The era of handheld gaming devices started with the classic Gameboy, peaked with Sony’s PSP, and then saw the Nintendo 3DS’ rise before slowly declining. There were attempts to initiate a renaissance of their glory days in the form of the PlayStation Vita, but relative success was only seen when Nintendo came out with the Switch. Meanwhile, the Razer Junglecat is another player that is trying to ride this new wave to replicate the success of its recent predecessor.
What Is Junglecat?
A lot of people would simply tout the Junglecat as Razer’s response to the Nintendo Switch. The Switch has seen unprecedented success in the handheld gaming industry, all while competing against more robust gaming smartphones. Razer, being one of the strongest gaming authorities today, was poised to make a response and that came in the form of the Junglecat.
The Razer Junglecat is a gaming controller that looks a lot like Nintendo’s Joy-Con controllers. The Junglecat capitalizes on one thing that the Switch could not do – to connect to mobile phones.
Smartphone gaming is bigger than ever with more and more popular games choosing to migrate to the biggest mobile operating systems. Razer has long been the guru of gaming aids, and they are considered as of the best in what they do.
Now, as more people begin to ask how to buy a smartphone controller, it was only a matter of time before Razer provided answers themselves. The Junglecat has a pretty straightforward design and you could expect it to do anything that the Nintendo Switch could.
The device connects to your smartphone and replaces on-screen controls. It can attach to selected smartphones using a special phone case. It is also compatible with TV or PC gaming.
Razer Junglecat Review
Razer’s Switch-looking Razer Junglecat is perhaps the best Android controller that you can buy today in terms of functionality. Consequently, it is also one of the most expensive options at $99.99, and its price tag will make you rethink its value. Despite that, this is a seriously good investment for long-hour gamers who could get used to the Junglecat’s compact design.
Razer priced the Junglecat at $99.99. Compared to the Nintendo Switch, this is a very low price. However, if you pin it up against other mobile controllers, you might get a feeling that it’s just a little overpriced.
There isn’t a lot of things inside the Razer Junclecat’s box. First, you have the two controllers and a plastic-built part that attaches to physically connect the two. Razer calls this part the controller grip, but it is just a connector for the controllers and nothing else.
There are also three specially made phone cases inside the Junglecat box. These cases allow the controllers to slide in easily to the sides of the phone. In the US, the cases are for the Razer Phone 2, Samsung Galaxy Note 9, and the Samsung Galaxy S10+.
Meanwhile, its Europe version or Option A contains the same three cases except one is a special case for the Huawei P30 Pro instead of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
Since the device comes with special cases for the Razer Phone 2, Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy S10+, and the Huawei P30 Pro, a lot of people are under the impression that the controller will only work for those devices. However, the Razer Junglecat is actually not limited to those four. In fact, it is compatible with any Android smartphone or tablet.
To fully utilize the controller, you must download the Razer Gamepad mobile app. This application and how it works will be discussed more in a while.
Apart from that, the Junglecat can also be used with a TV monitor as long as the smartphone connected has a video output. Windows PCs with working Bluetooth can also support the controller.
As of the moment, iOS devices cannot support the Junglecat, which we’ve also seen on other Razer controllers like the Razer Raiju Mobile. This is one of the controller’s biggest downsides, but there is hope that Razer would make it work somewhere down the road.
Battery life is one of the biggest considerations for gaming devices. There really isn’t anything worse than a device that would die down in the middle of the game. Fortunately, Junglecat’s battery is a gladiator in its department.
Both of the Razer Junglecat controllers can run for 100+ hours when fully charged. This is a massive upgrade as compared to other devices in the same category.
The Junglecat has a built-in battery that supports USB-C charging. The device connects through Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connection, which makes the 100-hour runtime possible. Clearly, its battery is one of Junglecat’s biggest assets, and gamers on the road and those who stream mobile games can really benefit from this.
Appearance-wise, one of the first things you will notice is how similar the look of the Razer Junglecat and the Nintendo Switch is. Although the Switch comes in more playful colors than the Junglecat, the form factor of the two isn’t too different.
Each of the Razer Junglecat controllers is measured at 1.17 x 1.44 x 3.18 inches. There haven’t been a lot of complaints about its size, but it may be a little too compact for those with big hands. The controller grip is measured at 1.17 x 3.18 x 4.09 inches.
Each one of the controllers weighs 42 grams while the controller grip is 101 grams. The Junglecat features clickable thumbsticks on both sides. The sensitivity of this analog can be adjusted through the Razer Gamepad app.
