Razer Serval Review
|Product Name:||Razer Serval Bluetooth Gaming Controller|
|Platform:||Android OS, PC, MAC|
|Features:||Gaming grade controls for precision. Designed for Android gaming. Adjustable game clip for portable gaming.|
Recently, I had written about the benefits of Android gaming using a controller – and I felt that this would be a great launch pad to talk about different Android controllers that definitely get the job done. So to begin a possible of series of these, I wanted to do a Razer Serval review (a product which I’ve been wanting to write about for a while, actually).
The Razer Serval is a controller that carries the same design patterns and ergonomic features that are seen in the Razer Sabertooth. Like the Sabertooth it comes with 4 face buttons, 2 concave analog sticks, 2 trigger buttons and 2 shoulder buttons.
For added control with the Android OS, the Serval also includes a back and home button at the bottom of the controller, as well as 3 contextual buttons at the middle of the controller that can be used with depending on what game you are playing.
The Serval controller can also connect to the Android phone in two ways – at the top edge is a 1.5 mini-USB port that allows for a wired connection to your device. You can also snap on an adjustable clip to the top edge to hold your phone while paired via Bluetooth connection and optimal connectivity. The controller runs on AAA batteries, and is compatible not only with Android phones/consoles, but with Windows and Mac operating systems.
Faster controls and reactions? We’ve got Hyperesponse Buttons for you.
Gamers, especially hardcore gamers, are very critical to the response time whenever they press buttons on their controllers. I couldn’t agree more with this – when I press a button on my controller, I not only want to see the corresponding action on screen to happen immediately, but I also want to be able to have time to make an immediate and succeeding action right after.
The cause for this often comes in the buttons itself.
When you look at your controller buttons from side angle you will notice that it is elevated from the controller’s frame; Depending on that height, softness of the buttons and the amount of spring towards the sensor, we can see how much travel time our buttons have before we see the command in-game.
With the Razer Serval, you will notice that the face buttons barely elevate from the controller’s body. Having this minimizes the amount of travel time for the controller to its pressed state.
And while these give off an impression that the buttons’ spring has receded, the truth is that the spring inside the buttons react almost immediately. The result is an absolute instant response from your controller to your game.
I personally like that these hyperesponse buttons are built this way – to me, face buttons are meant to execute actions in-game, and when an action occurs immediately when I want it.. This immediate response allows limits my chances of error due to lag, and that makes me a happy gamer.
Serval gives you two analogs and a directional pad. All you need to do is make your move.
The Razer Serval carries both an analog stick and a directional pad on across from the face buttons, which is a standard when it comes to game controllers these days as it provides the gamer with two options for control.
The most common setup for games is to have the analog stick handle player movement, while the directional pad takes care of contextual actions like in-game menu navigation, macros and the like. There’s another analog stick towards the right.
Both analog sticks are concave with with rounded edges to create a cupping effect. This lets your thumb-tips site nicely within the analog stick, then provides subtle nudges from center to edges and a lighter press-down – these are great ergonomics and results in smooth movements from 8-way directions (it kind of almost feels like Razer wants you to use the analog stick more).
The directional pad uses four separate pentagonal-shaped buttons, with the pointed edges facing the middle – a design similar to the d-pad from the Sony DualShock controllers.
I’ve always been a fan of disjointing the d-pad buttons and not webbing the diagonals because I prefer the feel of an absolute pressing for a single (or a combination of 2 from the 4 directions) button – it feels more precise, and the Serval’s d-pad does the job for me.
A probable letdown for the d-pad is that compared to the face buttons, these are pretty elevated and results in a longer travel time. This would result in a bit of delay, so I understand why there would be parity towards using an analog stick. If this is your preference for a d-pad, however, then you’ll like the feel of the d-pad.
Wired and Wireless Portability. What’s not to love?
The Razer Serval provides two kinds of connectivity to your Android device, either of which offer great advantages that suit your needs.
Wired connectivity via USB offers a absolute security and zero lag as the information is sent through a physical pairing between the controller and the device.
It makes use of a 1.5m micro USB to USB cable which is not only a standard when it comes to this kind of device-to-peripheral connectivity, but is short enough to not get tangled or tugged off by accident.
Interestingly enough, this same wired connectivity makes the Razer Serval readable on two other operating systems – Windows and Mac OS. The controller’s drivers work within the same plug-and-play features for those operating systems, which adds to the Serval’s flexibility, bringing the same responsiveness and performance across multiple platforms.
The Serval also provides wireless connectivity by pairing through Bluetooth. While this controller was made initially to pair with Razer’s Forge TV, the same Bluetooth connection allows you to connect your device to your the controller using an adjustable gaming clip that connects at the top of the controller.
This adjustable clip is able to firmly clamp your device securely, not only assuring that the Bluetooth pairing stays intact, but allows you to bring your gaming anywhere!
The only thing that would have made the connectivity features of the Razer Serval better is if it were also compatible on iOS devices – it’s a bit perplexing as to why they were not able to use the same Bluetooth capabilities of an iOS device, which I feel leaves a lot to be desired in the hopes of having a completely multi-platform gaming controller with an amazing array of performance features.
The Razer Serval’s overall performance is worth the price!
At a price point of $79.99, many would figure that it’s a lot to shell out for a Bluetooth gaming controller, especially when there are many similar products out there. But the fact that Razer has put a lot of thought into manufacturing a product that provides maximum comfort and performance with the most ideal and secure connectivity makes this a very competent and highly recommended product for your portable gaming needs.
The Razer Serval can be purchased directly from the Razer Store, which guarantees that you will be getting this amazing product straight from the source. You can also get your copy from Amazon, where you can take advantage of their shipping terms. Happy (portable) gaming!
Do you own a Razer Serval or wish to own one? Or do you have any thoughts about this product? Let me know in the comments!
Get Your Hands on a Razer Serval!