Razer Kishi Review: Worth your money

Clio Alaniz

Clio Alaniz

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September 15th 2020

Since the birth of mobile games, there have always been some frenetic players who have been tirelessly looking for mobile game peripherals for a better feel and more immersive game experience. From mobile game keyboards to somatosensory peripherals to screen suckers, different games have caused a lot of mobile game peripherals. However, among the large number of peripherals, only the game handles are enduring.

Unlike host controllers, mobile game controllers usually have to consider issues such as battery life, portability, and adaptation, as well as hand feel, weight, and heat dissipation. This also leads to very few outstanding mobile game controllers on the market. Recently, Razer Kishi's Kishi gamepad, which was just launched by Razer, came to our evaluation room. Then this Razer Kishi, which was previously unveiled at CES 2020 and won the "CES 2020 Best Game Product" How did it perform? Let's take a look together.

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Product parameter

Connection: USB-C

Charging: no need to charge

High size requirement: 145.3mm~163.7mm

Width: 68.2mm~78.1mm

Thickness: 7.0mm~8.8mm

Mobile phone operating system requirements: Android 8.0 or higher

Price: $79.99

Appearance 

From the point of view of the body design, Kishi uses the common stretch design of mobile game handles, but there are two differences. One is that Kishi uses a direct port connection method, and Kishi has the inside of the handle. A USB-C port, which can be directly connected to an Android phone with a USB-C interface (a version with a Lightning interface will be introduced later to fit the iPhone). The second is that the body design of Kishi is more delicate and the volume in the storage state is far smaller than ordinary mobile game handles. In detail, there are two buckles on the back of Kishi. Kishi can use the buckle and folding method to store the elastic band. At this time, the width of the Kishi is only the width of the left and right handles, which is convenient to carry and has a stable buckle. So you don’t have to worry about it rolling or bouncing off in your backpack.

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The Kishi handle in the combined state occupies a small volume and is quite portable.

In the design of the fuselage, Kishi's body is made of PC plastic material, and the surface of the fuselage adopts a fine sandblasting process, which improves the grip and avoids slipping caused by hand sweat. The design of Kishi's body is definitely well thought out, with smooth and appropriate curves everywhere in the hand, without any edges or corners. Even when holding the rider with both hands, the middle and ring fingers of both hands can fall in the right place-the groove on the back, without feeling unstable or uncomfortable at all.

In addition to considering the grip, Kishi also pays attention to the placement of mobile phones. Taking into account that most of the lens of the mobile phone is in the middle of the back or the upper right corner, Kishi has made a hollow design on the bracket of the left hand handle, which can basically fit into the mainstream Android models. In terms of the stability of the fuselage, Kishi adopts a wave-shaped rubber anti-skid design on the bottom of the top of the mobile phone, as well as on the left and right sides, so that even if it is held with one hand, it will not be distorted or dropped. At the same time, Kishi has specially reserved two openings on the right side of the handle to ensure that it will not block the sound of the speaker.

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However, the fly in the ointment is that there are more and more models with dual speakers on the market. The models with speakers on the top frame or using the earpiece as the second speaker will lose part of the volume due to the cover of the handle rubber frame. If you want to pursue better For the sound effects, wearing a Bluetooth headset is a better choice. It is worth mentioning that the hollow design on the back of Kishi, the several synapses on the back panel can not only fix the elastic band of the handle, but also keep the back of the phone away from the back panel to improve the heat dissipation capacity. Compared to holding with both hands, the body temperature after using the Kishi handle is slightly lower.

In terms of model adaptation, Kishi officially claims to support models with a length of 145.33mm~163.77mm, a width of 68.2mm~78.1mm, and a thickness of 7.0mm~8.8mm. Users can “measure” according to their mobile phones. To determine whether Kishi is suitable for your mobile phone. In addition, most of the Razer peripherals in our impression have cool shapes and brilliant lighting effects, but there are no such elements on Kishi, not only the buttons do not support backlight, but even the "Razer" logo on the back Using backlight design. This may be for the purpose of saving power (the handle is powered by the phone), but this makes us a little uncomfortable.

Direct port connection and Smooth experience

Among the mobile phone handles that we have evaluated, there are few handles with direct port connection. Compared with most handles that use Bluetooth connection or Wi-Fi connection, handles that use direct port connection have many limitations. First of all, handles that use direct port connection generally only support mobile phones with a single port. For example, the Kishi we evaluated this time only supports mobile phones with a USB-C interface, and there are requirements for the size of the body. If you want to buy a Kishi handle compatible with iPhone, you have to wait for a while.

As for the earlier mobile phones using the micro-USB interface, I am sorry that Razer has no plans to release this version of Kishi. Most of the other mobile phone handles feature "multi-platform, seamless switching". Generally, mobile phone handles not only support Android/iOS platforms, but most of them are compatible with devices such as tablets, TVs, and PCs. Even individual handles also support Xbox and PS platforms.

