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Razer Kishi Ultra review

We got our hands on the new Razer Kishi Ultra mobile gaming controller, and this statement of intent from the hardware brand does not disappoint.

Custom image for Razer Kishi Ultra review with the reviewer holding it up and Asphalt 9 on screen

Our Verdict

If you take your mobile gaming seriously, the Razer Kishi Ultra is the best way to play the games you love. It’s a bit too bulky to travel well and might cost you a little more than you’d like to spend, but after hours of playing my favorite games using it, I can’t recommend it enough.

Reasons to buy
  • Ridiculously responsive
  • Comfortable grip
  • Seamless mapping
  • Great software support
Reasons to avoid
  • Slightly expensive
  • Bulky

Mobile gaming controllers are a pretty big business these days, with plenty of companies specializing in making them so you can play your favorite mobile titles without relying on touchscreen controls. One of the most significant players in this arena is Razer – you know, the RGB lighting accessory brand – and it’s got something new up its sleeve with the Razer Kishi Ultra.

Before we get into the specifics, it’s worth pointing out that at $149.99, or £149.99 in the UK, the Razer Kishi Ultra is one of the most expensive mobile controllers out there. For context, that’s the equivalent of two Nintendo Switch Pro controllers and around $50 more expensive than the Backbone equivalent. However, price and value are very different things, and as I’m about to explain, this thing is worth every cent of that $149.99. So, let’s get into it.

With the iPhone 15 series embracing USB-C, you can use this controller with either any iPhone 15 model or any USB-C Android. It’s just a case of extending the spine to fit your device, slotting it in, and you’re good to go with plenty of games. You might have to install Razer Nexus if you don’t already have it, but there’s no endless faffing about, and you can get gaming in next to no time,

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In terms of feel alone, the Kishi Ultra is one of the most comfortable controllers I’ve ever laid my hands on. It’s got that chunky feel of an Xbox controller, so your hands wrap around almost perfectly, and in hours of play, I’ve never experienced any sort of wrist strain. Considering how big it is, it’s remarkably lightweight, but it still feels sturdier than some of the alternatives thanks to a relatively rigid spine and beefed-up components.

Custom image for Razer Kishi Ultra review with the phone out of the controller

However, the chunky design is a bit of a double-edged sword, as it makes the Razer Kishi Ultra less than ideal for taking out of the house. If, like me, you like to take a mobile controller with you when traveling for more than a couple of hours, this thing might not be the ideal candidate. If, instead, you’re planning on tuning out the world and spending a few hours in the underworld of Diablo Immortal with the curtains closed, then there’s no better option.

I’ve also got some mixed feelings about the buttons. The shoulder buttons are fantastic, I’ll say that much, and the analog sticks and eight-way D-pad are as responsive as can be, but the ABXY buttons just feel a bit too plasticky for me. There’s a clickiness about them that I’m not massively keen on. Still, they work well, so I can’t really complain all too much outside of being a little specific about the kind of button I like.

Anyone who’s familiar with Razer knows that this is a brand that goes hard on bells and whistles, and the Kishi Ultra does just that. It’s got a 3.5mm audio jack, 15W pass-through charging, fantastic haptics, and more. You can even use it as a PC controller, which somewhat helps justify the $149.99 price point. Simply put, it makes the Backbone One and other competitors look remarkably basic, which is a big win in such a competitive market.

Custom image for Razer Kishi Ultra review with Honkai Star Rail on the screen

Before moving on from the design, it’s worth saying that Razer has really pushed the boat out to make sure that almost anything with a USB-C connection fits the Kishi Ultra. It extends enough to fit any device smaller than eight inches, so you can slot in your iPad Mini or a teeny tablet if you’d like. There’s also more space than ever behind the USB-C connection, so you can fit almost any phone in there still in its case, or make it a little more snug with one of the rubber fittings that come in the box.

While the hardware itself is pretty impressive, the software Razer backs it up with is what makes this thing one of the best mobile gaming controllers around. With Razer Nexus, you can customize the experience to your liking, with control over everything from haptics to the chroma RGB colors and effects. That’s before we even get into button mapping with the virtual controller mode.

A surprising amount of mobile titles, including some of our personal favorites like Honkai Star Rail and Genshin Impact, don’t have native controller support, but the Kishi Ultra has you covered there. It takes a minute to get your head around how mapping works in the virtual controller mode, but once you’ve got the gist, it takes less than a minute to set yourself up in a new game. Better still, the UI is incredibly clean, taking up as little space on the screen as possible.

Custom image for Razer Kishi Ultra review with a games menu on the screen

If the game you’re looking to play supports mobile controllers, the experience is even more seamless. I used my Honor Magic6 Pro for testing, playing a bit of Diablo Immortal, Asphalt 9, and Minecraft. My experience of all three games benefitted from leaving touchscreen controls behind and embracing the controller. Now I can’t go back, and if I’m playing at home, I’m playing with the Kishi Ultra.

Ultimately, there’s no way of getting around it, this is the best mobile gaming controller at the time of writing. Sure, it’s a bit big to be taking on your travels, but it’s 2024, and there are plenty of us playing mobile games over console alternatives in the comfort of our own homes. Comfort is the imperative word here. They don’t come much more comfortable than the Razer Kishi Ultra. Add to that some fantastic software support, receptive buttons and triggers, plus some fun bells and whistles, and you’ve got the ideal accessory for any mobile gamer.

So, there you have it, our Razer Kishi Ultra review. While you’re here, why not check out some more fantastic hardware with our AYANEO Flip DS review and ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro review? Or, if you’re trying to find something new to play after picking up a Kishi Ultra, see our picks for the best mobile games.