/1.72″, 0.8µm, PDAF
  • Front Camera: 20 MP, f/2.2, (wide), 1/3″, 0.9µm
  • Battery: Non-removable Li-Po 4720 mAh battery, Fast charging 65W, 100% in 38 min (advertised)
  • USB: Type-C 2.0 reversible connector, USB On-The-Go
  • Misc: Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
  • Colors: Midnight Black

Black Shark 3 Price in Nepal: Rs. 98,490 (12/256GB)

Black Shark 3 Review

Design

  • 168.72 x 77.33 x 10.42 mm, 222 g
  • Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)

Black Shark 3 has a symmetric design giving it a good grip and handling for gaming. On the back, it uses glass and aluminum along with an aluminum frame. It has a lighting effect on the back which is fully controllable and can be customized.

Black Shark 3 - Design
Black Shark 3 – Design

It has a stereo speaker setup and the best thing is that the speakers are front-facing. So, it won’t get blocked even when gaming.

On the front, it has a relatively bigger chin and forehead compared to the latest flagship as it doesn’t use any notch or hole-punch.

ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus Long-term Review: Still a Good Buy!

Display

  • 6.67 inches AMOLED
  • 1080 x 2400 pixels
  • HDR10+
  • 90Hz

Black Shark 3 comes with a 6.67 inches FHD+ AMOLED display. It has a 90Hz refresh rate and also supports HDR. The 90Hz display feels smooth but the AMOLED display is not up to par with other flagships that you can buy for the price.

The colors are not as popping as I would like it to be. The display tends towards a more neutral color profile. You can use cinema mode to slightly increase the situation of the display. As for the brightness, it is pretty bright and I did not have any problem while using under sunlight.

Black Shark 3 - Display
Black Shark 3 – Display

Plus, it comes with MEMC technology powered by the independent image chipset boosts 25Hz videos up to 90Hz, giving you the best view even when you are watching standard definition content. And, it has a true hardware DC Dimming feature as well.

Performance

  • Qualcomm SM8250 Snapdragon 865 (7 nm+)
  • Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 585 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 585 & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 585)
  • Adreno 650
  • 256GB 12GB RAM, UFS 3.0

Black Shark 3 comes with Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset along with 12GB LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB UFS3.0 ROM.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset. It’s a 7nm chipset with Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 585 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 585 & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 585) chipset and Adreno 650 GPU. Furthermore, it also supports 5G ready.

Black Shark 3 comes with Wi-Fi 6 and has Dual X Antenna for a stable Wi-Fi connection. The dual-channel connection on Black Shark 3 makes it possible to stay connected with 5G and Wi-Fi simultaneously.

Black Shark 3 - Performance
Black Shark 3 – Performance

I played COD Mobile, PUBG, and Asphalt 9 on the Black Shark 3. The gaming performance is really smooth and fluent. I was easily getting 58-60 fps on both COD Mobile and PUBG on the highest graphic setting. You can see occasional frame drops but that doesn’t hinder the gameplay at all.

Furthermore, you can play PUBG Mobile on Ultra HD setting at constant 39-40 fps. As for Asphalt 9, the game runs at 58-60 fps but I did notice frame drop up to 45. However, there are no stutters and the occasional frame drop will go unnoticed if you don’t use an FPS counter.

The device does warm up after 10-15 mins of gameplay but the temp level remains similar even after an hour of gaming. Also, the heat was never uncomfortable and the device was not throttling as well. The sandwich liquid cooling technology on the Black Shark 3 works well.

Gaming Features

Since it’s a gaming phone you get a lot of gaming features. First, it has a dedicated gaming UI that can be turned on by a toggle button which is given on the bottom right.

Black Shark 3 - Gaming
Black Shark 3 – Gaming

This UI is called Shark Space and it gives you access to games easily along with other gaming customizations. You cannot use other normal features while you are in the Shark Space. It lets you increase performance by overclocking the CPU and GPU. You can also adjust touch sensitivity, sound setting, and display settings.

