The perfect Android gamepad (for now)

The Razer Kishi V2 loses the moveable issue of its predecessor however in any other case builds on the most effective bits of the Kishi V1 with improved ergonomics, higher buttons and triggers, and a extra common match. The Kishi V2 is a unbelievable strategy to remodel your cellphone right into a handheld gaming machine, although the undercooked companion app and continued omission of a headphone jack depart the door open for brand spanking new challengers to do higher.

The unique Razer Kishi rode excessive on the rising wave of cell gamepads that made the (fairly truthful) evaluation that merely slapping a cellphone right into a separate grip connected to a console-size controller maybe wasn’t probably the most elegant different to touchscreen-only play. Whereas it wasn’t Razer’s first rodeo with the shape issue, its moveable, split-pad method was probably the greatest.

Since then, nevertheless, the “cellphone sandwich” fashion has advanced, resulting in clamp-based telescopic controllers — a class with a lot of sturdy rivals all gunning for the highest of the scoreboard. Can Razer’s pivot in direction of this new — but more and more acquainted — design and a much-vaunted accompanying software program suite shoot the Razer Kishi’s second iteration into the lead? Discover out in Android Authority’s Razer Kishi V2 review.

What you might want to know concerning the Razer Kishi V2

razer kishi v2 stardew valley

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

  • Razer Kishi V2: $99 / £99 / €119

Razer started correctly dabbling in cell gamepads with the Junglecat again in 2019, which utilized a pair of Nintendo Pleasure-Con-like controllers connected to a bespoke case. The one drawback? It was solely appropriate with three telephones in North America, certainly one of which was the model’s personal ill-fated Razer Cellphone 2.

The primary-generation Razer Kishi righted the wrongs of the Junglecat with an analogous thought however a extra common execution. In partnership with Gamevice, the Kishi wedged your cellphone in place by way of a USB-C port, a stretchy rubber band, and a backplate. It was additionally collapsable for straightforward storage.

So what’s new for the Kishi V2? For starters, it’s $20 costlier than the V1, although it’s the identical worth as the primary mannequin’s formally licensed Xbox variant. The largest change, although, is the rear bridge mechanism that acts as an extendable backbone operating adjoining to the again of your cellphone, with the latter then clamped in place by means of gentle strain. If that sounds just like the setup popularised by the Spine One, nicely, that’s as a result of it’s primarily an identical.

Razer has added some further enter choices over the unique Kishi, together with programmable mini-bumpers and a devoted share button. It additionally made a couple of normal ergonomic tweaks, and swapped out a number of of the earlier mannequin’s membrane buttons for microswitches, a transfer Razer says was impressed by its Wolverine V2 controllers.

The Kishi V2 has been retooled with a bridge-style design, improved buttons, and a brand new companion cellphone app.

The gaming agency claims a number of design tweaks mixed with two units of rubber inserts make the Kishi V2 appropriate with extra Android telephones than ever, and can even match some telephones which have circumstances on, offering the case is skinny sufficient. Your mileage will differ significantly relying on what cellphone and case you’ve gotten. In my testing, I did handle to squeeze a couple of smaller telephones in with circumstances nonetheless connected, although the USB-C connector wouldn’t fairly lengthen far sufficient to suit my each day driver — a Google Pixel 6 Professional in a slim Spigen case. The rubber inserts are additionally a bit difficult to swap out and in, and with none included carry case for the controller itself, I’m satisfied they’d be very simple to lose.

In any other case, the Razer Kishi V2 appears to hold on the place the V1 left off. It’s a useful controller for enjoying controller-optimized cell video games, emulated retro titles, or streamed video games remotely or by way of the cloud, all with ultra-low latency because of the direct USB-C connection and without having to cost it up because it feeds off your cellphone as an influence supply.

