Razer Kishi V2 review: Still the best Android gamepad (for now)

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Razer Kishi V2

The Razer Kishi V2 loses the moveable issue of its predecessor however in any other case builds on the most effective bits of the Kishi V1 with improved ergonomics, higher buttons and triggers, and a extra common match. The Kishi V2 is a improbable option to rework your telephone right into a handheld gaming machine, although the undercooked companion app and continued omission of a headphone jack depart the door open for brand new challengers to do higher.

Desk of contents

The unique Razer Kishi rode excessive on the rising wave of mobile gamepads that made the (fairly honest) evaluation that merely slapping a telephone right into a separate grip connected to a console-size controller maybe wasn’t probably the most elegant various to touchscreen-only play. Whereas it wasn’t Razer’s first rodeo with the shape issue, its moveable, split-pad strategy was the most effective.

Since then, nevertheless, the “telephone sandwich” model has advanced, resulting in clamp-based telescopic controllers — a class with quite a lot of sturdy rivals all gunning for the highest of the scoreboard. Can Razer’s pivot in direction of this new — but more and more acquainted — design and a much-vaunted accompanying software program suite shoot the Razer Kishi’s second iteration into the lead? Discover out in Android Authority’s Razer Kishi V2 overview.

What you should know concerning the Razer Kishi V2

razer kishi v2 stardew valley

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

  • Razer Kishi V2: $99 / £99 / €119

Razer started correctly dabbling in cell gamepads with the Junglecat again in 2019, which utilized a pair of Nintendo Pleasure-Con-like controllers connected to a bespoke case. The one drawback? It was solely suitable with three telephones in North America, one in every of which was the model’s personal ill-fated Razer Cellphone 2.

The first-generation Razer Kishi righted the wrongs of the Junglecat with an identical thought however a extra common execution. In partnership with Gamevice, the Kishi wedged your telephone in place by way of a USB-C port, a stretchy rubber band, and a backplate. It was additionally collapsable for straightforward storage.

So what’s new for the Kishi V2? For starters, it’s $20 dearer than the V1, although it’s the identical value as the primary mannequin’s officially licensed Xbox variant. The most important change, although, is the rear bridge mechanism that acts as an extendable backbone operating adjoining to the again of your telephone, with the latter then clamped in place via delicate stress. If that sounds much like the setup popularised by the Spine One, properly, that’s as a result of it’s primarily an identical.

Razer has added some additional enter choices over the unique Kishi, together with programmable mini-bumpers and a devoted share button. It additionally made just a few normal ergonomic tweaks, and swapped out a number of of the earlier mannequin’s membrane buttons for microswitches, a transfer Razer says was impressed by its Wolverine V2 controllers.

The Kishi V2 has been retooled with a bridge-style design, improved buttons, and a brand new companion telephone app.

The gaming agency claims a number of design tweaks mixed with two units of rubber inserts make the Kishi V2 suitable with extra Android telephones than ever, and can even match some telephones which have instances on, offering the case is skinny sufficient. Your mileage will fluctuate tremendously relying on what telephone and case you’ve gotten. In my testing, I did handle to squeeze just a few smaller telephones in with instances nonetheless connected, although the USB-C connector wouldn’t fairly prolong far sufficient to suit my every day driver — a Google Pixel 6 Professional in a slim Spigen case. The rubber inserts are additionally a bit tough to swap out and in, and with none included carry case for the controller itself, I’m satisfied they’d be very straightforward to lose.

In any other case, the Razer Kishi V2 seems to hold on the place the V1 left off. It’s a helpful controller for enjoying controller-optimized cell video games, emulated retro titles, or streamed video games remotely or by way of the cloud, all with ultra-low latency as a result of direct USB-C connection and without having to cost it up because it feeds off your telephone as an influence supply.

Razer’s different large play for the Kishi V2 is the model new Razer Nexus app, which acts as a one-stop portal for all of your Kishi-compatible cell video games. You don’t want it to make use of the V2 out of the field because it plugs and performs simply positive, nevertheless it’s additionally the one manner you’ll get any future firmware updates for the V2, and is important for utilizing the screenshot button and remapping the programmable mini-bumpers.

The Razer Kishi V2 is available in a single black shade and is available for purchase from Razer’s official retailer, Amazon, and different main on-line retailers. As a result of USB-C connector, the model presently available for purchase is barely suitable with Android telephones. A Kishi V2 mannequin for iPhone customers is listed on Razer’s web site and is expected to launch in Fall 2022.

What’s good?

razer kishi v2 rear

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

The Kishi V2’s new extendable bridge design might have been borrowed from different telescopic controllers, however except for one relatively obtrusive caveat (we’ll get to that), it’s completely a change for the higher.

