Black Shark 2 Pro shows that gaming phones are there to stay

If you know someone who says that phones have become boring and predictable, point them to gaming phones. The Black Shark 2 Pro, announced this week, gives priority to some specifications that you probably won't hear the biggest phone manufacturers on stage, or at least not yet.


The Pro is a somewhat revised model of the Black Shark 2, released earlier this year. The updated version improves the touch response speed of the display by approximately seven milliseconds, to 34.7 ms from 43.5 ms. That may not seem that much, but only milliseconds (taking into account the touch speed of the screen and network ping) can mean the difference between winning and losing in competitive play. For the context, the newly announced Asus ROG Phone II has a latency of 49ms.

This phone is also one of the first, besides the aforementioned Asus gaming phone, with the Snapdragon 855 Plus processor from Qualcomm, which should be a blessing for gaming with its promised 15 percent GPU boost in games compared to the standard Snapdragon 855.

The MagicTouch function in action. When you click in the colored boxes, two different actions are performed, depending on how hard you press the screen.
Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

The Black Shark 2 Pro saves a lot of what made the vanilla Black Shark 2 remarkable, including a few of my favorite phone functions in recent memory: a pressure sensitive display and MagicTouch, an overlay that allows you to adjust a control schedule with pressure sensitive actions. It also contains more ridiculous specifications of the predecessor, such as a liquid cooling system, a smart X-shaped antenna layout to prevent you from losing connectivity while playing in landscape mode, and an AMOLED display with a touch speed of 240 Hz. Unfortunately, the screen refresh rate is still 60Hz, which lags behind the 120Hz screens in the Razer Phone 2 and Asus ROG Phone II. Even the OnePlus 7 Pro has a faster 90Hz display.

The basic configuration of this new phone has 12 GB of RAM and 128 GB of UFS 3.0 built-in storage for RMB 2,999 (approximately $ 435). If that is not enough, there is also a model that doubles the storage to 256 GB for RMB3.499 (around $ 508).

This phone (which is a sequel to a sequel) proves a few things: mobile gaming is popular enough worldwide to fund such projects, and it seems that Black Shark, Razer and Asus have invented their own category. Most people, especially gamers, want which phone they go beyond what more traditional phones can currently offer, and the Black Shark 2 Pro seems to be one of the few phones that does. It will be launched abroad, starting with Europe in the coming months and no later than the beginning of 2020 in the US.

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