I just finished testing the Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro – more specifically, I ended up playing games on it nonstop, but since it’s a gaming phone, I think it’s an acceptable way to put it on it. test – and it was a difficult task to put it down.
The handset is great for gaming – it has a powerful processor and a nice screen, but my favorite aspect is the physical triggers, which you can map to functions in a game. That means when you press those edge-mounted buttons, the phone thinks you’re pressing a certain area of the screen – so in a shooter you can map one to the aim button and another to the fire button, which speeds up 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 launch of Apex Legends Mobile hit on.
Physical triggers aren’t exactly new to Android phones, and for a few years now gaming mobiles I’ve tested like the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel and Nubia Red Magic 6 have had haptic triggers – that means you press on a point on the edge of the device and your finger is picked up.
The Black Shark 5 Pro has the best version of it I’ve 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 pop out, and so 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 caught. 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 fair
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’d never know it.
For the most part, game developers take this discrepancy into account and make titles as accessible as possible, so having weak mobile isn’t a barrier. 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 edge when playing online shooters. Since you usually use the same thumb to move and to shoot, to attack someone you need to stop moving, move your thumb, find the fire button and press it – this can take some time. You can move around and shoot, but it’s tedious.
Triggers cut this process – you just keep your index finger on the phone’s frame, and when you need to fire, you just press your finger down a bit – it’s incredibly easy.
While your opponent spends his time reaching for the “shoot” button, your finger is already rising from it after detonating it.
Apex Legends arrived at the wrong time…
I’ve been looking forward to Apex Legends Mobile for a while, but its release came at the same time as the Black Shark 5 Pro showed up on my doorstep – and I’ve just described how that phone gave me an edge .
The Black Shark has made it too easy to manage frantic battles, when many different teams converge on the same point at once. I didn’t have to play tactically like everyone else because my improved response times made me lethal.
Checking my stats now, my average damage per match is over 2000, while my KD ratio is over 35 – in the nine matches I’ve played, I’ve won seven.
And I have to make it clear that I’m not bragging – I’m just average at games most of the time. But this material gave me such an advantage that it elevated me from “indistinguishable from a bot” to “regular MVP”.
Is this cheating? Well, that depends on your definition – I’m not literally hacking the game like a lot of people do on these online shooters, but I’m using tools that not all gamers have access to.
Fortunately, I don’t need to sit on this moral dilemma for long – I’m already testing another phone without triggers – but it’s certainly something to think about if you’re considering buying the Black Shark or a similar device.