Black Shark 3 and 3 Pro gaming phones announced with retractable shoulder buttons, magnetic charging connector, and Snapdragon 865
Gaming phones are part of a growing segment in the Android ecosystem. The first Black Shark was one of the first to take part in this trend when it launched in 2018. The brand followed up with the Black Shark 2 and 2 Pro in 2019. Now, the Black Shark 3 and 3 Pro have been officially announced. We knew a lot about these devices ahead of time, but now we can see them in full glory.
The Black Shark 3 series has quite a few surprises up its sleeves, but let’s start with the basics. Both devices are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC which is cooled by the company’s latest liquid cooling system. They also feature LPDDR5 RAM, UFS 3.0 storage, and large batteries. The Black Shark 3 has a 4,720mAh dual-cell battery while the 3 Pro is packing a 5,000mAh dual-cell battery.
Speaking of batteries, the phones have pretty great charging capabilities. The Black Shark 3 series can charge at 65W via wired USB-C and at 18W through the magnetic charging port on the back (more on that later). The 65W charging can get the phone to 50% in just 12 minutes and fully charged in 38 minutes.
Where the phones start to differ is the displays. The Black Shark 3 has a 6.67-inch FHD+ OLED display, while the Black Shark 3 Pro has a 7.1-inch 3,120 x 1,440 OLED display. These displays feature 270Hz touch sampling rates and latency of only 24 milliseconds, both of which are big deals for a gaming device. The displays have a refresh rate of 90Hz, so the Black Shark 3 series is a step below the ROG Phone 2.
Wrapping up the standard phone specifications, let’s talk about cameras. This is not an area of big focus for a gaming device, but obviously you want a capable camera on your smartphone. The Black Shark 3 series has triple cameras in the rear triangular bump: 64MP, 13MP wide-angle, and 5MP depth. The front of the device has a 20MP camera. Oh, and speaking of the front, there are front-facing speakers and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The Black Shark 3 series is meant for mobile gaming, and as such, there are a few gaming-specific features as well. The devices have “Master Buttons,” which are shoulder buttons on the right edge of the device. These are actual physical buttons and not capacitive buttons like we’ve seen in the past. The Master Buttons should feel great if you play a lot of shooters.
We mentioned the magnetic charging port on the back earlier, and this is a feature intended to extend your gaming experience. The magnetic port is found near the middle of the back, so you can use it to charge the Black Shark 3 while holding the phone in your hands during a gaming session. Charging this way is slower than charging through the Type-C port, but this should still be fast enough to keep your device running for an extended gaming session.
The Black Shark 3 also gets a new game pad. Gamepad 3.0 is meant to be mounted on the left side of the phone (in landscape mode) and it gives you a joystick, 4 mappable buttons, and a function button. The Black Shark 3 series also supports Xiaomi’s “Frozen Back Clip Pro,” which is a fan that can clip to the back of the device to cool it down.
The Black Shark 3 is available now in China and the Pro model will be available on March 10th. A global release is expected in the “near future.” For pricing, you’ll be paying 3,499 yuan (~$500) for the 8GB/128GB model, 3,799 yuan (~$545) for the 12GB/128GB variant, and 3,999 yuan (~$575) for the 12GB/256GB option. The Pro model starts at 4,699 yuan (~$675) for the 8GB/256GB option and 4,999 yuan (~$715) for the 12GB/256GB variant.