Over the past few years, mobile gaming been increasing in popularity as more people are using their phones. According to Statista, as of 2019, mobile gaming brings in around $10 billion USD and is around 51% of total gaming revenue worldwide.

But that number is sure to increase with the rise in cloud gaming, which will let consumers play their games on their phone. That’s where devices like Razer’s Kishi controller comes in that is designed for mobile gamers.

Design & Hardware

Razer Kishi for Android

The Razer Kishi is a solid piece of hardware that feels sturdy in the hands, even when your phone is not connected. Unlike other mobile gaming controllers, the Kishi doesn’t use Bluetooth but instead a direct connection to your phone (via USB-C or Lightning depending on the version you bought).

I tested the Android version of the Kishi which has a USB-C connection but there’s also one for iPhones that has a Lightning connector. The Kishi has two clickable analog thumbsticks, an eight-way D-pad, A, B, X, Y buttons and two analog triggers and two bumper buttons.

Razer Kishi for Android

The bottom of the controller has a USB-C pass-through port, allowing you to charge your phone while gaming. It’s worth noting that the Kishi doesn’t have a built-in battery, it’ll use your phone’s battery to power it.

Razer Kishi for Android

To help fit your phone, the Kishi uses a retaining plate and a stretchable support band. I tested the Kishi with a number of such as the Pixel 4 XL, OnePlus 8, OnePlus Nord. The controller works with most Android phones but if it’s too wide or too tall then it won’t work. I tried putting the Galaxy S20 Ultra, Note20 Ultra, OnePlus 8 Pro but these phones didn’t fit.

According to Razer, the supported Android phones include:

The Kishi works best with Android phones that have a 6.5-inch screen or smaller. Anything larger and it probably won’t work.

The Razer Kishi for Android is available now from Razer’s website, Amazon.ca and Best Buy Canada for around $129 CAD ($80 USD). There’s also an Xbox branded version of the Kishi for $139 CAD and the iPhone version is $149 CAD.

Software & Performance

To get your Kishi up and running, you’ll just need to insert and connect your Android phone and you’re off and running. There’s no pairing required but there is a Razer Kishi app you can download that shows you compatible games and also download firmware for the controller.

I tested a number of games with the Kishi including Asphalt 9: Legends which worked great. But I found that the Kishi really shines to playing on cloud streaming services like Google Stadia, xCloud and Nvidia GeForce Now.

When I was playing Doom: Eternal on Stadia, there was no noticeable lag between me moving the stick on the Kishi and my character moving on the screen. There was some slight delay but that was because Stadia streams the game to your device.

I did notice some lag using Project xCloud but that was more of my internet connection connecting to Microsoft’s servers. But most recently, Microsoft has enabled remote streaming with the latest Xbox (Beta) app update on Android and using the Kishi to streaming my Xbox games worked great.

Final Thoughts

Overall the Razer Kishi is a great controller for those that game on their phone, especially if they’re using a cloud streaming service or remote play from their PC or console.

Pros

  • Easy to setup
  • USB-C port for pass-through charging
  • Compact Switch-like design
  • Direct USB-C connect provides Ultra-Low Latency
  • Works with most Android phones*
  • Perfect for game streaming platforms:
    • Google Stadia
    • xCloud as part of Game Pass Ultimate
    • Xbox Remote Play
    • Nvidia GeForce Now

Cons

  • Won’t work with really large Android phones like the S20 Ultra, Note20 Ultra or OnePlus 8 Pro
  • Back panel clasps don’t always release

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