Razer Raiju Mobile Controller for Android Review
Being a heavy user of the Razer Wolverine Ultimate controller for the Xbox One, I simply had to try out Razer’s latest gaming controller for Android gaming, the Razer Raiju Mobile. Other than both controllers being made by Razer, you might ask how I made the link between the two controllers. Well the Razer Wolverine Ultimate is Razer’s answer to the Xbox Elite Wireless controller, offering a different take on a premium-level controller with comparable customizability options. Like the Xbox Elite Wireless controller, the Razer Wolverine Ultimate gives you extra mappable buttons and hair trigger locks, which works great for shooters.
Now, what if you had that kind of controller for mobile gaming on the go? That is where the Razer Raiju Mobile comes in.
The Razer Raiju Mobile sports a premium make and layout like an Xbox Elite Wireless controller but is geared towards Android gaming. It features a layout similar to that of Xbox One controllers, mirroring the placement of the analog sticks, front facing buttons, D-pad, bumpers and triggers. Along the bottom, you have standard navigation buttons for both Android and gaming: Select, Back, Home, and Start. Then much like the Razer Wolverine Ultimate, it adds four more buttons: two paddle buttons on the back and two on the top between the bumpers and triggers. You also have hair trigger locks for when you want the triggers to actuate sooner than they would with a full press. This is great in first-person shooters, as you are able to fire faster that you would with deeper presses. Perfect for pistol fire!
Being a controller for mobile gaming, the Razer Raiju Mobile also features a very solid mobile device grip. An aluminum arm with thick rubber grips on both the top and bottom extend out from the controller, securely grasping your mobile device. The grip can support phone widths of up to 79mm (or 3.11 inches). Here I have the Razer Raiju Mobile holding the Samsung Galaxy S10, phone case and all. I gave the S10 and the Razer Raiju Mobile a couple of vigorous shakes to make sure that the hold was nice and tight. The Razer Raiju Mobile’s grip did not disappoint.
On the back, you also have a switch to toggle between three separate connections: Bluetooth 1, Bluetooth 2, and USB. The two Bluetooth connections allow the Razer Raiju Mobile to maintain two separate Bluetooth device pairings. This lets you swap between the two on the fly without having to constantly re-pair the two devices. The USB connection is for using the Razer Raiju Mobile wired with either your PC or Android device, using either of the included USB-A to USB-C and USB-C to USB-C cables. Razer has the PC driver on the Razer Raiju Mobile product page, allowing you to use the Razer Raiju Mobile (wired) for PC gaming. The short USB-C to USB-C cable for using a wired connection between the controller and your phone, while it’s docked in the controller.
The Razer Raiju Mobile is quite comfortable to handle and use, with or without a phone docked onto the controller. Even with the controller becoming naturally top-heavy when a phone is docked, the controller’s rubberized grips do a great job at helping you maintain a solid and sturdy grip throughout gameplay. The controller layout should feel right at home with Xbox One users, especially for gamers that have use the Razer Wolverine Ultimate or the Xbox Elite Wireless controller. Not only does the Razer Raiju Mobile match the “hair trigger” functionality found in those controllers, but it also gives you the extra four auxiliary buttons, adding more button mapping options.
I was not really head-over-heals with the D-pad however, which employs the kind of “segmented” or separated D-pad that you would see in a Playstation controller. While this sort of segmented D-pad was not my preference, even back in the day, I was still able to manage it in fighting games after some time of being acquainted with it. Here, in the Razer Raiju Mobile, that segmented D-pad is also set in a sort of sunken dome. This made it tricky for me to use the Razer Raiju Mobile, in fighting games in particular, where quarter-circle and the traditional “Dragon Punch” inputs were very difficult for me to pull off. I will get into that more later when I go over my different mobile gaming trials.
However, as much as it is a luxury to have those four auxiliary buttons (M1, M2, M4, M5), I found them to mostly be useful in shooters. Despite the very long list of supported mobile games for the Razer Raiju Mobile, I did not see many games that I wanted to play which would otherwise make practical use of the additional buttons, outside of emulators. I found the most practical application of the rear paddles were in mobile shooters, specifically when sniping. Holding down either the M4 or M5 paddle button activates the controller’s Sensitivity Clutch function. This reduces your thumbstick sensitivity at times where you need pin point accuracy.
