With the Nintendo Switch surpassing 100 million units sold, Valve’s Steam Deck platform racking up, and mobile games accounting for a huge market share, mobile gaming is more popular than ever. Today I present and compare two products that turn your cell phone into a true portable console: Backbone One versus Razer Kishi.
Images by RDS video games
Note that I tested both controllers with an iPhone, although it is possible to use them with an Android device. In the case of Razer Kishi, you have to get the Android version, while for Backbone One, you need an adapter for non-mobile gaming.
A controller to play what?
We should make one thing clear right away, using a console with your cell phone of course allows you to play all the games from the App Store and Google Play that are compatible with the console, but much more than that. With services like Xbox Game Pass Cloud Gaming, Apple Arcade, PlayStation Remote Play, Google Stadia, Steam Link, and GeForce Now, among others, it’s no exaggeration when I say your cell phone has truly become a portable console. It is a serious alternative to Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck.
Moreover, access to Apple Arcade is a major feature on the iPhone. Take a look at our top games on this service.
Ergonomics and comfort
The two controllers work almost the same way by inserting the cell phone between the two parts of the console, with the difference that the Kishi parts are attached to an elastic band, which means that the Kishi cannot be used as a normal controller. , unlike the spine, which is still rigid.
Getting started is simple and practical Plug and play. In terms of comfort, however, it is not comparable, and the spine one wins. The single spine is lighter and more compact, while being stronger in the hand. It really feels like you own a portable console made out of one piece, like the Nintendo Switch Lite.
The Razer Kishi is larger, heavier, but less solid in the hand. It occurred to me during an intense game session, for example when fighting a boss at Elden Ring, that Kishi came retracted into my hands, meaning the cell phone completely went out of contact with him.
However, users with larger hands may prefer using Kishi. Due to the single spine being more compact, the studs are smaller and closer together. So everyone’s needs must be taken into account.
In terms of functionality, Backbone One is also superior. In fact, Backbone One is also a service. With the console installed, we are immediately offered to download the Backbone app.
So Backbone becomes a platform where you have your account, friends list, you can manage screenshots and videos, etc. Also, the interface of the application combines the various services mentioned above by presenting you to resume your last game or even presenting different games available in the different services. Of course, this takes service subscriptions or purchasing games individually.
To access all the features of the Backbone app, a paid subscription to Backbone Plus is required. At the time of writing, the subscription is free for one year; generous offer! Plus a free month of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, if you’re not already a subscriber.
In terms of buttons, the Backbone One and Razer Kishi both have all the necessary buttons found on a modern console, including the screenshot button.
Not everything is perfect, as there may be a conflict between the functionality of the Backbone app and the functionality of the service being used. For example, the home button on PS Remote Play takes me back to the Backbone app instead of the PlayStation Home. In this case, the problem is solved using the touch interface of the PS Remote Play. Moreover, the same for the use of the DualSense trackpad on PlayStation 5, it is necessary to use the touch interface.
You guessed it, the Backbone One is more expensive, and it’s a much better designed and thought-out product, considering it can be used as a regular console too. However, the Razer Kishi is far from a bad console, and if you’re on Android, it’s the best option.
Advantages of a single spine
- Ergonomics and comfort
- Backbone application that integrates all services
- Can be used as a traditional console with other devices and Android (not mobile)
Advantages of the Kishi Scanner
- Available in version for Android devices
- More affordable
- May be more comfortable for big hands
The Backbone One is available on Amazon for $139.99
Razer Kishi for iPhone is available on Amazon for $99.99
Razer Kishi for Android is available on Amazon for $69.99