Having the right controller can make a difference, but it’s easy to think that merely improving upon the design is not enough to give players are a real edge. Razer Raiju Ultimate is here to disprove that notion.
If you think about it, the design of gamepads evolved very little in the past decade. For example, PlayStation 3 players had an easy time switching from their controllers to the ones that came with the PlayStation 4. The design was very similar, but that's not actually a bad thing.
It’s a sign that Sony hit the nail on the head with their controllers. They build such good devices that surpassing them is not easy. Companies that are trying to get people to buy their controllers for PlayStation 4 have a hard time convincing them. Even if a third-party gamepad is better in every way than what PS4 has to offer, it’s still a difficult sell.
There is also an additional problem. PS4 owners are not the typical clients, and by that, I mean that they are not eager to use third-party hardware. That’s why Razer must have a hard time getting users to understand why their product might be better.
We have to keep in mind as well that Razer is mostly known for making stuff for PC users, although their selection of console peripherals is extensive. The PC world has championships and eSports, and Razer can claim that the right peripheral can give people an advantage. With very few exceptions, no one is watching matches or using the PS4 for the competition aspect.
The first thing you’ll to notice with the Razer Raiju Ultimate is the size, which makes it look a lot more like an Xbox controller than anything else. This, in itself, might irk some users, but for most users, it shouldn’t be a problem. The size is not for show. The unit houses many more features, so it’s easy to see why it should be bigger.
And, since we’re talking about design and size, we also have to mention that it’s considerably heavier than the regular PS4 controller. To be honest, it looks like a fatter version of the Xbox One controller, and it’s not a compliment.
But, as I said, it’s a size that matters because of all of the functions that are implemented. Let’s not forget that it’s a Razer peripheral, so I can confirm that it does have Chroma lighting. Is it pointless, just like in the case of many other devices? The answer is yes. Is the controller better with it? Certainly not. Would I give it up? Not a chance in hell; it brings way too much flair into the mix.
The Razer Raiju Ultimate is a PlayStation 4 controller, by design. For the most part, it acts just like a PS4 controller. I’m willing to put money on the fact that most people will most likely never use the advanced options it provides, never going past the basic functions a regular controller might offer.
Since the gamepad is so different from the default Sony version, there is much to unpack and explain. And, I have to say that it’s also unnecessarily complicated in its setup and usage, but I’ll expand upon that later.
First of all, there let’s talk about the buttons since they are unique and Razer made a point to underline this fact. Razer Raiju Ultimate features mecha-tactile buttons, and it’s difficult to describe how they feel. I can tell you that they sound like mouse clicks, but with a little more resistance. It's definitely a love or hate feature, as some people will most likely find it too noisy.
The thumbsticks and the D-Pad can be removed and replaced with the ones available in the case, with the caveat that the reserve D-pad is multidirectional. The bumper buttons are also somewhat stiff and offer some resistance. It’s also important to note that the right and left triggers are bent more than on the default PS4 controller, and they are very similar to the ones on Xbox One.
The controller has four extra buttons, two next to the right and left bumpers, and the other two on the bottom. It takes some getting used to, and it might be a good idea to disable them or use the correct profiles at first. The good news is that they are completely remapable.
This is where things are tricky. All of the functions on the controller can be accessed through the Raiju application (Android and iOS,) including the Chroma settings. In theory, things should work out just fine, but that’s not always the case.
Razer is trying to offer something different to PlayStation 4 users, and not something better. That’s why the buttons are clicky, and why there are multiple triggers. If you take the time to discover what the controller has to offer, it can be a rewarding experience.
I’m a player that loves to test out new hardware and see if it makes a difference. I have to say that I see myself using this on a regular basis, and the main reason for that is the weight. It’s much heavier than you would expect (370g), and in combination with the ergonomics it's a proper fit.
And then there's the actual connectivity with the platforms. On PS4 it works relatively well, and it can be paired with ease, but that’s to be expected. Unfortunately, there is no sound support on Bluetooth, so you can’t listen to a headset while playing in wireless mode. The sound jack only works when connected in USB mode.
Also, the connection to the PC is poorly implemented. There is a switch on the back that allows users to choose the USB connection. The provided drivers don’t work well on PC, and Razer recognizes this. The implementation leaves a lot to be desired, and for all intent and purposes, it only works on Steam. If you try to use it in any other way, tough luck.
At this point, I don’t know why they would put this on the box. To make things worse, even if you plug in the controller via the cable, it’s not recognized by Razer Synapse.
What I do know is that Razer Raiju Ultimate works very well on PlayStation 4 and it offers many more options than I could use. The modular design, the weight, and the ergonomics tell me that it’s a quality controller. I don’t know if the $200 price is deserved based on that alone, especially since it has some connectivity issues on the PC.