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This new Xbox controller sets itself apart with a unique feature

Asus has announced a new controller in its ROG brand that a unique thing going for it: a sharp OLED screen built into the controller itself.

Revealed at CES 2023, the ROG Raikiri Pro is the company's latest controller, expected to launch sometime in Q2 2023. It also bears the official Designed for Xbox branding, meaning it's passed Microsoft's smell test, and the pad will be compatible with PC, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One consoles.

Before we get onto what we're all here for – that eye-catching OLED screen – let's go over the controller itself. The ROG Raikiri Pro looks to fit the feature-rich bill of 'Pro' adjacent controllers like the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2. That means it's got a suite of rear buttons, trigger locks, and customizable button profiles. I also love that smart RGB line running across the pad and wrapping around the right analog stick.

It's sounding like a promising controller, then, but the Raikiri Pro's 1.3-inch OLED screen is its most captivating feature. According to ROG's website, the controller's screen can display info on battery life, mic and headset volume. Or, if you're feeling creative, you can choose to display custom text, images, or animations. Though the screen only seems to display in monochrome.

Will the OLED screen add much to gameplay? No, probably not, but it's nonetheless an interesting feature, and helpful info like battery life is always nice to have on hand to give players a better idea of when they should charge their pad.

Dream on

ROG Raikiri Pro controller

(Image credit: Asus ROG)

When I look at the Raikiri Pro's 2 grey level OLED screen, I can't help but be reminded of the Sega Dreamcast's VMU (visual memory unit). There are stark differences, of course; the VMU was arguably far more practical as it was used to store save data and display images and unique UI elements depending on the game you were playing. 

In Sonic Adventure, you could watch your Chao pets' wellbeing via the VMU screen, for example. The Raikiri Pro's OLED doesn't look quite as versatile, but I can see it being a selling point for those who love controller aesthetics and odd gimmicks that allow them to separate their pad from the pack.

I'm also fairly positive the Raikiri Pro's OLED screen will drain battery life, though this should be somewhat quelled by the fact it's only a two-color screen. Still, I'd love an option to reduce the screen's brightness to reduce both battery drain and the risk of screen burn-in.

The Raikiri Pro is certainly a controller we'll be keeping an eye on. While its OLED screen is undoubtedly style over substance, the fundamentals of this 'Pro' pad seem solid enough that it could one day be entered into our list of the best Xbox controllers you can buy this year.

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