Review: Razer Raiju Ultimate Controller — Incredible and expensive

Whether you’re gaming on an Xbox One or PlayStation 4, the controller you’re playing with matters. Nowadays, it’s largely accepted that an asymmetrical thumbstick layout is better than the traditional symmetrical one. However, when it comes to the PlayStation 4, your choices are rather limited. Let’s say that you don’t care about the thumbstick layout, and want a device along the lines of the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller. Beforehand — aside from going with a modified standard PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 controller — you had no other options.

A few weeks ago, Razer announced the Razer Raiju Ultimate wireless controller. The Raiju Ultimate is geared towards the eSports market because it features interchangeable thumbsticks, a removable D-pad, and additional bumpers on the top and back. Any gamer looking for an experience similar to the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller on PlayStation 4 should considering picking one up. However, if you can’t live without the asymmetrical layout, there’s always the Razer Raiju Tournament Edition.

The first factor that immediately stands out is the great build quality. The Raiju Ultimate is gorgeous in black to say the least. The Razer Chroma lighting adds a sense of theatrics to the gadget, and the sturdy plastic feels premium. There’s even metal on the thumbsticks. One of the most surprising additions has to be the buttons at the bottom of the device. They let you control the connections and adjust the various “states”.

For example, let’s say that you prefer the back paddles to be mapped a particular way for a racing game versus a shooter. The “red” setting can be programmed to offer strong vibration feedback and make the bumpers change gears. The “green” setting can be used to map the “X” and “O” buttons to the same bumpers. Instead of having to reprogram your controller, you just need to touch the switch. There are a handful of profiles available so you shouldn’t have to adjust it every time you play another game.

Unlike the wired Xbox One controllers Razer offers, the Raiju Ultimate features a companion application for iOS and other platforms. This allows you to wirelessly adjust the controller’s settings. This is one of the most significant innovations because the Raiju Ultimate features Bluetooth. Unfortunately, all of the company’s Xbox One controller don’t support this because it seems that Microsoft doesn’t allow competing wireless controllers. This alone gives the Raiju Ultimate a massive edge when it comes to ease of use.

We rigorously tested out the Raiju Ultimate with a PlayStation 4 Pro and PC. Playing Destiny 2, God of War, and Spider-Man definitely put the thumbsticks and triggers to good use. There were vigorous bumper and button presses involved. Not once did we notice any unregistered presses or other mechanical issues indicating a problem with quality. However, these issues tend to show up after the first month or so, so we’ll continue testing the product.

The Raiju Ultimate features proper bumpers and triggers, which feel like those found on the Xbox Elite Controller. They aren’t the shallow and small ones that come with the standard DualShock 4. Connecting the controller to both machines was easy, and adjusting the various settings through the companion application was even easier. Every controller manufacturer should offer similar services, especially Microsoft.

One of the main issues we’ve had with the Xbox Elite Controller has been the grips. After heavy use, the glue comes off and the rubber need to be reattached with superglue. Luckily, the Raiju Ultimate features firmer grips that are part of the design — rather than a glued-on panel. This should prevent the same issue from happening with this controller.

Additionally, the Xbox Elite Controller’s bumpers don’t feel as sturdy as they should. This can cause them to snap after heavy use. We’ve had this happen to us. Luckily, the design of the Raiju Ultimate takes this into account and the bumpers don’t feel like they’re only connected on one end.

The only real complaint we have with the Raiju Ultimate is its size. Unlike the Xbox Elite Controller, it’s much wider and a little cumbersome to hold. It’s unclear why the controller is maybe an inch too big. Maybe it’s due to the built-in battery? Prolonged use, especially if you have small hands, will cause issues. Apart from that, the plastic used could also be smoother.

Overall, the Raiju Ultimate is the best controller for PlayStation 4 owners. Given its size advantage, we believe that the Xbox Elite Controller is still the best option on PC. At €199.99, the Raiju Ultimate is a major investment, but given just how much of a leap it is compared to the standard DualShock 4, many gamers will find that it’s worth it. However, many others will probably prefer the Raiju Tournament Edition which comes in at €149.99 and features asymmetrical thumbsticks. However, you’ll be sacrificing the swappable D-pad and thumbsticks if you go with that.

At the end of the day, the decision is yours, but we were definitely thoroughly impressed with the Raiju Ultimate for PlayStation 4. There’s finally a device on the market for PlayStation 4 users that can give the Xbox Elite Controller a run for its money.

8.9/10

Razer Raiju Ultimate Controller

Unlike the standard Microsoft controller warranty for ninety days, the Raiju Ultimate and Raiju Tournament Edition come with a full year. This should give users more confidence in their purchasing decision.

The score of 8.9/10 is an average of various factors. We gave the build quality compared to price a 9/10, the added physical features a 9/10, the shape and size of the controller 8/10, and the software to customize the experience a 9.5/10. The average of these four figures comes to 8.875/10, which we rounded up to an 8.9/10.

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