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Memory: 6 GB RAM Screen: 6.39-inch AMOLED display Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 octa-core Price:  ₹39,999
Memory: 6 GB RAM Screen: 6.39-inch AMOLED display Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 octa-core Price: 39,999

Black Shark 2 review: Affordable luxury for mobile gamers

  • This phone has a functional design and comes with in-game controls
  • Black Shark 2 is a dependable option for gamers looking for something less pricy than the ROG Phone

India, with its huge demographic of young mobile gamers, is becoming a popular destination for gaming smartphones. After the high-end Asus ROG Phone ( 69,999), buyers now have a new option in the Xiaomi-backed Black Shark 2. Priced at 39,999 and available via Flipkart.com, the Black Shark 2 is a gaming phone made to offer that extra bit of firepower and cool features you won’t get in regular flagship phones, like customizable light effects, next-level controls that let players adjust performance and a bevy of accessories like a cooling kit and gamepad.

Unlike regular flagship phones with a glass-back exterior, Black Shark 2 has a functional design. It has a metal chassis with a partial glass layer on the back, chamfered edges for better grip and a backlit Black Shark logo in the middle. There is a light strip on the two vertical side panels as well.

At 205g, it is around the same weight as the OnePlus 7 Pro, but feels somewhat hefty. The thin bezel also seems a little dated compared to the bezel-less screen on the OnePlus 7 Pro. The fingerprint sensor is inbuilt into the display and works swiftly too.

At the heart of Black Shark 2 and its gaming prowess is the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 octa-core processor clocking at 2.84GHz and top-of-the-line Adreno 640 GPU. It has been paired with 6 GB RAM in the entry-level variant, with 128 GB of internal storage. According to the AnTuTu Benchmark, which measures components like CPU (central processing unit), GPU (graphics processing unit), UX (user experience), memory and then assigns a score, Black Shark 2 gets a score of 369,224. This brings it almost on a par with the OnePlus 7 Pro (373,953), which runs on the same processor with 6 GB RAM. All that power translates into a smooth gaming experience. The usual suspects like PUBG Mobile and PES 2019 worked smoothly at the highest level of graphics settings without any frame drops.

Black Shark 2 has a 6.39-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 2,340x1,080p and pixel density of 403ppi. On the other hand, the OnePlus 7 Pro has a bigger 6.67-inch screen with 3,120x1,440p resolution and a pixel density of 516ppi. Also, the OnePlus 7 pro has a 90Hz screen while the Black Shark 2 offers an image refresh rate of 60Hz. On paper, OnePlus 7 Pro’s screen can handle frame changes faster and offers a smoother gaming experience. In reality, a majority of games do not support the 90Hz screen, working only at 60Hz.

What gives the Black Shark 2 an upper hand over phones such as OnePlus 7 Pro is in-game controls and options like Ludicrous mode, which allows users to boost gaming performance by assigning all processor cores to games. The phone runs Android 9 with stock UI. There is a secondary interface called Shark Space which optimizes resources like memory and mutes incoming notifications. It can be accessed via the switch button on the right. OnePlus 7 Pro also has something similar called FNATIC mode.

To keep the temperature in check during gaming, Black Shark 2 uses multiple layers of cooling, including a liquid cooling pipe and high-efficiency heat-conduction copper plate. So barring the slight warming on the back, the phone is never really uncomfortable to hold while gaming.

At the current price point, Black Shark 2 is a dependable option for gamers looking for something less pricy than the ROG Phone.

If you can spend a bit more, go for the OnePlus 7 pro (starts at 48,999), which has not been hyped as a gaming phone but clearly has almost all the credentials of one.

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