Razer Kishi review: the ultimate smartphone controller

Razer Kishi review: the ultimate smartphone controller

Starting today, the brand new Razer Kishi is available on the market, the definitive controller for Android capable of taking the gaming experience on the move to a whole new level. Find out more in this review

I want to dedicate the opening words of this review to all those skeptical gamers, longtime gamers who have now optimized their pre-game preparation process as if it were a sacred ritual. Searching for a relaxing place to sit on, turning on the console or PC, managing spaces so that nothing can be a distraction and spasmodic waiting for the chosen game to start. Add to this the obvious but absolutely true sentence “On consoles I can play triple A with incredible graphics, why should I play those games on my smartphone?”. Nothing to complain but know that, whether you are already users of mobile video games, whether you have always stayed away from them, this Razer Kishi can become your faithful portable gaming companion, from video games designed specifically for smartphones to triple A most loved. In the course of this review I’ll explain why.

Razer Kishi review: design and build

Once you open the sales package you will find nothing else to distract you from the beauty of the controller except the always appreciated Razer brand stickers. The gamepad comes in two modules (perfectly Nintendo Switch-style) held together by a very robust extension system that allows you to use smartphones with maximum size of about 6.5 inches (officially 163.7 x 78.1 x 8.1 mm). Thanks to this system it is possible to insert the smartphone between the two halves of the pad and have a feeling of use very similar to those you would have with Nintendo Switch.

I plastic materials are of excellent quality, the buttons are absolutely in line with the best proposals among the pads. The connection to the smartphone, unlike almost all the pads on the market that rely on Bluetooth, takes place through a jack USB Type-C which allows a considerable advantage that I will explain later. There is no battery because the gamepad it is powered directly by the smartphone battery going to really negatively affect the duration of the same. There is also a USB-C connection on the body of the pad that allows you to charge the smartphone during use as well as a small blue LED that certifies the successful connection between the controller and the smartphone. The audio is let through through special holes.

Razer Kishi review: a Switch at your fingertips

We now come to the most important point, the sensations that you have using this pad. I wouldn’t lie to you if I told you that I felt like I had a Nintendo console in my hands: the analog sticks are perfect both for positioning and for quality, just as excellent are the classic keys with typical Xbox indication (A, X, Y, B), the keys assigned to special functions and the bumpers. A small step back instead as regards the d-pad eight-way e the rear triggers that are not at the top in fluidity. Returning to the advantage I mentioned earlier, the direct connection through USB Type-C guarantees one zero latency, unlike all controllers that communicate via Bluetooth connection, which makes this Razer Kishi a reference point for the entire market if you want to make your smartphone your game console (even more than the Xbox One and PS4 pads) .

Here it is at this point that it is necessary to return to what I said at the beginning of this review. Why would you want such a “professional” (and expensive) device to play video games on your smartphone? True, mobile video games are still not up to par with their console counterparts. You can download the “Kishi” application directly from your store, which will allow you to install video games compatible with the pad. Although in this list there are games of the caliber of Asphalt, Ark, Final Fantasy, GTA, the (current) shortcomings are also evident, among which it is impossible not to report COD Mobile and only partial compatibility with Fortnite.

Despite this, however, you absolutely must not forget that gaming is increasingly moving towards streaming services (GeForce Now, Project xCloud, Stadia). The Razer Kishi has been and will continue to be my favorite companion for gaming sessions on the go, not only with mobile video games but also with absolute triple A. Razer Kishi is perfectly compatible with Project xCloud (with a direct collaboration between Razer and Microsoft) as well as with GeForce Now. I can tell you that I started and concluded the entire Devil May Cry 5 campaign in streaming on my smartphone without having any limitations, indeed, with the great advantage of playing video games on the go. The only real “flaw” I found concerns the lack of a possible jack to transfer the sound through a pair of “old school” headphones that are not Bluetooth.

It is time to take stock

Razer Kishi is the universal controller for Android perfect for every need, from casual gaming to the most demanding sessions. Excellent materials and construction, top ergonomics, zero latency and design with smartphone inserted that winks at highly appreciated solutions, make it absolutely a recommended purchase, despite the official price of 89.99 euros impose a reflection on how accessible cloud gaming is in your area right now and how much, on balance, you are interested in video games for smartphones. Nevertheless, Kishi is exactly the controller you want for your smartphone. A version dedicated to the Apple counterpart should also arrive in the summer.

Points in favor

  • Great design
  • Flawless construction
  • High quality analog
  • Zero latency
  • No batteries to charge

Points against

  • Limited compatibility with mobile games
  • No audio jack
  • Price in focus but still high