ASUS ExpertBook B9

Introducing, the new Black Shark 5. It’s a gaming phone that the company had just announced earlier this month and this base model Black Shark 5 caught my attention the most because of the upgrades that it got.

I’ve been spending the past 2 weeks or so with this phone – and here is my experience.

Acer Nitro 5

This phone is rather straightforward, honestly. In short, this phone is pretty much a step up from last year’s Black Shark 4 that I love so much. Since this is a gaming phone after all, let’s talk about the specs and gaming performance first.

The Black Shark 5 comes with the exact same specs as last year’s Black Shark 4.

Black Shark 5

However, in terms of gaming performance, many things have changed. Genshin Impact got a big update recently that literally made many phones able to run that game at the highest graphical settings at 60fps. The Snapdragon 870 is now able to do that without breaking a sweat – and I mean that in a literal sense since the phone isn’t hot. We marked it at only about 42°C which is just amazing.

You can watch our gaming test here to know more.

We also have all 3 different types of inputs available on the base version of the Black Shark 5 too – the magnetic triggers are here and I personally still prefer this type of physical triggers as opposed to capacitive triggers.

Black Shark 5

The Black Shark 5 also has the pressure-sensitive screen feature whereby we can press either the left or right side of the screen harder to trigger an input. I find myself using this feature a lot since the Black Shark 3 Pro, especially while playing COD Mobile.

Black Shark 5

Then for the motion sensors, well… it’s rather disorienting so I turned that off.

Black Shark 5

Since the overall gaming experience was great, how about the battery life? Well… it’s not great. Even with its 4,650mAh battery, it won’t last long. Tested at 100 nits of brightness, the result we got was only 7.5 hours. Truth be told, even during our gaming test, the battery life dropped significantly when we played Genshin Impact for only about 30 minutes.

Black Shark 5
This was after about 30 minutes or so.

Luckily, there is a battery bypass feature on the Black Shark 5 so we can just plug in the charger, enable that feature and never touch the battery at all when we are gaming.

Black Shark 5

Speaking of the charger, the Black Shark 5 now comes with a 120W charger in the box too! We can head into the settings menu to change how fast we want to charge the battery. For our test, we made it charge as fast as possible and it can reach from 9% to 100% in just about 15 minutes. Amazing.

And I still have a few more things to mention – this phone has a completely different vibration feel compared to the Black Shark 5 Pro. We recorded an audio difference – so watch our video at the top of this review to know more.

However, it does not have an audio jack so you’ll have to rely on either wireless earbuds which I am not a fan of – or get a DAC to plug into that USB-C port.

Black Shark 5

The cameras on the Black Shark 5 are… fairly basic. It comes with a triple camera setup but I think that the macro camera needs to go. Both the main and ultrawide angle cameras can take decent pictures – so watch our video at the top of this review to have a look at all the pictures taken with this phone.

Black Shark 5

The screen on the Black Shark 5 is also rather basic. It’s a 6.67-inch AMOLED screen with a resolution of 2400×1080 and can go up to 144Hz refresh rate – I mean, this isn’t our first time seeing a phone with this screen. Here is our color accuracy test.

Black Shark 5

Oh – and that design. I am rather impartial about its design overall even though I usually don’t like glossy glass backs. But, this time, the back glass creates some fancy reflections – which reminds me of the HONOR 8 from many years ago. The RGB panel on the Black Shark 5 though, is VERY tiny.

Black Shark 5

One thing I realized while comparing it with the Black Shark 4 though – the location of the button + fingerprint scanner is way higher on the Black Shark 5 and it is totally uncomfortable to use even for big hands like mine.

Black Shark 5

Speaking of the Black Shark 4 – the final question is – should you upgrade from the Black Shark 4? Well, looking at the specs alone, definitely not. It’s going to perform the same, right? But, if we compare the differences, then two things that I personally care about become apparent.

Black Shark 5

Number 1, is the Magic Press feature a.k.a. the pressure-sensitive screen. I use that feature a lot even though I find it to be a bit annoying sometimes since I start to press hard on the screen when things get intense and accidentally trigger something.

Number 2 is the battery bypass feature. I think this feature is necessary for all gaming phones and the Black Shark 5 has it.

Should you buy the Black Shark 5?

I enjoyed my time using this phone and I think this is a fantastic phone. Even the specs isn’t exactly the newest in today’s standards – it still manages to perform magnificently in the latest games that we played.

We still have our review of the Black Shark 5 Pro coming soon. That will be an interesting one since I’ll mostly be talking about why you should and should not buy the Black Shark 5 Pro.

Black Shark 5

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