I’ve thought about getting into more mobile gaming lately. Mobile phones are getting super powerful now and that opens up a lot of different options for mobile games, streaming games from your PC to your phone and playing retro games.

My biggest obstacle to mobile gaming in the past though has been the lack of buttons. I just can’t get used to pushing fake buttons on a touch screen.

So the Razer Kishi sounded like the perfect solution and I was quite excited to discover that it existed. Especially since Razer has such a good reputation for making gaming peripherals.


Razer Kishi controller playing Oceanhorn

What is it?

The Razer Kishi is essentially a controller for your phone that turns it into a sort of portable gaming system.

There’s the left side of the controller and the right size and your phone sits in the middle.

The overall design of it is quite ingenious really. It collapses into a very small sort of controller but opens up to fit your phone and it’s adjustable so pretty much any sized phone will sit in there perfectly.

It also connects directly into the USB-C port on the bottom of your phone (I’m using the Android version but there’s an iOS version too) so there’s no input lag. A bunch of other similar controllers connect via bluetooth which gives a bit of lag.

Since it’s connected to that USB-C port it’s also running off the power from your phone as well so no need for batteries or anything like that.

The controller itself also has a USB-C port with pass through charging so you can charge your phone while you play which is a really nice feature as well.


Attaching a phone to the Razer Kishi

The Controls

The layout of the controller is your standard X-Box controller layout with two analog sticks, 4 face buttons, a D-pad and two shoulder buttons on each side. You can even get an X-box branded ones where the middle sort of Start or Select buttons are X-box branded.

Because of that standard sort of layout it’ll work with pretty much any game you throw at it.

There’s also a Razer Kishi app that you can download to your phone that lets you remap controls and basic stuff like that. It also helps improve compatibility with different games as well.

The two analog sticks feel great and you can click both in for R3 and L3 buttons.

The 4 face buttons are the A, B, X and Y buttons you’d find on an X-box controller and they feel nice as well.

The D-pad isn’t great but it’s not too bad. It feels kind of cheap but it works.

The R1 and L1 buttons feel pretty decent as well.

The R2 and L2 buttons however are absolutely terrible. They’re kind of like triggers that have hinges on one side. They feel super cheap and awful to press. They’re so bad in fact that I’m seriously considering just selling this and not using it anymore.

This is a huge shame since the overall design of the controller is so great and everything else is pretty decent.

But words cannot express how bad these buttons are and if you’re playing things like shooters they’ll be getting a lot of use. This is really the only glaring negative thing I have to say about the controller but like I keep saying, these buttons are so bad they completely ruin the experience.

If you’re playing older retro games though and you don’t have to use these buttons then the experience is a lot better.


The Razer Kishi closed up

In Conclusion

Overall I really want to like this controller. It opens up a ton of options for gaming on your mobile phone but those L2 and R2 buttons are so bad that I can’t enthusiastically recommend this.

The biggest problem here though is pretty much every other similar controller like this is much worse so the Razer Kishi is still the best option you have right now.

So if you can get over those L2 and R2 buttons it’s a fantastic device for gaming on the go.

If they could make a new iteration like this with better triggers though it would easily be the greatest invention ever. Until then though this is pretty much the best you’re going to get for this sort of device.

The Razer Kishi is available on Amazon here.

Images from razer.com used under fair use