We go hands-on with the Black Shark 2 Pro!
Black Shark, that gaming brand that first made waves in China a few months ago, is heading to the Philippines. The company invited us over to Malaysia, the springboard for their SEA launch of the Black Shark 2 Pro.
The new model has plenty of improvements over the previous iteration and if Black Shark manages to keep the price of the phone at the same level as it is in Malaysia, then ASUS will definitely have tough competition for gaming phones in the Philippines.
Tough build, RGB lights, and a limited edition color everyone will love
The Black Shark 2’s design is pretty unique and definitely fits the gamer aesthetic. Three colors will be available for the Black Shark 2 Pro – black, silver and an ostentatious limited edition blue/gold combination.
The back of the phone uses a mix of glass and metal, and true to its gamer roots the Black Shark 2 Pro has its fair share of LED lights, sporting 5(!) lights overall – three on the back, and two on the side, on the frame.
The dual-camera module is tucked on the upper left side of the device, which houses a main 48-megapixel Sony IMX 586 main camera with an f/1.8 aperture lens, and a 13-megapixel telephoto sensor with an f/2.2 aperture lens.
There are a few annoying quirks in the design of the phone though – people who want to use their wired cans are out of luck since the phone eliminates that entirely and instead relies on a dongle to facilitate wired audio connectivity.
There’s no physical fingerprint scanner anywhere since the Black Shark 2 Pro uses an under-display fingerprint scanner to preserve the exterior aesthetics.
Speaking of the display, the Black Shark 2 Pro uses a 6.39-inch, Samsung-made AMOLED panel running at full HD+ resolution. There’s no notch on the front, which is fast becoming a defining trait for gaming phones nowadays.
One point of controversy for Black Shark is their decision not to use a display that has a higher refresh rate than 60Hz. Fast refresh-rate displays are quickly becoming one of the main differentiating features in gaming phones today, so it’s a little odd not to see that on the Black Shark 2 Pro.
But from earlier conversations with company reps, it sounds like they’re prioritizing image quality over sheer refresh rate. And that’s not just marketing talk – Black Shark partnered up with Pixelworks, a company that provides video and pixel processing semiconductors to make sure that the image quality of the Black Shark 2 Pro was beyond reproach.
The Black Shark 2 Pro is probably the second smartphone in the world after the ROG Phone II to use Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 855 Plus processor. That’s paired with a choice of 8GB/12GB of RAM, and either 128GB or 256GB of storage.
To keep everything cool (and to keep thermal throttling at bay when gaming for long periods) is Black Shark’s Liquid Cooling Tech, now at version 3.0+.
The Black Shark 2 Pro comes with its own set of accessories, including a pair of controllers that you attach to the side of the device via a case and that connects to the phone via Bluetooth. It gives you more control for games like PUBG, for example. You can even go two-player on games that support individual controller support (like this beta fighting game that was demoed during the event) ala Switch.
Battery stands at 4000mAh which is a little on the low side especially since this is supposed to be a gaming phone, though the Black Shark 2 Pro does have fast charging capabilities up to 27W via USB Type-C.
While the Black Shark 2 Pro isn’t officially for sale in the Philippines yet, folks in the company are quickly setting up the necessary facilities for their official entry to the Philippines. Black Shark reps tell me that they’ll be offering the Black Shark 2 Pro close to the price that they’re offering the phone in Malaysia, which comes out to around Php 31K when directly converted to our currency for the 8GB/128GB variant, with the higher-spec 12GB/256GB variant going for around 37.1K when directly converted.
Black Shark 2 Pro specs
- AI-Powered Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ octa-core processor
- Qualcomm Adreno 640 graphics unit
- 8GB/12GB RAM
- 6.39-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display, 34.7ms input latency, motion interpolation, Magic Press, with support for HDR and DCI-P3
- 128GB/256GB of expandable UFS 3.0 storage
- 48-megapixel f/1.75 primary rear camera and 12-megapixel f/2.2 telephoto rear camera with dual LED flash, PDAF, Dark Light enhancement, Portrait mode
- 20-megapixel f/2.0 front camera with beauty mode, 4K recording
- Dual SIM
- 4G LTE, LTE-A
- WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC
- In-display Fingerprint scanner, USB Type-C port, Liquid Cool 3.0, front-facing stereo speakers
- 4000mAh battery with 27W fast charging
- Android 9.0 Pie