The Black Shark 3 Pro is the latest flagship device to be launched for the year and the Black Shark team have really taken things up a notch introducing one of the largest phones in recent times with a 7.1-inch display that is then complimented with shoulder buttons for the ultimate gaming phone.
Prior to that, we saw the launch of the vivo iQOO 3 5G, which unfortunately is not likely to come to the UK, but it was the first gaming orientated phone to launch this year.
Then the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G isn’t a gaming phone but it is still more than capable of providing a superb Android gaming experience.
Chipset – They all use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
A flagship gaming phone is only ever going to use one chipset, and that’s the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865.
Cooling can potentially affect performance between models, prolonged gaming sessions can cause thermal throttling.
The Black Shark has two heat pipes that sandwich the logic board to keep it cool.
The iQOO has liquid cooling technology, which Vivo claims can lower the core temperature by up to 10°C. (50°F).
Then the Xiaomi also has Vapour Chamber liquid-cooling system with multiple layers of graphite and AI machine learning to keep the temperature under control. Xiaomi even has a special attachable active cooling fan to reduce the heat.
RAM & Storage
The iQOO has the lowest base configuration with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage, however, they are the only company to date to launch a phone with UFS 3.1 storage which should offer increased speeds vs UFS 3.0 found on the other two models.
Both Xiaomi and Black Shark have the same base 8GB and 256GB storage options and both go up to 12GB and 512GB of storage.
Design & Display
The Black Shark 3 Pro is the most notable design, with an absolute monster AMOLED screen of 7.1 inches running at 1440 x 3120 pixels at 90Hz refresh rate and 270Hz touch-sensing.
The Xiaomi has a 6.67-inch display running at 1080 x 2340 pixels and 90Hz refresh with 190Hz touch sensing.
The vivo iQOO 3 5G looks poor in comparison with 6.44 inches running at 1080 x 2400 pixels 60Hz with 180Hz touch sensing.
Gaming phones are not really known for their camera prowess and the Black Shark 3 is a little disappointing with a lack of a telephoto lens. It isn’t awful though, you get:
- 64 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/1.72″, 0.8µm, PDAF
- 13 MP, f/2.3, (ultrawide)
- 5 MP, f/2.2, (depth)
- 20 MP, f/2.2, (wide), 1/3″, 0.9µm Selfie camera
The iQOO is a bit more versatile with:
- 48 MP, f/1.8, (wide), 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF
- 13 MP, f/2.5, 50mm (telephoto), PDAF, 2x optical zoom
- 13 MP, f/2.2, 16mm (ultrawide), AF
- 2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
- 16 MP, f/2.5, (wide) – selfie
Lastly, the Xiaomi has one of the best specs of any phone launched this year:
- 108 MP, f/1.7, (wide), 1/1.33″, 0.8µm, PDAF, Laser AF, OIS
- 8 MP, f/2.0, (telephoto), 1.0µm, PDAF, Laser AF, OIS, 10x hybrid optical zoom
- 12 MP, f/2.0, (portrait), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, 2x optical zoom
- 20 MP, f/2.2, 13mm (ultrawide)
- 20 MP, f/2.0, (wide), 1/3″, 0.9µm selfie
Black Shark have gone all out here, you get a 5000 mAh battery with 65W charging and a new magnetic 18W charge.
Then the iQOO has 4400 mAh battery with 55W charging and no wireless.
Lastly the Mi 10 Pro has a 4500 mAh battery with 50W charging and 30W wireless charging.
Both the iQOO and Black Shark have shoulder buttons, but the Black Shark has physical pop-up shoulder buttons. In game mode, users can choose to use the two, 21-millimeter-wide buttons that raise 1.5 millimeters from the body of the phone. The buttons can supposedly withstand over 300,000 lifts and more than one million clicks.
The iQOO has two shoulder keys, which the company calls Monster Touch buttons. There is 4D game vibrations that simulate recoil when shooting a gun while gaming. Holding the two keys can activate Monster Mode that runs the chipset at 100%.
None of the phones has a memory card slot, but they are all dual SIM.
Both the Black Shark 3 Pro and iQOO have 3.5mm headphone jacks, but the Mi 10 Pro does not.
None of the phones are IP rated.
Sadly the iQOO 3 5G is only launching in India and China for now, and I doubt the UK will see it ever. The 5G 8/128 GB version is CNY3,798 (£425)
The Black Shark 3 Pro with 8GB RAM + 256GB storage is 4699 yuan (£526) with no word on a UK release yet
The Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro starts at CNY 4999 in China so about £550. If you are desperate to get your hands on this before the official UK launch you can get it from BangGood for £756.90