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The way that Kishi connects to the mobile phone is direct plug, the built-in USB-C plug can be directly connected to the mobile phone with the same interface. (Currently only the USB-C version, and the Lightning version will follow)

Second, in order to extend the battery life of the mobile phone, KiShi added a USB-C port at the bottom of the right handle. However, this interface does not support fast charging, and the maximum input power is only 10W. After all, the flash charging protocols used by Android models are different, and it is understandable to choose a safer low-power charging when compatibility is difficult. In addition, since the bottom and top of the phone need to be covered when connecting the mobile phone to the Kishi, the wired earphone hole is also blocked. Even if the USB-C interface of your mobile phone supports audio function, you cannot use the wired headset after the ride transfer. This also means that you need to use a Bluetooth headset or directly choose the speaker to put it out.

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Before Kishi, Razer did not have a wireless mobile phone handle to solve the above problems, but why did you give up the convenient and easy-to-use wireless connection on Kishi and use the rare direct port connection method? The answer is simple, that is to get an ultra-low latency gaming experience. As long as it is a wireless connection, there will be a delay whether it is connected via Bluetooth or an adapter, especially in action games and fighting games. Kishi adopts the USB-C direct connection method to provide instant button response and achieve a smooth and seamless control experience. Especially for cloud games, low latency is an important guarantee for the gaming experience, which we will explain in detail later.

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In addition, we also mentioned that Kishi’s design can stabilize the phone better. Compared with most handles that use brackets or back clips, the Kishi after the mobile phone is installed is almost as stable as a Switch handheld. During the experience, the phone did not slip off at all. Even if you lie on your back in bed, you don’t worry about the phone hitting your head. In addition, the Kishi handle is operated by the power of the mobile phone, and the player does not need to charge it. For battery life considerations, a USB-C charging port is also reserved at the bottom of the right side of Kishi, which allows the smartphone to be used while charging.

Kishi also reserves a charging port for the mobile phone, but unfortunately it does not support fast charging.

Compared with ordinary mobile phone handles, Kishi has a more stable bracket and reasonable design. Although the wireless connection method and the characteristics of multi-platform support are abandoned, it has obtained more important low-latency characteristics, which is very important for the handle.

Game Support

Due to the complex adaptability of Android, many gamepads have their own developed game apps, and you need to re-download the modified game version in the handle area. This method is not only complicated to operate and takes up storage space, but the security of the game account is also not guaranteed. The game will occasionally assume that you use a third-party modifier for seizure processing. In contrast, the operation of KiShi is much simpler.

In games that natively support handle operation, such as "Pascal Contract" and "Vitality Knight", you only need to connect the rider to your mobile phone to control. At this time, the arrow keys in the game will become joysticks. The various skills and buttons will also correspond to the physical buttons on the Kishi, the game process is quite smooth, and the game functions are not lacking.

So for games that do not support native controllers, or even controllers, is there any way for Kishi to control them? As far as previous products are concerned, mobile phone handle manufacturers either modify the game client to support handle operation, but the disadvantage is that each updated version has to be re-modified, and players need to wait for a while; or they use ROOT phones to allow the handle to operate. Support mapping function, the disadvantage is that some mobile phones do not support ROOT and are accompanied by security risks.

Performance 

In the actual experience, KiShi performed quite well. In an action game, pressing the button of KiShi can cast skills sensitively and accurately. The rockers on the left and right sides are properly damped, and the operator can move accurately. The four control buttons on the right, A, B, X, and Y, have a moderate range, and they are clean and neat when clicked, and feel similar to the Xbox buttons. But maybe it’s because of the engineering prototype. The Y-button of this Kishi in my hand feels a bit "flesh", and the pressing feel is slightly different from the other three buttons.

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In addition to its excellent performance in mobile games, KiShi also has a very good performance in cloud games. Thanks to the low-latency button response, Kishi+ mobile phone can smoothly run streaming games (home cloud) based on multiple platforms including Steam, and the specific operations are also quite simple. You only need to download the Steam Link App on your phone, and then turn on the remote play function in the settings of the Steam game platform on the PC side to complete the pairing of the phone.

When the pairing is complete, you can wake up the Steam platform on the PC at any time through the Steam Link on the phone. In Steam Link, you can view the connection status and button settings of Kishi, and you can also test the handle buttons. When the phone is connected to Steam, its interface will become an interface suitable for handle operation, and all functions can be completed by the arrow keys and function keys on the handle. When you select a game, the keyboard or handle icon will appear in the lower left corner of the game, which represents which controller is more suitable for the game.

We tested the two games of "Tomb Raider" and "Star Warframe". Throughout the game, the rider brought a smooth operation experience, moving, opening the mirror, shooting and other operations in one go. Delays It's hard to notice. Later, we will discuss in detail the performance of Kishi on cloud games in the topic of "Cloud Games", please wait. All in all, it is completely feasible to use Kishi for streaming games under a smooth network. The extremely low network delay and extremely low operating delay together support the smooth experience of streaming games, and this experience is on the handle of ordinary mobile phones. Hard to reach.

Overall

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As a rare in-line mobile phone handle on the market, Razer Kishi handle is indeed not comparable to Bluetooth handles in terms of compatibility and adaptation platform, but at the same time, Kishi is better than in portability, battery life and feel. Ordinary mobile phone handle. The most important thing is that the in-line rider has extremely low button delay, allowing users to experience better whether it is mobile games or streaming cloud games. We believe that with the gradual rise of  cloud games, in-line low-latency controllers such as Kishi will become an ideal companion for players keen on mobile games. If everyone can accept the price slightly higher than the ordinary handle, then Kishi is indeed worth recommending.

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