With Razer's Kishi controller, your phone becomes a Nintendo Switch — almost

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

LAS VEGAS -- Razer has made its reputation among PC gamers with its computers and peripherals, and now is heading into mobile gaming as that sector grows thanks to increasingly powerful phones. 

The company already sells the Junglecat controller frame and Raiju traditional controller for Android devices. But the new Razer Kishi, revealed today (Jan. 7) here at CES 2020, adds additional functionality and finally lets iOS users join in.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Folded up, the Kishi is a compact square with all the familiar controller buttons. Press two release switches on the back, and the controller opens up, letting you insert even the largest phones.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Razer promises compatibility with Android devices running Android Nougat 7.0 or later or the iPhone 6 or later. If your phone is less than five years old, it will most likely be supported.

The Kishi's design should fit any phone, a major improvement on Razer's previous mobile gaming controllers.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Junglecat uses one of three fixed cases to hold your phone, and will work perfectly only with certain phones. The Raiju has an adjustable phone holder at the top of the controller, but that doesn’t always make for a well-balanced or comfortable experience. 

The Kishi takes the best of these designs and blends them. It has an extendable back panel connecting the two halves of the controller that clip onto the top and bottom edges of your phone. It makes your phone look and feel like a funky black-and-green Nintendo Switch, and that is definitely a good thing.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The controller is powered by your phone’s own battery, but Razer’s representatives said that the power draw is “negligible”, so you won’t need to worry about suddenly losing power when you’re plugged into the Kishi. 

If you do happen to be running low on juice but don’t want to put your game down, there’s a USB-C port that enables pass-through charging so you can keep your phone topped up even while you play.

As previously mentioned, this will be the first Razer mobile controller compatible with Apple phones, so you can enjoy the power of Apple’s A-series CPUs and the variety of games on offer on Apple Arcade to their fullest extent.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Be aware, however, that the connector found on the inside edge of the right-hand controller isn’t interchangeable. You’ll have to choose between a USB-C or a Lightning version of the Kishi when you buy it. 

If you’re after something from Razer that’ll help your iPhone-based mobile gaming but isn’t quite so large, then you might be interested in its new Black Gold colorway for its Arctech Pro THS Edition cooling case, which Razer also had on display here at CES.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Like the other versions of this case, this new version comes with a “Thermaphene Performance layer” on the inside which helps cool your iPhone while you’re playing games or doing anything else that produces a lot of heat. 

It’s a substantial-feeling case, which will help protect your valuable Apple device, whether it’s the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max, while making it look just the right amount of flashy and still permitting wireless charging.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

There’s currently no price given for the Kishi, and the release date is currently a vague "early 2020." But if you’re a mobile gamer who likes the stylish Razer stable of gaming peripherals, this could be just what you’re after, no matter which OS you run.

Be sure to check out our CES 2020 hub for the latest announcements and hands-on impressions from Las Vegas.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.