Black Shark 3
Black Shark 3 – Triggers

Black Shark 3 misses out on trigger buttons but it does come with two pressure-sensitive buttons. You can enable this while you are playing the game by diagonally swiping in. It is called master control and you can map up to 2 pressure-sensitive hotkeys: one on the left side and one on the right side of the screen. Furthermore, you can easily monitor fps, battery temperature, and record gameplay footage from the gaming menu.

Camera

Black Shark 3 has a triple camera setup on the rear with a 64MP main sensor, a 13MP ultra-wide angle sensor, and a 5MP depth sensor. The main 64MP sensor is a Samsung Bright S5KGW1 sensor which is found on the likes of Samsung Galaxy M31 and Realme 6.

Black Shark 3 - Camera
Black Shark 3 – Camera

On the front, it has a 20MP sensor for selfies. It can capture videos up to [email protected] fps from the rear camera and up to [email protected] from the front camera. The camera is not worth the price but this is one of the sacrifices that you will find in most gaming phones.

Normal Photos

The details from the main sensor are good enough but not that impressive. The colors lean towards a natural profile but do have a hint of saturation. The HDR on Black Shark 3 is not impressive.

If you want more detail then you can also capture photos with a 64MP camera but I don’t think you will need to capture with a 64MP camera. The normal mode is good enough for most of the time. Also, 64MP mode cannot use HDR which will result in a darker picture.

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Ultrawide Photos

The 13MP Ultrawide photos look a bit dull and do not come up as sharp as I expected. The color profile is similar to the main sensor which is a good thing.

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There’s not much distortion on the Ultra wide-angle photos as well,. The ultrawide angle photos are average at best.

Portrait Photos

Black Shark 3’s portrait photos look good. The edge detection and background bluer works well and the HDR also does a good job.

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Front Camera

I was not impressed by the front camera. It is hit and miss as the pictures tend to get washed out and the HDR also doesn’t work as good.

The image from the front camera lacks detail and looks a bit flat.

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Video

Black Shark 3 can capture videos up to 4K 60 fps. You do not get a stabilization option on the 60fps option whereas you get EIS on 1080p 30 and 4K 30fps option.

As for the overall quality, the video has good enough detail but the HDR doesn’t work well. I would say the video performance is only average.

Battery

  • Non-removable Li-Po 4720 mAh battery
  • Fast charging 65W

Black Shark 3 has a 4720 mAh battery which is more than enough for a day of usage. Under heavy usage, I was still left with some battery in the tank at the end of the day. Whereas it would last almost a day and a half under average usage.

 

As for charging, the 65W fast charging claims to provide 100% in 38 mins. But it took me 42 mins to charge it from 0 to 100.

Security

The face unlocks on the Black Shark 3 works fast and is consistent. The in-display fingerprint sensor is also quick and reliable.

I did not have any problem with the face unlock or the fingerprint scanner.

Speaker

The fact that the speaker faces us is a good thing as it helps you get a more rich sound experience when gaming. The speaker is not the loudest but it’s good enough. I like the clarity though, it doesn’t distort even no the max volume.

Software

Black Shark 3 uses JOYUI on top of Android 10. JOY UI is a spin-off of MIUI. So, you will get the same features as the MIUI. But of course, you get exclusive gaming features such as lighting effects, game mode, process manager, network assistant, and other gaming features.

It comes with an app drawer as default and I was quite satisfied with the UI experience.

Conclusion

Black Shark 3 is a top-notch gaming phone and it won’t disappoint you if you are an avid gamer. However, it should have had a trigger which you can find on its pro version.

Besides that, the cameras are its weakest point and it is expensive as well. For the price, we can get MI 10 which uses the same chipset and provides better cameras. Even though Mi 10 is not a gaming phone, it will provide a good gaming experience. However, if you are looking for a gaming phone then you don’t have much motion other than the Black Shark 3.

What do you think about the Black Shark 3? Let us know in the comments!

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