Mobile gaming is now one of the biggest industries out there, and for those who perhaps are more competitive than others, getting the best hardware gives them the edge over their fellow gamers. With Asus now launching the ROG Phone 6 series, it’s set to go head to head against the Black Shark 5 Pro in the local gaming smartphone scene.
As such, we’ve decided to take a quick look at the two and see how exactly they stack up against each other. We do want to note though that we’ve excluded the base model Black Shark 5 here as it uses a last generation Snapdragon 870 chip, which would be too much of a discrepancy compared to the rest of the devices we’re comparing today.
Starting off with the display, the Black Shark 5 Pro has the smaller screen of the two, though not by much. It features a 6.67-inch, FHD+ AMOLED display pushing a 144Hz display with a 720Hz touch sampling rate too. It covers 111% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut, and has a 5,000,000:1 contrast ratio along with a claimed peak brightness of 1,300nits. The Black Shark 5 Pro also features 10-bit colour depth and HDR10+ certification.
In comparison, the ROG Phone 6 has a huge 6.78-inch, FHD+ AMOLED display with a higher 165Hz refresh rate along with a 720Hz touch sampling rate. It too has HDR10+ certification, with a peak brightness of 1,200nits and covers 111% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut too. The ROG Phone 6 only has a rated 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio though but does feature a Delta E average < 1 in colour accuracy. Another difference here is that the ROG Phone 6 features a notchless display, opting to keep its bezel rather than have a cut out in it like the Black Shark 5 Pro.
Performance-wise, the Black Shark 5 Pro has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 under the hood, with up to 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage. It runs JOYUI 13 out of the box based on Android 12, and is pretty similar to MIUI in many aspects. Black Shark advertises an ‘anti-gravity dual VC liquid cooling solution’ on the Black Shark 5 Pro, which is pretty much just two large vapour chamber plates on each side.
As for the ROG Phone 6, it gets the added benefit of using the newer Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip. Qualcomm says that it should offer a 10% improvement in performance over the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, but crucially is also 30% more efficient, which for a smartphone could mean plenty of battery savings. The ROG Phone 6 will also come with up to 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and up to 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage, while the ROG Phone 6 Pro comes with 18GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. It runs ROG UI and Zen UI skins of Android 12 out of the box.
As for battery life, the ROG Phone 6 is the bigger of the two, offering a huge 6,000mAh battery with 65W fast charging that Asus says will be able to charge up your device from zero to full in just 42 minutes. Furthermore, with it using the more efficient Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, you could ostensibly eek even more battery life out of the ROG Phone 6 than before.
The Black Shark 5 Pro meanwhile loses out in pure battery numbers, with just a 4,650mAh battery in comparison to the ROG Phone 6. However, as the old adage goes it’s not about size, it’s how you use it, and Black Shark are apparently better at charging their device at least. They’ve given the Black Shark 5 Pro 120W fast charging that will supposedly get you from zero to 100% in just 15 minutes.
Let’s be honest, if you’re picking between the Black Shark 5 Pro and the ROG Phone 6, the camera setups on these devices were perhaps never a big concern to you. That being said, it’s still a key feature in any smartphone and is worth taking a look at.
With the Black Shark 5 Pro, you’re getting a triple rear camera setup with a main 108MP shooter using the Samsung ISOCELL HM2 sensor, flanked by a 13MP ultrawide angle lens and a 5MP telephoto macro lens. Selfies meanwhile get taken care of by the 16MP front facing camera.
The ROG Phone 6 meanwhile also has a triple camera setup on the rear, but this time has a 50MP main camera with a Sony IMX766 sensor. It too is flanked by a 13MP ultrawide angle lens and a 5MP macro camera. However, its selfie camera uses a 12MP shooter instead.
5. Gaming features
When it comes to gaming smartphones, it’s often in their feature set where they stand out compared to your usual run of the mill flagship smartphone. The Black Shark 5 Pro for example notably has physical trigger buttons on the side of the device that you can pop out or keep flush with the side with just a flick of a switch. It also features Magic Press, allowing you to push on each half of the display to act as additional buttons in games. It also has its own Game Engine software allowing you to tweak performance modes.
Just like the Black Shark 5 Pro, the ROG Phone 6 has Armoury Crate and Game Genie allowing you to tweak with performance modes for when you need more power. However, unlike the Black Shark 5 Pro, the ROG Phone 6 lacks any physical buttons on the device itself. Instead, you’ll find AirTrigger touch sensors on the side of the device, along with gyroscopic control.
Both also have the option of an additional cooler accessory, with the Black Shark having the Black Shark FunCooler 2 Pro that’s a more ‘one size fits all’ cooler addon, while the ROG Phone 6 has the optional AeroActive Cooler 6 purpose-built for it. The latter cooler also comes with four additional trigger buttons that can kinda make up for the lack of physical trigger buttons on the ROG Phone 6 itself. There’s also the ROG Kunai 3 gamepad for if you want to make your gaming experience feel more like a handheld console. And if it matters to you, both smartphones have RGB lighting on the rear, though the ROG Phone 6 Pro swaps it out for a customisable PMOLED display.
This is perhaps one of if not the most important factor when comparing these two smartphones, and is also where the ROG Phone 6 seems to come out on top over the Black Shark 5 Pro as it’s priced RM100 less while offering an arguably better chip under the hood. To be exact, here’s how much the ROG Phone 6 lineup will cost you…
- ROG Phone 6, 12GB RAM, 256GB storage – RM3,599
- ROG Phone 6, 16GB RAM, 512GB storage – RM4,399
- ROG Phone 6 Pro, 18GB RAM, 512GB storage – RM4,999
…while this is how much the Black Shark 5 Pro is priced at:
- Black Shark 5 Pro, 12GB RAM, 256GB storage – RM3,699
- Black Shark 5 Pro, 16GB RAM, 256GB storage – RM3,999
Now I did say seems to come out on top, as if you wanted to go a step up to 16GB of RAM—maybe multitasking is somewhat of a concern to you—then the Black Shark 5 Pro with 16GB of RAM can be yours for just RM3,999, compared to the RM4,399 price tag of the ROG Phone 6 with 16GB of RAM. However, the latter will also come with double the storage.
Furthermore, if physical triggers are more important to you, than the extra RM100 for the base spec Black Shark 5 Pro might be worth it as it features retractable physical trigger buttons on the side of the device. That being said, if you’re sure about getting the ROG Phone 6, at time of writing Asus are running a pre-order promo from 6 July onwards where you can get the AeroActive Cooler 6 for free if you purchase one while stocks last, which has the four additional physical triggers on it.
Overall, the ROG Phone 6 and the Black Shark 5 Pro are some of the most exciting smartphones for mobile gamers right now, and both offer their own set of features that would be of great interest to any gamer out there. If you’re keen for a powerful gaming smartphone yourself, whose side will you be taking—the ROG Phone 6, or the Black Shark 5 Pro?