For some people, videogames are serious business.
There are esports players, where playing to the best of their abilities is their livelihood. Competitive types that don’t play professionally, but strive to be at the top of the leaderboards in the games they play. And then there are those that aren’t competitive at all, but spend so much time with a controller in their hand that they want the best. These are the people that the many “pro” controllers currently on the market are for, with Sony’s very own DualSense Edge to enter the fray.
Officially launching on 26th January, Sony very kindly sent us over a DualSense Edge for review. We’ve had just under a week with it, but in that time it’s already made somewhat of an impact on us. This controller, with its £209.99 price tag, isn’t for everyone, sure. But for those who want to be at the top of their game, or simply spend a lot of time sat playing with their PS5s and want to further enrich their playing time, it’s definitely worth considering.
Take receipt of a DualSense Edge, and you’ll find the box it comes in is very similar to that of a standard DualSense, only a little bit chunkier. When you open the box, however, chances are you’ll be mightily impressed by the brilliant white clamshell case that you find. Packed neatly inside is your portal to an advanced gaming experience, and to get started, all you need to do is remove the controller, connect it to your PS5 with an existing USB-C cable or the one provided in the box, and begin its setup.
Before we get into that, however, let’s go over what’s in the case. There’s the DualSense Edge controller, of course, and it sure looks the part thanks to its shiny black trim. It also has grips that feel somewhat rubberised on the underside, making the controller feel more secure in your hands, and the triggers are textured for additional grip, too. What really stand out, however, are a duo of function buttons protruding from under each analogue stick. And on the rear near each trigger, there’s a switch that allows you to adjust travel. We’ll get to what those do later. In any case, despite all these changes and new additions, form factor remains the same, so it’s not alien to hold in your hands. It all just feels a little more high-end.
For some though, there are more important things in the case. There are two sets of rear buttons that can be easily attached and securely held in place with the help of magnets, for example. The half dome back buttons are ideal for those who perhaps want to get their middle fingers involved in the action, sitting resolute on the rear of the controller. For those who’d rather engage their ring fingers, however, the lever back buttons are more appropriate, swooping down closer to the grips. Whichever you chose – and you can also mix and match if you wish – you have immediate access to two more buttons without having to take your thumb off of the right analogue stick.
On the subject of analogue sticks, they’re something else that can be customised on the DualSense Edge. While we’re big fans of the standard concave style caps, two sets of dome caps are included – one high and one low – allowing you to make the DualSense Edge meet your needs. They’re easy to replace as well: simply push the release button on the rear of the controller and the plate around the sticks can be removed. The existing caps can then be popped off and the new ones attached, with the plate then put back into place to hold them in securely.
It’s thanks to this design that you don’t have to worry too much about your DualSense Edge suffering from analogue stick drift, either. With the plate off, you’ll find that both analogue sticks are modular in design, meaning you can remove and replace them with brand new ones purchased separately. So, if in a few years a stick starts to develop drift, when the controller is out of warranty, you should be able to repair it with minimal fuss yourself, rather than sending it in or buying a new controller altogether.
The last things to be found in the case are a large braided USB-C cable, as well as a separate locking mechanism than can be attached to hold it securely in place. The former is infinitely useful for charging the controller, and there’s even a nifty velcro-sealed tab that you can open on the case in order to charge it when it’s not in use. The DualSense Edge also fits nicely on the official DualSense charging dock though, so if you’ve got one of those and don’t mind leaving it exposed, go for it. When it comes to the locking mechanism, most probably won’t have a use for it, but those into tournament play where a controller disconnect can mean instant disqualification, it should give peace of mind.
With all that out of the way, let’s get on with what’s it’s actually like to use the DualSense Edge. Connecting the controller to your PS5 console for the first time with the latest firmware installed, the DualSense Edge is detected automatically, and you’re taken through a quick tutorial as to how you make use of some of its key features. Ultimately, it all boils down to profiles. You’re able to create a range of profiles, each tweaking various aspects of how the controller performs, and then assign them to various shortcuts. You can then quickly and easily switch between these profiles during play by holding down one of the new function buttons and pressing the face buttons associated with them.
What’s impressive is how much you can change. You can remap pretty much the entirety of the PS5 controller, for example, and of course map buttons to any back buttons you might have attached. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Want to adjust the behaviour of each analogue stick so that they’re less sensitive when tilted slightly? You can do that. You can even create your own sensitivity curve if you wish. Deadzones can be set for both the analogue sticks and triggers as well. You’re in control of how your controller performs, and thanks to the profile system you can create setups for each game you play and switch between them on the fly.
We’ve already got profiles set up for the likes of Gran Turismo 7, Monster Hunter Rise and Call of Duty Modern Warfare II. In Gran Turismo 7, the back-mounted lever buttons are great for quickly changing gears, while in Call of Duty Modern Warfare II we got them mapped so we can reload our weapons and go prone without having to take our fingers off of the right analogue stick. It’s up to you to assign the back buttons as you wish, and while they’re of more benefit in certain games, such as first-person shooters, they always have their uses.
While many third party controllers exist for PS5 that offer things like back buttons (or should we say modding services), it’s things like the ability to adjust the travel of the triggers on the DualSense Edge that give it, well, the edge. Enable full travel and you can enjoy full adaptive trigger support in your games. Set it to minimal travel, on the other hand, and you lose this support but have much faster response times. As much as we love the resistance in the right trigger when firing a gun in first-person shooter, being able to aim and shoot with less delay will always win out.
Versatility, then, is the major selling point of the DualSense Edge. You can have your hairline triggers that make you a god in CoD, but you can also quickly disable them to allow you to perfectly feather the throttle in Gran Turismo 7. That’s something we can’t do with the Controller People TCP Pro DualSense controller. The DualSense Edge has got the premium look, the premium feel, is customisable to your needs, and there are no drawbacks or compromises whatsoever.
Even battery life isn’t something you should be overly concerned about. We’ve found that there really isn’t much difference between the battery life between the Edge and a standard DualSense at all. Of course, it all depends on the games you play, but we found it running out of charge perhaps an hour or so quicker, if that. So, unless you plan on playing for more than six hours or so in one sitting, there’s no cause for concern. Our biggest disappointment with the DualSense Edge, in fact, is that it only has two back buttons. Having four would mean we never have to touch the face buttons at all, which would be massively advantageous.
Still, unless having four back buttons is absolutely crucial to you, we don’t see why you’d choose any other “Pro” controller on the market over the DualSense Edge. Everything here screams quality, and it’s backed up with ample functionality. Creating and switching between profiles is intuitive, analogue stick drift doesn’t have to make your controller useless, and other little touches here and there make your playing time more enjoyable and personal. But what seals the deal for us is the adjustable triggers: whether you need the full range of travel or lightning quick response times, the DualSense Edge is there for you.
Thanks to Sony for providing pre-launch access to a DualSense Edge to facilitate this review.