If you play games on your iPhone, you’ve likely heard of Apple’s MFi controller software. This has evolved quite a bit over the years and has finally seen Apple allow manufacturers to release decent hardware over the past few years. Older iPhone controllers never felt as good as traditional controllers, but Backbone One has changed a lot on the iPhone controller side. Since this release, Razer’s new Kishi V2 has also arrived which makes it another great alternative. Both consoles are quite expensive compared to buying a PS5 or Xbox console, so I wanted to compare them to help you find the one that works best for you.
Features of Razer Kishi V2 and BackBone One
While both consoles generally offer similar features, there are quite a few differentials that can decide which one to choose right from the start. The Razer Kishi V2 has two reprogrammable buttons located near the triggers. These are not present on one spine. The latter has a 3.5mm jack output that the Kishi V2 does not have. If you value playing with wired headphones, your decision has already been made.
The final difference is where the console supports the iPhone in a case. I’m using the official Apple silicone case for the iPhone 11 and 12. Neither works with the BackBone One, but removing the small rubber parts on the Razer Kishi V2 allow me to play without removing my iPhone case. This is important for anyone who uses a case.
The convenience of the Razer Kishi V2 vs. the BackBone One
Comfort in the hand is something that will vary, but after using both consoles extensively over the past few weeks, the Razer Kishi V2 feels good, but the BackBone One feels a lot better thanks to the grip. The Razer has a textured finish, but it reminds me of a Switch or Switch Lite while the Backbone One is generally more comfortable thanks to more plastic on the bottom on either side.
The flip side to comfort I appreciate is how the buttons, stick, and cushion feel. When it comes to shoulder buttons and triggers, Razer’s triggers have more travel but the triggers are smaller thanks to the placement of the programmable buttons on each side. The shoulder buttons look similar to the Joy-Cons, which aren’t great on any of the controllers, but they get the job done.
I don’t like the face buttons on the Razer Kishi V2 compared to the ones on the Backbone One. Razer hardware seems very cheap compared to Backbone One face buttons. As for the other buttons, Razer wins with better triggers and shoulder buttons. The control panel on both consoles is very good, and I had no trouble playing fighting games and old games with them.
Both controllers have similar analog sticks. If you’ve used Joy-Cons, you’ll be right at home here. Ultimately, I’d like to see either Razer or BackBone make a larger Hori Split Pad Pro-style grip that provides more comfort for larger hands.
Razer Kishi V2 Apps vs BackBone One
There are two sides to the Razer Nexus and BackBone apps. The latter requires a subscription to use after the first year, while the former is free for life. The difference is that the Razer Nexus app feels like an exposed launcher and hub while the Backbone app is a great looking and feel hub with more features.
This wouldn’t be a problem if you just want to use consoles to play games and don’t care about streaming and social features, but if you do, Backbone is miles better, locked behind a subscription after the first year. Check out the Razer Nexus app below:
Another thing to keep in mind is that you can’t actually use the capture button on Backbone One without signing up for the app. Screenshots will work for free, but you need the paid subscription (one year free is included with the console) to do more as detailed on the website.
Compatibility between Razer Kishi V2 and BackBone One
New Backbone One purchases include the adapter to allow it to be used with the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro models, but it doesn’t work with a case. This is only possible with the Razer Kishi V2 at the moment. I tested both controllers with the iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Plus without issues.
Razer Kishi V2 vs BackBone One – What to buy?
If you value customization and the option to use the iPhone controller while your phone is in a case, then the Razer Kishi V2 is for you. It works flawlessly with all four iPhone models I’ve used including the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Plus. The console doesn’t have anything locked behind the paid subscription, and it has two customizable buttons that can elevate your experience even further.
While the Razer Kishi V2’s face buttons aren’t quite as nice as those on the BackBone One, the latter can’t be used with your iPhone in a case. In terms of comfort, everyone’s hands are different, but I like the hand feel of the BackBone One more than the Razer Kishi V2.
We hope this helps you decide which controller is best for you if you are looking to enhance your iPhone gaming experience. I look forward to not only what the two companies do next, but also how the applications evolve over time. I will be testing all the games that support consoles on the iPhone going forward with both.
Amazon link: Backbone One PlayStation Edition
Amazon link: Razer Kishi V2.0
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