I’ve just tested the Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro – more to the point, I’ve just finished playing non-stop, but as it’s a gaming phone I think it’s an acceptable way to test it – and it was a difficult task putting it down.
The device is great for gaming – it has a powerful processor and a beautiful display, but my favorite aspect is the physical triggers, which you can map to functions in a game. This means that when you press those rim-mounted buttons, the phone thinks you’re pressing a certain area of the screen – so in a shooter game you can map one to the aim button and the other to the fire button. , making it faster to press both.
In fact, the Black Shark 5’s triggers were so useful that playing competitive titles online felt unfair – a fact that the recent release of Apex Legends Mobile hit home.
Physical triggers aren’t exactly new to Android phones, and for a few years now, gaming phones I’ve tested, like the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel and Nubia Red Magic 6, boast haptics – that means you tap a point on the edge. device and your finger is lifted.
The Black Shark 5 Pro has the best version of this I’ve ever tried (I should point out that the Black Shark 4 Pro and Poco F4 GT also use it, although I haven’t tested them).
The triggers physically detach and so you get a satisfying ‘click’ when you press them – that means you know exactly how much force to use to press them, and you know when your touch has been picked up. It’s the closest feeling I’ve had to using a game controller when testing a phone.
But that’s the problem – I’m the only one using these triggers.
a hardware show
The world of mobile gaming is incredibly diverse in terms of hardware – you could play in a squad alongside people using the high-end Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra or a budget Motorola phone and you’d never know.
More often than not, game developers cater to this discrepancy and make titles as accessible as possible, so having a weak phone isn’t an obstacle. But still, screen quality and refresh rate can make a difference – and for triggers, that’s especially true.
It’s hard to deny that triggers give you the upper hand when you’re playing online shooting games. Since you usually use the same thumb for movement and for shooting, to attack someone you need to stop moving, move your thumb, find the fire button and press it – this can be a time consuming process. You can move and shoot, but it’s tricky.
Triggers cut through this process – you simply hold your index finger on the phone’s frame, and when you need to shoot, just press your finger a little – it’s incredibly easy.
While your opponent is passing time by reaching for the ‘shoot’ button, your finger is already lifting after blasting them.
Apex Legends came at a bad time…
I’ve been looking forward to Apex Legends Mobile for a while, but its release came at the same time the Black Shark 5 Pro showed up on my doorstep – and I’ve just described the advantage this phone has given me.
Black Shark has made it very easy to handle frantic battles, when multiple different teams are converging on the same point at the same time. I didn’t have to play tactically like everyone else, as my improved response times made me lethal.
Checking my stats now, my average damage per match is over 2,000 while my KD ratio is over 35 – in the nine games I’ve played, I’ve won seven of them.
And I should clarify that I’m not bragging – I’m just average at games most of the time. But this hardware gave me such an advantage that it elevated me from ‘indistinguishable from a bot’ to ‘normal MVP’.
Is this treason? Well, that depends on your definition – I’m not literally hacking the game like a lot of people do in these online shooters, but I’m using tools that not every player has access to.
Thankfully, I don’t have to sit on this moral dilemma for long – I’m already testing another trigger-free phone – but it’s definitely something to think about if you’re considering buying the Black Shark or a similar device.