Android Central Verdict
Bottom line: With a comfortable grip and an excellent design, the Razer Kishi raises the bar for mobile gaming controllers. The Razer Kishi is simply a must-have mobile gaming accessory that everyone should own.
Comfortable and ergonomic
Fits fewer phones than Bluetooth models
Price might be a turnoff
Why you can trust Android Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Anyone who frequents gaming spaces online or has purchased gaming accessories has likely heard of Razer. It's one of the most dependable brands when it comes to hardware and accessories. After testing out the Gamesir X2 Bluetooth mobile controller, I was given a chance to try out the Razer Kishi, specifically its Xbox-branded model. Considering how huge Xbox Game Pass for Android has become, it seemed like the perfect match.
After spending some time with it, I definitely see the Razer Kishi as my go-to mobile gaming controller going forward. While I don't think it beats an actual DualSense or Xbox controller, it's an outstanding accessory that every person should have.
Razer Kishi: Price and availability
The Razer Kishi was released over the summer of 2020 and came in three different models — iOS, Android, Android (Xbox) — all black. The Android models connect to your phones through USB-C, and the iOS model uses Apple's Lightning connector. You can pick up the standard Android edition for $79.99, while the other two will set you back $99.99. That said, you can usually find them on sale at places like Amazon or Best Buy for $10 to $20 less than normal.
Razer Kishi: What's great
Razer's build quality is usually second to none, and that's on display here with the Kishi. It doesn't look like a cheap knockoff accessory. The design mixes the Nintendo Switch and an Xbox controller, which really works in its favor. My only complaint here is that I would have loved to see some textured grips on the sides because smooth plastic isn't the best for sweaty hands when you've been holding for too long. That said, it still felt extremely comfortable to use.
Because it connects through USB-C, you don't need to worry about any input lag. It's slightly different when you're streaming games through Xbox Game Pass because the cloud can be hit or miss depending on your connection, but all other games you download should be perfectly fine. The USB-C connection is a bit of a double-edged sword, though, because this also means that the Kishi is powered by your phone and can drain its battery. I didn't have an issue with this on my Galaxy S10, but it's worth keeping in mind. There's also a pass-through connection so that you can charge your phone while using it.
While I had some complaints with the Gamesir X2 that it wasn't ideal for shooters, I feel that less so with the Razer Kishi. The face buttons on the Kishi are ever so slightly positioned to the right and above the right thumbstick, instead of directly above. It's a small change that makes a world of difference. After decades of use, my mind and hands have been trained to rest in a certain position on a controller, and if those buttons are off by even a millimeter, I can feel it. Because of this, the Kishi feels more natural to use.
Instead of a spring-loaded mechanism, which can snap back pretty forcefully after you take out your phone, the Razer Kishi uses a stretchable support band and a retaining plate to help hold your phone in place. This makes it easier to take your phone out after a session, and it easily snaps into place when you want to close the controller for transportation.
Razer Kishi: What could use some work
Because of the way it's designed, the Razer Kishi won't fit all phones. You can actually purchase three different models — One for iPhone, one for Android, and another for Android that's Xbox-branded. While the Android model will fit most newer Android phones, it might not be the best for them, especially depending on their size. It might be a tough sell for $80 or $100 if you are worried your phone won't fit properly.
Like other mobile controllers with similar designs, it also doesn't support vibrations or haptic feedback of any kind. It's a minor complaint on my end, but it still might be a reason that you decide to purchase a phone clip and use an Xbox or DualSense controller instead (provided the games you're playing also support haptics.
Razer Kishi: Competition
I highly recommend checking out the Gamesir X2 Bluetooth controller for anyone wanting to spend a little less. Because of its spring-loaded design and the fact that it connects wirelessly, it really does fit almost every phone, no matter how big or small. The Bluetooth connection worked well every time I used it, and it would instantly connect to my phone after its first pairing. I'd only steer clear if you'd rather have a hard connection through USB-C.
There's also the Razer Raiju mobile gaming controller, which is quite literally a normal controller with a built-in phone holder. It's more expensive at around $150, but it's also your best option if you don't like the Nintendo Switch-like designs of the X2 or Kishi. Anyone comfortable holding an Xbox controller will be comfortable with the Raiju mobile.
Razer Kishi: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You have a new Android phone
- You play a lot of Xbox Game Pass cloud streaming
- You prefer a USB-C connection with no latency
- You want an Xbox-branded mobile controller
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You want to spend under $100
- You have a smaller phone that may not fit well
If you have a newer phone that uses USB-C, especially a larger phone, this is a mobile controller that you should highly consider purchasing. It's easily one of the best game accessories for phones, providing a reliable connection and an ergonomic build that's comfortable to use for hours. You should be wary of whether you have a smaller phone that may not fit perfectly. Also, keep in mind that you can buy other mobile controllers for less.
4.5 out of 5
Even though it's more expensive than other mobile controllers on the market, I recommend picking it up if you have the money. It's an excellent accessory that feels really good to use, and that's the most important thing when it comes to something like this. Combine that with Razer's penchant for quality, and it's near-perfect.
Bottom line: As usual, Razer is at the top of its game with the Razer Kishi. Mobile gaming will only get bigger, and you'll need a reliable controller to get you through those countless hours of playing on your phone. That's where the Razer Kishi comes in.
Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.