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PS5 DualSense Edge Controller review: a luxury pad that misses the mark
The DualSense Edge Controller will clearly appeal to competitive PS5 gamers, but what about everyone else?
The PS5 DualSense Edge Controller is Sony’s first attempt at producing a competitive, pro-grade pad, and in many ways, it shows. While there’s plenty to appreciate in this expensive package, the DualSense Edge ultimately falls short in a few key areas. The Edge will predominantly appeal to those who want to give themselves every advantage possible when playing online, but there are alternative controllers out there that offer more.
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For $200, Sony needed to deliver a controller that could comprehensively justify that price point. However, with a battery life that pales in comparison to the standard $70 DualSense controller and a head-scratching decision to only include two back buttons instead of four, it’s impossible to champion Sony’s pro pad with too much enthusiasm. Ultimately, it’s why I think you should wait for a price drop.
Release date: January 26, 2023
The build quality is definitely worth applauding – the Edge feels sturdier and more premium than the classic DualSense. It’s also nice to know that the analog sticks can be swapped out if they develop drift in the future and I do enjoy the new ‘FN’ buttons that let you instantly switch between custom profiles and adjust your headset volume without having to quit your game.
Find out how the DualSense Edge makes these games better:
But when you compare the Edge to something like the Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller or rival offerings from Scuf, it feels like Sony couldn’t fully commit to offering core features that competitive players have come to expect. Yes, it’s wonderful to have a sturdy carrying case and a cable that can’t be accidentally ripped out mid-game. But why do you get a basic set of analog stick caps, no rubberized grips, and even worse battery life on the Edge? It feels like Sony focused on the wrong things, at times.
The Edge is a luxury upgrade, then, and still deserving of a spot on our best PS5 accessories list due to its durable design, a suite of customization options, and because it retains all the bits about the DualSense we’ve grown accustomed to. But, much like Microsoft’s first Elite Xbox controller, we’ll have to wait for a successor to the Edge for Sony to get its pro controller completely right. Read my full PS5 DualSense Edge Controller review below.
Score: 3.5 out of 5 🏆
How I tested the PS5 DualSense Edge Controller 🧪
I used the PS5 DualSense Edge to play all sorts of PlayStation 5 and PS4 games during my extensive testing. I made it through two full charge cycles, which lasted for six hours and 12 minutes during my first play session and six hours and 29 minutes on my second charge. The controller’s microphone was always muted and I used one of the best PS5 headsets when gaming, the SteelSeries Artcis Nova Pro Wireless.
I chose the lever/paddle-style back buttons over the half-circle ones as I felt they were more suited for my larger hands. I eventually settled on using a standard convex analog stick cap on the left stick, and the classic concave stick on the right. Convex-shaped sticks are better for pushing motions such as walking forwards – something that happens more on the left stick – while concave sticks are more appropriate for pulling motions, like when you move quickly from side to side when aiming.
While I eventually settled for the default stick sensitivity settings after trying some of the other presets out, I also created two profiles to switch between adventure games and driving games. I mapped melee attacks and the interact button in The Last of Us Part 1 to the back buttons, and gear shifting up and down in Gran Turismo 7. I also tried out the trigger locks in Call of Duty: Vanguard, which let me fire quicker than if I had to press the R2 button down fully.
I briefly connected the DualSense Edge to the PS5 using the included cable, but I primarily play wirelessly as I sit quite far back from my TV. In terms of the games I played during my testing, I tried everything from Hotline Miami 2 and Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes to God of War Ragnarok and Tetris Effect: Connected.
A review unit of the PS5 DualSense Edge Controller was provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment.
What I liked about the PS5 DualSense Edge Controller ❤️
👍 It retains everything great about the original DualSense controller. I already thought the PS5 DualSense Controller was the best pad Sony has ever made, and thankfully the Edge keeps the best bits that we already know and love such as haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, the touchpad, and ergonomic design. Everything that you’d expect to be here is alive and well.
