While most gaming phones have pretty 'unique' designs - that is to say, they're angular, with loads of LEDs and blocky shapes - we've been hearing the Xiaomi Black Shark 4 might be different. Certification pictures showed a more restrained design, and some new hands-on pictures back that up.
These pictures come from leaker Digital Chat Station who shared three pictures of the upcoming gaming phone, though it looks like they come from a different source judging by a watermark on them. While the phone is clad in a case with a fan attachment, we can still see some things we haven't seen in other gaming phones.
Firstly, the screen has a 'punch-hole' cut-out for the front-facing camera, so there's a circular segment of the screen missing. Gaming phones don't typically use these as it breaks up the display a little bit, which can be annoying for gaming.
The second picture shows the fan attachment, which will likely be a purchasable extra, and we can also see the rear camera arrangement. This looks identical to the one shown in the certification image linked above, suggesting that was accurate. According to that image, there's no LEDs here and the device looks like a regular smartphone without any extra gaming design elements.
There's also a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, which is different to most gaming phones that have in-screen ones.
#DigitalChatStation The appearance of Black Shark 4 comes out, centered ultra-microporous OLED + rear horizontal three-camera + lifting shoulder button + side fingerprint, this generation of design does not kill Matt...😎 pic.twitter.com/Vkn9MJSlESMarch 18, 2021
What's with the changes?
The lack of LEDs, rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and plain design could be seen as attempts by Xiaomi to cut costs, and therefore make its new Black Shark phone more affordable, but the camera cut-out doesn't line up with that hypothesis.
Perhaps Xiaomi is trying to downplay the 'gaming phone' aspects of its new Black Shark device, to give it more mainstream appeal. After all, there are likely plenty of mobile gamers who don't necessarily want a phone that screams 'gamer' from its appearance.
The Black Shark 4 launches on March 23, and we'll be hearing lots more about the phone then.
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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.