With the Kishi mobile controller that launched in mid-2020, Razer succeeded in turning phones into pseudo-Nintendo Switch consoles. It offered a clever design that sandwiched your phone in the middle of two controllers. Not to mention, it was a more comfortable, console-like way to play mobile games, as well as cloud streaming services, like xCloud, Stadia, and more. Now, with the $99 Kishi V2, it seems like Razer’s goal was to get a leg up on a competitor who did it all better on its first try: Backbone.
That one-hit wonder of a company swooped in after the Kishi launched with an even more formidable mobile controller for iPhone, the $99 Backbone One. It featured a simpler, cozier design, more functionality, and an interface that felt just shy of a full-blown console operating system. It turned gaming on the phone into a more fleshed-out experience, making the Kishi’s value proposition weaker and a lot less interesting by comparison.
So, with the Kishi V2, Razer decided to ditch its first-gen design for something very similar to the Backbone One. There isn’t much here that Razer can take much credit for. The V2 has a similarly minimalist design to the Backbone and the same kind of pull-to-extend bridge mechanism to let you slot your phone into its split controller arrangement. The in-game capture button is here on the left side, along with an options button on the right, and there’s a new button that takes you to — yes — Razer’s own spin on a gaming dashboard called Nexus. It’s not mandatory that you use it, but it’s there.