Xiaomi Black Shark Helo Gaming Phone Comprehensive and Analytic Review
by mitch002 (follow me on Twitter @MI_mitch002 for my latest Xiaomi Unboxing, Reviews and Tutorials)
Im back for the 202th edition of the Mi Product Review, and as all of you know, the number 02 is always special to my heart. Now, as the kids are singing to the sweet tune of Baby Shark, Xiaomi has released yet another gaming Shark phone in the Black Shark Helo. Gaming phone has taken of to its full swing as the Black Shark did make some noise in the gaming phone industry till Asus ROG came, and the Black Shark Helo is here to take on it - heads on.
To be honest, getting this phone was not really a walk in the park as people all over China are doing their best to snag one og these awesome gaming phone. Lucky for me I was able to land one just in time to make a review, just for all of you Mi Fans across the world.
One key highlight of this phone si the liquid cooling technology, we have played 3 hours non stop on this phone and I can tell you that its still at an acceptable heat level, not hot on the palm and hands.
Tech Specs of BLACK SHARK Helo:
- · Qualcomm SDM845 Snapdragon 845 Octa-core processor (4x2.8GHz Kryo 385 Gold and 4x1.8GHz Kryo 385 Silver)
- · AIE (Artificial Intelligence Engine)
- · Adreno 630 GPU
- · 6GB / 8GB / 10GB of RAM LPDDR4x
- · 6.01-inch AMOLED display ultra bright, energy saving display, (~77.5% screen-to-body ratio)
- · 1080 x 2160 pixels FHD+ (~402 ppi pixel density), contrast ≥ 60000:1, 18:9 Ratio, 60Hz refresh rate, 403 nit
- · 101.3% DCI-P3 color gamut, high color saturation
- · Black
- · Liquid Cooled, X-Type antennae to prevent grip of death
- · 128GB / 256GB of storage
- · 12 MP, wide angle lens, f/1.75, 1.25µm, Dual-LED (dual tone), 6 chips lens
- 20 MP, telephoto lens, f/1.75, 1.0µm
- · 20 MP front camera, f/2.2, 1.0µm, autofocus
- · Finger print scanner
- · Dual SIM (nano sim size)
- · 3G, LTE, 4G+ Carrier Aggregation, VoLTE Calls
- · Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, A-GPS, NFC
- · 4000mAh battery, Quick Charge 3.0 Supported 9V / 3A, 18W
- · Sensors: Gyro, Geomagnetic, Gravity Sensor, Distance Sensing, Ambient Light Sensor
- · Android Oreo 8.1, JOY UI V1.0
- · USB-C port, UFS 2.1
- · 160 x 75.25 x 8.7 mm
- · 190 Grams
Black Shark Helo Design:
Sporting the S logo at the back which ressembles the great Black Shark
The 2nd iteration of the Black Shark did a lot of good impression to gamers and non gamers. There are some people who like the upgrade in terms of aetheitcs. At first impression, it looks like the Black Shark that just got revived with a little shine. But in actual, you can see its very own distinct polished back cover design which redefined how a gaming phone should look like. When we say its gaming, it should be rugged, but this one its a gaming phone that deserves to be in your hands with its redefined elegant look as well as beefed up specs as compared to the Redmi Series. The S logo blinks and bleed green when you turned on the phone and this time around its not just green, it has 8 colors to choose from. They have also added more lights on the side, there is a strip light now which has several preset gradient colors to choose from and all colors are good, it just depends on your taste.
Whats in the Sharky Box:
Pretty Black Box, the Gamepad is packed inside the box unlike the first version
We have the 8/256GB version here
Are you ready to Shark it Out?!
10GB 256GB is the highest configuration this time around
Black Shark, Charger, USB C Cable, Control Pad, Manual, Hard Case, Stickers
The case needed to be attached once you want to use the gamepad
The gamepad looks a lot more futuristic than the first one
Quick Charge 3.0 Support charger
Very good looking I should say
Actual Product Pictorial:
I should say the design has bumped up a lot since the first version and it can be mistaken as a casual phone
Look at the placement of the Dual Rear Cameras, its perfectly done and below it is the finger print scanner
The S Logo.
