The Xiaomi Black Shark 2 is now available: SD 855 and Pixelworks HDR for US$477
Xiaomi has released a number of products today in China. One of these is the Black Shark 2, the 2019 generation of the OEM's "gaming" phone. In accordance with numerous rumors, this device has indeed been equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC. Its designers have also partnered with Pixelworks in order to bring a range of display tweaks which may enhance its use in a number of applications, which of course include mobile gameplay.
The new Black Shark features a 6.39-inch AMOLED panel with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, and a resolution of 1080x2340. This display has a P3 color gamut and something Xiaomi calls Absolute Color Accuracy. The company claims that it is calibrated for an average Delta E2000 of less than 1 for superlative color reproduction. The screen is a TrueView multi-adaptive display with a number of modes that take effect depending on lighting conditions and the ambient colortone. They include Day Light View (DLV), Night View, and Reading Mode.
Pixelworks has provided the Black Shark 2 with "industry-leading" HDR Tone Mapping and "Always HDR" that apparently converts SDR content into HDR in real-time. The new Black Shark has also been kitted out with TrueClarity motion estimation/motion compensation (MEMC), which should reduce judder or blurring in the content used on the phone.
In terms of esthetics, the Black Shark 2 shows little deviation from the angular design language of yesteryear. On the other hand, the rear cameras are now in a different orientation and position on the back of the phone. They are still dual sensors, however, being composed of a 0.8μm 48MP module with an f-stop of 1.75 and a 12MP (f/2.2) telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom. They can shoot 4K at 30fps; 720p at 240fps, and 1080p at 120fps.
The rear panel also lacks a hardware fingerprint reader, as Xiaomi has dropped one into the Black Shark's screen this time around. There are top and bottom bezels, however, one of which houses the phone's 20MP selfie camera.
The Xiaomi Black Shark 2 has a 6GB/128GB base model, which extends through 8GB/128GB and 8GB/256GB SKUs to reach 12GB/256GB at the top end. It also has Bluetooth 5.0, USB type-C and 27W fast charging - which, considering the 4000mAh battery, is handy. The phone comes in Shadow Black, Frozen Silver or Mirage Blue finishes.
The base model is priced at 3199 yen (about US$477), which increases to 3199 (~US$521) and 3799 yen (~US$566) for the two 8GB RAM SKUs, whereas the 12GB RAM variant will set you back 4199 yen (~US$625). These options are said to be ready for their first orders on March 22, 2019. However, Xiaomi and JD.com have also made them available for pre-order at present.
This date applies to the Chinese market, however. The Black Shark 2 will see a launch in other markets, including India, but the exact dates of these events are unknown as yet. Therefore, many of us still have a window in which to decide whether to make an outlay for one of these well-priced SD 855 phones or not. We hope to conduct a review that may help with that decision soon.