Leading up to the release of the Asus ROG Raikiri Pro, there was a significant amount of hype surrounding the product given how it was already receiving critical acclaim when it was first unveiled. Boasting design awards coming from RedDot and iF Design, the Raikiri Pro is definitely a looker, but does it hold up in its functionality? Here’s our Asus ROG Raikiri Pro review.
With the Raikiri Pro being an official Xbox licensed product, it does contain all the good things that the base controllers have, featuring almost the exact same architecture. What Asus tries to do to justify the whopping $170 is to add a couple of customization features that are great in practice, but a bit questionable in their execution and relevance. It’s a fantastic controller, but it might not be for everyone.
What’s in the box?
Asus ROG has always been great with presentation. With just one look, you’re immediately given the impression that it’s a premium gaming product. The packaging of the Raikiri Pro is a black box with a shiny print of the name fo the product and ROG decals. Simple and sleek. Opening it up, you’ll find:
- 1 x ROG Raikiri Pro gamepad
- 1 x USB Type-C to Type-A cable
- 1 x USB wireless dongle
- 1 x Warranty book
- 1 x Quick start guide
For such a steep asking price, it’s nice to see that Asus didn’t hold back on providing the necessary accessories that other controller products would unfortunately do. However, it is a bit disappointing that the Raikiri Pro doesn’t come with its own dedicated travel case, like what the DualSense Edge had.
Look good, feel good
At first glance, the Raikiri Pro gamepad is definitely striking in its aesthetics. It features a two-tone black color palette that is only further enhanced by the branding of ROG sprinkled around in subtle ways. Make no mistake, this is one of the best-looking Xbox controllers we’ve ever got the chance to get our hands on.
It also helps that it feels fantastic to hold. The textured grips on both sides feel much more pronounced compared to the normal Xbox controller. However, the Raikiri Pro’s trigger buttons do have a smooth surface instead of the usual textured ones. A slight disappointment but definitely not a complete deal-breaker.
Just from its design, I’d say the ROG Raikiri Pro gamepad is definitely worth checking out. And we haven’t even turned it on at this point.
Form and function
In my 2 week window of trying the Raikiri Pro as much as I could, it was exclusively connected to my Asus ROG Flow X16. I just had to plug it in and voila! Gaming begins. Its strength lies in its versatility. The controller can be connected in 3 different ways: Wired USB-C®, Bluetooth 5.0, or 2.4 GHz RF. If it’s a PC, tablet, smartphone, or even the Asus ROG Ally, you can connect the Raikiri Pro.
I absolutely love the fact that the dongle USB is stored behind the controller itself. Not only does it reduce the risk of losing parts, it just makes everything so much more convenient. This is a very small feature of the Raikiri Pro but it’s definitely one of my favorite things about it.
Of course, it is able to connect with Xbox Series X|S and One|One S consoles but it can only do so in wired mode. Major bummer on this one. For an Xbox-licensed controller, you’d think that it would be the definitive platform for the Raikiri Pro but now, console connectivity feels more like an afterthought
Once the Raikiri Pro is turned on, it makes yet another striking impression with the RGB lights and the built-in OLED display. The good thing about these is that they’re customizable. The bad thing is that they’re not exactly intuitive.
The built-in OLED display does look great and it provides essential information such as battery percentage, connectivity status, and profile selection. What I didn’t enjoy about it is that you can only use the 2 small extra buttons at the top of the gamepad to navigate. You can’t use any of the buttons of the controller itself to use the OLED screen. It feels clunky to use.
In order to customize anything in the controller, you need to connect it to the Armoury Crate application. Once you do, you’ll be able to sync up the lights with the RGB of your PC/laptop, change the wallpaper of the OLED display (yes, you read that right), choose what kind of animation will be shown in the OLED screen (or even make one of your own), and determine what input you will assign to the extra buttons at the back.
There are switches beside the left and right triggers for you to choose between full or short trigger modes. You can also adjust dead zones and trigger button sensitivity in Armoury Crate. While it was okay for me to use the application, I can imagine that those who just want to use the Raikiri Pro with their Xbox consoles will feel annoyed at the fact that they have to connect it to a PC or laptop with Armoury Crate installed just to take advantage most of the main features of the controller. The customization options are there and they are impressively extensive. They’re just not exactly accessible.
4 buttons back, barely any steps forward
I love me some programmable rear buttons. As someone who plays a lot of mechanically demanding games such as multiplayer shooters, having the extra inputs allow me to pull off extra moves that would normally be more difficult when using a normal controller. It’s the ease of access that the extra buttons in a pro controller that adds the true value in my opinion.
While the ROG Raikiri Pro does have 4 extra rear buttons, they feel a bit unnatural to reach. That is because they’re placed close to the middle of the controller rather than at the corner of the grips. What is supposed to be a smooth act of pressing them becomes more like a conscious action that I have to reach out a bit more and look for the right input. The M1, M2, M3, and M4 rear buttons feel awkward in their positioning.
Is the Asus ROG Raikiri Pro controller worth it?
Here’s the thing, the Raikiri Pro is definitely one of the best-looking controllers I’ve ever used. It looks great, the subtle design elements are striking without being too loud, the texture of the material is fantastic, and it just feels durable and premium in its design.
The multiple connectivity options are fantastic for me as a gaming laptop user but it becomes painfully limited if you’re using it exclusively for an Xbox console. While it does fulfill its promise of customizability, it doesn’t make these options easily accessible to those who don’t have the necessary equipment and applications.
The built-in OLED display is amusing and I actually love seeing it in action. But it’s not exactly a necessary feature. It’s great if I wanna see battery life and connectivity but that’s about it.
It feels like Asus really wanted to make the ultimate pro controller with the ROG Raikiri Pro in terms of its features and design, in which it has succeeded, but in terms of the final execution and the way it is presented in the final product is where the cracks can be seen. The asking price of USD 170 is a steep mountain to climb. If you’re a PC player who has a couple hundred bucks to spare, why not? If you’re expecting that this will be the next best Xbox gamepad, you might be better off waiting on the next (and hopefully much improved) iteration.