I just tested the Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro – more precisely, I finished playing non-stop, which I find acceptable considering it’s a gaming phone – and it was a difficult task to put it down.
The device is great for gaming, with a powerful processor and 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 these rim-mounted buttons the phone thinks you are pressing a certain area of the screen, so in a shooter you can map one to the aim button and one to the fire button. , making it faster to press both.
In fact, Black Shark 5’s triggers were so useful that I felt I had an unfair advantage when playing competitive titles online, like the just-released Apex Legends Mobile.
Physical triggers aren’t exactly new to Android phones, and a few years ago, gaming phones I tested, like the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel and Nubia Red Magic 6, sported the haptics – that means finger touch is picked up when you touch a dot on the edge of the device.
The Black Shark 5 Pro has the best version of this I’ve ever experienced (I should point out that the Black Shark 4 Pro and Poco F4 GT also use it, but I haven’t tested them).
The triggers physically detach, which means you get a satisfying ‘click’ when you press them – this 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 be playing in a squad alongside people using the high-end Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra or a budget Motorola phone and you would 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, this is 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 lengthy process. You can move and shoot, but it’s tricky.
Triggers cut this process off. You simply keep 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 was released 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 2000 while my KD rate is over 35; in the nine games I played, I 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.