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It’s been nearly a year since the debut of the Black Shark 4 Pro, and it was only officially available in other regions of the world about a month ago. Mind you – this is not even the Black Shark Pro 4S that uses the Snapdragon 888+. This is the base version of the Black Shark 4 Pro with the Snapdragon 888.

Since smartphone hardware improvements are marching on at a very fast pace, is the Black Shark 4 Pro with the Snapdragon 888 worth getting, even after a year later? Let’s talk about that.

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So, the Black Shark 4 Pro is very similar to the Black Shark 4 in many parts. The screen is identical – 6.67-inch of Super AMOLED at 144Hz with 1080p resolution, same phone shape, same size, but with a different aesthetic.

Black Shark 4 Pro

The back of the Black Shark 4 Pro comes with some sort of emblem that lights up with the RGB lighting. And the color variant that we have here has a very edge name of Shadow Black. I mean, it looks nice since it has a frosted layer on top of the holographic X pattern, but the edges around the back are sharp. Not sure if this is only happening on my unit – but it’s definitely not flush with the frame.

Black Shark 4 Pro

When it comes to gaming, the Black Shark 4 Pro comes with the infamous Snapdragon 888 chipset that is known to overheat easily. The main point of this review is to fully explore if the Snapdragon 888 has improved via software over the course of a year.

Spoiler alert: it did, but not by much. You see, when we did our Genshin Impact test of the Black Shark 4 Pro, we manage to get about 45fps most of the time – which is actually more or less the same average fps as the latest Xiaomi 12 Pro with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, but less efficient. Check out our full gaming test here.

While both phones manage to achieve about the same average frame rate, the Black Shark 4 Pro with the Snapdragon 888 was definitely hotter – as it went up to about 48°C on the screen, which makes it very painful to touch the screen and to play the game. Even the back of the phone can go up to that high of a temperature, and the frame of the phone was also painful to touch.

Of course, Black Shark did provide a phone case in the box so that you won’t directly touch the phone’s metal frame – but that means you’re trapping heat inside the phone. You’ll have to balance out between the comfort of gaming versus graphical fidelity.

Black Shark 4 Pro
At least the included case looks good though.

However, I enjoyed playing COD Mobile the most while testing the Black Shark 4 Pro. This phone comes with a few more extra input methods compared to its predecessor. It now has the magnetic popup triggers which I really like, then it has the pressure-sensitive screen so that we can press on the screen to trigger an input, and also motion control. I personally only use the pressure-sensitive screen and magnetic popups because I don’t want to shake the phone when I’m playing a game.

In terms of the trigger feeling, it’s the same as the Black Shark 4 – so check out our review to know more. In short, it has a shorter travel distance compared to the Black Shark 3 Pro, but it’s very tactile now.

Black Shark 4 Pro

Moreover, since the triggers can be popped out whenever you like, there are some other features integrated into the system – like using the trigger as a makeshift shutter button or a shortcut key to do things like taking a screenshot or turning on the flashlight. It’s handy, but limited at the same time since we can only do a few tasks with these triggers.

Black Shark 4 Pro

We also did a battery life test too but I think it’s mostly irrelevant. Yeah, that 4,500mAh battery can last about 7 and a half hours in our battery life test and I think that’s quite bad, but the reason why I say it doesn’t matter is because of the included proprietary 120W charger inside the box. Since the Black Shark 4 Pro uses a dual-cell battery, it can charge from just 14% to 100% in slightly more than 15 minutes. That’s impressive!

Black Shark 4 Pro Black Shark 4 Pro

And let’s not forget about the cameras – this phone can be used to take some pictures but that isn’t the main highlight of this phone after all.

Black Shark 4 Pro review

As a few more quick mentions – the Black Shark 4 Pro still has a 3.5mm audio jack, no microSD card slot, but has high-speed USB 3 and HDMI output over Type-C too.

Black Shark 4 Pro Black Shark 4 Pro

The dual speakers on the Black Shark 4 Pro aren’t exactly front-firing since it’s only the one speaker facing the front and the other speaker is pointing downwards. This design can shrink the bezel size but I honestly prefer true front-facing stereo speakers like the Black Shark 3 Pro.

Should you buy the Black Shark 4 Pro – specifically at this time?

So, at the end of the day, the Black Shark 4 Pro. Is it worth buying even after a year since its debut? There are two variants that you can choose from:

  • 8GB RAM + 128GB storage @ RM2,599
  • 12GB RAM + 256GB storage @ RM2,999

At either price, I’d say it’s still quite worth the price given its triggers and the performance that it offers.

However, I do advise you to wait for the upcoming Black Shark 5 to be released first since it should be announced soon. After that, maybe the price of the Black Shark 4 Pro will drop to about RM2.5k or lower?

Black Shark 4 Pro review

Anyway, that’s all I have for you today – the Black Shark 4 Pro is still a very powerful phone given that you have some way to protect your hands roasted by the phone.

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