Razer Kishi review: A smooth play for mobile gaming

Nancy J. Delong


I crammed the Razer Mobile phone II into it without having recognizing it needed an incorporate-on. It worked, but really don’t try out this at home.

Lori Grunin/CNET

Gamers with present day phones, rejoice. Razer follows up its Junglecat controller with a far more considerable Pleasure-Con-alike model: the Razer Kishi, first declared at CES 2020. The Kishi’s pads use pressure to attach to the cell phone and join by means of USB-C, which gets rid of the latency and lag of a Bluetooth relationship, and signifies the controller isn’t going to demand charging. 


  • Normal Xbox and Nintendo Change controller format, for the most element
  • USB-C relationship with charging go-as a result of

You should not Like

  • Thumbsticks are comparatively restricted and D-pad feels mushy
  • You shed USB-C audio

The Kishi’s bigger layout lets for a far more sound grip, and it has the familiarity of the Xbox and Nintendo Pleasure-Con Pro controller layouts. It’s not a perfect emulation — the controls are differently spaced from each individual other than on people other controllers and the really feel may not be to everyone’s taste — but it really is 1 of the most classy, usable controllers for mobile gaming I’ve tried.

The Razer Kishi for Android is readily available now for $80 (£80, AU$one hundred fifty). The firm expects to ship an MFi-qualified model for iOS in August.


The Kishi awaiting its cell phone exciting.

Lori Grunin/CNET

It’s far less finicky about compatibility than the Junglecat, which calls for particular situations and for that reason unique cell phone help. The Kishi will fit any cell phone with a USB-C connector in the middle of the bottom and proportions of fifteen.7 to 6.4 by 2.7 to 3.1 by .3 inches (a hundred forty five.3 to 163.7 by 68.2 to seventy eight.1 by 7. to eight.eight mm). That encompasses most present day flagship phones, notably the Samsung Galaxy S20, S20 Ultra and possibly the upcoming Notice twenty. Razer’s possess cell phone, the Razer Mobile phone 2 is essentially a hair much too large to fit easily, so the firm delivers a package to deal with that. I did not recognize that when I commenced tests with the Razer Mobile phone 2: It nevertheless works, but calls for far more drive to insert than you want to use.

The two sides are hooked up to each individual other by means of an elastic tether with a plastic plate in the middle. You slip 1 close of the cell phone into the suitable facet USB-C connector and the other over the top. The finishes sit in rubber indentations, and the plastic sits on the back of the cell phone. This presents you somewhere to rest your fingers that’s not slippery like the backs of most phones and that’s even with the back of the controller somewhat than recessed. When you are not using the Kishi, that plate snaps the two sides together.


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There’s a USB-C go-as a result of connector for charging the cell phone — audio dongles would not get the job done with it — and the site isn’t going to interfere with using the controller.

Like a typical controller, it really is received two clickable analog thumbsticks, a D-pad, ABXY buttons and still left and suitable triggers and buttons. There’s a Residence button, and back and forward buttons emulate menu and perspective. The D-pad feels specially mushy to me, as do the triggers, and the thumbsticks are much too restricted and springy. It’s feasible to get employed to them, even though I really don’t think I am going to ever like the really feel of the D-pad.


The thumbsticks are not offset from the other controls as a great deal as on a normal controller. It weighs about 9.3 ounces (265 grams).

Lori Grunin/CNET

If you are relying on muscle mass memory, the positioning of the thumbsticks might pose a difficulty as nicely. They’re offset from the centre of the buttons somewhat than aligned with the sides of the ABXY buttons and the D-pad, so you may over- or underreach. And when a lot of avid gamers in all probability know the ABXY buttons by coronary heart, rookies may discover the small-distinction, slender-typeface labels much too tricky to see when transferring rapid. (Frankly, I desire they lit up on all controllers so I could discover them in the darkish).

You really don’t need to have to set up the Razer Kishi application to use the controller, but it is necessary for any firmware updates and it can propose online games that help controllers. I observed that some controller-supporting online games, like Oddmar, did not get the job done with the Kishi. But the controller felt as responsive as you’d assume, flying as a result of platformers and combating as a result of monsters and undead hordes in mobile online games which includes Grimvalor, Teslagrad, Destiny 2 on Stadia and far more.

The Kishi can make the cell phone set up broader than a Nintendo Change ($445 at Amazon) — about 10.5 inches (267mm) on the Razer vs . 9.4 inches (239mm) for a Change as well as Pleasure-Negatives. Yet again, that might really feel odd for some folks. 

More compact and lighter than a total-size controller and less lag-prone than a Bluetooth wireless model, the Razer Kishi is on the costly facet in comparison with its far more standard rivals. But it really is a neat gadget if you commit a lot of time gaming on your cell phone and you can find the money for to splurge a minimal.

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