Razer is a name synonymous with PC gaming culture. From laptops to keyboards to controllers- they are stamped firmly as a reputable brand for gamers. Some of their pedigree includes the legendary Razer Mamba mouse, the iconic Atrox Fight Stick, and who can forget the Raiju Ultimate Controller.
Today mark’s a brand new first. A Smartphone controller designed specifically for Cloud Based Gaming. Say Hello to the Razer Kishi.
Let’s start with the first impressions shall we? Razer is no stranger to premium packaging. While unboxing the Razer Kishi, the first thing you’ll notice is the padded protection. This thing looks like it could take a tumble down a city block. Next, you see the controller, the manuals, and an included 14 day trial code for GamePass Ultimate.
The controller is sealed with stickers on the front and back. After peeling off the protective layers you are greeted with two grips that expand to make the controller fit your smart phone. In my case, I was using a Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
A minor annoyance is the difficulty to clip on to the smartphone, but after a few kinetic fumbles, I managed it. To be fair, the Note 20 Ultra is one of the largest premium Smart Phones on the market, so mechanical complexity was expected.
After that? Everything was smooth sailing. The moment I connected the phone to the USB type-C port it recognized the Kishi immediately. I was off to the races.
While the controller is attached, it definitely resembles the Nintendo Switch in a lot of ways. The Kishi didn’t mold to the palm of my hands like a regular controller would, but it felt very comfortable compared to other mobile controllers on the market. Since this is the Xbox version of the Kishi, you’ll get the Xbox face buttons along with the bumpers and triggers. The face buttons and the analog sticks definitely approximate the feeling of using an Xbox controller, however, there are downsides.
The bumpers and triggers didn’t feel satisfying. They were missing a tactility and rigidity that you often associate with official first party Microsoft peripherals. In terms of aesthetics, the triggers didn’t have the signature glossy finish like an Xbox One controller, it’s a minor gripe, but you are paying quite a hefty price of £99.
My only gripe was the D-Pad. It didn’t feel as good as a Hori Fighting Commander or the Dualshock 4, but to it’s credit, it’s definitely better than the Nintendo Switch Joycons. Last, was the Xbox button. It would take you to the home page on the Android phone.
There is a lot to celebrate though. The Razer Kishi supports many popular mobile games like Call Of Duty Mobile, Fortnite, and PUBG natively. Input lag is nonexistent thanks to the direct USB type-C connection (this isn’t something I can say about Bluetooth controllers). The Kishi also has an external USB-C port that can be used to charge the controller AND the phone.
Last, let’s talk about streaming. XCloud is a new addition to Android devices and the service gives Smartphones a AAA experience on the go like the Nintendo Switch. The service is currently in Beta, but the controller works just fine. You’ll probably notice some lag since you’re streaming the game through the cloud, but games that run at 60fps have a much better on-the-go experience. I got to play Yakuza 0, NieR: Automata and Doom eternal. All three of the games did the Razer Kishi justice. You can also use Nvidia’s GeForce Now Cloud Service and it’ll work the exact same way.
The Razer Kishi is a great addition for mobile gaming if you’re out on the go. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re into mobile first person shooters. This isn’t a perfect controller, however. The D-Pad and triggers feel a little cheap and flimsy and need some refinement in the inevitable successor. With all that said, it’s easy to use, universally recognized on many devices, and a great addition to cloud gaming depending on the title. At £99 it isn’t cheap, but it’s currently one of the best options on the market.
Release date: 16/09/2020
Platforms: Android and iOS
Version Reviewed: Android (Xbox)