For starters, Razer’s declare that extra telephones will likely be suitable with the second-generation mannequin is totally true; I examined it with 5 completely different telephones — some enormous flagships, some smaller price range telephones — they usually all match simply positive. Even telephones with off-center USB-C ports just like the Asus ROG Phone 6 can now be awkwardly wedged in in case you’re determined. Heck, even tablet-hybrid foldables just like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 might technically slot in right here, although I’m unsure it’d be a pleasing expertise. That is all potential as a result of the rounded-off corners that surrounded your system on the Kishi V1 are gone, with telephones as a substitute stored in place by mild stress and a refined protruding lip on both facet.

This common clasp design solves different sensible points with the Kishi V1, too. It’s a lot sooner to clip a telephone out and in for a fast recreation, and whereas it’s potential to slide the telephone up or down very barely on the left facet in case you knock it, the elevated rigidity and prolonged lip cease it from wobbling backwards and forwards throughout gameplay — a persistent drawback I discovered with the Kishi V1.

The Razer Kishi V2 builds on all the pieces nice concerning the V1 and fixes some (however not all) of its flaws.

The ergonomics are a lot improved too. The interlocking plastic on the rear of the V1 that may jut into your fingers is gone, changed with textured grips and a uniform design on either side. The mechanical microswitches, too, supply higher journey than the unique’s membrane buttons. The tactile L2/R2 triggers, particularly, are an unlimited improve and not really feel like they’re rubbing up in opposition to the plastic body with each squeeze. The identical is true of the D-pad, which is lastly rigorous sufficient for platformers and even preventing video games.

Talking of the buttons, the 2 further “M2” macro buttons (positioned on both facet of the triggers) are helpful for emulation or for any recreation that requires further management choices. It additionally helps that the M2s are sufficiently small and positioned properly sufficient to not be invasive in case you don’t want them for the actual recreation you’re enjoying.

And at last, we might wax lyrical about the advantages of USB-C controllers over Bluetooth gamepads for this complete overview. It’s not a singular advantage of the Kishi V2 particularly, however the barely perceptible enter latency and the actual fact you don’t have to cost it as much as play are each traits that make it laborious to return to a wi-fi pad after you’ve used a telescopic USB-C controller. That is very true for cloud gaming or distant play, the place latency is already a fear in case you have a less-than-stellar connection.

What’s not so good?

razer kishi v2 vs v1

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Take one have a look at the Kishi V2 subsequent to the collapsed V1 (see above) and also you’ll doubtless be capable of guess the massive disadvantage of the shift to a common clamp over a clip. Whereas the Kishi V1 was undoubtedly far much less snug to carry whereas enjoying, the best way it could possibly be clipped collectively right into a neat bundle meant you could possibly fortunately slip it right into a (massive) trouser pocket or a bag and never fear an excessive amount of about any harm to the extendable band. The Kishi V2, in the meantime, is all angles, as there’s no option to collapse the backbone. That is true of all controllers on this particular kind issue, after all, nevertheless it’s a disgrace one of many Kishi’s largest promoting factors — its portability — not applies after only one technology. Likewise, with no case within the field — one thing that maybe might’ve been included once you issue within the value — there’s not so much defending the V2 once you wish to pack it away. It certain appears like you could possibly snap it in two in case you’re careless about storing it, both at dwelling or on the transfer.

The buttons actually really feel so much higher, however they sound so much worse. Specifically, the M2s and the 4 non-ABXY face buttons are distractingly loud. Whereas these specific inputs received’t be used all that always, even the core face buttons and the L1/R1 bumpers have a discernible click on which may annoy anybody sitting subsequent to you throughout a fast subway gaming session. The joysticks obtained a questionable overhaul too. As an alternative of the V1’s bigger sticks with concave thumb grooves, the V2’s pair are close to carbon copies of the Nintendo Switch‘s Pleasure-Cons. They’re far much less springy, however that lacking rigidity and snappy suggestions make them much less appropriate for twitchy aiming in shooters.

The continued omission of a headphone jack is dumbfounding, however the Nexus app is the Kishi V2’s obtrusive weak level.

The continued lack of a headphone jack port is baffling. Even the few phones that do have 3.5mm ports will discover them lined when docked within the Kishi V2, and but there’s no possibility for wired audio in any respect. The grilles on the best facet of the controller do an honest job of letting via sound from bottom-firing audio system, however anybody enjoying on the go will (hopefully) wish to maintain any digital explosions to themselves. Minimal enter latency is nice, however the impact is ruined barely once you pair it with an audio delay from wireless buds or headphones. Even in case you have a pair of USB-C headphones, you’re recent out of luck because the exterior USB-C port on the Kishi V2 doesn’t supply audio passthrough. You may cost your telephone via this port, however don’t anticipate a lot energy to seep via because it doesn’t seem to help quick charging protocols.

