ASUS ExpertBook B9

Last year, we made a comparison between the Black Shark 3 Pro and the ROG Phone 3. So, this year, doing it again with the new Black Shark 4 and the ROG Phone 5. It’s interesting this year since many things have changed, and they’re both very similar to each other.

As of the time of this recording, the Black Shark 4 Pro is still unavailable outside of China – so we’re sticking with the Black Shark 4.

Acer Nitro 5

Let’s talk about the screen first. They’re both AMOLED screens, both at 2400×1080 pixels in resolution, both at 144Hz refresh rate, and they both have DC dimming options. Technically, the Black Shark 4’s screen got downgraded from the Black Shark 3 Pro, whereby the ROG Phone 5 got a slight upgrade from 120Hz to 144Hz refresh rate.

Black Shark 4 vs ROG Phone 5

They both look great, but the screen is slightly bigger on the ROG Phone 5 for sure. But, that’s about it.

And the bezels for the Black Shark 4 is smaller too – but that’s because it uses side-firing stereo speakers. I keep covering up the speakers while playing COD Mobile, which I find it to be really annoying. The ROG Phone 5 continues to use front-facing stereo speakers which sounds much better and also doesn’t have the speaker blocking issue like the Black Shark 4. I honestly think that for the speaker side of things, the ROG Phone 5 is clearly better.

The Black Shark 4’s trigger do feel slightly different compared to the Black Shark 3 Pro, maybe because of the shorter travel distance but they both still feel fine.

Black Shark 4

In terms of performance, we have the Snapdragon 888 on the ROG Phone 5 and Snapdragon 870 on the Black Shark 4. Between these two, I personally prefer the Snapdragon 870 – for a couple of reasons.

  1. Both these phones cannot run high-end mobile games like Genshin Impact at the highest graphical settings.
  2. The Snapdragon 888 heats up way too much and way too quickly, making the phone really uncomfortably to hold

The Snapdragon 870 on the other hand, is essentially an overclocked Snapdragon 865 – and the heat is manageable since the Black Shark 4 is made to handle this chip properly, unlike the POCO F3.

ROG Phone 5
The ROG Phone 5 is just hot AF.

A few more quick things to mention here – both the Black Shark 4 and ROG Phone 5 have audio jacks – thank you ROG for listening to our complaints.

Both of these phones also has HDMI output via USB-C, which means you can use the phone to stream games on OBS if you want to – we have a guide at the top right corner for you.

If you want RGB though, the ROG Phone 5 has it but Black Shark removed all RGB from their phone.

Black Shark 4 vs ROG Phone 5
No more RGB on the Black Shark 4.

But the price. The Black Shark 4 now starts at only RM1,999 whereby the ROG Phone 5 starts at RM2,999 – but if you want the ROG Phone 5 to actually be good for gaming, I suggest you get the AeroActive Cooler 5 as well – which is officially at RM149 but it’s difficult to find so it’s now entering scalper prices of more than RM300.

But which one should you get? Even though they’re both very similar to each other, I think that the conclusion is the same when we did the comparison last year. If you want to use other accessories like an Xbox controller or anything similar like that, then the ROG Phone 5 is definitely for you.

Black Shark 4 vs ROG Phone 5
Tough choice.

Another point worth highlighting is software support. Both of these companies aren’t particularly stellar in terms of its software support history, but I’m more worried about Black Shark in this case because the Black Shark 3 Pro – a phone that’s barely a year old – only got like 2-3 updates. The last update – as the time of this recording – is on the 2nd February 2021.

Which one should you buy?

The conclusion for this comparison is still going to be the same as our comparison from last year. If you want to play games with accessories to further elevate the experience, then the ROG Phone 5 will be the one for you. ROG Phone 5’s software support for 3rd party software is still the best.

For those who want to play games on the phone only, without any accessories – then the Black Shark 4 is still the best. Those popup triggers offer an experience that can’t be obtained anywhere else.

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