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Razer Kishi vs Backbone (2022): Which Mobile Controller Should You Buy?

The Razer Kishi has been the go-to mobile controller recommendation if you want low latency gaming as it connects directly to your phone’s USB-C/Lightning port. New to the game, the Backbone One aims to challenge the Razer Kishi for the top spot as the best low latency mobile phone controller. Does it have what it takes to compete against the Razer Kishi? Below is our Backbone One review to help you decide which controller to go for.

Razer Kishi vs Backbone Comparison Chart

ModelRazer Kishi Backbone One
 
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Dimensions1.47 x 3.71 x 5.28 inches1.28 x 3.70 x 6.94 inches
Weight0.36 lbs / 163g0.30 lbs / 138g
ConnectivityUSB-C (Android)
Lightning (iOS)
USB-C (Android, Windows)
Lightning (iOS, Mac)
Phone Sizes SupportediPhone:
iPhone 13, 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max
iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max
iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max
iPhone X, XR, XS, XS Max
iPhone 6+, 6s+, 7+, 8+
Android:
Up to 3.07 inches height
Up to 6.44 inches width
Up to 0.34 inches depth
iPhone:
Compatible with all iPhone models
iPhone 13, 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max (adapter included)
Android:
TBD
CompatibilityAndroid
iPhone
Android
iPhone
AudioFront speakers
Bluetooth (phone)
Phone speakers
3.5mm headphone jack
Bluetooth (phone)
Buttons8-direction d-pad
2x thumbsticks
2x bumpers
2x triggers
4x face buttons
3x special function buttons
8-direction d-pad
2x thumbsticks
2x bumpers
2x triggers
4x face buttons
4x special function buttons
Passthrough ChargingYesYes
3.5mm Audio JackNoYes
ColorsBlackWhite (PlayStation button layout), Black (Xbox button layout)

Design

The Razer Kishi is more portable than the Backbone One, but both are solidly built.

razer kishi vs backbone design
The more compact retracted form of the Razer Kishi (left) lends to better portability than the Backbone One (right).

The Razer Kishi mobile game controller and the Backbone One controller are both solidly built. Even though they are made of plastic, you can still feel that they are sturdy and they will survive accidental drops from time to time. When in use, they don’t feel wobbly and the phones are securely in place.

Both controllers have a telescopic design, but they use different mechanisms. The Razer Kishi is joined by a retractable strap made up of a plastic plate and rubberized belt. The iPhone version fits all iPhones, but the newer iPhone 13, including the Pro and Pro Max do not fit as snuggly as previous generation iPhones mainly due to their bigger camera island.

Meanwhile, the Backbone One has two collapsible sides that can fit iPhones from the iPhone 6s to the iPhone 13, although you’ll need to use an adapter with the iPhone 13 line. The adapter is included with any purchase of the Backbone for iPhone.

As for portability, the Razer Kishi is more compact when fully collapsed. This design choice makes it better for travel. That said, the Backbone One is also portable, however, the collapsible part is exposed and it can be snapped in two if you are not careful.

Features

The Backbone One is more versatile and convenient to use than the Razer Kishi.

razer kishi vs backbone features
Both the Razer Kishi (left) and Backbone One (right) have passthrough charging ports, but only the latter has a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The controller layout of the Razer Kishi and Backbone One are pretty much the same. They have all the buttons that you’ll find on a modern controller, including the shoulder buttons, d-pad, thumbsticks and face buttons. The Razer Kishi has three special function buttons while the Backbone One has four. They use the Xbox button layout, but the Backbone One is also available in white, which uses the PlayStation button layout.

As for connectivity, the Razer Kishi iPhone model comes with a Lightning connection and the Android model has a USB-C connection. The Backbone One has the same connectivity options, with the iPhone model having a Lightning connector and the Android version having a USB-C connector. Both controllers do not have Bluetooth, so they are wired-only.

The two controllers have USB-C/Lightning ports at the bottom for passthrough charging, and in the case of the Backbone One, wired connectivity to Windows and Mac. The Backbone One also has a 3.5mm audio jack, which is lacking on the Razer Kishi. The Backbone One is the clear winner when it comes to convenience and versatility.

Performance

Both controllers offer low latency gaming.

razer kishi vs backbone performance
The Razer Kishi (left) and Backbone One (right) fully extended.

When it comes to game compatibility, not all games will work with both controllers. Razer does not provide an exhaustive list of compatible games, which can be annoying. You’ll need to check individual games if they are compatible or not, however, popular games such as Fortnite, COD Mobile and PUBG are compatible.

The Backbone One provides a better solution for checking game compatibility as you can just go check on their website if a game you’re interested in playing is compatible. The list is big and it will just get bigger as time goes on, but for right now, it includes popular games such as COD Mobile, Diablo Immortal, Apex Legends Mobile and more.

As for cloud gaming and streaming, the two controllers will work flawlessly with any of the top game streaming services. The Razer Kishi is natively supported by Microsoft xCloud, Google Stadia and GeForce Now. The Backbone One, meanwhile, is supported by PS Remote Play, Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud.

The buttons on the two controllers are responsive, tactile and provide good feedback. The thumbsticks aren’t prone to drifting. Since they have connected to your phones via their USB-C/Lightning port, latency won’t be an issue.

Verdict

The Backbone One is more feature-packed and better overall, but if you can get the Razer Kishi with a deep discount, it’s still worth buying.

Razer Kishi

More compact design

Backbone One

Better connectivity

At MSRP, they are priced the same, and the Backbone One is the clear winner here. It offers better connectivity since it can be used with your smartphones and PC. It also has a 3.5mm audio jack, so you can use your wired headphones with it. Its app also offers more functions and features such as a mini-social network, gameplay recording and more. The Razer Kishi lacks many of the features of the Backbone One, but it’s still a good alternative if you can buy it at a discounted price.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Which is better, Backbone One vs Razer Kishi?

The Backbone One offers more features and better connectivity than the Razer Kishi.

๐Ÿ“Œ What is the best iPhone game controller?

The Backbone One controller is our recommendation for iPhone gaming.

๐Ÿ“Œ Can you play Xbox games with Backbone One?

Yes, you can play Xbox games with a Backbone controller as long as you have an active subscription to Microsoft’s xCloud.

๐Ÿ“Œ Do you need to charge the Backbone One controller?

No, it doesn’t have a built-in battery since it connects to your phone with a physical connection.

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Carlo Salvador

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about fitness, gaming and music.