Best in class

Razer Kishi mobile controller for Android

Razer Kishi Android Render

Excellent alternative

Gamesir X2 Bluetooth mobile controller

GameSir X2 Bluetooth Render

Razer prides itself on high-quality products, and the Razer Kishi is no different. It's by far one of the best mobile gaming controllers you can buy, turning your phone into a Nintendo Switch. It works perfectly with Xbox Game Pass for Android and provides hours of comfort for long gaming sessions. Its USB-C connection also means you'll never need to charge it.

$80 at Amazon

Pros

  • USB-C connection
  • Build quality is excellent
  • Works perfectly with Android phones
  • Smaller for easier travel

Cons

  • Pricey
  • No Bluetooth means it fits less phones

Gamesir may not be as well-known as Razer, but its X2 Bluetooth mobile controller can stand toe-to-toe with the competition. Its design and Bluetooth capabilities mean many devices are supported, even if you don't want to take the case off of your phone. When it comes to more affordable products, this is one of the best you can get.

$60 at Amazon

Pros

  • Bluetooth connection allows for wider phone support
  • Easy to pair
  • More affordable
  • 20-hour battery life

Cons

  • Bluetooth connection is more unreliable to USB-C
  • Face button layout

Mobile gaming is more popular than ever, and though touch controls have gotten better over the years, they're usually no match for a dedicated controller. Companies have taken to making controllers just for mobile use, effectively turning phones into Nintendo Switch-like devices. Some of the more reliable mobile controllers on the market belong to Razer and Gamesir, and though they're similar in many ways, they each have their advantages and drawbacks.

Designed for mobile gaming

Controllers like the Razer Kishi and Gamesir X2 Bluetooth are among the best mobile gaming controllers available, in part due to them being designed specifically for mobile devices. However, while a DualSense controller or Xbox controller work just fine — and may even be preferred in many cases — some people may find it awkward to prop up their phone or use a phone clip to play games with them.

Let's look at the Kishi and X2 models to see what they bring to the table and which is better for most people.

Razer Kishi Gamesir X2 Bluetooth
Connection type USB-C Bluetooth 5.0
Supported devices Razer Phone 1 & 2
Samsung Galaxy S8 or newer
Samsung Galaxy Note 8/9/10/10+
Google Pixel 2/2 XL/3/3XL/4/4XL
Any phone with Bluetooth support and under 173mm in length
Weight 163g 186g
Battery life NA 20 hours
Price $80 $60
Models Razer Kishi for Android
Razer Kishi for Android (Xbox)
Razer Kishi for iPhone
Gamesir X2 Bluetooth
Gamesir X2 USB-C
Gamesir X2 Lightning

Design and comfort

Gamesir X2 Bluetooth Mobile Controller HeroSource: Jennifer Locke / Android Central

The Razer Kishi and Gamesir X2 Bluetooth feature similar designs with key differences. The biggest is that the Kishi uses a stretchable support band and retaining plate to hold your phone, meaning it can snap closed for easier transportation. The X2 Bluetooth model utilizes a spring-loaded design with a rigid backplate. Whether you prefer one or the other is down to personal preference, but the Kishi's design does make it easier to take on the go.

When it comes to comfort, both provide excellently on that end. What the X2 Bluetooth has going for it that the Kishi doesn't is that it features textured rubber grips on either side, with a sloped design that makes it more ergonomic, fitting the palms of your hands better. The Kishi sports a flat, plastic back that doesn't quite feel as nice.

Supported devices

Samsung Galaxy S21 Purple FallSource: Nick Sutrich / Android Central

Because of the way the Razer Kishi is designed with its USB-C port, a limited number of devices will work with it. Though the list is long, containing some of the best Android phones out there like Samsung's Galaxy S series and newer Galaxy Notes, there's no guarantee that upcoming phones will fit the mold.

Gamesir X2 Bluetooth Mobile Controller Phone CaseSource: Jennifer Locke / Android Central

The Gamesir X2 Bluetooth, as the name implies, uses a Bluetooth 5.0 connection, opening it up to a broader range of supported devices, including both Android and iOS. So long as your phone is under 173mm, the maximum length that the X2 can stretch to, you'll be able to use it. What's even better is that this design also allows people to use their phones with their cases. So there's no need to take it off and potentially risk dropping and breaking your phone.

While the Razer Kishi for Android doesn't support iOS devices, Razer sells a Kishi model that does. It's just inconvenient that one model doesn't support both phone brands, but that's what happens when Apple uses a proprietary Lightning port instead of USB-C.

USB vs. Bluetooth

Razer Kishi OpenSource: Jennifer Locke / Android Central

A USB-C connection will always be more reliable than Bluetooth, cutting down on input latency and effectively eliminating the possibility of dropping the connection. While I wouldn't say that Bluetooth is unreliable, the fact is that there's a higher chance for it to lose its connection or for there to be greater input latency. Input latency may not be a big deal in certain games, but if you're using a controller, odds are that the game you're playing would benefit from little to no latency. This is a huge deal in shooters and fighting games, particularly.

Gamesir using a Bluetooth connection with this X2 model means it needs to be charged from time to time. It advertises around 20-hours of battery life, and from my experience, that's an accurate number. Because the Kishi connects through USB-C, it's powered through your phone's battery (though it doesn't drain it fast, as some might imagine).

The X2's Bluetooth connection is also one of the reasons it supports a wide range of devices across Android and iOS. On the other hand, the Kishi's USB-C, while more reliable, limits the number of devices it can be used with.

At the end of the day, there are benefits and disadvantages to both, so you'll need to decide what works best for you.

Bottom line

Because of its USB-C connection and build quality, I have an easier time recommending the Razer Kishi for most people. However, if you prefer to use Bluetooth or switch between Android and iOS frequently, that's where the Gamesir X2 Bluetooth controller comes in. No matter which controller you decide to get, both are exceptional choices.

USB-C

Razer Kishi Android Render

Razer Kishi mobile controller for Android

The best of the best

The Razer Kishi has a lot going for it, making it a fantastic mobile controller choice for most people. With a USB-C connection that keeps you connected at all times, mobile gaming won't get much better than with the Kishi.

Bluetooth

GameSir X2 Bluetooth Render

Gamesir X2 Bluetooth mobile controller

A near-perfect choice

Gamesir offers a more affordable alternative to the Kishi, and the X2 Bluetooth model is another wonderful choice. Its design fits a wider range of phones, and its 20-hour battery life should be more than enough to keep you in the game.

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