Razer is certainly no stranger to manufacturing quality products. From headsets to controllers, you know your money is being spent wisely. Razer now looks to offer the PlayStation crowd a better way to play with its Razer Raiju Ultimate controller, worthy competition to Xbox's Elite controller.
- Customization options
- App control
- Four multi-function buttons
- Placement of two multi-function buttons
Upon first picking up the controller, I noticed how heavy it was compared to a DualShock 4. It's not so heavy that it's uncomfortable, but there's a weight to it that makes the DualShock seem like cheap plastic in comparison. The Razer Raiju Ultimate feels sturdy and strong. You won't be breaking this one when you rage quite anytime soon.
The textured grips ensure that you shouldn't have a problem with long gaming sessions when your hands get sweaty. Though DualShocks do have textured grips themselves, they are subtler than those that adorn the Razer Raiju Ultimate. It's a small difference that goes a long way in terms of comfort during long gaming sessions.
Its shell closely resembles that of your usual Xbox One controller. The same goes for its bumpers and triggers which are much wider than the smaller ones that grace the DualShock, making it more comfortable and easier to use them. Each trigger has a slanted edge for your finger's joint to rest naturally on instead of coming to a harsh right angle.
Even its four iconic face buttons have gotten a face lift, no pun intended. Instead of the relatively flat design you'll see on a DualShock 4, the Razer Raiju features buttons that look more like those on an Xbox One controller. They're raised slightly higher with a curve to them, and feel like they are made out of similar material. These provide audible and tactile feedback, just like Razer advertises. You can feel and hear a quick firm click when you press any of them, yet it's not jarring in any way nor does it feel harsh. Upon first hearing the click I thought it would grow annoying, but it's something that you tune out eventually. Your button presses are cushioned enough that it feels natural, and combined with the sensory feedback it makes for a quality product.
Unlike the Razer Raiju Tournament edition, the Ultimate comes with interchangeable thumbsticks and a D-pad. The thumbsticks can be changed to a concave or convex shape depending on what you prefer, and the traditional individual 4-way D-pad can be swapped out for an 8-directional tilting layout instead, similar to that utilized on Xbox 360 controllers.
Swapping any of these pieces out is a breeze. Both thumbsticks and the D-pad are held in place by weak magnets. Not so weak that they'll easily pop out on accident, but weak enough that you can change them with little hassle. The magnets create just the perfect amount of tension in my opinion to balance the need of keeping them in place with the option of switching them out.
Even if you decide to vigorously flick the thumbsticks back and forth, you should not create enough force to remove the top modules without intending to. I tried to actively do so with the intention of seeing if they popped out by handling them to roughly, but they stayed in place. They are designed in such a way that it appears that only by removing them at a specific angle will do the trick. Basically, just pull the top modules off straight upward. If you're putting pressure on the thumbsticks by tilting them right or left, up or down, they shouldn't budge.
If you happen to play a lot of shooters, you'll probably make quick use of the Raiju Ultimate's hair trigger mode, allowing you to lock them in at a shorter distance so that you can shoot more quickly. You can engage hair trigger mode on each side independently from one another using two switches on the back of the controller. It's not all or nothing. Admittedly I'm not one to use hair trigger mode so it felt a bit odd, as if my triggers were jammed, because I naturally wanted to press them in all the way, but it works as intended.
A big selling point of the Raiju Ultimate is its remappable multi-function buttons. With two pads on the back and two smaller buttons resting between the triggers, players can customize controller profiles in order to make specific button combos easier. Not only is this a boon for eSports players, but it does wonders in terms of accessibility as well.
My only gripe with these multi-function buttons lies with the two pads on the back. When playing any game, it was all too easy for me to tense my hands up while gripping the controller and inadvertently press one (or both) of these. If I curled my fingers inward just enough I could mitigate this issue, but then it felt unnatural to hold the controller. Your middle fingers should be resting on the M3 and M4 pads. I ended up remapping those buttons using Razer's app so that they did nothing when I pressed them.
Jumping to the app, while it's not a part of the controller itself, it is just as important when it comes to your use of it. Razer's Raiju app is where you will be able to customize your controller profiles, its Chroma lighting strip, and its vibration levels. I had trouble linking my controller with the app at first, but I'm willing to chalk that up to user error and not an actual problem with the app itself. After a few minutes of it being unable to detect the Raiju's Bluetooth signal, it finally connected with little problem.
The app's interface is sleek and easy to use as it's not cluttered with extra garbage to needlessly confuse you. Displayed will be four default profiles meant for shooters, fighting games, sports, and racing. Each is color-coded so that you can swap between them using the controller's built-in quick control panel without worrying about losing track of which one you are using. You can only swap between four at a time on the controller, but you can have over 500 controller profiles saved in the Cloud. It only takes a moment to assign any of these to one of your four on-board slots.
The changes you make with the app are immediate, and you should see no delay when switching profiles or even testing out which Chroma lighting you prefer. Should you decide to lower the vibration motors on either side, the controller will vibrate automatically afterward so that you can feel exactly how it was changed.
Is the $200 price tag worth it? That's debatable. The tech is certainly there to warrant a premium asking price, but I'm not sure its additional features are big enough selling points to ask people to shell out that kind of money.
4.5 out of 5
Still, for what it is, the Razer Raiju Ultimate is easily one of the best PlayStation 4 controllers on the market. You'll be hard-pressed to find something else so brilliantly designed, and the great app support only makes it that much better.
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.