👌 The FN buttons. The FN, or function buttons, are surprisingly useful. By pressing either the left or right FN button, you can quickly switch between four user profiles without having to leave the game. What’s more, you can also adjust your headset and chat balance volume, which is a feature I immediately appreciated.
👏 Two types of back buttons to choose from. The PS5 DualSense Edge controller comes with two types of back buttons or paddles that can be attached to the rear of the pad magnetically. I personally preferred the more classic paddle-shaped back button as opposed to the small half circles, but it’s great that Sony chose to include two options for players to experiment with.
😌 Profiles are easy to create and understand. The DualSense Edge includes some clever software tweaks that let you remap every single button on the controller and adjust the sensitivity/deadzones of each analog stick and the triggers. Sony provides a clear breakdown of what each stick sensitivity setting does and there are five to choose from over the default sensitivity. I’ve never really felt the need to tweak the sensitivity on the DualSense, but it’s a nice option to have for those who like to tinker and want to fine-tune every aspect.
Clean and simple UI. The same can be said about Sony’s UI for the DualSense Edge. It mimics the PS5’s system settings so it’s instantly recognizable, easy to find, and isn’t confined to some standalone app.
🎮 Removable analog stick modules. If your controller ever develops stick drift in the future – the phenomenon where your inputs are registered without you touching the analog sticks – the Edge lets you swap out each analog stick module and replace them. Replacements cost $20, but it means you won’t be at the mercy of a repair shop once your controller runs out of warranty. The process of removing the stick modules is super simple, thankfully. Simply slide the release button on the back of the controller, lift off the faceplate and lift the silver lever next to the module. The analog stick module will then slide right out.
💼 Premium case. Sony has spared no expense when it comes to the DualSense Edge Controller’s case. It’s made from tough plastic and has cutouts and sections for every accessory inside. A velcro compartment can be opened on the top of the case which lets you charge the Edge controller while it’s inside the case, and a QR code inside takes you to a handy online guide. You can rest assured your expensive pad will be protected from shocks, drops, and the elements with this case.
🔐 Long cable with locking mechanism. Pro gamers will tell you playing wired is the way to go, as it reduces input lag and means you’ll never be caught out mid-game should your controller run out of battery. Thankfully Sony has included a lengthy braided cable that cleverly locks onto the top of the DualSense Edge to prevent it from being ripped out accidentally. It’s a nice addition, though a little over-engineered if I’m being honest.
🔫 Hair trigger locks. You can select between three trigger lock settings on the Edge that reduce the trigger’s travel distance. A full lock and middle setting reduce the triggers’ travel so you can register your shots quicker in a first-person shooter.
🤲 Slightly more textured hand grips. The DualSense Edge’s grips are ever so slightly rougher than those you’ll find on the standard controller. They never feel abrasive, but just give you a little bit more purchase and security if you’re someone who gets sweaty palms during those heated gamer moments.
💡 Brighter light bar. One unexpected plus point for the DualSense Edge is the controller’s light bar. It’s noticeably brighter and doesn’t fade in intensity near the top like on the standard DualSense pad.
What I disliked about the PS5 DualSense Edge Controller 💔
🔋 Middling battery life. Sony already admitted that the DualSense Edge has worse battery life than the classic DualSense controller, and it turns out that is indeed the case. I managed to get six hours and 12 minutes out of my first playthrough with the DualSense Edge, which was predominantly spent playing Gran Turismo 7, a game that makes good use of the haptics, adaptive triggers, and the back buttons for shifting gears. However, even when playing The Last of Us Part 2 for the majority of my second timed test, the DualSense Edge only lasted six hours and 29 minutes. There’s always a chance that some games could result in more (or less) battery life – I didn’t have a headset plugged in, for example – but it’s frankly shocking that the DualSense Edge averages around six hours of playtime after a full charge. That’s worse than the seven to eight hours I tend to get from the original DualSense controller, which costs $70.
