Black Shark 3: A Review Of A Gaming Monster Smartphone

After the Black Shark 2 was released just a year ago, today its worthy successor, the much anticipated Black Shark 3, that Tryeweb will be writing a review on. For this new model, still geared towards gaming, the Xiaomi subsidiary has made various modifications (notably by removing one of the two detachable joysticks), with a smartphone with a very attractive technical sheet. The price still keeps everyone in shock (in a good way) it cost just $659.90 "only". Read Trybeweb's full review of the Black Shark 3 Beast.

While the mobile gaming market is growing, the smartphone gaming market seems to be struggling to take off, but that does not prevent Black Shark (as well as other competitors) from doing everything to establish itself in this niche market. 

For a few days now, players have been able to afford the Black Shark 3, an XXL smartphone (which displays 222 grams on the scale), with a very large 6.67-inch screen, with a speaker at each end. Under the hood, a Snapdragon 865 processor (5G compatible), coupled with 8 GB (or 12 GB) of RAM, not to mention a 4720 mAh battery and internal storage in UFS 3.0. In short, a real little monster is what we should call this device.

Unboxing The Black Shark 2 SmartPhone


Once removed from its packaging, the "little monster" is quickly felt, with a rather complex grip, which is due to its thick (and heavy) terminal. On the look side, the Black Shark 3 displays a very pronounced "gaming" side, with an X Core Diamondback, without forgetting the brand logo in the center, which lights up when a notification is received. For people familiar to smaller sized phones like the OnePlus 6T, the Black Shark 3 would seem quite huge, and the handling isn't portable.

Once switched on, you will notice the large display (2400 x 1080 pixels), without the slightest notch or punch on the screen. No borderless experience here because there are borders at the top and bottom of the screen. Going into Settings menu allows you to make changes to various settings, including activation of 90 Hz mode, instead of the default 60 Hz.

The fingerprint sensor is located at the back. Overall, on the physical side, the Black Shark 3 is far from the standards used by certain flagship devices from notable companies such as the OnePlus 8, the iPhone 11, or the Galaxy S20, and we have to admit that this Black Shark 3 is a bit odd-looking.

Usability and Performance


From a strict user comfort point of view, in addition to the heaviness of the smartphone, Trybeweb quickly noticed two faults in handling, namely the standby button and the volume button, all placed very high, on each side of the screen. Basically, holding the smartphone in one hand, it's just impossible for most users to reach the buttons in question (taking screenshots might be a problem here).

In terms of general use, no big problem to report, with a rather swift fingerprint sensor (and also located quite high), but above all a fairly the phone is good. The Black Shark 3 is fast in terms of user interface and everyday use (messages, social networks, web, YouTube, etc.), the Black Shark 3 is also a powerhouse when it comes to video games. All the games we tested were launched in the "Max" mode (Max mode is a feature in the phone used for gaming).

Worthy mention also on the screen, with an AMOLED panel compatible DCI-P3, the screen display is just too glorious. For its part, the Joy UI 11 interface (derived from Android 10) is a huge success from the company. Despite its "gaming" side, the Black Shark 3 remains a "real" smartphone, with a rather neutral interface, which one can easily be customized at leisure.

Black Shark 3 Built For Gaming


As on the Black Shark 2, a small cursor on the right of the smartphone (and for that matter located very low), allows you to switch to Shark Space 3.0 mode. This is a 100% gaming mode, which automatically stops certain applications, and gives quick access to the games saved on the smartphone. A dedicated menu (the Gamer Studio) allows you to make various settings, and everything is obviously compatible with the new accessories specifically added to this Black Shark 3.

No doubt, the previous model (Black Shark 2) took on the appearance of Nintendo Switch with its two detachable controllers, here on this latest model, we have a single pad, wedged on the upper part of the smartphone (on the left once the smartphone is held horizontally). No controller on the right hand therefore, I believe this was done in accordance with the various feedback from players, who are content with touch controls.
Black Shark 3 Pro

Too bad that some (many) games are not compatible with the GamePad 3 that comes with this device, and it requires tedious remapping of keys (when possible). Note that it is possible to opt-in for a small accessory, to clip on the GamePad 3, to add 2 additional buttons, and transform the latter into a small wireless controller (which looks a lot like a joy-con).

