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Xiaomi Black Shark 4: what we want to see

Xiaomi Black Shark 3
Xiaomi Black Shark 3 (Image credit: Future)

Xiaomi's line of gaming phones offer top specs at not-so-top prices, perfect for avid mobile gamers, and so we're looking forward to the next one, the Black Shark 4.

The Xiaomi Black Shark 3 was a great phone, and one of the best gaming phones we've tested - the reason it doesn't top that list is simply because one or two of its competitors beat it in a few ways.

So what could the Black Shark 4 do to trump rivals from Asus, Nubia and Lenovo? Why, we're glad you asked, because we've come up with a wish-list of cool features we'd like to see in the Xiaomi Black Shark 4.

We've come up with this because there aren't any leaks surrounding the Black Shark 4 just yet - when we start to hear things about the upcoming gaming phone, we'll update this article with them. 

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Xiaomi's next gaming-oriented phone
  • When is it out? Likely around March 2021
  • How much will it cost? Mid-ranged price point

Xiaomi Black Shark 4 release date and price

We haven't heard any official mention, or even rumors, of a Black Shark 4 release date just yet.

The Black Shark 3 was unveiled in March 2020, and the Black Shark 2 was shown off in March 2019, so it's not hard to predict that the next device will debut in March 2021. Saying that, it's possible the Covid-19 pandemic could have had some impact and changed the date.

In terms of price, the Black Shark 3 cost $599 / £539 (around AU$950) for its base 8GB RAM / 128GB storage model, which was pretty affordable given its specs, and we'd expect the 4th-generation model to be roughly in line with that. Perhaps, to hit all the points in our wishlist, the price could be bumped upwards just a touch.

Xiaomi Black Shark 3

Xiaomi Black Shark 3 (Image credit: Future)

Xiaomi Black Shark 4: what we want to see

These are some new features we want to see in the Black Shark 4.

1. A high refresh rate display

The main thing the Black Shark 3's competitors had over it, was that the Xiaomi phone only had a 90Hz display, while other gaming phones reach 120Hz or even 144Hz.

Higher refresh rates in displays can have a particular benefit for gaming - motion can look way smoother and more natural, making action look great. Not all games are optimized for high refresh rates just yet, but the number of titles that are, is growing.

So we'd like to see the Black Shark 4 match its rivals in the refresh rate department. We know the company has the tech - the Xiaomi Mi 10T has a 144Hz display - so let's see it in action.

2. A reachable power button

The Black Shark 3's power button was the one on the left here.

The Black Shark 3's power button was the one on the left here. (Image credit: Future)

A minor gripe we had with the Black Shark 3, that for some may be a major gripe, is that the power button on the side was hard to reach with your thumb. The in-screen fingerprint sensor was also quite a stretch away.

To make the Black Shark 4 easier to use for people with smaller hands, we'd like to see the buttons re-arranged so they're easier to reach.

3. Two gamepads

Black Shark sells optional accessories alongside its phones, like magnetic chargers, clip-on cooling pads and game pads to stop you having to use on-screen controls. However for the Black Shark 3, you could only buy a left-hand-side gamepad.

Xiaomi stated the reason was because most people preferred this one, but it's a little odd having to use only one of this gadget, when it was clearly designed to be used in a pair. It just feels odd using only one as it's a little lop-sided.

4. A telephoto camera

The Black Shark 3 had 3 rear cameras

The Black Shark 3 had 3 rear cameras (Image credit: Future)

It probably seems odd to talk about photography for a gaming phone, but Black Shark devices usually have surprisingly impressive camera arrays given that's not why you're buying the device.

However, since the Black Shark 2, the devices haven't had telephoto lenses for zoom shots, replacing them with ultra-wide and macro lenses instead.

Maybe this is just us, but we take many more zoomed-in shots than wide-angle ones, and a telephoto camera would be far more useful. But it makes most sense of all simply to have both.

The Black Shark 2 had two cameras, the Black Shark 3 had three - let's see four in the Black Shark 4.

5. A higher resolution display

Most smartphone displays right now have 1080p or 2K resolutions, save the odd Sony Xperia phone with 4K or a few cheap phones with 720p. Black Shark has 1080p, like all its competitors, but we'd like to see an increase - if not to 4K, at least to 2.5K. 

At the moment few, if any, mobile games are optimized to play in 2.5K or 4K, so it would seem redundant to provide this kind of display. But game makers aren't going to offer high-res options for their games, if the kind of display isn't on the market, so it's a self-fulfilling cycle.

Someone's gotta budge here, and we think it should be the phone makers - after all, we'd still be able to enjoy streaming movies and TV shows in high resolution with this kind of display.