How much can a controller cost? The answer to that question is as vague as it is true: it depends on your own preferences and wallet. For one, a normal controller already costs quite a lot. After all, a normal DualSense controller for the PlayStation 5 costs seven tenners and for that money you could have added a new game to your collection. However, someone who spends hundreds of hours a year on their console or plays in a specific game at such a high level that a difference in the ‘box’ with which you control the game will make a difference, can make a different assessment. A more expensive controller with more features may provide those hundreds of hours with more comfort or better performance. Is more than 100 euros, or in this case even 240 euros, too much, or an acceptable offer? PlayStation 5 gamers will be able to ask themselves these questions at the end of January when the DualSense Edge controller will appear. User were recently able to get started with it, to get a first impression of what paying 240 euros for a controller actually yields.
However, let’s start with a disclaimer, because Sony is of course not the only party that has a pro controller for consoles. Competitor Microsoft already preceded Sony with the Elite controllers for Xbox consoles and other parties even make their own controllers for Sony’s consoles. For example, Scuf offers various controllers for the PlayStation 5 that are not far from what the DualSense Edge has to offer in terms of functions. So much of what Sony is offering from the end of January isn’t new. The problem, however, is that you quickly lose more with Scuf: the two top models are both more expensive than the DualSense Edge and that is without the box to store the controller. Scuf allows consumers to personalize their controllers, but you pay extra for every color change,
In that respect, the DualSense Edge seems to be a quite attractive option in this segment, or in any case: not priced very differently from its direct competition. However, Sony would probably do well to work on an interim solution in the future, or even a cheaper model. Xbox has made its controller cheaper over the years. As a result, their Elite alternative is now roughly twice as expensive as a normal controller and that immediately feels more manageable than a controller that is three, almost four times as expensive as a normal version.
More and interchangeable buttons
The DualSense Edge has its origins in the development of the normal DualSense controller. PlayStation always had the idea of offering more ‘hardcore’ gamers the opportunity to get more out of their gaming experiences with a pro controller, but the focus was logically first on developing the DualSense. The Edge version is broadly the same controller, but more luxurious and with more buttons and options. If you put both controllers next to each other, you will immediately see the similarities. The main shapes are identical. Apart from the fact that the back is provided with a layer that provides better grip, the Edge holds the same as a normal DualSense controller. If you experience that as unpleasant, it is no different with the Edge.That’s not a problem for me, on the contrary:
Need a new controller?
That I like the DualSense so much is of course nice, but also a disadvantage. It means that I don’t need a new controller for the PlayStation 5 at all. Still thinking about an upgrade means that the upgrade must be very good and the difference must be big. Why else would you spend 240 euros? The Edge must therefore bring clearly noticeable differences, no, advantages. Those benefits must be achieved by adding extra buttons, software support for those extra buttons, and luxury features such as a nice charging cable and a box to take your controller with you.
That box also serves as a carrier for all the extras. You will also find your cable there, a clip with which you can anchor the cable in your controller, the interchangeable thumbsticks and the extra buttons that you can place on the back of the controller. The box has a hatch at the back, so that you can also charge the controller when it is in the box. Smart idea, but it feels a bit cheap. Wouldn’t it have been possible to include a battery in the box, so that you automatically charge the controller when it is in it, similar to how many in-ear headphones work today? That would have given the whole thing a much more elite look.
The interchangeable buttons naturally attract attention when you open the box. The Edge is equipped with the standard thumbsticks, but you can take them off and replace them with versions with a more rounded head. You will find this version in a short and a longer version. The longer version helps, for example, to have more control in racing games, because in theory, you can steer more precisely. On the back you can choose small ‘half-dome’ buttons or larger flippers, which PlayStation even describes as ‘levers’. You can easily click them into the controller and remove them just as easily. Just above these extra buttons are two sliders that allow you to set how far you can press the triggers.For some games you’ll want to use their full range, but in other games, like shooters, faster pressure is often better. You can set it up that way.
Replace thumb stick module
Finally, you can also remove the thumbstick modules in their entirety. You pull a slide on the back of the controller to release the front, pull up a lever on the inside and then slide the module out of the controller. The way back is just as easy: module in, lever down again, plate back on the front, and done. Why would you want that? Well, the internals of the thumbsticks have of course been the subject of discussion before and are not known as the most robust part of the controller. It’s nice that you can easily change that part.
