Razer has announced the $99.99 Kishi V2, its new portable controller that can hold your Android phone to deliver a handheld console-like experience. In terms of what’s new on the previous iterationKishi V2 has some hardware features in common with Razer Wolverine V2 Controller. Namely, its buttons use micro switches instead of membranes, so they will have a clicking feel. Also, there are two macro buttons near the triggers, one on each side, that can be custom programmed using a mobile app.
Let’s be honest, there is a lot about Kishi V2 that seems to be adapted from Backbone One iPhone Controller. To start, the Kishi V2 uses a similar design to the extendable rear bridge in place of the not-so-terrible, but less intuitive folding mechanism than the original version. This allows you to easily insert or remove your phone from the console. More phones are guaranteed to be compatible. To give you a sense of compatibility, the new controller can fit Google’s big Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones as well as Samsung Galaxy Note 10 series phones. Anything smaller than that should work just fine. And if your phone has a cover, remove one of the pre-installed rubber accessories may be help contain it. I had to take the Pixel 6 out of the Google branded plastic case and replace the plastic pieces of the Kishi V2 to make it fit.
The Kishi V2 supports USB-C passthrough charging, but it frustratingly lacks a headphone jack, as found on the Backbone One. Has Razer tried to play games on Android with wireless headphones? The latency is usually terrible. The companies pulled the jack out of our phones, but it would be nice to have it on a console.
The similarities with the workhorse are deeper than the console design. Razer designed the Nexus app, its gaming hub, for Kishi and Kishi V2 owners to get into mobile gaming and streaming services, capture or broadcast gameplay to Facebook and YouTube, and more. Unlike Backbone, Razer’s solution is free to use and does not require a subscription to access all of its features. It remains to be seen if the Nexus can compete with the very elegant interface created by Backbone. The Kishi V2 has a dedicated Nexus button under the right analog stick, so it looks like Razer is taking its new software seriously.
There are other things to wait and see what follows with Kishi V2. Razer is releasing an Android version today, but it has confirmed that an iPhone version will be coming soon. While Android is fertile ground for deep OS implementation and to make it easier for gamers to stream games, it’s another story on iOS. Apple doesn’t allow native apps to stream, which requires the likes of Microsoft to create a more popular web-based solution than what’s available on Android. That’s part of what makes Backbone’s One so impressive. You’ve demonstrated a much more sophisticated iOS integration, which goes deeper than expected. (Read our full review for more details.)
I think razer Can Install it on iOS, but the launch of Kishi V2 on Android is just the beginning of the uphill climb that Backbone has already made significant headway in.
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