That is not to say that this is all these buttons are good for. You can use the Razer Raiju Mobile app for Android to repurpose or remap all four of these auxiliary buttons to other buttons on the controller. You can’t get too fancy and build in macros or things of the like. However, you can use the app to adjust the default sensitivity of the thumbs as well as the sensitivity when you use the Sensitivity Clutch function as well. If you just want to keep the functions to a minimum and just use the controller’s standard buttons, you can opt to disable the auxiliary buttons all together.
Being as close as it is to an Xbox One controller, the Razer Raiju Mobile feels right at home on the PC. Games that are compatible with the Xbox One or Xbox 360 controllers treat the Razer Raiju Mobile as if it is the Xbox 360 controller, making many of the controller-compatible PC games ready for the Razer Raiju Mobile right off the bat. The games that weren’t just needed some quick configurations and you were off to the races. Input lag was out of the discussion thanks to the wired connectivity.
I went with Gears of War 4 for my Razer Raiju Mobile experiment, and gaming with this controller play as well as it did when I played on the Xbox One directly. However, I could not use the Sensitivity Clutch feature on PC as that was a feature that was exclusive to gaming on Android. Nevertheless, the Razer Raiju Mobile felt and plaid as solid as any Xbox 360 or Xbox One controller.
Mobile Gaming with the Samsung Galaxy S10
For mobile gaming, I ran the Razer Raiju Mobile through my favorite three genres: Retro/Arcade, Fighting and First-Person Shooter.
Starting off with Sonic the Hedgehog 2, a game with the simplest of controls, the Razer Raiju Mobile overpowered the experience. The D-pad and Mecha-Tactile action buttons were very responsive with actions actuating crisply on screen. Even when connected via Bluetooth, if there was any button-press to screen action delay, it was negligible to non-existent. If I can collect all the Chaos Emeralds on the first try before leaving the Emerald Hill Zone, either my muscle memory is on point, the controls are that crisp, or both. Interestingly enough, since there is little use of diagonals with the D-Pad in Sonic 2, the D-pad did not bother me at all here.
Now when I dove into Street Fighter 4 Champion Edition, that D-Pad experience was a completely different matter. Now, I could have turned on Special Move Assist, so that I didn’t have to worry about the traditional special move inputs. However, that sort of defeats the purpose of using of a controller with this kind of fighting game. Having a controller teases you to stick with the traditional inputs for that close-to-console experience. Here is where the Razer Raiju Mobile’s D-pad did me in. Unable to accurately hit those diagonals, I was not pulling off special moves or combos in the manner that I’m used to.
Considering that the Razer Wolverine Ultimate’s segmented D-pad option was not sunken like the Razer Raiju Mobile’s, it made me question this sunken D-pad design choice further. This was especially a head-scratcher for me since I was able to play fighting games so effectively on both of the Razer Wolverine Ultimate’s D-pad options. Each corner of the Razer Wolverine Ultimate’s D-pad options popped out enough for me to hit those corners just fine. Now, I know people who can play fighters just fine on analog sticks. Perhaps the Razer Raiju Mobile would fit them just fine. Sadly, I’m not one of them.
Next, I took the Razer Raiju Mobile to a game type that practically calls its name. I am more of an Apex Legends player than a Fortnite one. Since Apex Legends is not on mobile just yet, for first-person shooters I went with Modern Combat 5. Here is where the Razer Raiju Mobile really shined. Snap-shots and sniping with the Sensitivity Clutch felt natural and accurate. Take that and add hair trigger locks, and the Razer Raiju Mobile solidified as the perfect controller for shooters on Android.
To sum it up, the Razer Raiju Mobile is a solid controller that contends very well in any game that does not involve heavy diagonal inputs with the D-Pad. As a mobile controller, it may be unrivaled right now due to its solid build, respectable collection of features, and strong phone grip. It effectively brings the kind quality you see in a competitive console gaming controller to mobile, thanks to its hair trigger locks and Sensitivity Clutch. If there is anything that I would add to it, it would be a means of mapping on-screen touch controls to the controller buttons and analog sticks as well as bringing the Sensitivity Clutch function to PC play. Hopefully it’s something that could be added to the Razer Raiju Mobile app for Android via updates in the future.
If you are a mobile gamer using an Android device, and you are looking up your game in first or third person shooters, then the Razer Raiju Mobile is the controller for you. Fortnite for mobile players, this may be what solidifies your game. However if you’re looking for a mobile controller for fighting games, and you play off of the D-pad, I may caution you about this one. Otherwise, this controller is more than ready for any other gaming genre on both mobile and PC.
The Razer Raiju Mobile is available now for $149.99 and I suggest you check it out for yourself, here.