Razer’s different large play for the Kishi V2 is the model new Razer Nexus app, which acts as a one-stop portal for all of your Kishi-compatible cell video games. You don’t want it to make use of the V2 out of the field because it plugs and performs simply tremendous, but it surely’s additionally the one method you’ll get any future firmware updates for the V2, and is crucial for utilizing the screenshot button and remapping the programmable mini-bumpers.

The Razer Kishi V2 is available in a single black shade and is available for purchase from Razer’s official retailer, Amazon, and different main on-line retailers. Because of the USB-C connector, the model at the moment available for purchase is simply appropriate with Android telephones. A Kishi V2 mannequin for iPhone customers is listed on Razer’s web site and is predicted to launch in Fall 2022.

What’s good?

razer kishi v2 rear

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

The Kishi V2’s new extendable bridge design might have been borrowed from different telescopic controllers, however other than one fairly obtrusive caveat (we’ll get to that), it’s completely a change for the higher.

For starters, Razer’s declare that extra telephones shall be appropriate with the second-generation mannequin is totally true; I examined it with 5 completely different telephones — some large flagships, some smaller funds telephones — and so they all match simply tremendous. Even telephones with off-center USB-C ports just like the Asus ROG Cellphone 6 can now be awkwardly wedged in for those who’re determined. Heck, even tablet-hybrid foldables just like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 may technically slot in right here, although I’m undecided it’d be a pleasing expertise. That is all attainable as a result of the rounded-off corners that surrounded your system on the Kishi V1 are gone, with telephones as a substitute stored in place by mild strain and a refined protruding lip on both aspect.

This common clasp design solves different sensible points with the Kishi V1, too. It’s a lot sooner to clip a cellphone out and in for a fast recreation, and whereas it’s attainable to slide the cellphone up or down very barely on the left aspect for those who knock it, the elevated rigidity and prolonged lip cease it from wobbling forwards and backwards throughout gameplay — a persistent drawback I discovered with the Kishi V1.

The Razer Kishi V2 builds on every part nice concerning the V1 and fixes some (however not all) of its flaws.

The ergonomics are a lot improved too. The interlocking plastic on the rear of the V1 that may jut into your fingers is gone, changed with textured grips and a uniform design on either side. The mechanical microswitches, too, supply higher journey than the unique’s membrane buttons. The tactile L2/R2 triggers, particularly, are an infinite improve and now not really feel like they’re rubbing up towards the plastic body with each squeeze. The identical is true of the D-pad, which is lastly rigorous sufficient for platformers and even preventing video games.

Talking of the buttons, the 2 further “M2” macro buttons (situated on both aspect of the triggers) are useful for emulation or for any recreation that requires further management choices. It additionally helps that the M2s are sufficiently small and positioned nicely sufficient to not be invasive for those who don’t want them for the actual recreation you’re enjoying.

And at last, we may wax lyrical about the advantages of USB-C controllers over Bluetooth gamepads for this entire review. It’s not a novel advantage of the Kishi V2 particularly, however the barely perceptible enter latency and the actual fact you don’t have to cost it as much as play are each traits that make it arduous to return to a wi-fi pad after you’ve used a telescopic USB-C controller. That is very true for cloud gaming or distant play, the place latency is already a fear if in case you have a less-than-stellar connection.

What’s not so good?

razer kishi v2 vs v1

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Take one take a look at the Kishi V2 subsequent to the collapsed V1 (see above) and also you’ll possible be capable of guess the massive disadvantage of the shift to a common clamp over a clip. Whereas the Kishi V1 was undoubtedly far much less snug to carry whereas enjoying, the best way it might be clipped collectively right into a neat package deal meant you possibly can fortunately slip it right into a (massive) trouser pocket or a bag and never fear an excessive amount of about any injury to the extendable band. The Kishi V2, in the meantime, is all angles, as there’s no strategy to collapse the backbone. That is true of all controllers on this particular type issue, in fact, but it surely’s a disgrace one of many Kishi’s greatest promoting factors — its portability — now not applies after only one technology. Likewise, with no case within the field — one thing that maybe may’ve been included once you issue within the worth — there’s not quite a bit defending the V2 once you wish to pack it away. It positive seems like you possibly can snap it in two for those who’re careless about storing it, both at house or on the transfer.

