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Razer Kishi Ultra review: Solid phone controller

Razer Kishi Ultra review: Solid phone controller

Razer Kishi Ultra

When we reviewed the Razer Kishi V2 in 2022, one concern was that it might be too small for some users. That shouldn't be a problem with the Razer Kishi Ultra, the company's latest mobile gaming controller which features full-sized grips. While its size makes it less portable, it turns your phone or iPad mini into a full-fledged handheld console that's comfortable for long gaming sessions.

Quick specs:

  • Supports USB-C smartphones and iPad mini (6th Gen)
  • USB-C passthrough charging, 3.5mm audio port
  • 266g

With everything going USB-C, including iPhones, this Razer Kishi Ultra will work with most current smartphones. It is designed for use with larger devices, and worked right out of the box with my test device, the iPhone 15 Plus. The spring-loaded telescopic clamp did well to hold the smartphone in place, aided by rubber cushions where the smartphone makes contact with the Kishi Ultra. Two additional sets of rubber cushions are included, one of which is specifically for use with the iPad mini (6th gen), and the other for Android phones. If you are using a case with your smartphone, Razer recommends that you remove the rubber inserts altogether if you have trouble getting a good fit.

Razer Kishi Ultra with Nintendo Switch
Credit: John Chan/Can Buy or Not

Once installed, the entire setup really feels like a handheld console. With an iPhone 15 Plus, it is slightly larger than a Nintendo Switch, with a similar screen size. The Kishi Ultra isn't as slim, though, as the controllers have proper grips. These make them really comfortable to use, along with the large, well spaced out controls. The joysticks worked well with all the games I played, such as the excellent Dead Cells on Apple Arcade. However, I was slightly disappointed Razer didn't go with Hall Effect joysticks, which will not develop stick drift over time. 

The circular D-pad is a departure from the cross D-pad found on the Kishi V2. This clicky, eight-way D-pad, to my surprise, served me fine in Tetris, where accurate four-direction input is critical. It also handled retro side-scrollers and fighting games well — tested using the Delta emulator that's now available on the iPhone.

Credit: John Chan/Can Buy or Not

Overall, the buttons including triggers, and face buttons felt as good as what you’d find on a good first-party console controller. The face buttons use an Xbox-style layout (BAYX), which tripped me up initially as I’m more used to the Nintendo layout (ABXY). If you are using it with an iPhone or iPad, the button assignments can be changed universally through iOS settings. 

If you need to charge your phone while playing, a USB-C pass-through port is found on the bottom right side. There's also a 3.5mm audio jack on the left so you can hear your games using a pair of wired headphones.

Razer Kishi Ultra with iPad mini
Credit: Razer

As we have come to expect from Razer, a companion app is available for the Kishi Ultra. This app, called Nexus, will let you launch compatible games and utilities quickly, as well as customise the RGB lighting on the controller. Yes, the Razer Kishi Ultra has two RGB light strips that can cycle between many colours on the left and right sides. Additionally, on Android, the Razer Kishi Ultra has haptics for that additional touch of immersion.

See Also
Asus Zenbook Duo

In short, the Razer Kishi Ultra is a great controller for those who do a lot of gaming on a smartphone. It does come with a very high price tag of S$239, so it may not be for everyone. Those who can stomach the premium price can find it on Shopee, Lazada, or Razer's website.

Note: Review unit provided by Razer.

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Excellent but pricey mobile game controller

Buy on Shopee
Find it on Lazada
Available from Razer

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