It is a universal mobile gaming controller with a familiar console-like layout of buttons, joysticks and triggers, to convert your smartphone into a portable gaming console.
The Kishi consists of two grips connected by a rubber strap with a plastic plate at its rear. The right grip has the A/B/X/Y buttons, a function button and a joystick, while the left grip has an eight-way directional pad, a joystick, a home button and a function button. Two triggers are sited at the top of each grip.
The two grips clip together for easy storage and detach when the release latch at the back of each grip is both pressed.
When detached, you will find a USB-C connector (Lightning version coming later) on the right grip’s inside. Attach your Android smartphone’s USB-C port to it, mount the left grip on the top of the smartphone and you get a Nintendo Switch-like gaming console with your smartphone.
Your smartphone has to have a centre-aligned USB-C port on its base and runs at least Android 8.0. Officially supported smartphones include Google Pixel 2 and later, Samsung Galaxy S8 and later (S20 Ultra not supported though), Galaxy Note8 and later, and Razer Phone 1 and 2.
However, the Kishi should fit any Android 8 smartphone with centre-aligned USB-C port that falls within these dimension ranges – height between 145.3mm and 163.7mm, width between 68.2 and 78.1mm, and depth between 7.0mm and 8.8mm. For this review, I used a Google Pixel 4 and a Samsung Galaxy Note10+, with the latter just fitting the Kishi.
You can download the Razer Kishi app, which allows you to update its firmware as well as offers a long list of compatible games. But you do not need the app for the Kishi to work.
If a mobile game supports external controllers, it should be compatible with the Kishi. Some popular mobile games though, such as PlayUnknown Battlegrounds Mobile, Fortnite and Call of Duty Mobile, are not supported.
But the supported games I tried work like a charm. For instance, with the mobile racing game Asphalt 9, I was able to use the Kishi’s triggers to drift and activate nitro boosts right from the start.
Playing the action role-playing game Dungeon Hunter 5 with the Kishi feels so much more intuitive with its joysticks and buttons, compared to using the smartphone’s touchscreen to move my character and perform attack moves.
The Kishi also feels as ergonomic as console controllers, allowing me to play more comfortably for longer without suffering finger cramps.
Furthermore, with its direct USB-C connection, it means there is virtually no lag with its controls, unlike with a wireless Bluetooth connection. However, this also means you cannot use wired USB-C headphones.
In addition, I found my smartphone’s battery draining faster when using the Kishi. Thankfully, there is a USB-C port on the right grip’s bottom that allows for pass-through charging.
– Turns your smartphone into a portable gaming console
– Works with most Android smartphones
– Great ergonomics
– USB-C connectivity allows for lag-free gaming
– Not all games are supported
– Blocks the USB-C port for headphone use
– Drains your smartphone’s battery
WEIGHT: 164g (excluding phone)
VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5