Xiaomi Black Shark 3 Review: Top Features, Prices, and Specs

Mobile Phone

Are you an avid mobile gamer? The Xiaomi Black Shark 3 offers everything you need in a smartphone to help you enjoy a seamless and innovative gaming experience. With a high-end processor, bigger screen, and game launcher program, the Xiaomi Black Shark 3 is an excellent choice. This smartphone is for people who love playing Mobile Legends, League of Legends: Wild Rift!, and Call of Duty Mobile for extended hours. On the contrary, it isn’t the best when it comes to mobile photography. Nonetheless, it’s surprisingly capable of producing quality images. 

Little did you know, Black Shark has formerly restrained its partnership with Xiaomi. However, it’s more of a marketing stunt rather than just creating a division between two companies. With it, you can have an all-in-one smartphone for all your mobile gaming needs.

In this article, we’ll highlight every must-know so you can decide whether the Xiaomi Black Shark 3 is compelling enough for your seamless mobile gaming experience.

 

Price

Xiaomi’s latest Black Shark 3 series has two models, namely Black Shark 3 itself, and the Black Shark Pro. If you want to purchase the Black Shark 3 with 128GB internal storage, and 8GB RAM, you can buy it at a minimum price of $482.99 while the 12GB RAM Black Shark 3 model costs around $730. On the contrary, Black Shark 3 Pro costs around $870.

 

Storage Price Review
Black 8 GB + 128GB minimum price of $482.99
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Black 128Gb + 256GB around $730
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Grey 8 GB + 128GB minimum price of $482.99
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Black Shark 3 comes in Knight Grey or Midnight Black colors. However, the 256GB/12GB smartphone doesn’t have the grey version. That said, you only have the black variant if you want to upgrade to a higher storage capacity.

Aside from the smartphone itself, you can buy a variety of optional extra peripherals for your Black Shark 3. Specifically, you can add the FunCooler Pro and FunCooler to keep your Black Shark 3 cooler while you’re playing your favorite mobile games. In addition, you can also purchase a magnetic charging cable that allows you to charge your smartphone without utilizing the USB-C port. You can also purchase some accessories for your Xiaomi Black Shark 3, such as headphones, cases, and gamepads.

 

Performance

Xiaomi Black Shark 3 performance
© Photo by Black Shark

Since Xiaomi Black Shark 3 is deemed a gaming smartphone, it is judged on how efficiently it processes mobile games. Hence, it boils down to its performance.

The Black Shark 3 is integrated with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 processor. Hence, you’re definitely playing on a gaming smartphone with the latest and most powerful chipset available among Android devices. It is also built with 8GB RAM and 12GB RAM versions for faster gaming speeds. Although the Xiaomi Black Shark 3 doesn’t have the best performance at par with other competitor’s high-end flagship devices, it offers powerful features enough for mobile gaming.

When playing popular mobile games in Shark Space mode, games are loaded instantly and always run on the highest graphics configuration. According to many independent tests, Xiaomi Black Shark 3 rarely encountered glitches even in high-end games. With Xiaomi’s Black Shark 3, playing mobile games such as Mario Kart Tour, Clash of Clans, GTA: San Andreas, Call of Duty Mobile, and Fortnite will be a breeze.

The faster refresh rate and bigger screen also improved the quality of games. However, users claimed that the Xiaomi Black Shark 3 has heated up a little bit due to prolonged gaming.

Due to its high-end processor, the Black Shark 3 is easily capable of handling lite tasks such as browsing through menus, editing images, and accessing social media apps.

Like other Snapdragon 865-powered smartphones, Xiaomi Black Shark 3 is a 5G-ready device. Although the 5G connection is limited at the moment, you’re guaranteed to have a gaming smartphone integrated with more antennae. As a result, you’re going to have a more seamless gaming experience, without intermittent data signals.

 

Design

Without a doubt, Xiaomi Black Shark 3 is a bulky smartphone. If you’re looking for a smartphone that you can easily carry around, then this is not the best gaming phone for you.

Speaking of dimensions, Xiaomi Black Shark 3 measures 168.7mm x 77.3mm x 10.4mm. That said, it’s one of the thickest and tallest mobile phones available on the market. Weighing 222g, it’s also considered one of the heaviest mobile devices.

On Black Shark 3’s top-right corner is its power button, while the volume rocker is located on the left edge of the device. On the extreme bottom part, you can access the smartphone’s Shark Space app, a repository of all your installed mobile games. Xiaomi Black Shark 3’s 3.5mm headphone jack and USB-C port are also found on the phone’s bottom section. 

Another unique integration on the Black Shark 3 is a built-in, in-screen fingerprint scanner. Speaking of Xiaomi Black Shark 3’s exterior, its edges have angular design instead of rounded ones. Although it’s not too uncomfortable to grip the phone, a smartphone with rounded edges are easier to hold for most people.

Xiaomi’s Black Shark 3 has a unique ‘X’ shape which is an evolution of the previous Black Shark’s design from its smartphone models. On the upper section of the rear part, you can see Black Shark 3’s triangular camera, consisting of three lenses, and a flash. On the bottom part, a mirror-image houses the magnetic pin for a separate charging peripheral.

Aside from the ‘X’ design, Xiaomi Black Shark 3 features three LEDs namely: a bigger one in the Black Shark’s logo, and two smaller ones near the camera bump and top of the lower bump. With Black Shark’s LEDs, you can configure specific functions. For instance, the gaming mode lights up a blue and green flicker, while the charging mode is flickering red light. If you’re streaming music, the LED is flashing violet and cyan patterns as if they are dancing to your rhythm.

