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Razer Wolverine V2 review: A premium wired PC controller

Friday April 14, 2023. 04:30 PM , from PC World
At a glanceExpert's Rating
ProsClicky mechanical buttonsComfortable and well-balanced in the handCustomizable buttons and triggersWorks great on PC and XboxConsExpensive at $100Wired only with non-removable cableButtons are loudOur VerdictThe Razer Wolverine V2 offers precise, customizable controls, but the high price and lack of wireless connectivity make it hard to recommend over other options.

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Razer is known for keyboards and mice, which remain the primary arsenal of most PC gamers. However, it also produces a line of premium, competition-ready game controllers. The Wolverine V2 is available in several flavors, including the PS5-optimized Pro and the colorful Chroma edition. The base model Wolverine we’ve been testing offers most of the premium Razer features for half as much as those gamepads. Still, at $100, the Wolverine V2 is more expensive than Microsoft’s Series X controller or the Sony DualSense, and it’s not even wireless. Add-ons like the mechanical buttons and adjustable triggers help to justify the price, but you really want to wait for a sale on this one.

Razer Wolverine V2 design and build quality

Ryan Whitwam / Foundry

Razer doesn’t do anything outlandish with the basic design of its controller. It’s recognizable as an Xbox/PC controller with asymmetrical thumbsticks and standard ABXY button cluster. However, upon closer inspection, you will notice a few unusual aspects. For example, there are two extra buttons on the top edge, which you can program to do whatever you want. And what’s this next to them? Switches to change the trigger travel distance, similar to the triggers on Microsoft’s Elite Series 2 gamepad. However, Razer only offers short and long options, whereas Microsoft’s more expensive controller has three trigger settings.

The USB-A cable is non-removable and connects to the top of the controller. It’s reasonably long at just under 10 feet (3 meters). If you’re going to be stuck with one cable, USB-A is probably still the way to go, but in a few years, you might end up needing a USB-C adapter.

The top edge of the Razer Wolverine V2 controller.Ryan Whitwam / Foundry

Perhaps the strangest design choice is the placement of the option and menu buttons, which are way up at the top of the face. You get all the other Xbox buttons in their usual arrangement, including the share button that debuted with the Series X/S. There’s also a button below share that, when used in concert with the d-pad, lets you control the game and chat volume for wired headphones. You can plug those in with the 3.5mm jack on the bottom edge of the Wolverine V2.

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The overall shape of the controller is very hand-friendly, with L-shaped grips covered in textured soft-touch plastic. A strip of Razer green separates the grips from the face of the gamepad, but there are no glowing lights like with the DualSense or the Chroma Wolverine V2. This controller has Razer’s custom “Mecha-Tactile” buttons for the ABXY cluster as well as the d-pad. They make a little more noise than other buttons, but the quicker response could appeal to many gamers.

Razer Wolverine V2 features and hands-on experience

Since the Wolverine V2 lacks wireless connectivity, all you have to do to get started is plug in the USB cable. The Wolverine has a slightly wider footprint than Microsoft’s standard controller, but the Razer gamepad is also lighter thanks to the lack of an internal battery. The thumbsticks are smooth, quiet, and have the right amount of resistance. They have the same rubberized feel as the grips, but they are not replaceable like the Xbox Elite controller or Razer’s more expensive Wolverine variants.

We truly like the way the Razer Wolverine V2 feels in the hand, thanks to the lower weight, clicky buttons, and adjustable triggers.

We can’t say enough good things about the controller’s Mecha-Tactile buttons. Other game controllers use membranes under the buttons, but Razer’s buttons are more like the switches on a mechanical keyboard. They have very short travel (0.65mm) for a quick response, and the audible click and tactility make them very satisfying to press. They click on the press and return, and they’ll make that noise for many thousands of presses. The noise is worth it as that means they’ll also have the same excellent tactility even after uncountable hours of gaming. Membrane buttons are sometimes loud at first, but then get softer as the controller is broken in.

If you’re playing a shooter, the adjustable triggers will be a godsend. The switches on the back are easy to use and out of the way, so you don’t accidentally snag them while playing. With the trigger travel limited, you’ll be able to press much faster and with less movement. Not only is this good for fast-paced gameplay, but it’s also easier on the joints.

Ryan Whitwam / Foundry

Razer Wolverine V2 compatibility

The Razer Wolverine V2 is an officially licensed Xbox accessory, so it’s detected as an Xbox controller on both Windows and the Xbox. You can take screenshots with the share button and open the Xbox guide screen or Windows game bar with the Xbox button. There’s no Bluetooth, so the Wolverine won’t be useful to mobile gamers. We tested with a USB-C adapter and were unable to get the Wolverine working on an Android phone. 

Configuring the extra buttons requires a Razer Controller Setup app, which is available for both Windows and Xbox. The app is a bit clunky—it forces a full-screen Modern UI interface on Windows—but it only takes a few clicks to change the button mapping.

Is the Razer Wolverine V2 worth it?

The Razer Wolverine V2 has a few things going for it. For one, the mechanical buttons feel great and should remain just as precise after years of use. Maybe it’s just confirmation bias, but our in-game performance was better with the Wolverine than with the stock Xbox controller. The adjustable triggers and remappable buttons are also useful extras that we’ve seen on much more expensive gamepads.

On the other hand, the Wolverine V2 lacks Bluetooth connectivity, and the USB-A cable is non-removable. The $100 MSRP is also tough to justify when the standard Xbox controller is $60 or less on sale and has Bluetooth. Despite that, we truly like the way this controller feels in the hand, thanks to the lower weight, clicky buttons, and adjustable triggers.

Most people looking for a new Xbox-style controller should look elsewhere—most gamers value wireless connectivity more than mechanical buttons or the Razer brand name. That said, there’s nothing wrong with the Wolverine V2 if you want a wired controller for PC or console use. $100 is too much, but luckily, it does go on sale relatively often. If you can get the Wolverine for closer to $70, it’s a solid purchase.

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