Asus is releasing its own mobile game controller — but can it dethrone the Backbone One?

rog tessen mobile controller
(Image credit:

The Asus ROG Phone 8 is selling itself as the next big gaming phone, but to achieve those heights it will, naturally, require a good controller to support it. And just such a product may be on the horizon according to an exclusive leak supplied to revealing the ROG Tessen mobile controller. 

The new controller appears to be very similar to Asus’ last model, the ROG Kunai 3. However, the report indicates that there are some changes to note in the new design. The noticeable inclusion of more RGB lights makes the device appear more colorful. 

The ROG Tessen will supposedly work through a wired USB connection located inside the controller bracket. This is reported to provide zero latency with the phone, allowing for a seamless experience when using the controller. There are no indications the controller will allow for either Bluetooth or any other wireless connection. 

The controller will come with two analog sticks as well as a D-pad and four-button layout. The image of the controller shared via the leak shows two trigger buttons at the back and two shoulder buttons at the top of the controller. This would put it in line with most major controllers that are on the market currently. 

Backbone One

The Backbone One controller is a top choice among mobile gamers  (Image credit: Backbone)

The ROG Tessen mobile controller design seems more compact than the prior model, and the handgrip appears more robust. However, it appears that the handgrips will be expandable which should allow for greater mobility. The controller can supposedly be adapted to better work with different modes of play. There are three reported modes: handheld mode, all-in-one mode and the mobility mode. It's unclear if there will be more options available but these three alone should cover most users needs. 

The leak does not give any information about potential color options that could be available on release. We also have no information on the battery life or the price, although speculates that the cost could be around $139 to $159 with a six-hour battery life while in wireless mode.

In comparison to one of the top contenders in the mobile controller market, the Razer Kishi V2, the ROG Tessen Mobile could be excellent competition. The reported ability to shift the controller to better fit the user's needs and the extendable hand grips would be an advantage over the smaller handholds on the Kishi V2, which we found to be harder to use for large hands. Although the cost of the ROG Tessen may turn away many people compared to the Kishi V2 which retailed at $99 at release. 

The question of whether the controller will be able to contend with the Backbone One is harder to field. This is down to the variety that the Backbone has, with both a base model and a PlayStation-specific model as well. While the adjustability of the Asus ROG Tessen Controller is a good start, it will need to be able to demonstrate similar compatibility and versatility with the various software on offer. 

It is important to take into consideration that this controller has not been provided for testing yet, as such much of this is speculation based on images. We will hopefully know more about the ROG Phone 8 when it is officially announced at CES 2024 in January

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Staff Writer

Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer. 

  • alexownsall
    Tell them to fix their routers, laptops, and generally every consumer product first. They make decent motherboards, but other than that, they are all crap.
  • junjun1
    If it doesn't come with an app that can map buttons with the screen then it's trash.