Razer and Asus may lead when it comes to phones made specifically for gamers, but Australians are about to get another option.
There’s clearly no shortage of phones to pick from, but depending on what style of phone you’re after, that’s where things get different.
Take foldables, for instance, where you mostly get the choice of pocket-friendly foldables such as the Moto Razr and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, while tablet foldables include last year’s Galaxy Z Fold, the soon-to-be-released 2020 Galaxy Z Fold 2, and the foldable without Google Play, the Huawei Mate XS.
There are clearly plenty of phones on the market, but not when you narrow it down to really specific niches, such as foldable phones.
The same is true with gaming phones, because while any phone can be used for mobile games, some are focused more on gaming, with special features such as faster screens, huge batteries, and controls that support air triggers and custom buttons.
Gaming phones are a relatively new thing, and in recent years, Razer and Asus have provided the big push here, beating out the typical players of Samsung and LG to produce something made for purpose. There’s nothing stopping you from using a Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra or a Note 20 Ultra to game, but there are also dedicated options from companies known for gaming kit, such as the Razer Phone 2 and the Asus ROG Phone II, the latter of which is about to be replaced with the third version in the ROG Phone range.
And they’re about to get a new entrant to compete against, as well, as Xiaomi’s local launch to Australia looks set to support its “Black Shark” gaming phone brand, complete with 2020’s Black Shark 3 Pro.
While Australia hasn’t seen Black Shark models 1 or 2, the 3 is pretty much the biggest phone you can expect to find, carrying a stupidly big 7.1 inch screen, a staggering 5000mAh battery, and a genuinely crazy weight of 253 grams. That’s only a good 24 grams difference between an actual portable video game console, the Nintendo Switch Lite.
With a fairly hefty weight — something that we don’t think we’ve seen in a gaming phone to this level — the Xiaomi Black Shark 3 Pro isn’t going to be for every pocket, and may be instead focused on the backpack. As it is, we don’t think meany pants or jeans pockets would cope with that 7.1 inch screen size, which is literally tablet sized.
Inside, however, it’s a high-end chip made for gaming, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, 12GB RAM, and storage seat to 256GB, complete with all most of the features you’d expect in a high-end phone these days, including 5G, Bluetooth 5, GPS, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax WiFi 6, plus several cameras.
And then there’s the extra stuff, with a 90Hz screen, a liquid cooling system to keep the whole thing cool when it runs fast, four pressure sensitive sensors and shoulder-side triggers for hot keys in games, a linear motor haptic vibration system to provide feedback for gaming, plus magnetic charging pack on the back that can charge the phone (though we’ve not yet seen how).
However the price is also up there, attracting a local cost of $1999 in Australia, making it not just one of Australia’s biggest phones in size and weight, but also in price. You’ll find this one in limited places, namely Xiaomi’s online store in Australia, at least until more shops get their hands on it.