We have the loudspeaker, the USB C Port and the Mic in at the bottom
The dual sim card tray and the shark space switch on the left side
On top we have the noise cancellation mic, actually its hidden on the chamfered area
The Volume rocker and the power button rounds out the right side
The green USB C port is looking so awesome
The earpiece is quite similar to the Asus ROG
Nice round Edge
Probably on thing that I can truly say about this phone is that it has definitely carved a name for itself in the mobile gaming world especially on its first release, unlike the Razer, which is so squarish in deisgn with all those sharp corners, the Black Shark Helo has deployed a more normal smartphone design, which in my opinion is quite good, as you can use it as your daily driver.
Display and Audio
We were expecting a lot from the display side from this phone, with a screen to phone ratio of 77.5% is quite impressive already for this device, and the refresh rate is said to be fixed at 60Hz with ample enough for heavy gaming. The AMOLED display in the Black Shark Helo is a major upgrade for this 2nd iteration of the Black Shark phone and we love the way we played the games and watching some movies. Honestly, I could not really differentiate the goodness of the screen when I watched Spiderman Home Coming side by side with the Mi MIX 3 (luckily they got released almost the same timeline). I did try to put the sound to max loudspeaker mode, with its dual smart HIFI music rendering technology, it was able to fill in the room of around 8 Square Meter with good sound. 3.5mm audio jack is no longer available on this unit so you need to either use bluetooth or the provided USB C to Audio Jack adapter in the box. Its equipped with a Game Professional MIC which provides game calls and team battle sounds.
Here are the supported audio and video format on the Black Shark Helo:
Video file format: 3gp, mp4, webm, mkv, etc.
Audio file format: mp3, mid, amr, awb, 3gp, mp4, m4a, aac, wav, ogg, flac, mkv, etc.
Image file format: png, gif, jpg, Bmp, webp, wbmp, etc.
Most of the gaming devices comes with the latest SoC from Qualcomm, ithas to be future proof otherwise it will be dead even before it has even arrived. The Snapdragon 845 SoC has 8 cores and can run up to 2.8Ghz of computing speed. Now of course powered together with the powerful Adreno 630, and of course a generous serving of 8GB/10GB RAM, it will give you the best experience in gaming up to date. The liquid cooling technology of Black Shark Helo can drop the temperature by 8 Celcius which is a big factor because gaming can cause so much stress on the SoC and GPU. The phone is pretty responsive on the JOY UI (still on version 1 tho) probably because its quite a bare vanilla android similar to the Mi A2 which has very little customization. This SoC is supports the 64-bit architecture which means it can compute at a very fast phase. So good graphics, good multitasking plus fast processing makes Snapdragon 845 probably one of the most premium SoC for the year 2018.
Antutu awarded this phone with a whopping score of 295,789 point which is a large jump over the 270,321 point I got from the Black Shark with the same configuration.
The joy of gaming, I would really say the JOY UI is almost similar to the Android One UI present in the Mi A1, only that its a little tweaked toward gaming. Basically there is really nothing inside this UI, very very clean from bloat-wares, and let me walk you thru from first boot to the setup and towards whats inside JOY UI.
Let me take you a walk towards whats inside the JOY UI as many of as have yet to have a hold on this phone, unlike the popular MIUI, this one needs a thorough introduction, and you get it here just from me.
Scrolling wallpapers, I love it when it scrolled to the game characters of ROS and PUBG.
Pretty plain, The Shark App Store is basically MI App Store inside.
Enter the lair of the gaming world, featuring the Shark Space, an interdimentional portal created just for the gamer in you. This mode allows you to enter the world of your fantasy, meaning there are no one who can distract you as you conquer your gaming urges. No calls can get thru, no messages, no notification, just pure gaming for as long as you want. Now girlfriends might wanna be warry of this mode as it will prevent all sort of notification while boyfriend is playing ROS or PUBG or NBA2k19. Now better be good to your boyfriends or they will turn on their Shark Space... Forever!
The games are to be manually installed into the Shark Space, you will only declare which games you want to be placed inside that dimension. I forgot to tell you due to my excitement, this space also clears up all the resources and memory (RAM) just to maximize your gaming experience, how sweet is that? Sweeter than your girlfriend I guess.
