Razer’s original Raiju – which is no longer on sale – was a promising attempt at a premium PS4 controller marred only by a frustrating insistence on wired play, a bulky design, and a high price point.
With the Raiju Ultimate, Razer has added wireless play, (slightly) streamlined the design, and, uh, actually made the price even higher, but there you go.
There’s good reason for that, to be fair. The Raiju Ultimate takes Microsoft’s Xbox Elite controller as inspiration, and goes from there. Like that pad it comes with a heavy-duty carry case, interchangeable thumbsticks and D-pad, and a choice between wired or Bluetooth play, with a switch on the back to quickly flick between modes (including a PC Bluetooth option if you want to use it away from your PS4).
The whole feel is just as premium as the Xbox Elite controller too. This is weighty and slick, with a smoother, rounder design than the last Raiju. It’s also all-black, losing the blue accents, and has improved mechanical face buttons which feel satisfyingly clicky and tactile.
Like you’d expect, there are additional customisable buttons here – like the previous Raiju there are two additional shoulder buttons and two on the rear. Unlike most other controllers, you can’t re-program those using the pad itself though – you need to use the Raiju smartphone app, which lets you create and save multiple profiles which you can then switch between on the fly from the controller.
That app is also used for the Ultimate’s most unique feature: support for Razer’s Chroma lighting effects, which run in a small strip around the touch pad. You can use the app to link certain colours and effects to specific profiles, with the usual suite of animations and colour cycling options from other Razer products.
There’s a lot to recommend the Raiju Ultimate then, but a few big downsides too. First, it costs about the same price as the console itself, and will be well out of most people’s price range. It’s also not even out in the US, so American gamers are out of luck.
Another irritation is that the audio functionality doesn’t work when using the pad over Bluetooth – even if the headphones are wired. So your only headset option is a high-end set like
Razer’s own Thresher that connects straight to the console, not via the controller.
The Raiju also suffered a few technical issues in its early days – lag and control stick drift primarily. Subsequent firmware updates have put those issues to bed in our review unit, but we’d understand anyone nervous about spending top dollar on the pad.