When Microsoft released its Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller in 2015, PlayStation fans were wondering when the company would release its own premium controller. After all, PlayStation had released some of the biggest innovations in the business with the handlebar design and a layout that has become standard in the industry.
With the PlayStation DualSense Edge, Sony borrows a few concepts from other devices and incorporates them in a complete package that marries the best of these innovations. Developed as a controller that will work with any title, it sports some of the basics of the stock DualSense. It has adaptive triggers that offer force feedback as you press the shoulder buttons.
DIFFERENCES ON THE SURFACE
The device will work with Sony’s own wireless charging docks and it boasts that same two-tone design, albeit with a black touchpad that has the brand’s iconic square, triangle, circle and cross motifs etched across the surface. In terms of hand-feel, the Edge nearly mirrors the DualSense. The two big differences lie in their respective weights, with the Edge being heavier at 335 grams while the stock DualSense is 281 grams. In addition, the Edge has a luxuriously textured grip that feels like the leather on a new basketball.
Although they appear similar on the front, flip the Edge over and you can see the extras that will give players an advantage. They’ll find adjustable trigger stops with sliders that have three settings. This enables the triggers to have a shorter travel distance, creating a hair-trigger effect that’s useful in shooters.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BACK PADDLES
Elsewhere on the back, the Edge has slots for paddles. This has been one of the biggest innovations in the controller scene over the past two generations. Popularized by SCUF controllers, it allows players to keep their thumbs on the analog sticks while reloading or jumping, giving them a distinct advantage in competitive play. The controller has two which is enough. Having four paddle buttons often overcomplicates the back of the controller and crowds the space.
Sony has conventional paddles that hug the sides of the handlebars, but what’s more intriguing is that these paddles can be switched out for half-dome back buttons, which I find easier to press. They feel more accessible to hit with the middle fingers compared to the conventional paddles. The reason is that the finger is angled so that it has more leverage and it ends up more responsive.
MODULARITY SAVING MONEY
Another element that other companies have added to controllers is modularity. Sony introduces this to the Edge by designing the controller with replaceable analog sticks. If that part of the device breaks, players don’t have to buy a whole new controller, which can be expensive the DualSense costs $69.99).
Instead, when the stick breaks down, players can buy a $19.99 module and replace it. The process is easy and requires players to remove the lower faceplate and lift a lever to nudge the module out. Other companies have developed similar elements such as the Astro C40 TR or the Victrix Pro BFG, but they require players to use a specialized screwdriver. Everything that’s needed to mod the Edge is already built in.
At the bottom of the controller beneath the sticks lies Fn Buttons, which is a new addition. It’s mainly used to adjust the controller on the fly. Players press the button, and when used with the D-pad, they can control the volume of the game and chat balance when playing multiplayer titles. When using the same Fn Buttons and the face buttons, players can instantly switch between custom profiles. If players are grinding through shooters for an hour and move on to an adventure game, they can switch out the profiles by hitting those buttons. It would have been interesting if Sony added more functionality to the Fn Button, such as an EQ profile or a way to shut off extraneous buttons for tournament situations, but as it is, the new buttons are serviceable but also hold more potential.
The controller works responsively across a number of games. Because it’s fully featured with force feedback, it works with all games that use that functionality. That comes at a cost, though, because the battery life clocks in at a little under eight hours. Players can extend that by reducing the intensity of the rumble or dimming the lights on the controller, but that’s up to the players and the experiences they want.
The build quality on the Edge is great and that extends to its case and accessories. Unlike other elite-style controllers, the Edge has a sturdy hard-shell that looks like it can take a beating. The only issue is that the case looks so nice with its PlayStation accents one would want to get a shell casing just for the casing. Yes, it’s that gorgeous.
A thoughtful touch on the case was a charging port on the back that’s revealed by pulling down the Velcro on the hard flap. It opens up a hole where players can charge the controller without ever taking it out of the case.
Inside the case, there’s storage space for a braided USB cable. It connects a USB-A plug to the controller’s USB-C slot. It has a connector housing that locks the cable into the controller so that in tournament situations, it doesn’t accidentally come loose. The half-dome caps are easy to snap on and off the analog sticks. One set has the standard height and the others are taller, which benefits shooter aficionados because of the increased leverage.
This is also where players store the metal paddles. Again there are two sets. If users need any instructions, a QR code is printed on the inside of the lid.
THE EASE OF BUILT-IN SUPPORTA major bonus that the Edge has over its competitors is that it connects directly to the PlayStation 5, and there’s native support to tweak the button configurations, the sticks and triggers. The software is easy to use and has enough granularity for most gamers. They can even set the size of the dead zone in the analog sticks or triggers.
The Edge offers nearly enough high-quality features that justify its $199.99 price point. It’s more than double the price for a regular DualSense, but it does have the best implementation of paddles and modular analog sticks I’ve seen on a controller. It compares favorably in value to the likes of the Scuf Reflex Pro. If you’re a gamer that runs through controllers quickly through rough play or wear and tear, then the replaceable sticks offers a smart solution and this modularity makes this a controller that will last you in the long run.
PlayStation DualSense Edge
4 stars out of 4