All of the above is nice, but the biggest quality-of-life improvement is probably the presence of the function buttons on the underside of the thumbsticks. These are similar to the button of the same name that you know from the keyboard of laptops. Holding that button changes the functions of buttons elsewhere on your keyboard, so you have more functions that you can control directly from your keyboard. This is no different with the buttons on the DualSense Edge. You use the function buttons to switch active profiles, more about that in a moment, but also to directly adjust the volume of your headset or the balance between game sound and party chat. You always have to do that via menus on the PlayStation 5, which is inconvenient when you’re in the middle of a game,notices that you can’t understand your teammates well enough, and want to adjust the balance quickly. It sounds stupid, but this feature probably got us the most excited. The advantage is noticeable: you use it often and that makes such a small feature tangible and therefore very pleasant.
Settings and profiles
Fortunately, the Edge has a lot more to offer than just the option to adjust the volume. There’s a lot to set up. That starts with being able to switch buttons. If you want to have a cross as a circle in every game, you can set it up like this. You can also link the extra buttons on the back to a normal button. Consider, for example, the L3 button: with this thumbstick, you walk in many games, but pressing the thumbstick leads to a certain action, such as running, ducking, or a melee attack. Because you use the thumbstick constantly, you may sometimes click it accidentally, resulting in an unintended action. We can well imagine disabling button presses altogether on the thumbstick and linking that action to one of the rear buttons, which could make for a better gaming experience.
That’s nice, but at the same time not very groundbreaking. After all, there are plenty of games that allow you to extensively adjust the ‘button mapping’ on your controller. The option to swap or disable certain buttons does not need to be controlled at the system level. It even led to confusion in one of the games we tested with the Egde controller. In God of War Ragnarok, it turned out that some buttons had already been turned. We more or less reversed those changes because of how we had set up our profile on the controller. So it seems to be a matter of finding specific games for which you make your adjustments.
This is also reflected in the other options. You can also set how the thumbsticks and triggers should deal with your input. For example, you can set a certain ‘dead zone’ for each of those buttons, but also what it means when you half-press the button. Consider, for example, the difference between an accelerator and a brake pedal in a racing game. You especially want to be able to press the accelerator hard and it helps if the first bit does not immediately lead to a reaction in the game. Your brake pedal should respond as quickly as possible, but not so lightly that dosing is no longer possible. So you can play with these kinds of settings to find the best possible adjustment for each type of game.
All these settings are saved as a profile on the controller. One profile is your default and you can save three more on the controller. This means that if you go to play elsewhere and connect your controller to another console, your personal settings can still be used; after all, they are on your controller. By the way, you can save dozens of profiles on your PlayStation, which you can transfer to your controller as desired. If you have them on that controller, you can quickly switch active profiles by combining one of the function buttons with one of the action buttons. Under the cross is your standard profile and under the other buttons your other profiles. So you can quickly change settings in-game, which can be an advantage in games with multiple types of gameplay.
The question with all these features is of course: what is the real benefit to you? That depends very much on how good you are and therefore how much benefit you would benefit from more convenient settings. It’s all profit in relatively small margins, of course. It also plays a role in how you are used to playing games. In God of War Ragnarok, for example, I clearly noticed that my muscle memory completely disagreed with the fact that I suddenly wanted to use two extra buttons on the back of the controller. Shortening the triggers did make a difference, but in a game like God of War that is a lot less important than in a shooter, for example. As said: the added value of what can be set on the Edge will differ per game.
The choice whether or not to switch to a pro controller is by definition a personal one. It’s an investment that pays off in more comfort while playing and adjustable options that could mean a competitive advantage. After all, you can’t adjust button mapping in every game and you can with the Edge controller. The extra features are nice, although it is striking that the ability to control the volume of your headset without consulting menus is seen by us in advance as one of the nicest features.
Without using the controller for a long time, it’s difficult to determine whether it could be worth its price tag. Instinctively you would say: no. But about phones, users often say: ‘It’s the device you use most often, you shouldn’t save on that’. If you know that there are many gamers who spend hundreds of hours a year with their PlayStation 5, how ‘weird’ is it to make those hours more enjoyable by investing in the device with which you operate that console? Another question is how the Edge compares to other controllers with additional features. Perhaps in the future we will get to compare them directly with each other, to determine which controller is best to use with the PlayStation 5.
The DualSense Edge controller will be available from January 26 for a suggested retail price of 239.99 euros.