Xiaomi has announced that the Black Shark 3 and 3 Pro gaming phones are coming to the UK and Europe, and the pair are priced about as aggressively as you might expect from the Chinese tech giant, though still jump up a bit from last year’s Black Shark 2.
The regular Black Shark 3 is on sale today in Midnight Black from Black Shark itself and Gearbest, though you’ll have to wait until 18 May for it to hit Amazon UK, where it’ll cost £539 – up £70 on last year’s phone. That gets you a Snapdragon 865 with 5G support, backed up by 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, driving a 6.67in AMOLED screen.
The refresh rate is 90Hz, which is really the only area the phone’s core specs lag. Mainstream flagships are now running 120Hz displays as standard and gaming phones like the Nubia Red Magic 5G – also £539 – now clock in at 144Hz, so 90Hz almost feels sluggish compared to the other specs – though how noticeable the difference between these faster displays is remains up for debate.
It’s a gaming phone of course, which means RGB lighting and novelties like liquid cooling. The 5,000mAh battery should last a while even through heavy CoD Mobile sessions, and 65W fast charging will top the whole thing back up to full in 38 minutes. The setup is rounded out by triple rear cameras led by a 64Mp main shooter.
In late May it’ll be joined by a £649 version of the phone that upgrades to 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, but you’ll have to wait until June if you want the real big beast: the £799 Black Shark 3 Pro.
That upgrades the display from FHD+ to 2K+ and jumps up to a whopping (and Galaxy S20 Ultra-beating) 7.1in – making it almost the biggest phone screen out there – the 7.2in Huawei Mate 20 X just pips it.
The Pro model isn’t just bigger though: it also includes shoulder-mounted trigger buttons which Xiaomi says are designed to feel just like buttons on a proper gamepad. Between the triggers and the sheer size of the thing the Pro model definitely has a stronger USP than the regular Black Shark 3, but gamers who don’t want to drop close to a grand on a phone – or don’t have hands the size of dinner plates – might prefer the regular edition anyway.
Beyond the phones there is of course an actual gamepad, along with a few other accessories. A left-sided gamepad, wired earphones, and thermoelectric cooler are all available separately – all with their own RGB lighting, natch – along with a couple of cases for the new phones.
Head to the Black Shark site if you want to pick up the new Black Shark 3, or check out our guide to the best gaming phones on the market to see how the rest of the competition compares.