Razer took the mobile gaming world by storm back in 2020 with the release of the Kishi controller. Now, the company has returned with the Razer Kishi V2, intending to improve on the original in every conceivable way. Considering how beloved the Kishi V1 was, that's a lofty goal, but I'm happy to report, by and large, they've managed it.
Though the name may imply a slight upgrade, the Razer Kishi V2 has been completely redesigned from the ground up. The flexible bridge from the original is gone, being replaced by a telescopic, sliding bridge. It's a welcome change too. Sure, the V1's collapsible bridge was excellent for portability, but it never felt entirely stable. With the Razer Kishi V2, my device feels much more secure, and I've not found myself worrying about my phone coming loose as I play.
But the adjustments go beyond fitting a new bridge. The shape and feel of the Razer Kishi V2 is completely different to its predecessor. The back of the hand grips sports a textured feel, making the controller comfortable to use even during extended game sessions. I happily sat and played Diablo Immortal for several hours without any issues.
The buttons have also received an upgrade across the board with the addition of microswitch buttons and a d-pad. They offer a pleasant tactile feel when pressed, making them wonderfully responsive and perfect for games where reactions make all the difference, such as Rocket League sideswipe. In particular, the d-pad benefits from this change the most. The V1's d-pad was serviceable but felt a little too mushy, much like the Xbox 360 controller. As a result, I tended to avoid using them if possible, whereas the Razer Kishi V2's d-pad is a delight to use.
The analogue sticks have also been swapped out for a version closer to what the Nintendo Switch offers. So if you're familiar with that setup, you'll feel at home here. The triggers are also analogue, perfect if you enjoy playing racing games on the go. The placement of the buttons is excellent, with everything within easy reach. However, if you don't want to remove your right thumb from the analogue stick, Razer has included two extra buttons next to the trigger that you can remap to suit your preferences, adding some welcome versatility to the Kishi V2.
To map these buttons, you'll need to download the Razer Nexus app and adjust them within the settings. But that's not all the app offers. It also allows you to choose from your roster of games with ease and the app itself can be launched with the click of a button on the Kishi V2 itself. Aside from a list of your own library, the Nexus app also aims to act as a point of discovery for new games, offering up a host of options from different genres that are known to work well with the controller. The Nexus app also enables the share button, allowing you to stream to Facebook and YouTube.
Much like its predecessor, the Razer Kishi V2 doesn't run off its own power. Instead, you simply attach your Android device (an iOS version is launching later this year) through its USB-C connection and game away. Then if the power gets low, there is a USB-C port on the Kishi V2 that allows for passthrough charging, so you don't have to pause your gaming session. Not only is this much more convenient than fiddling around with Bluetooth, it almost means there's virtually no latency. This makes any gaming experience infinitely more enjoyable but is absolutely vital if you enjoy playing online competitively.
The Razer Kishi V2 is a stellar controller, then. It's incredibly comfortable to use for multiple hours at a time, and the responsiveness of the buttons is sublime. It feels much more premium than its predecessor, which is quite the compliment when you remember the V1 is still a great controller. The Razer Nexus app is also a great step toward discovering controller-compatible games that will only improve over time. Throw in compatibility with Xbox Game Pass, Nvidia GeForce Now, Google Stadia and the likes of Steam Link and the Razer Kishi V2 is the perfect companion for all your gaming needs on a mobile phone.