New Black Shark 3 Pro is a phone that dwarfs even the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Black Shark 3
The brand new Black Shark 3 (Image credit: Black Shark)

Black Shark - a gaming-phone-focused subsidiary of Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi - has just unveiled a new series of handsets, and one of them is a Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra competitor.

There are two new phones called the Black Shark 3 and Black Shark 3 Pro. They've so far only been announced in China, although we'd expect a global launch for both devices soon.

The phones are alike in a lot of ways, but the Pro model has a few features which seemingly make it a top-end gaming phone, and a competitor to the aforementioned Samsung phone in a few ways.

Both phones have 64MP main cameras, joined by 13MP ultra-wide and 5MP depth sensing snappers as well as 20MP front-facing cameras. The Black Shark 2 took some pretty decent pictures, and we might see the same again here.

The phones both have the Snapdragon 865 chipset, the most cutting-edge Qualcomm processor at the time of launch, which should allow for fast processing speeds. They both have 8GB or 12GB RAM depending on which variant you opt for. 

Both the Black Shark 3 and Pro are 5G phones too, as is the case with most Snapdragon 865 toting handsets.

If you're a fan of 3.5mm audio jacks for listening to music (or plugging in microphones), the phones have one, unlike the Black Shark 2 devices, which may make the new devices great for competitive gamers who want surround-sound audio from an external device (or want to plug a wired mic in).

The phones also support super-snappy 65W fast charging, which should power up the batteries in no time.  Xiaomi has shown off this charging tech before, and Black Shark says it can power up the Pro device in 38 minutes (therefore presumably it can charge up the Black Shark 3 even quicker, as that has a smaller power pack).

The phones also have magnetic power packs which you can plug to the back of the phone when you're gaming, to charge the phone without wires sticking out the side. We're not totally sure how this works, but we will investigate when we test out the phone in the flesh.

Pressy buttons

Pressy buttons (Image credit: Black Shark)

One final intriguing feature of both phones is that they have physical buttons on the side of the phone (the top of the device when you're holding it horizontally to game) which work like triggers on a console controller, so presumably you'll be able to map them to different functions.

This could change the way you game, as a common issue with mobile games is getting your hands in the way of the screen when you want to touch the on-screen buttons. Keeping your digits hovering above the screen, on the physical buttons, could remove this issue.

Super-size me

Now for the differences. While the Black Shark 3 has a large 6.67-inch display, the Pro model turns that up even further with an enormous 7.1-inch screen. That's even bigger than the 6.9-inch Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.

We have seen phones with screens that big in the past, such as the Huawei Mate 20 X from 2018 with its 7.2-inch screen, but it's a real rarity.

Therefore if you were looking at buying the Samsung device as a great gaming phone with lots of screen to see the titles you're playing, you might want to wait forthe Black Shark 3 Pro instead.

The screens on both Black Shark devices are AMOLED panels with 90Hz refresh rate and 270Hz touch input rates, but the Black Shark 3 Pro has slightly better resolution. It's 1440 x 3120 compared to 1080 x 2400 on the standard Black Shark 3, so even though it's slightly bigger its pixel density is a lot higher than the non-Pro model.

(Image credit: Black Shark)

Other differences include battery size as the Black Shark 3 Pro has a 5,000mAh power pack (the same as the aforementioned Samsung phone) which is a touch bigger than the 4,720mAh of the basic Black Shark 3.

Finally, while the Black Shark 3 has 128GB and 256GB storage versions to choose from, the Black Shark 3 Pro has larger 256GB and 512GB options for if you want plenty of games on your phone at the same time.

In China, the Black Shark 3 costs CNY3,499 (roughly $500, £400, AU$765) for the most affordable model with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. The Black Shark 3 Pro (again for the cheapest option with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage) goes for CNY4,699 (about $680, £530, AU$1,030). 

We wouldn't expect those conversions to be totally accurate for the release price elsewhere though, so that's a rough ball-park to go on.

We don't know when the Black Shark 3 phones will be shown off globally, or available to buy, but TechRadar will make sure to get hands-on with them when they do to see if they're the best gaming phones for you.

Via GSMArena

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.