ASUS ROG Tessen Lays Claim To World's First Foldable Mobile Android Controller

ASUS ROG Tessen mobile controller on a blue background.
ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) has announced what it says is the only foldable mobile controller currently available—ROG Tessen—which is a neat party trick (and convenient for storage), but it's not the only thing it has going for it. The ROG Tessen also sports some nifty capabilities to level up your gameplay on Android smartphones.

Other than purportedly being the only foldable mobile controller around, it's an interesting launch as it underscores how ASUS views the gaming phone landscape. I've reviewed a few ROG Phones for gamers in the past (including the original ROG Phone released in 2018), and one thing that's impressed me is that they're not just slick devices with fast hardware and gaming gimmicks, they feature actual gaming amenities (like AirTriggers and ultrasonic sensors) bolstered by an ecosystem of hardware accessories.

I'm not sure how big the actual market exists for dedicated gaming phones, or gaming on a smartphone period, especially now that there are a bevy of handheld consoles like the Steam Deck and ROG Ally (in addition to the Nintendo Switch and upcoming Switch 2, of course).

ASUS ROG Tessen mobile controller on a smartphone on a blue background.

It's at least big enough for ASUS (and others) to release dedicated gear for gaming on smartphones. To that end, the Tessen is basically a gamepad that turns an Android smartphone into a makeshift handheld console similar to the aforementioned models. We've seen others that do the same thing, of course, but the Tessen's distinguishing trait is its foldable design.

"The ROG Tessen has a travel-friendly design that folds easily to enable users to slip it into any bag or even a pocket. The Tessen securely holds phones in landscape orientation, with the left side of the controller folding down to easily slot the phone to the controller’s extended USB-C connector. Once connected, the left side of the controller can be flipped up and the telescopic aluminum bridges adjusted to lock the phone in place," ASUS explains.

Front and back views of the ASUS ROG Tessen mobile controller on a blue background.

It also features rubber support pads and an extended USB-C connector so that the Tessen can play nice with smartphones enclosed in a protective case. ASUS is also talking up "console-grade controls" with an 18mm tall right stick sporting 22 degrees of movement, ergonomic hand grips, mechanical switches for the face buttons and D-pad, and a pair of aluminum rear paddles. And as for the USB-C port, it boasts 18W passthrough charging and a 500Hz polling rate.

Overall, the ROG Tessen is an interesting product for those in need of such a thing. How well it will be received will in part be determined on what pricing ASUS settles on, which it hasn't yet announced. Same goes for availability.