The buttons actually really feel quite a bit higher, however they sound quite a bit worse. Particularly, the M2s and the 4 non-ABXY face buttons are distractingly loud. Whereas these explicit inputs received’t be used all that usually, even the core face buttons and the L1/R1 bumpers have a discernible click on which may annoy anybody sitting subsequent to you throughout a fast subway gaming session. The joysticks obtained a questionable overhaul too. As a substitute of the V1’s bigger sticks with concave thumb grooves, the V2’s pair are close to carbon copies of the Nintendo Change‘s Pleasure-Cons. They’re far much less springy, however that lacking rigidity and snappy suggestions make them much less appropriate for twitchy aiming in shooters.

The continued omission of a headphone jack is dumbfounding, however the Nexus app is the Kishi V2’s obtrusive weak level.

The continued lack of a headphone jack port is baffling. Even the few telephones that do have 3.5mm ports will discover them coated when docked within the Kishi V2, and but there’s no choice for wired audio in any respect. The grilles on the appropriate aspect of the controller do an honest job of letting by means of sound from bottom-firing audio system, however anybody enjoying on the go will (hopefully) wish to preserve any digital explosions to themselves. Minimal enter latency is nice, however the impact is ruined barely once you pair it with an audio delay from wi-fi buds or headphones. Even if in case you have a pair of USB-C headphones, you’re recent out of luck because the exterior USB-C port on the Kishi V2 doesn’t supply audio passthrough. You may cost your cellphone by means of this port, however don’t anticipate a lot energy to seep by means of because it doesn’t seem to help quick charging protocols.

Final and undoubtedly least is the Kishi V2’s greatest failing: the Razer Nexus app. As beforehand talked about, you don’t want the Nexus app, however you’ll if you wish to entry the livestream and screenshot performance (the screenshot button is in any other case redundant), replace the firmware, and program these M2 buttons. Sadly, the UI is barren and ugly in an Xbox knock-off form of method, and it runs at a weirdly low decision. It additionally provides a everlasting notification to your cellphone’s tray, which may solely be eliminated inside Android’s system settings. As well as, livestreaming is restricted to only YouTube and Fb, with no choice for Twitch, the most well-liked recreation streaming platform. The app’s performance is all free, which is one thing, however the characteristic set is nowhere close to as complete or as user-friendly as that which Spine One customers get with the free model of its app, not to mention these with a Spine Plus subscription.

I also needs to be aware that it’s nonetheless a disgrace that PlayStation customers can’t formally use the Kishi V2 with the Distant Play app. This can be a Sony restriction, so we will’t blame Razer right here. Fortunately there are workarounds by way of the unofficial PS Play app for those who’re keen to pay a small price. Likewise, Genshin Impression, COD Cell, and PUBG Cell — three of the largest cell video games — received’t formally work with the Kishi V2 resulting from a normal lack of controller help for each video games. Once more, not Razer’s fault, but it surely’s a disgrace.

Razer Kishi V2 review: The decision

Razer Kishi V2

Razer Kishi V2

Very low latency gameplay • Comfy handing • Higher adaptability

Flip your cellphone right into a gaming machine

The Razer Kishi V2 is the newest model of the unique cell gamepad Razer Kishi, one of the widespread gaming controllers out there. Razer upgraded the earlier model to supply higher ergonomics and decrease latency by way of the USB-C technology. Additionally it is now appropriate with the protecting case of the smartphone and helps most telephones as much as 170mm size and 11.5mm thickness.

For these with a sufficiently big funds, the Razer Kishi V2 is the most effective Android gamepad cash can purchase… not less than for now. Simply shy of $100 is quite a bit to spend on any controller, however so long as you’ll be able to look previous the lack of the V1’s distinctive portability, the V2 is a transparent enchancment — although maybe not as a lot because it ought to have been at this asking worth.

