The original Razer Kishi was one of the first mobile controllers to offer a dual-sided control scheme, mirroring the Switch-like layout that has since risen to the top of the market. 2022’s Kishi V2 takes that first formula, plus a healthy dose of inspiration from competitors, to create a lightweight, portable gamepad with a plethora of additional features.
At $99.99/£99.99, this is top-of-the-line kit – especially as the previous generation is regularly available for under $50/£50. The jump to the latest model is a considerable one, however, which is well worth it. We spent two weeks with the Razer Kishi V2, running it against some of the best mobile controllers in gaming to see how well it performs.
|Price||$99.99 / £99.99|
|Form factor||wrap around|
|Platform||Android / iOS|
|Additional buttons||Screenshot, menu, options, Nexus launcher|
Razer Kishi V2 design
The Razer Kishi V2 retains the same wraparound form factor as the original, but adds a bridge between each side of the controller, similar to the Backbone One. Designed for a range of Android and iPhone devices (although you must choose the model created specifically for your operating system), the bridge spans the full length of a range of phones and offers plenty of space for screen protectors and skinnier cases too.
The USB-C connection feels solid and durable, and there’s very little tilting required to align the port and connector when setting up a gaming phone. In fact, I’ve never been concerned about the scratches or wobbles in the port itself when inserting a phone, which cannot be said for the delicate Backbone.
Each side of the controller is as you’d expect, with an asymmetrical layout consisting of a d-pad, two thumbsticks, face buttons, and a range of additional function buttons. Each button is covered in glossy plastic, with a soft domed top that feels great in the hand.
The matte plastic material feels a bit cheaper than what’s used in other models, a factor that’s not helped by the controller’s slightly hollow feel as a whole. Although lightweight for added portability, devices like the Backbone and GameSir X3 feel much sturdier in the hands, lending themselves a bit better to their price tags. Still, you do get a bumpy texture on each leg, which is much appreciated in this setup, although I found myself wishing it was a bit rougher to provide better grip.
I was impressed with how perfectly each side nestled in my palm. Many brands choose to reduce their footprint by introducing fairly sharp corners to the bottom of their main controllers. However, the Kishi V2 reclines nicely, tapering down about two centimeters to keep longer sessions comfortable while still offering that pocket-friendly form factor.
Razer Kishi V2 Features
Razer didn’t miss a trick here. The Kishi V2 conforms to all the features expected of today and more. Microswitch buttons work effortlessly in your favor, providing tactile response and super-fast actuation. It’s a dream in faster-paced titles where an accidental press might not mean the end of the world, but I found their tiny travel distance a bit too sensitive for more precise efforts.
You’ll find the same clickable switches in the upper bumpers and the Razer Nexus screenshot, options, menu and launcher buttons dotted across the face as well. One of the biggest wins, however, is the extra M1 and M2 buttons next to the triggers. These programmable macro selectors can be configured to any available input on the controller, via the Razer Nexus app, and are located a good distance from the main triggers, so they won’t get in the way.
The Kishi V2 is fully powered by your smartphone, connecting via a USB-C connection. I didn’t notice too much battery drain on a Black Shark 5 Pro due to this extra demand, but you can also charge through a passthrough port under the correct controller. Unfortunately, it’s trickle charging that didn’t quite keep my gas-guzzling Black Shark 5 Pro going during more intensive sessions. A less demanding phone will likely see a nice improvement here, though. Another annoying frustration is the lack of audio output, which means you’re limited to a wireless gaming headset or gaming headphones if you don’t want to play out loud.
The Razer Nexus software is a bit limited compared to other phone or PC programs. However, it does offer a neat space to keep all your compatible games handy and customize the button mapping at the top. Recordings and screenshots you take with the handy extra button are also hosted here. It’s a swish app, but for the game library itself. While the recommended games and libraries are clear and quick to navigate, Nexus just seems to inflate an app icon for games you’ve already installed, pixelating everything within an inch of its life. Unfortunately, it’s the view that greets you on startup.
Razer Kishi V2 performance
The Razer Kishi V2 feels great in-game. The triggers are responsive and the face buttons are quick (although, as mentioned above, they can sometimes sacrifice precision for speed). That said, these are bigger buttons than I’m used to, so there’s some balance at work here. Many of the complaints against the original model stem from a more muscular feel with every click. While the face buttons may go too far the other way for my taste, the d-pad strikes a beautiful balance.
The mechanical clickers at work here feel super cool and clean, while also offering a nice range of diagonal movement. I navigated the worlds of Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas with ease, tiptoeing across ledges even while flicking the analog stick.
Not that I often stray too far from the controllers. With nice resistance, quick return, and smooth rotation, there’s nothing to complain about here. In-game, even the slightest jolt would reflect well on screen, and the Switch-like tops would stay comfortable without slipping during longer sessions too.
The Kishi V2 also works with a solid range of games, including Xbox and Steam streaming services. There are still a few big names on the list though – Call of Duty Mobile, PUBG Mobile and Genshin Impact are still not compatible with controllers, and you’ll only be able to use PlayStation Remote Play with the iOS version. I spent most of my hours wandering Stardew Valley, exploring the Oceanhorn Hills, and munching on Minecraft.
Should you buy the Razer Kishi V2?
The Razer Kishi V2 is a great gamepad if you’re looking for something more portable than the GameSir X3. If you’re looking for that Backbone One experience on Android, it’s a no-brainer, offering a comfortable and secure bridge design, extra macro buttons and a slim profile to boot. However, if you’re looking for an iOS solution, we recommend sticking with Backbone. The Razer Nexus software can’t shine a light on the all-in-one experience on offer, and while the buttons and d-pad are a bit more tactile under the thumb, there’s much better software support elsewhere.
How we tested the Razer Kishi V2
I used the Razer Kishi V2 for all my mobile games for two weeks, playing Oceanhorn, Minecraft, Dead Cells and Stardew Valley on a Black Shark 5 Pro and RedMagic 7S Pro. I also used the Razer Kishi V2 alongside the GameSir X3 and Backbone One for comparison in this price range.
You can find more information about how we test controllers and make all of our recommendations in our full GameRadar+ Hardware Policy.
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