Razer’s new Kishi controller makes iPhone a better handheld console


For iPhone gamers on the go.
Photo: Razer

CES 2020Razer wants to make your mobile gaming experience even better with its brand-new Kishi controller for iPhone, revealed today at CES.

The device puts controls on either side of your handset, making it look a little like a Nintendo Switch, and it offers everything you would want in a modern iPhone controller — including clickable analog sticks.

What makes the Kishi really special is its ultra-low latency technology that makes it ideal for game streaming.

iOS has become an even more compelling platform for mobile gamers following the release of titles like Fortnite and Call of Duty: Mobile. Gone are the days when phones were only good for the likes of Angry Birds and Candy Crush.

But for most of us, physical controls are essential for the most enjoyable experience. And they need to be just as portable as iPhone itself, which is what makes the Razer Kishi look so spectacular.

“Both native and cloud gaming experiences have become more sophisticated and once a gamer begins playing them they want to win,” Razer explained to Cult of Mac. “To do this requires the tactile feedback and precise control provided by Razer Kishi.”

Razer Kishi an iPhone gamer’s dream

The Kishi turns your iPhone into an all-in-one handheld gaming device, like any good mobile controller should. It puts two analog sticks and all the buttons you need on either side of your phone where they’re all within easy reach.

Those analog sticks are clickable. They give you the L3 and R3 controls that are incredibly important in most of today’s games. iOS didn’t add support for these until iOS 12, so many iPhone controllers are still lacking them.

Kishi connects to your iPhone directly. That gives you ultra-low latency connectivity and means you don’t have to rely on often-flaky Bluetooth, or charging the controller in between gaming sessions.

Kishi shrinks to become even more portable when you’re not using it.
Photo: Razer

You’re good to go as soon as your iPhone is plugged in, and no additional setup is required. There’s also a Lightning port on Kishi itself so that you can still charge your iPhone while you’re playing.

Razer’s decision to shun Bluetooth in favor of Lighting connectivity makes the Kishi ideal not only for native titles, but also game streaming, which requires the fastest possible connections. It also gives Kishi an advantage over its rivals.

Kishi is “a universal solution that works with the vast majority of Android and iOS devices,” Razer told Cult of Mac. “Its unique design directly connects to the USB-C or Lightening port to reduce the latency to practically zero.”

“This is critical to maintain competitiveness and realize the full promise of mobile cloud gaming.”

Haven’t we seen this before?

You might not be surprised to learn that the Kishi was developed with the help of Gamevice, which already offers something very similar. It obviously takes cues from Razer’s earlier Junglecat controller for Razer Phone 2, too.

One thing Razer’s press release doesn’t mention is the presence of a 3.5mm headphone jack, which the Gamevice does include. But assuming that doesn’t put you off, you’ll be able to get your hands on Kishi in “early 2020.”

Kishi will be compatible with iPhone 6 and up. It will also support a long list of Android devices running 7.0 Nougat or later.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.