 

Battery Life

Speaking of Xiaomi Black Shark 3’s battery life, the smartphone features 4,500mAh to 4,720mAh. Although it’s standard for a smartphone of this size, mobile gamers are expecting a lot. 

In terms of average daily use, Black Shark 3’s battery performance offers a fair amount of social media browsing, music and video streaming, and occasional gaming here and there. Starting with 100% battery juice, independent lab tests ended with 30% battery left with a whole day of average use. Hence, Xiaomi’s Black Shark 3 got you covered into a second day with less frequent use.

However, if you’re gaming intensively on this smartphone, its battery life takes a hit, especially for extended mobile gaming sessions. Although it’s normal, the capacity of your battery also depends on the type of games you’re playing. For instance, 30 minutes of PUBG Mobile depleted Black Shark 3’s battery approximately 10% while Mario Kart Tour and Call of Duty: Mobile were less demanding in terms of battery consumption. For high-end gaming, Fortnite has depleted Xiaomi Black Shark 3’s battery more significantly.

If you’re a fan of charging your Black Shark 3 while playing, you can use a magnetic charger which you can purchase as an additional peripheral. Unlike the USB-C cable that already comes in the box, a magnetic charger connects to a pin on the rear part of your smartphone. With a magnetic cable, you can easily ignore your charger while you’re playing. On that account, it’s one of the best gaming smartphones, considering the convenience it brings when you’re gaming.

The downside of magnetic cable is the slowness of charging the Xiaomi Black Shark 3. The smartphone recharges from 0 to 25% within an hour. With today’s fast-charging standards, this is considered below average charging performance. On the contrary, using the traditional USB-C cable 30W charging offers a quicker charging feature. Hence, it’s one of the best methods for recharging your Xiaomi Black Shark 3. Aside from that, this smartphone doesn’t come with wireless charging features.

 

Camera

Xiaomi Black Shark 3 camera
© Photo by Black Shark

As mentioned, Xiaomi didn’t develop a high-end camera with its Black Shark 3 model. However, you can still capture good quality images if you divert from the usual gaming routine. Xiaomi’s Black Shark 3 features a triple-lens camera namely 64-megapixel wide, 13-megapixel ultrawide, and 5-megapixel depth rear camera. On the front part, you have a 20-megapixel wide selfie camera. Both cameras feature HDR processing and quick shutter speeds to balance out an image’s light and dark spots.

Despite Black Shark 3’s absence of optical zoom, its ultrawide lens is a handy feature for capturing more into an image. According to many independent lab tests, they have captured some bright and clear macro and landscape photos, with a few noises and blurs found on the edges around the image. Images taken at night are still good enough for social media purposes; however, you can see noise within the photo when you zoom in. Considering its inexpensive price, the back camera is better compared to other smartphones in the same price range. In a nutshell, the Xiaomi Black Shark 3’s is excellent for day-time photography and well-lighted settings.

Speaking of video recording, Xiaomi Black Shark 3 lets you capture videos to a maximum of 4K/60fps. It’s not as impressive compared to some smartphones with up to 8K recording. Nonetheless, only a few gamers will care to notice. Aside from that, it also features 1980fps for slow-motion video recording which is double the slowness of most smartphones.

 

Display

Black Shark 3
© Photo by Black Shark

Unlike Black Shark 3 Pro, Xiaomi’s Black Shark 3 model has a smaller screen with a lower resolution. Despite that, this gaming smartphone still offers a fairly large screen display with its 6.67” AMOLED screen.

Black Shark 3’s screen resolution is 1080 x 2400. Though it may not have the 2.5K screen resolution similar to non-gaming premium smartphones, it is still good enough for most people. The colors have vibrant tones that come as a treat for mobile gamers.

With Black Shark 3, you can enjoy a 90Hz maximum refresh rate and lower it down to 60Hz if you want to save its battery. Unlike older Black Shark smartphones, Xiaomi Black Shark 3 doesn’t have a punch-hole section for the front camera. Instead, it’s built with a slim bezel on top of the screen. Hence, Black Shark 3’s entire screen is 100% reserved for gaming. 

On the contrary, Xiaomi has made a significant development of integrating an always-on display in its 2020 smartphones. That said, Black Shark 3 is not an exemption to this feature. Unlike always-on displays on other smartphones, the Black Shark 3 doesn’t let you check for notifications beyond looking at the app icons or changing songs while streaming.

 

Verdict

Xiaomi’s Black Shark 3 is a powerful smartphone that integrates fast-charging capabilities so you’ll never go short of power. Aside from that, the Black Shark 3 features advanced functionalities that make it a highly-sought smartphone for mobile gamers. Also, you can have a unique and well-crafted design, a good screen, robust cooling solution, fast internal storage, and powerful performance in one comprehensive smartphone.

On the contrary, it doesn’t come without imperfections, and its battery capacity can be improved for longer mobile gaming sessions. Aside from that, it’s speakers and the high refresh rate support of a game display also require improvement. That said, a few shortcomings are inevitable, considering its affordable price. 

Compared to the Black Shark 3 Pro smartphone, it doesn’t have any dedicated shoulder buttons. However, you can always purchase a variety of gaming accessories for added convenience. 

Although Xiaomi Black Shark 3 doesn’t have any IP certification, NFC, and wireless charging features, it is an affordable alternative for mobile gamers who are primarily searching for the best gaming performance out of a smartphone.

If you love Xiaomi Black Shark 3’s styling, and the thought of having additional gaming accessories, it is the best gaming smartphone for you. Indeed, it is a relatively inexpensive yet powerful gaming smartphone with a 90Hz refresh rate display.

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