A GamePad clip onto the smartphone via a small accessory supplied (they are like pliers), but which then obstructs access to the volume keys. When the gamepad is connected, you lose control of the Volume button (thanks for this Genius idea Black Shark).

Likewise, the manufacturer has provided us with a small fan (the FunCooler, optional at € 32.90) to be connected via USB and clipped to the back of the smartphone. So yes, it is rather (very) efficient, and silent, but with its pad, its clamp, its fan (to be wired in USB) and its magnetic charger, the Black Shark 3, already not very glorious in terms of portability, simply becomes agonizing, and grossly heavy, to use.

Undeniably, the GamePad 3 brings a real plus when it comes to evolving in certain games, with an interesting side "portable console", but for many, who are interested in games that require moving the smartphone at any time, it wouldn't be fun playing and still having to carry around with a controller, support, a cooling fan.

Not to mention the fact that the overusing of the smartphone, coupled with the consumption of the various accessories attached, drains the 2 batteries in a few hours. Fortunately, the smartphone is compatible with Quick Charge 4.0 65W recharge (charger supplied), and you can enjoy a full recharge in less than 40 minutes.

The BlackShark 3 Camera


Despite its “gaming” orientation, the Black Shark 3 does not overlook the camera aspect of being a smartphone, it has a triple sensor driven by a 64-megapixel wide-angle module, coupled with an ultra-wide 13-megapixel lens and a lens 5 megapixels.

Like its predecessor, the Black Shark 3 offers very good general camera performance, especially in good light conditions. As soon as the external light becomes more scarce, the Black Shark 3 is a little less flamboyant, but the results are still very good despite everything, with the added bonus of an ultra-fast trigger. This phone is not at the level of the best photophones on the market of course, but the Black Shark 3 is adorned with a Camera that is highly unexpected from a gaming smartphone.

At the front, the Black Shark 3 has a rather efficient 20-megapixel camera. Note that the smartphone is also capable of filming in 4K @ 60fps, but this will often be at the expense of its stabilization.

The Black Shark 3 for daily use


Regarding its daily use, the Black Shark 3 is a very efficient smartphone, very fast, and gives pride of place to multimedia content. One of the great strengths of this smartphone, aside from the inexpensive price (just $659.90), we enjoy an excellent screen, a 5G compatible smartphone, and a technical sheet of the highest order, worthy of being compared to most flagship phones valued at almost $1000.

So, even if you are not a “pro gamer”, but you are looking for an ultra-fast terminal, you might still be interested in this Black Shark 3. However, unlike “classic” smartphones, you will need to struggle here in the face of a pretty abominable grip and a particularly heavy smartphone and not always very pleasant to use.

Trybeweb's opinion on the Black Shark 3


In the end, while the Black Shark 2 was a very nice evolution with a little "Nintendo Switch 2.0" side, this Black Shark 3 leaves a rather mixed impression. Yes, the smartphone is ultra-fast, ultra-efficient, and offers itself as a bonus a very successful camera in addition to 5G compatibility, but in the context of daily "classic" use, the device quickly displays real faults. 

In addition to the buttons placed too high and a fairly heavy XXL size, the Black Shark 3 is also not flawless on the gaming side, with its accessories that lack portability (the GamePad in a clamp that obstructs the volume key) and games which are, quite often, incompatible with the said accessory. 

I will give the Black Shark 3 a rating of 85 / 100 and will recommend it to anyone who wants an extra edge when it comes to gaming speed, user interface, and fair price.
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Trybeweb: Black Shark 3: A Review Of A Gaming Monster Smartphone
Black Shark 3: A Review Of A Gaming Monster Smartphone
Black Shark 3 gaming smartphone has been released. Read our full review on the Black Shark 3 gaming smartphone, price, full specification, and bugs.
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