Back in 2020, the Razer Kishi hit the markets, offering a wired mobile controller solution in a very compact form. For a first generation version of this product, we really liked what we saw in it. It featured a very familiar Xbox layout, it fits in your pocket, and it had the most usable d-pad Razer has put on a controller to date. Despite how good it was, there was room for improvement, especially in the manner in which it gripped your phone. Luckily, Razer had this and many more ideas in mind when they made the Razer Kishi V2.
Build, Comfort and Feel
The Razer Kishi V2 comes in both Android and iOS versions. For this review, we used the Razer Kishi V2 for Android, which is compatible with devices running Android 9.0 or later. On the surface, it houses all of the features seen in the previous Razer Kishi model. It is a controller that expands around and clamps onto your device, connecting via your phone’s USB Type-C port. The controller is powered directly by your smartphone once connected. If you need to charge your device while you play, you can plug in a USB Type-C cable into the pass-through charging port on the bottom of the Kishi V2.
The Kishi V2 also maintains a very familiar Xbox button and analog stick layout. The controller houses XYAB face buttons, dual analog sticks, bumpers, triggers, and view and menu buttons. Newly added to the Kishi V2 are the two programmable macro buttons, capture button and share button. The programmable macro buttons can be configured via the free Razer Nexus app.
Aiming to bridge the quality gap between mobile and console controllers, the Kishi V2 features microswitch buttons, analog triggers, programmable macros, and a D-Pad with mechanical clicks. One of the more notable changes here comes in the form of the Kishi V2’s new stable bridge and adaptable inserts. These new changes do more than just enhance the overall stability of the controller’s connection with your device. They also increase the compatibility with some screen protectors and some smartphone cases.
As far as comfort and feel goes, the Razer Kishi V2 is a clear step above its predecessor. The controller’s d-pad, buttons and bumpers feel snappy and responsive. Triggers are smooth with a nice amount of resistance, giving you good control in games where trigger sensitivity matters. Best of all, the controller is very stable, giving you flexibility in grip styles.
I always hold my controller in a pretty standard fashion across all gaming genres except for fighters and side-scrolling brawlers. When it comes to fighters, I rest my controller on my lap much like gamers who use fight sticks. So whenever I review a mobile controller that wraps around your phone like the Kishi does, I am usually forced to maintain a traditional grip style. However, thanks to the Kishi V2’s considerably stable bridge, I am even able to play with the unit against my leg. It is also impressive that it remains stable with as phones as large as the TCL Stylus 5G, shown here.
The maximum supported smartphone dimensions that the Razer Kishi V2 can support are ones that are 11.5 mm thick (including camera) x 170 mm in length. The TCL Stylus 5G’s dimensions are 6.67” x 3.01” x 0.35” (169.6 x 76.5 x 8.98 mm), which clears the maximum length handled by the Kishi V2. I was worried that I would have to swap out the rubber cushions in order to support such a large device. However, here it was unnecessary. This was a good thing considering that I had plenty of trouble removing those cushions, fearing that I would break the Kishi V2 in the process. Fortunately, this was not needed for my use cases.
Overall, the Razer Kishi V2 gets top marks in build, comfort and feel.
After seeing how surprisingly stable the Razer Kishi V2 was, despite my varying grip styles, I started right away with fighting games. The Kishi V2 flourished with fighters, thanks not only to its stability but more importantly its D-pad. The D-pad was not only easy to handle but surprisingly accurate. Regardless of the fighting game I tried the Kishi V2 with, I was executing command inputs with ease.
I even booted up an emulator to try the Kishi V2 out with one of my all-time favorite fighting games, Capcom VS SNK 2. I was not at all disappointed.
Having such an Xbox-like look and feel, I of course booted up the Xbox Game Pass app to try out some Xbox games on the cloud.
While I generally do not play racing games, I wanted to test the analog triggers on the Razer Kishi V2. So, I booted up MotoGP TM. 22 on Xbox Game Pass. Movement not only felt smooth thanks to the accuracy of the thumb sticks, but the speed of the bike responded well to the analog triggers. The harder I pressed, the faster I drove. The analog triggers alone made the Razer Kishi V2 into a solid controller for racing games.
Next up, I booted up Mass Effect: Legendary Edition via Xbox Game Pass. Moving, aiming and shooting felt comfortable in the third-person shooter. The thumb sticks continued to be both accurate and easy to manage.
In both this game and MotoGP TM. 22, responsiveness was as good as it gets playing cloud games on a bar’s wifi. Nevertheless, with the Kishi V2 being wired to my phone via the USB Type-C connection, the various games were still plenty playable. Playing games on the cloud are always going to involve some type of delay. So, having a controller with lag-less inputs was quite welcome in this scenario.
Overall, the Razer Kishi V2 handled all of the gaming genres I tried refreshingly well.
The Razer Kishi V2 is a clear and obvious upgrade in quality over the previous Razer Kishi. Every element of the Razer Kishi was improved. You have better buttons, better triggers, a better D-pad, and best of all, much better connectivity and stability with your mobile device. The additions of capture and share buttons solidify this controller as a very difficult one to beat in the mobile controller market.
At $99.99, the Razer Kishi V2 is a great purchase for any mobile or Xbox gamer on the go. If you have the previous Razer Kishi, I would even suggest that you consider upgrading to this one. If you are looking for a new mobile controller solution, you should definitely check out the Razer Kishi V2 for yourself by clicking here.
† As usual, there are no affiliate links contained within this post. We were provided a Razer Kishi V2 for Android for review purposes and were not compensated for this review.