Now here comes the fun part!! 60Hz of refresh rate is just the right amount for a gaming phone, 120Hz on the Razer is probably a bit too much.
I was able to play NBA 2k19, ROS and PUBG and all went well as expected
I am really speechless when it comes to the games being rendered, not even the experience on the Mi MIX 2S comes close to the reality of gaming I have experienced on the Black Shark Helo, especially the gamepad comes in pretty handy in playing all those games. And guess what? Its not even that hot after 3 hours of non stop gaming.
The Black Shark Helo supports 12 different LTE bands and at the moment it only markets itself within China, there is no announcement when it will be sold outside the production country. The Black Shark did get a Global Version almost 3 months after its China Debut. It's pretty easy to switch to LTE network inside the settings. You can freely choose which sim you want to use your LTE data, since this is a Dual LTE, Dual standby smartphone. This unit also has the 4G+ equipped, and also supports multiple carrier aggregation technology 2CA and 3CA (should your network provider have this feature), you can take advantage of it. Wireless connectivity via Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac is also smooth and it also supports Wi-Fi Direct. Wireless screen mirroring is also available via the Miracast protocol, tethering data is also working perfectly. Bluetooth 5.0,GPS, and GLONASS are all present. Transfering data from another phone, you can use Shark transfer which is present on your phone upon purchase.
Network Specs Sheet from Official Website
FDD LTE (band B1 / B3 / B4 / B5 / B7 / B8 / B20)
TDD LTE (band B34 / B38 / B39 / B40 / B41)
TD - SCDMA (band B34 / B39)
WCDMA (band B1 / B2 / B5 / B8 )
GSM (band B2 / B3 / B5 / B8)
CDMA / EVDO (band BC0)
The Black Shark features a dual-camera arrangement like any Xiaomi Phones these days, the arrangement is comprised of 12-megapixel (1.25um pixel size, PDAF) and a 20-megapixel (1.0um pixel size, PDAF) sensors, with both camera having f/1.75 aperture. The selfie camera is 20MP (1.0um pixel size) with a f/2.2 aperture. This is a gaming phone to begin with, but with the shots that I have taken with this phone, it seems to be just your average gaming phone. It did excel on the camera part as well. We have no information on the manufacturer of the camera sensors as we cant access the CIT Engineering Mode of this phone.
only 1/4S for Manual Exposure and ISO only 1600
Full Camera Settings
Like I told you, the camera is quite awesome for a gaming phone, I can go toe to toe with probably the Mi A2 but definitely not the flagships.
Battery, Temperature and SOT
This phone packs a lot of punch under the hood, having a 4000mAh battery inside its case, this is lot of game time for gamers out there. But you have to take note that battery drains faster on this phone, why? There is no MIUI Optimization mode on this one, like I said it almost a bare Android UI in here. The Black Shark Helo here has a SOT of 11 Hour and 6 minutes as opposed to Black Shark's 10 Hours and 25 minutes which have the same battery size, probably they have tunned up the UI this time for better consumption.
As crazy as it may sound, I cant seem to figure out while the Ampere app is reading roughly a maximum of 2.6 Ampere. Charging from 20% to 100% I was able to accomplished it withiin 1 hours and 03 minutes exactly as I closely monitored it.
Temperature, while on normal gaming I was able to rate it at 36C, the hottest point is just below the camera. While on heavy full time gaming for more than 1 hour, I was able to rate it at 37.5C outside the case, while the CPU is rating it at 44C inside the cores.
BLACK SHARK HELO, Gamer's Dream Phone!
Now the Black Shark has went into its 2nd iteration, the Chinese manufacturer vows to put gamers experience as their top priority for this said phone. But Xiaomi didnt just focused on the gaming performance, but it placed a lot of effort in redefining the aethetics as well as the camera too! Making it a worthy daily driver that you can carry everywhere with its awesome style. Unlike the Razer, which is a plain rectangular block just build for gamers, this one can capture the attention of casual gamers as well with its unique design and comfort on the hands.
The 6+128GB retails for 3199 RMB while the 8+128GB retails for 3499 RMB.
Black Shark Helo