Black Shark 5 Review: The Budget Gaming Phone to Get

Black Shark 5 is an incremental but worthy successor to Black Shark 4. If you are in the market for a gaming phone and don't want to leave a gaping hole in your wallet - this might be the one.
Black Shark 5 Review: The Budget Gaming Phone to Get

Black Shark 5 is available for purchase on Amazon.  #ComissionsEarned As Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

In terms of design, the Black Shark 5 doesn’t reinvent the wheel when compared to Black Shark 4 but it does come with some cosmetic changes, especially on the back of the phone. It’s available in two colors – the mirror black and explorer gray which is the one we got for the review and I can honestly say, it looks great. The nifty little design details go great with this gradient and glossy bluish-gray color to make it visually pop out more than your average mainstream phone. 

As for the build, you have a highly durable metal frame while the back is completely made from glass which is slightly curved on the sides. It’s not the most durable of phones but still manages to feel very premium and its overall form factor and design make it very comfortable to grip and hold. Here you once again have the Black Shark mainstay in the form of magnetic pop-up triggers. These are once again wonderfully implemented as you simply toggle the switch to make them pop out and you can use them for either gaming or as shortcuts to open certain apps, take screenshots, and much more. 

Black Shark 5 has a 6,67-inch AMOLED screen with a 2400 x 1080 resolution and a pixel density of 395 PPI which is in the ballpark of most gaming phones. Under the hood, you have the Snapdragon 870, Adreno 650, 8 GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and 128 GB of UFS type storage. With it, it’s fully capable of running the most graphically intense games at high and stable framerates. It also helps that the phone has a really unique cooling solution with copper alloys being directly attached to the main sources of heat. It helps with heat dissipation and power drain, meaning that you’ll rarely get throttling of any kind during longer play sessions. 

The cameras, as with most gaming phones clearly weren’t a big point of focus here but are still rather serviceable. The three-camera setup here features the 64 MP main camera, 13 MP fixed focus ultrawide and a 2 MP fixed focus macro camera. On the front, smack in the middle, you have the 16 MP hole punch selfie snapper. In good lighting conditions, all cameras capture good quality images with a nice amount of detail and with a rather realistic color profile. 

The main camera here supports video recording up to 4K resolution at 60 FPS and the ultrawide camera supports up to 4K at 30 FPS. While both are capable of taking some great videos I have to give it to the main camera as the videos taken with it feature a ton of detail, have a natural color composition, and don’t suffer from much noise and other artifacts. 

The 4650 mAh battery isn’t the biggest one seen on gaming phones but it gets the job done. With the refresh rate cranked up to max, a  healthy mix of making calls, playing music, and browsing the web with a bit of gaming should leave it at around 20% at the end of the day. What’s great is that you get a 120-watt charger in the box meaning you can get it from 0 to a 100% in around 15 minutes. 

As for the software, the Black Shark 5 runs JOYUI 13 on top of the latest Android 12. JOYUI here being a modified variant of the MIUI 13 with unique themes, wallpapers, and some gaming-related features. The entire thing is generally snappy, no-nonsense, and really easy to use. The icons are colorful, and navigation is intuitive and simple but also fairly customizable. In most cases, you can set the UI experience to more resemble the classic MIUI or the new and arguably improved with JOYUI. For more details on the build, design, features, and much more, check out our full video review.

Summary
Black Shark 5 is not your top-of-the-line, cutting-edge piece of tech, but if you are looking for a great mobile gaming device or even a fast and reliable phone - it more than gets the job done. At a $550 price point, it's cheaper than most other dedicated gaming phones on the market and probably some of the best bang for your buck.
Good
  • Fast and bright 144Hz display
  • Great performance
  • Super fast 120W charging
  • Awesome gaming features
  • Great value for money
Bad
  • Battery life could be better
  • Average camera experience
  • No IP rating
  • No 3,5 mm headphone jack
8
Great
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