So far as the competitors goes for telescopic controllers, the Kishi V2 has superior ergonomics when stacked up towards the Gamesir X3 USB-C model ($99), however some could also be swayed by the customizable joysticks, and an non-compulsory cooling fan. When you’d desire one thing nearer to the Kishi V1, Razer’s authentic associate Gamevice has its personal model, merely dubbed Gamevice ($59), that’s primarily an identical and less expensive — simply bear in mind the variety of appropriate telephones is much smaller than common telescopic controllers just like the Kishi V2.

Need the most effective Android gamepad on the town? The Razer Kishi V2 is it… for now.

Actually, although, the Kishi V2’s greatest competitors isn’t available for purchase simply but. After over a 12 months of asking, an Android-compatible model of the Spine One ($99) will lastly arrive in November, on the similar worth, alongside a way more helpful companion app, and full with a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Ought to anybody with a Kishi V1 contemplate an improve to the V2? Except you’ve purchased a brand new cellphone that doesn’t match the unique mannequin, I’m not satisfied there’s sufficient right here to justify spending $99. For everybody else, despite its points, the Razer Kishi V2 is a unbelievable strategy to remodel your cellphone into as near a conveyable console as you may get.

High Razer Kishi V2 questions and solutions

Is the Razer Kishi V2 value it?

When you can afford it, the Razer Kishi V2 is a unbelievable telescopic controller, although it’s not as feature-packed because it may have been for the worth.

What telephones are appropriate with the Razer Kishi V2?

Razer formally ensures help for a lot of Samsung Galaxy S and Google Pixel telephones, in addition to the Razer Cellphone 1 and a couple of. Nevertheless, it notes that the “adaptable design will possible be appropriate with any Android units operating Android 9.0 or later with comparable dimensions to those supported units.”

What recreation streaming companies are appropriate with the Razer Kishi V2?What video games can I play with the Razer Kishi V2?

Any Android recreation with controller help ought to be playable with the Razer Kishi V2, together with Apex Legends, Stardew Valley, Minecraft, Diablo Immortal, and different widespread titles. It additionally helps many recreation streaming and distant play platforms.

Does the Razer Kishi V2 work with iPhone?

Sure, however you’ll want the Razer Kishi V2 for iPhone variant that’s anticipated to launch within the fall of 2022.

Can you utilize the Razer Kishi V2 as a controller?

The Razer Kishi V2 will solely work with a cellphone docked inside, it can’t be used as a separate Bluetooth controller.

Does the Razer Kishi V2 work with Genshin Impression?

No, sadly the Razer Kishi V2 doesn’t work with Genshin Impression as a result of the sport lacks controller help on Android. It ought to work on iOS with the Kishi V2 for iPhone, nevertheless.

Does the Razer Kishi V2 work with PUBG Cell?

The Razer Kishi V2 doesn’t formally work with PUBG Cell because the builders haven’t enabled controller help. You may transfer the camera however the face buttons won’t work together with the motion instructions. There are workarounds, however chances are you’ll danger your account getting banned.

Does the Razer Kishi V2 work with COD Cell?

The Razer Kishi V2 doesn’t formally work with COD Cell as the sport solely helps chosen controllers. You may work round this by connecting a appropriate controller by way of Bluetooth after which remapping the Kishi V2 with third-party software program, however enjoying the sport like this may danger getting your account banned.

How do I pair my Razer Kishi V2?

You don’t have to pair the Razer Kishi V2; slot your cellphone into the USB-C port and it’ll work mechanically.

Does the Razer Kishi V2 should be charged?

The Razer Kishi V2 doesn’t should be charged as it’s powered by your cellphone by way of USB-C.

Does the Razer Kishi V2 work with a cellphone case?

You probably have a skinny cellphone case, you would possibly be capable of use the Kishi V2 with it nonetheless in your cellphone, however it’ll differ by case and by cellphone.


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