In recent years, Backbone One seems to have been the de facto master of iPhone gameplay. While using the iPad, you have the flexibility and convenience of using any controller with your iPad on any surface, you will never feel comfortable using a traditional controller with clip and iPhone. Having spent the past week or so using both the Razer Kishi V2 and Backbone One on my iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 to try out several games and both apps, both consoles offer one thing over the other, but are discontinued for various reasons.
I hadn’t used previous Razer mobile controllers, and was very interested in the Razer Kishi V2 because it looked like the Backbone One’s first true competition as well as offering some notable features that set it apart from the competition. For this review, I’ll focus on what makes the Razer Kishi V2 worth looking at as your iPhone’s only console, and also the few areas it’s lacking. That would probably mean that Kishi V3 for iPhone ticks all my boxes to deliver the best iPhone console.
When it comes to controllers, the most important aspects that prevent reliable buttons are the feel and comfort. The Razer Kishi V2 is almost there when it comes to the perfect feel in the hand. I like the textured grip but feel it needs to be a little longer on the bottom so I can get a better grip on it. The d-pad looks great, but the buttons are too close together and don’t feel as good as a PS5/Xbox controller. Analog sticks have a similar feel to Joy-Con sticks which isn’t surprising given the similar size, but that’s more comfortable than using the Switch Lite as an example.
One of the notable features of the Razer Kishi V2, is the multi-function buttons that can be set to do whatever you want through Razr Nexus (Free) as well as triggers and shoulder buttons that are nicer than those on the Backbone One. I set it to L3 and R3 (clicking the analog sticks). The second feature that raises this level above the competition, is the ability to use it with a can. When I use Backbone One, I need to remove my iPhone cover. Even the official Apple silicone case doesn’t fit properly into my spine. With the official Apple cover, the iPhone 11 and 12 is perfectly suited to playing with the Razer Kishi V2.
If you care about a player or distributor app, Razer’s Nexus app is barebones but functional. It doesn’t look as good as Backbone, but it allows you to play games, search for other games, and more at no additional cost. You can access this dedicated button on the console. If Razer improves the interface or pulls some info about games for the App Center, that’s a lot better for those who want a hub-like experience app. If you only care about the console that acts as a single when playing games, this will not be a problem for you.
Speaking of dedicated buttons or features, the Razer Kishi V2 has a Lightning port for charging while gaming, but it doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack like the Backbone One. If you want a wired headphone jack, that’s not an option right here, so keep that in mind. It’s not an issue for me, as I appreciate the usability with a case so much more than the 3.5mm jack.
iOS gamers seem spoiled for choice now with support for all major controllers, and also have great fit/grip controls for iPhones like the Razer Kishi V2 and Backbone One. While no console gets everything right, if you value usability with an extra tray and buttons with customization options, then the Razer Kishi V2 is for you. I feel that the potential Razer Kishi V3 that builds on this base could be one of the best and most comfortable handheld consoles out there. I look forward to testing it more with every game I review from now on.
Amazon link: Razer Kishi V2.0
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