Hardware review: Razer Raiju

Michael’s opinion:

Yes, it sounds like Kaiju (big, scary monsters, like those in Pacific Rim – go watch it tonight), but it’s not a Kaiju, it’s a PlayStation 4 controller designed for eSports if you believe what the box says. It needs to be said, and maybe this is just me, but holding onto something called a Raiju while gaming automatically makes me feel like I could dominate in any arena. I call it trick photography for my brain, knowing or feeling that by simply having a cool-looking tool/gun/sword or set of armour in a fight, I’ll automatically do better.

Technical specifications
  • 2 shoulder Hyperesponse Multi-Function Bumpers
  • 2 removable Hyperesponse Multi-Function Triggers
  • 4 Hyperesponse mechanical action buttons
  • 4 button Quick Control Panel
  • Optional trigger stop switches for rapid-fire
  • Optional hair trigger mode for ultra-fast responses
  • 3.5 mm audio port for stereo audio output and microphone input
  • Compatible with PC*
  • In-mold rubber grips
  • 2 optional analog stick rubber grip caps
  • Carrying case
  • Detachable 3 m / 10 ft lightweight braided cable with Micro-USB connector
  • Approximate size : 168 mm / 6.62” (Length) x 105 mm / 4.14” (Width) x 65 mm / 2.56” (Height)
  • Approximate weight (With cable): 350 g / 0.77 lb
Price and supplier information
Supplier: Razer
Website: www.razerzone.com
RRP: R2,499

Monster movies and erratic psychology aside, the Raiju is essentially a PlayStation 4 controller that looks and feels like an Xbox controller, and I love how the Xbox controller feels. The Raiju has more buttons and triggers than your standard controller, and some of them can be removed with the handy tool bundled in the box. It can be used in either wired or wireless mode, which is a bonus. If you want to dominate while having the coolest-looking and slickest-feeling controller in the match, the Raiju’s your new best friend – and your actual friends are guaranteed to be mighty jealous at the same time. Their anger and resentment will give you an advantage in the game, because you’ll be filled with calm, happy thoughts as you caress your new controller, while their hatred and jealousy will cause them to make many mistakes.

We tried it with Windows 8 – but no joy there, because the OS didn’t even recognise it.  Windows 10 correctly found and identified it as the Raiju, but the two games we tried it with just didn’t work properly. I’m pretty sure all it takes is a little fiddling to make it work, but plug-and-play this is not. If you have the money and want something that might make a difference to your score at the end of the game, then get this sexy-looking and well-designed controller. It feels amazing and looks the part. I can’t really find anything wrong with it, but if I do I’ll let someone know.

Dane’s opinion:

It’s kind of telling that, in designing a pro-level controller for PS4 players, Razer opted to closely mimic the design of Xbox’s controllers. At this stage I think it’s fair to say that popular opinion is in, and it’s practically unanimous that Microsoft’s stock controllers for the Xbox One and Xbox 360 are superior to their Sony counterparts. Like most people, I much prefer the Xbox controller designs, and the placement and shape of their various buttons, analogue sticks and triggers. They’re simply more comfortable to use for extended periods of time.

Razer clearly knows this, and the Raiju is the result of that knowledge. Aside from the linear arrangement of its analogue sticks, the upward placement of the D-pad, and the necessary inclusion of a DualShock 4-style touchpad, the shape, feel and overall aesthetic of the Raiju is very similar to what you’d expect to see from Microsoft, and as a consequence, the Raiju should be immediately enticing to anyone who owns a PS4 and wants an upgrade from their DualShock controller.

Customisation is key to the allure of the Raiju. It’s not as thoroughly customisable as, say, the Xbox Elite controller, but it’s nevertheless primed for tinkering. You’ll find four additional, programmable buttons built into its surface. Two of these are extra bumpers at the shoulders, while the remaining two are triggers on the underside of the controller. They’re all well situated and easy to reach with your spare fingers, and those extra triggers can also be removed entirely if they’re not needed. These extra buttons are incredibly useful for fine-tuning your controls in various games and giving you greater flexibility in how you access in-game actions. In addition, the triggers can be set to “hair trigger mode”, which allows for rapid-fire response times. Along the bottom of the controller is the quick control panel, which gives you convenient access to things like toggling mic mute and adjusting game volume. It also lets you switch between Raiju profiles.

All in all, the Raiju screams quality. It’s one of the finest third-party controllers out there. All of the components are top-quality, it feels great to use, and the various buttons and triggers are nice and click-y. It also comes with optional caps for the analogue sticks and a handy carrying case. If you’ve got the cash to spare and are looking for an upgrade to your DualShock 4 controller, the Raiju is highly recommended. It’s an excellent piece of kit.

I wouldn’t suggest buying it for use with a PC though, because it’s… well, it’s complicated. To be honest, I only put about five minutes of effort into trying to get it to function properly with my PC. Maybe some extra finagling and proper research might get it playing nicely with Windows, but it’s certainly not as simple as just plugging it in and you’re good to go.

9The Raiju is a significant upgrade to the standard controller supplied with the PS4. It’s all the things it says on the box: ergonomic, robust, customisable and comfortable. You definitely get what you pay for here, and we can’t really see anything glaringly wrong with it.