🤦♂️ Only two back buttons, not four. I can’t understand why Sony chose to opt for just two back buttons instead of four. The back buttons’ main function is to replace the face buttons so you never have to take your thumbs off the analog sticks when playing a game. With only two back buttons, though, there’s a good chance you’ll need to reach over with your right thumb to press a button that can’t be mapped. As nice as an addition as the Edge’s back buttons are, they only do half the job.
👎 The poor selection of analog stick caps. In the Edge’s premium case, you’ll find four convex analog sticks – like those on the DualShock 3 controller for PS3 – two of which are slightly taller. I wished Sony would have at least included a taller concave stick cap, as what’s on offer provides limited options.
🤔 Were the removable analog stick modules necessary? While I welcome the fact you can pop off the analog stick modules and replace them, we’ve seen more third-party controllers opt for Hall Effect sensors recently that are immune to stick drift. There’s no reason why Sony couldn’t have done the same for the Edge instead of opting for this brute-force solution, and it could have helped lower the overall price.
🤢 Glossy plastic face plate. I hate glossy plastic at the best of times – it’s just a breeding ground for fingerprints and grime to build up – but the cover that sits over the analog stick just looks and feels offensively cheap compared to the rest of the DualSense Edge Controller.
💰 The price. At $200, the DualSense Edge is one of the most expensive pro controllers on the market. It’s more expensive than Microsoft’s $179 Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller and the same price as Scuf’s Reflex controller. If Sony could have offered a more competitive price point, it would have diminished some of the controller’s flaws. However, I was expecting more for this price.
Should you buy the PS5 DualSense Edge Controller? 🤔
✅ You want an official pro controller from Sony that retains all the best bits about the PS5 DualSense controller.
✅ You’re after a more durable alternative to the DualSense that is easy to fix if you develop stick drift.
✅ You play competitive games and want to take every step to gain an advantage.
❌ You’re looking for a PS5 pad with more battery life than the original DualSense controller.
❌ You’re someone who primarily plays single-player games and rarely plays competitive games online.
❌ You think this will magically make you a better gamer.
Your questions answered 👇
Have a question about the PS5 DualSense Edge Controller? We asked our Twitter followers to drop any burning questions they had before this review was published, but you can also get in touch in the comments section below.
Does the DualSense Edge work with the PS5 DualSense Charging Station?
Yes! The PS5 DualSense Charging Station works perfectly with the DualSense Edge Controller, no matter which back buttons you have attached. The FN buttons don’t cause any issues either, which was admittedly something I was concerned about when Sony first revealed its pro pad at Gamescom 2022.
Does the Edge feel as premium as the Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller?
As someone who religiously uses the Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless controller, I think the Edge actually feels more premium than Microsoft’s pro pad. It’s missing a few features that I love about Microsoft’s controller – adjustable analog stick tension, four back buttons, 40-hour battery life, swappable D-pads, and rubberized grips – but my Elite Series 2 has let me down when it comes to durability. The right trigger has gone squishy, one of the analog sticks has developed drift, and the sliders for the hair triggers have both lost their rubber tips. It remains to be seen how the DualSense Edge will hold up over time, but for now, I’d say it pips Microsoft’s pad for overall durability and that premium feel.
Is the Edge as squeaky and cheap feeling as the DualSense? Or is it more robust?
While I personally think the original DualSense controllers are fairly well built, I do think the Edge feels more sturdy. Twisting the handles back and forth doesn’t produce any noticeable give or noise like on the default pads, and the extra weight gives a premium heft to the controller (330 grams vs 270 grams). The only thing that lets the DualSense Edge down is the cheap glossy plastic faceplate as it’s at odds with the rest of the excellent built quality.
Is the PS5 DualSense Edge Controller worth the money?
What one person thinks is good value compared to another is ultimately subjective. However, there are too many concessions to justify Sony’s $200 price point for the DualSense Edge. The battery life is worse than the original DualSense, it only has two back buttons instead of four, and other pro controllers have included desirable features that could have really benefitted the Edge considering it’s one of the most expensive pads on the market.
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First published: January 23, 2023
Updated: July 4, 2023