Razer Kishi V2 review: Contender for the best iPhone gaming controller

The new Razer Kishi V2


AppleInsider may earn an affiliate commission on purchases made through links on our site.

The second-generation Razer Kishi is here for iPhone users with a new design, better buttons, and a companion app. How does it compare to the Backbone One?

With the original Kishi, Razer came to market with a compact device in partnership with Gamevice. While some liked the compact style – and some didn’t. The back was flexible and over time the market began to favor stiffer designs.

After a few years, Razer is back to try to conquer the market. Launched just weeks after the Android release, we tested with our iPhone 13 Pro.

Kishi V2 review – A familiar design

With this update, the Kishi V2 is more in line with current game controllers that turn your iPhone into a Nintendo Switch-style portable gaming device. Controller grips are on the left and right, enclosing your iPhone in the middle.

The back of the Kishi V2 expands, allowing it to fit any iPhone. This includes the massive iPhone 13 Pro Max.

iPhone 13 Pro in Razer Kishi V2

iPhone 13 Pro in Razer Kishi V2

Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro has a notoriously large camera bump that caused a ton of issues with existing accessories, but Razer was able to avoid this problem. He designed the Kishi V2 to fit the 13 Pro without any issues and should even fit the future iPhone 14 line.

Razer Kishi V2 Design

Razer Kishi V2 Design

All buttons on the Razer Kishi V2 use new ultra-responsive micro switches, the same ones Razer uses on its Wolverine V2 gaming controller. They have a noticeable little click when the buttons are pressed. There isn’t quite as much button travel as there is on the Wolverine though.

Button close-up

Button close-up

These buttons take very little pressure to trigger them, which is good and bad. On the one hand, this means you can click buttons very quickly in tense battles, but on the other hand, we’d like to see a little more feedback than the little click. He may seem confused pressing fervently.

Other buttons include a dedicated button for screenshots as well as launching the Razer Nexus app – more on that in a moment. The controller can capture full resolution screenshots or 1080p screen recordings.

Charge your iPhone with the Lightning port

Charge your iPhone with the Lightning port

On the right grip button is an Apple-certified Lightning port. This lets you charge your iPhone while playing games as the controller connects via its built-in Lightning connector.

Razer Nexus app

Intended for use with the Kishi V2, the Razer Nexus app provides firmware updates for the controller, remapping functionality for macro buttons, and a discovery center for new games.

Nexus breaks down all games into different categories. Simulation, education, racing, family and many more categories are available. Find a game you like, click it to see more screenshots, and read it before hitting the App Store.

Apple limits what apps can do, which makes launching apps boring. It should send you to the app store to launch games rather than launching them directly. It’s a privacy restriction that makes sense but adds extra steps to quickly access the game.

Razer Nexus app

Razer Nexus app

The problem with the Nexus app is that its game recommendations seem very poor. It recommends weird games and fails to highlight some of the biggest games on the platform. sea ​​horn 2, Roblox, Mobile PUBG, Sonic, Apex Legends, Rocket League Mobile to name a few.

Hopefully Razer updates this app to make it much more complete and with better recommendations.

Button mapping on the Kishi V2

Most controllers have a left and right trigger and bumper, but Razer has a little bonus button. Notated L4 and R4 – L3 and R3 are the designators for pressing the thumbsticks – these buttons can clone any of the other controller’s buttons.

L4 on the Razer Kishi V2

L4 on the Razer Kishi V2

To remap the buttons, you use the aforementioned Razer Nexus app. Open the app manually or by pressing the dedicated Razer Nexus button on the controller. Then tap the hamburger icon in the top right to view the settings.

Remapping buttons

Remapping buttons

When you press the remapping button, you can see the L4 and R4 buttons and all available assignments. The idea is that, depending on the game you’re playing, it might be useful to remap something like reload, sprint, or handbrake to those little buttons instead of their original location.

Maybe in a game you have to hold down the X button almost all the time. Moving to hit A, B, or Y means having to let go of the X button. Remap X or the other buttons on L4 and R4 can dramatically improve your game performance.

Razer has a (back)bone to choose from

The closest competitor to the updated Razer Kishi V2 is the Backbone One. It was launched after the original Kishi, but left Razer with some catching up to do.

The Backbone One was almost universally considered the most superior iPhone game controller. Razer wants to challenge that.

Backbone One Playstation Edition vs. Razer Kishi V2

Backbone One Playstation Edition vs. Razer Kishi V2

Both devices look shockingly similar and connect to your phone in almost the same way. Since the Backbone One launched before the iPhone 13 Pro, it doesn’t fit perfectly and the company has started offering an additional adapter that helps the bump out of the way. Razer fits like a glove out of the box.

Another difference is that for us we like the feel of all the buttons on the Razer Kishi V2 while the Backbone has buttons that sit on a membrane switch rather than all the performance micro switches. This gives them a slightly mushy feel on the Backbone One.

Razer also offers the extra programmable L4 and R4 buttons that Backbone lacks. For us, the Razer is the better controller, but Backbone One offers a better app experience and has a headphone jack for wired listening.

Should you buy the Razer Kishi V2?

You can’t go wrong with the Backbone One or the Razer Kishi V2. We like the Kishi V2 as our go-to device for gaming because of the feel of the buttons and programmable buttons. The app experience can always be improved across the board and isn’t our preferred method of discovery anyway.

Razer Kishi V2

Razer Kishi V2

We tested racing games, first-person shooters, platforms like Jetpack Joyride 2, and several others in our time with both controllers. This is a huge difference from using on-screen controls.

Racing with Razer Kishi V2

Racing with Razer Kishi V2

Especially when you’re mobile, these all-in-one controllers are much more useful because they hold your phone at the same time and take up less space in your bag. If you’re looking for a reliable controller that caters to high-level gamers as well as casual gamers, the Kishi V2 is for you.

Kishi V2 for iPhone Professionals

  • Dedicated buttons or screenshots and screen recordings
  • Nexus app for game discovery and mapping buttons
  • Programmable L4 and R4 buttons
  • New micro-switch buttons for a more tactile feel
  • Passthrough Lightning connector and MFi certified

Kishi V2 for iPhone vs.

  • Nexus app game discovery is pitiful
  • No headphone jack

Rating: 4 out of 5

Or buy

Comments are closed.