Now more than two years after the launch of Sony’s PlayStation 5 console, the white monolith manufacturer has finally brought its own Pro controller to market with the DualSense Edge. Other products from SCUF and HexGaming have beaten the DualSense Edge to market, but does Sony’s flagship controller have an ‘edge’ over the competition?
At first glance, Sony’s DualSense Edge controller doesn’t appear too different from the standard gloss white offerings that come with every console purchase. However, it’s the little touches that help this controller pop when sitting on a shelf. The clear white-backed buttons and touchpad on the standard DualSense Wireless Controller are all replaced with a contrasting black backdrop. The center trim is replaced with a glossy shell plate that’s easily removable with the slide of a release switch nestled on the back of the controller; perhaps this could be Sony’s answer to a customizable colorway later down the line. Not counting the additional buttons and features, perhaps the most novel addition to the DualSense Edge’s aesthetic is a black touchpad etched with a PlayStation symbol motif throughout that looks striking when the light catches them just right.
So, what makes the DualSense Edge Wireless Controller Sony’s professional controller? It comes down to four key enhancements that you won’t see on the standard controller and also won’t see even among the competitors on the third-party market. For instance, the L2/R2 trigger stops feature three levels of trigger pull depending on your current playstyle. With just a slide of a three-stage switch next to each trigger, users can go for the full-length trigger pull like on the standard DualSense, a quick tap that’s perfect for single-action rifles in Call of Duty or Apex Legend, or somewhere in between. Most other third-party controllers don’t offer any sort of toggle, forcing players to pick between fully featured adaptive triggers or the quickshot pulls with the purchase (a feature almost exclusive to the Victrix Pro BFG controller) of their chosen $200 input device.
Below the triggers on the rear of the controller are slots for two metallic back buttons. The traditional lever-style pulls fit right in with what players might expect on the Xbox Elite or SCUF Reflex controllers. However, it’s the second set of half-moon back buttons that I felt more interested in. They stick out just far enough to let my ring fingers rest nicely without activating while being more comfortable than having to readjust my grip to accommodate around the levers. However, the back buttons don’t click into the controller and lock them into position. Rather, they’re held with small metal poles that are held in place with magnets. They’re strong enough to resist falling out if the controller is dropped but have enough wiggle that the back buttons feel like they would fall out of the controller if jostled around in a backpack. Thankfully the included carrying case has enough room for everything from both sets of back buttons and replacement sticks to an extra joystick module if you’re worried about controller drift while competing. Those modules, if the replacement is needed as a just-in-case purchase, are available directly from Sony at $19.99.
The other customizable features on the DualSense Edge can be found on the front of the controller. Both sticks can be swapped from Sony’s signature domed and ridged sticks for a pair of short and tall convex sticks, equally suited for different weapon types in whatever shooter you fancy. The sticks take quite a bit of force to pull the sticks free from the main joystick, so don’t expect these to fall off any time soon.
Below the joysticks and a physical part of the replaceable joystick module itself are two Function buttons. On their own, these buttons don’t do anything, but holding one down lets players swap between the four onboard profiles or jump quickly into the customization menu from wherever the player is in-game or on the dashboard. Players can also adjust the volume settings directly through the pop-up menu, which I’ve wanted as an official feature on the PlayStation 5 for quite some time.
Overall, the build quality of the DualSense Edge feels just like what players should expect from a first-party controller manufacturer without having to sacrifice much to make up for the new features packed into the controller. However, that leads to the one negative I have with the DualSense Edge: the battery. With the standard DualSense controller offering a 1,650mAh battery and the DualSense Edge offering a mere 1,050mAh capacity, that’s nearly a third of the battery capacity lost in the DualSense Edge controller. The stock PlayStation 5 controller wasn’t known for its great battery life to begin with but the greatly reduced battery size reduces gameplay time down to around five to ten hours, depending on the title. Realistically, I hovered much closer to the six-hour mark in most instances, even in basic RPG titles that didn’t need to take advantage of the haptic feedback along with reduced brightness on the touchbar.
The reason for that cut-down battery size makes sense when you consider that those removable joystick modules take up a considerable amount of space in the center of the controller. Now, these stick modules wouldn’t have been necessary if Sony invested in including Hall effect joysticks in the DualSense Edge but since none of the big three console manufacturers have invested in the technology for their modern controllers, that feels like a moot point. If you want to try out a Hall effect controller that’s virtually immune to stick drift, the 8bitdo Ultimate controller for Nintendo Switch is a worthy investment.
The battery life won’t be much of a hassle for those looking to use the DualSense Edge at the tournament level. After all, a wired controller is typically much more desired than a Bluetooth controller. Because of that, I found the wired connection on the DualSense Edge to be one of its better enhancements. While you do have to use the included USB Type-C cable to take advantage of the tool, there is a cable clamp that locks the cable into the top of your DualSense Edge and keeps it from falling out of the controller (not ripping the cable out from the console when you spike your controller, that’s a different matter).
What Sony offers on the DualSense Edge that you won’t see among the competition is software-based tuning directly from the console itself. While other controller manufacturers offer a mobile or PC app, that requires additional steps and hardware just to get tweak the controller and obviously can’t be done on the fly. Once the DualSense Edge is connected to the PlayStation 5, the function buttons offer a shortcut directly into the controller customization menu. From here, players can adjust each button on the controller in various ways, from programming the rear buttons to any two buttons to tweaking sticks and triggers alike.
Each stick on the DualSense Edge can be programmed independently with a deadzone customization as well as curve and sensitivity adjustments that allow players to tweak the acceleration from starting to tilt the stick all the way to the outer edges. In shooter terms, you can have a slower movement for sniper rifles to zero in your shots or switch to a more instant acceleration to have the stick move at full speed at just a little nudge for those that want to run around and blitz through combat with a shotgun where precise aiming isn’t as necessary. With the four onboard profiles, you can switch between profiles just as quickly as a new weapon on the fly. While the rest of the controller features aren’t accessible while using the controller on Remote Play, the profiles are saved on the controller itself.
All things considered, the DualSense Edge is the first-party controller that I’ve been waiting for on a Sony console for years. While it does not have the battery life that lives up to being a $200 prestige controller, charging the controller on a nightly basis or using the DualSense Edge as a wired controller gets around that concern. This is one controller I plan on reaching for above all else when the gaming mood strikes me.
Review unit provided by the manufacturer.
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