The Black Shark 2 Review: A Gaming Phone's Existential Crisisby Andrei Frumusanu on September 25, 2019 8:00 AM EST
- Posted in
- Snapdragon 855
- Black Shark 2
The Black Shark 2 was among one of the devices we’ve included in our Snapdragon 855 device roundup, so we should be plenty familiar with the device’s performance.
The summary explanation of diverging performance between different smartphones with the same SoC chipset is that vendors can deploy the software and firmwares at different stages of their development cycle. Some vendors try to keep things up to date with what Qualcomm provides, while others base off their firmwares some time early in the R&D cycle of the phone and then never update it again until a major Android update a year or more later.
In PCMark, the Black Shark 2 preforms relatively average in relation to its other Snapdragon 855 siblings. The more interesting comparison here is against Xiaomi’s own Mi9; we’re seeing a few minor differences here and there but generally there isn’t too much divergence from its sister platform.
In the JS web browsing benchmarks, the Black Shark 2 actually performs well and in line with the better S855 platforms.
Overall, the performance of the Black Shark 2 is very good and in line with that of other Snapdragon 855 phones. It’s very similar to the Mi9 and that’s a good thing, albeit a bit short of the very best S855 tuned systems such as the Galaxy S10.
The more interesting aspect of performance is something we can’t really measure with benchmarks, and that’s the phone’s 240Hz touch input which does actually help quite a lot in terms of giving users a more fluid and less sluggish experience, something that’s especially visible in scrolling content.
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Flunk - Wednesday, September 25, 2019 - linkI'd take "gaming" phones more seriously if they actually had better hardware instead of just having obnoxious styling like this thing. I feel like that won't happen because of the way SoCs are developed, so we'll just see more of these cynical products.
wrkingclass_hero - Thursday, September 26, 2019 - linkSo it has finally come to paid reviews... this will not end well
Andrei Frumusanu - Thursday, September 26, 2019 - linkIt will end come Monday.
Galcobar - Thursday, September 26, 2019 - linkXiaomi might agree with your sentiment, since Qualcomm paid for a review which called out deceptive practices, poor design, and significant under-performance by a Qualcomm client. Clearly, the payment did not include guarantees of positive coverage or control over the published results. Xiaomi is probably wishing this review hadn't happened, but it does seem to establish the Independence of Anandtech editorial staff to publish a negative review even when sponsored.
PeachNCream - Thursday, September 26, 2019 - linkPretty much this stuff. It's really hard to question AT's integrity with this particular paid review given the results do not paint the phone in question in a very good light. Will that always be the case? Dunno, but I think probably, yes it will.
Imran-Shaikh - Thursday, September 26, 2019 - linkWhat benefits AT had through these paid reviews?
Money or anything else?
Thanks in advance.
Badelhas - Thursday, September 26, 2019 - linkWhat do you mean?
Average James - Friday, September 27, 2019 - linkI just ran Slingshot Extreme Unlimited on my own BlackShark 2 with explicitly turned off thermal throttling and maximum speed setting  as Gamer Studio allows to tune the option.
With GPU overlocked via Caller hidden menu, I marked 7100~ish Graphics and 4100-ish Physics which seems legit to its clock setting. While that, the temp marked through 35~38C.
And then, I voluntary set Gamer Studio level to  which actively uses Silver Cores for battery and heats for non-3D heavy games. the result is similar to the article.
So I wonder, Mr. Andrei might misunderstood about CPU/GPU governor stuff. On Auto setting, it seems natural that SW detects what kind of game or apps which requires how much 3D/CPU power to get most favorable results. Like nowdays modern VGA drivers are doing.
Average James - Friday, September 27, 2019 - linkI can understand you're blaming detecting benchmarks software to turn off thermal throttling as a reviewer. It's generally evil thing to trick customers. BUT this device offers various performance levels through it's exclusive Gamer Studio menu and even allows to set thermal throttling level if you want.
So what I cannot get from your article is, it doesn't talk about it's real performance. This is just complaining about "Poor performance in Auto perf setting if an App is not registered properly as it uses lower performance (seems level 2) level."
s.yu - Friday, September 27, 2019 - link"if an App is not registered properly"
If "real" performance mandates that apps "register" properly, how can you ensure that every game is registered properly then, if "registration" doesn't depend on a load detection?