Final and undoubtedly least is the Kishi V2’s largest failing: the Razer Nexus app. As beforehand talked about, you don’t want the Nexus app, however you’ll if you wish to entry the livestream and screenshot performance (the screenshot button is in any other case redundant), replace the firmware, and program these M2 buttons. Sadly, the UI is barren and ugly in an Xbox knock-off type of manner, and it runs at a weirdly low decision. It additionally provides a everlasting notification to your telephone’s tray, which might solely be eliminated inside Android’s system settings. As well as, livestreaming is restricted to only YouTube and Fb, with no possibility for Twitch, the preferred recreation streaming platform. The app’s performance is all free, which is one thing, however the characteristic set is nowhere close to as complete or as user-friendly as that which Spine One customers get with the free model of its app, not to mention these with a Spine Plus subscription.

And at last, it’s nonetheless a disgrace that PlayStation customers can’t formally use the Kishi V2 with the Distant Play app. It is a Sony restriction, so we will’t blame Razer right here. Fortunately there are workarounds by way of the unofficial PS Play app in case you’re prepared to pay a small price.

Razer Kishi V2 overview: The decision

Razer Kishi V2

Improved ergonomics • Prolonged performance • Responsive gameplay

The 2022 model of the unique Kishi is a brand new tackle a confirmed system.

The unique Razer Kishi is without doubt one of the hottest cell gaming controllers available on the market. The Razer Kishi V2 improves on that system with new buttons, a brand new app, and a subtly higher design.

For these with a sufficiently big price range, the Razer Kishi V2 is the most effective Android gamepad cash should purchase… not less than for now. Simply shy of $100 is so much to spend on any controller, however so long as you may look previous the lack of the V1’s distinctive portability, the V2 is a transparent enchancment — although maybe not as a lot because it ought to have been at this asking value.

So far as the competitors goes for telescopic controllers, the Kishi V2 has superior ergonomics when stacked up in opposition to the Gamesir X3 USB-C version ($99), however some could also be swayed by the customizable joysticks, and an non-obligatory cooling fan. In the event you’d want one thing nearer to the Kishi V1, Razer’s authentic associate Gamevice has its personal model, merely dubbed Gamevice ($59), that’s primarily an identical and less expensive — simply remember the variety of suitable telephones is much smaller than common telescopic controllers just like the Kishi V2.

Need the most effective Android gamepad on the town? The Razer Kishi V2 is it… for now.

Actually, although, the Kishi V2’s largest competitors isn’t available for purchase simply but. After over a yr of asking, an Android-compatible model of the Spine One ($99) will lastly arrive in November, on the similar value, alongside a way more helpful companion app, and full with a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Ought to anybody with a Kishi V1 contemplate an improve to the V2? Except you’ve purchased a brand new telephone that doesn’t match the unique mannequin, I’m not satisfied there’s sufficient right here to justify spending $99. For everybody else, despite its points, the Razer Kishi V2 is a improbable option to rework your telephone into as near a transportable console as you may get.

Prime Razer Kishi V2 questions and solutions

In the event you can afford it, the Razer Kishi V2 is a improbable telescopic controller, although it’s not as feature-packed because it might have been for the worth.

Razer formally ensures help for a lot of Samsung Galaxy S and Google Pixel telephones, in addition to the Razer Cellphone 1 and a pair of. Nonetheless, it notes that the “adaptable design will doubtless be suitable with any Android units operating Android 9.0 or later with comparable dimensions to those supported units.”

Sure, however you’ll want the Razer Kishi V2 for iPhone variant that’s anticipated to launch within the fall of 2022.

The Razer Kishi V2 will solely work with a telephone docked inside, it can’t be used as a separate Bluetooth controller.

No, sadly the Razer Kishi V2 doesn’t work with Genshin Influence as a result of the sport lacks controller help on Android. It ought to work on iOS with the Kishi V2 for iPhone, nevertheless.

You don’t have to pair the Razer Kishi V2; slot your telephone into the USB-C port and it’ll work mechanically.

The Razer Kishi V2 doesn’t should be charged as it’s powered by your telephone by way of USB-C.

When you’ve got a skinny telephone case, you would possibly be capable of use the Kishi V2 with it nonetheless in your telephone, however it is going to fluctuate by case and by telephone.

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