Technology

Razer Kishi V2 Pro Mobile Game Controller Vibrates HyperSensically


When the Razer Edge shipped earlier this year, it included a higher-end version of Razer’s $100 Kishi V2 mobile controller — a device eerily similar to well-known competitor the Backbone One. Now you can get the $130 Android-only Kishi V2 Pro controller by itself, in one of two variants: the standard version and a specially licensed Xbox Edition that includes — wait for it — an Xbox button under the right joystick for an extra $20 (available only in North America).

The Pro models offer two features you can’t get for the extra bucks: a 3.5mm audio jack, which means you can now use a wired headset and charge at the same time, and rumble support (buzzwordly known these days as “haptics”).

So, yay for the 3.5mm jack, which works as expected, but I’m not a big fan of Razer’s HyperSense audio-based haptics. For most games, it isn’t based on cues in the game, it’s based on sound frequencies, so you get some weird vibrations. Here it’s even weirder, because there’s so little bass in the phone’s sound system (at least in my Samsung Galaxy Ultra S22), so, for instance, background music vibrates and nothing feels like a rumble. 

The design is otherwise the same. It comes with additional rubber tabs you can slide in at either end to provide a more snug fit or raise the camera bump slightly so it doesn’t press against the back support, but I tend to find that makes it more difficult than I like to snap in the phone.

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A 3.5mm jack (left) joins the for-charging-only USB-C port (right)

Lori Grunin/CNET

Razer updated its Nexus app along with this rollout, and I’m still not crazy about it. For instance, rather than realizing I’m signed in to Xbox Game Pass via its app, it always tells me that to enable haptics for it I have to launch Chrome and enable a browser setting that isn’t there and tries to make me play in Chrome. 

And if you exit a game or the app unexpectedly — say, when it’s trying to throw you out to Chrome but the message doesn’t have an option to cancel because you keep forgetting it doesn’t handle Game Pass login correctly — it loses the connection to the controller. Then you have to disconnect and reconnect it physically, because there’s no way to force a connection refresh in software. That isn’t the only situation in which the phone stops recognizing it, either.

So while I continue to like the Kishi V2 line for the crisp controls and easy in-and-out, and I’m glad to see the dedicated audio jack in the Pro, it’s still more frustrating than I’d like in some ways. Maybe V3 will be the charm.