The left controller has four hexagonal buttons on a hollow surface while the right controller has four circular buttons on a flat surface. Again, the Gamepad app can be used to adjust the uses of the buttons.
The device is compatible with any Android device running on Android 8.0 or higher.
How to Use Razer Junglecat?
On Mobile Phones
Setting up the Razer Junglecat is pretty much the same process as setting up any smartphone controller that can be bought today.
The Physical Setup
First and foremost, you have to assemble the Junglecat. If your smartphone is one of the units that the Junglecat has a special case for, then you would have to slot your phone in there first. After that, you must slide the controllers on the sides of the phone.
Now, if your phone does not have a specially made case for the Razer Junglecat, you would have to settle for the controller grip instead. Your Junglecat would end up being a separate entity from your phone but that’s not too bad, is it?
Activating the Junglecat
The next thing you would want to do is to turn on the Junglecat and connect it to your phone via Bluetooth.
To turn the device on, simply look for the power switch underneath the device. Remember to turn on the switches for both controllers. After doing so, you’ll notice a blue blinking light on the upper portion of the controllers, which would then bring you to the next step of the activation.
Open your smartphone’s Bluetooth settings and wait for the Junglecat to appear. The left and right controllers should appear on the Bluetooth pairing options, but you simply need to select one for both to connect.
Razer Gamepad App and Calibrating
Once your Junglecat controllers are connected, head to the Play Store to download the Razer Gamepad App. The Razer Gamepad App is where you could adjust various settings of the Junglecat.
The application will automatically show you the Junglecat compatible games that you have on your phone. Knowing Razer, the top games today are probably compatible already with the device while newer mobile games may need to wait for a couple of updates.
Selecting a game from the Gamepad will render two options. The first option is to play the game using the preset keymapping made by Razer’s developers. If you’d like a more personal feel, you could select the second option and map the keys yourself.
Once you’re done with these steps, you’re off to the races.
One of Razer Junglecat’s selling points is its ability to connect it to your Windows PC as long as it’s running Windows 8.1 or later. Aside from being a great smartphone gaming tool, people could also use it as a PC gaming controller. Pretty handy, right?
Setting up the Razer Junglecat for your Windows PC has an identical process with the smartphone setup. Obviously, you would have to use the controller with the controller grip and connect it from there. Similarly, you can connect the devices via Bluetooth.
The Gamepad app does not exist on the Microsoft App Store so personal key mapping is not an option for PC gamers. Fortunately, you can customize the keymapping inside the PC games themselves.
Pros and Cons of Razer Junglecat
Razer has done a lot of good work with the Junglecat. Its battery life massively beats its counterparts by a ton while its smartphone and PC compatibility gives it an edge against its bitter competitor, the Switch. Despite that, the Junglecat is not all rainbows and horses.
- Razer-quality gaming
- Best battery life in its category
- Lightweight and very portable
- Available for the best Android games and PC games with a controller option
- Not available for iOS
- Customized cases only limited to four phone models
- A bit overpriced for a Bluetooth controller
Can Razer Junglecat Stand Against Switch?
Due to its similar design, the Razer Junglecat and the Nintendo Switch have been the object of endless comparisons. Both devices feature two separate controllers and were made for handheld gaming. But can the Junglecat really stand against the Switch? More so, is there a chance that it could stand above it?
Nintendo Switch vs Razer Junglecat
The Nintendo Switch saw unprecedented success in the era of smartphone gaming. By combining mobility and multiplayer gaming, the Switch broke the long streak of handheld gaming devices that went down the drain post-glory days. Aiming to replicate Nintendo’s success in this department is Razer with the Junglecat.
For a cheaper price, the Junglecat brings the Switch experience to the smartphone arena. Well, sort of. The Junglecat seems to be penetrating a massive industry unprepared. Its biggest edge against the Switch is its compatibility with smartphones. It is a genius function but a tad lacking in execution.
The Switch comes with its own devices and it is a whole gaming platform on its own. For this fact alone, the Nintendo Switch clearly has the upper hand. The Razer, meanwhile, seems to look like an accessory — a really good one though.
These two are apples and oranges. Comparing them side by side may simply lead to unlikable conclusions.
As it is, the Razer Junglecat really is one of the best in its department. A Bluetooth controller by Razer is not unheard of but one that looks and feels the same way as the Nintendo Switch is unique in its own way.
The absence of iOS compatibility might be a bummer but everyone knows that once the Jungle blooms successfully, Apple would probably grow on it too. For now, Android users get to reap all the fruits first. With that said, if you are a casual Android gamer who wants a high-quality device that can also be used for long trips, the Junglecat should definitely be on top of your list.