From the moment the DualSense first arrived, I never liked it. The design of the PS5 itself, despite its chunky domination of the room and odd curvature to support a disk tray, has slowly grown on me. I still find the whole system a little self-serious in its appearance, trying to fit in with the home entertainment system and looking like a kid wearing their father’s suit. It’s minimalist and sophisticated, but mostly ridiculous. However, I have begun to appreciate the PS5’s appeal, just the controller has been left behind. I still find it washed out and ugly. The DualSense Edge changes all that, while also bringing a variety of useful upgrades.
From the second you open up the plastic zip bag the DualSense Edge comes in, it looks like a video game controller. The DualSense is too concerned with looking like the remote you might use to adjust the temperature on the underfloor heating or change the settings on whichever little computerised circle you have in your house to spy on you and to tell you what the weather's like today. The black detailing on the Edge helps it feel far less washed out than the original DualSense, and while the touchpad is a little glossy, it has a lot more character than everything being pale.
Most people picking up the Edge will care more about performance than aesthetics though, so let’s get to it. The Edge has a variety of new features, most of which are useful to me personally, and all of which work well. Though I didn’t like how the DualSense looked, it was always a robust and effective controller, and the Edge builds on that.
One problem which crosses both aesthetics and practicality for the DualSense is that it’s just too damn big. The Edge is the same size (though the colouration again helps), but the handy back paddles make a major difference. The back of the controller now has space for either buttons or triggers, and while the triggers are a step down from the L2 and R2 buttons, they’re easier to reach quickly in games where you just need to tap them. The paddles you can add are springy and responsive, and a great addition for those without the huge hands the DualSense seems to have been optimised for. It’s a little heavier, but not enough to counteract this improvement.
The triggers themselves have come in for an improvement too. I’ve always felt the DualSense triggers are a little too loose by default – I know this is so games can apply their own tension, but not enough of them currently do, especially when you’re playing through the classic games on the PlayStation Plus collection. The Edge has three settings – one as loose as the DualSense, one as taut as possible, and one happy medium. Again, I see the value in the setting that needs the lightest tap in scenarios where extreme speed will give you the edge (wahey), but for general play I found the middle setting to be the most comfortable.
The thumbsticks themselves can be customised, with classic raised domes available instead of the modern indent. I switched over and I think I’ll stick with them. Changing is a matter of physically pulling them off the stick, and while I initially felt nervous about this, they came off and clipped in securely.
Setting the controller up is as easy as plugging in the cable provided, and when you first connect it you’ll be taken to a menu where you can customise the settings of these additional buttons (and, if you like, remap other functions too). Returning to this menu later just means selecting the controller from the Home menu, and there are two buttons below the thumbsticks which will let you quickly change between pre-saved button profiles mid-game.
The Edge is a big upgrade on the DualSense in a lot of small ways, and it will be my go-to controller for the rest of the PS5’s life cycle I expect. However, is it a $200 upgrade? I’m not sure. The steep price tag hurts my recommendation here – you could get three DualSenses and have change from the price of an Edge. If you’re a hardcore player looking for more ways to min-max your performance with minute customisation, then the Edge is an excellent choice. But for most people, it doesn’t do enough to justify the expense.
Sony provided a DualSense Edge for this review.
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