Ever since Microsoft launched its customisable Xbox Elite controller several years ago, we’ve eagerly awaited Sony’s response. Multiple years later, it’s finally here, along with the $339 question: is the PS5’s DualSense Edge controller worth the wait?
At the risk of being disappointingly non-committal, the DualSense Edge is a stellar controller that comes with multiple caveats. Firstly, only the most ardent of gamers will take full advantage of its impressive array of features. Also, and arguably the most obvious sticking point: $339 is a lot of money for a game controller – you could buy a Nintendo Switch Lite console and still have change left over.
Fully living up to its price tag, the DualSense Edge delivers on its premium promise of ultra customisability. From its presentation to the way it feels in your hands, this is undoubtedly an upgrade over the original DualSense. Just how much of an upgrade depends entirely on your gaming habits.
DualSense Edge controller first impressions
At first hold, you could be forgiven for thinking the DualSense Edge isn’t all that discernably different from the standard PS5 controller. However, it’s after noticing the many small details that its unique qualities arise.
From an aesthetic perspective, its black panels stand out from the base controller’s predominantly white finish. The iconic PlayStation symbols embossed on the touchpad are a nice touch, as are the textured triggers and slightly coarser grips. Thanks to such a cohesive approach to its cosmetic design, the DualSense Edge’s functional attributes blend in seamlessly. Neither the two function buttons, one below each control stick, and dual rear sockets stick out as blemishes, nor do the trigger depth switches. However, the glossy casing that houses the interchangeable stick modules is a magnet for smudges.
Following the included instructions, swapping out different control sticks and installing the rear buttons is pleasingly simple. If even I – with my clumsy fine motor skills and limited patience for fiddly things – can do it, so can you. Tweaking the DualSense Edge makes you feel like a mini blacksmith of sorts, tinkering with your tools of the trade. The only hassle I had was trying to slide the release mechanism to release the control stick housing – damn my short fingernails.
Another impressive factor to note is how nicely packaged the controller is. Already neatly arranged in the included white hard-shell carry case, everything from the controller to its bundled accessories is easy to locate and access. Of course, you don’t buy a premium controller for its casing, but it’s a welcome addition, nonetheless.
DualSense Edge controller specifications
As you’d expect with such an expensive peripheral, you get more than just a controller. Beyond its carry case, each DualSense Edge includes various accessories for customisation.
DualSense Edge controller Carry case Three control stick caps: standard concave, low dome convex, high dome convex Two pairs of rear buttons: half dome, lever Braided USB-C to USB-A cable Charger connector casing
Maybe an odd thing to praise is its charging cable, which is one of the longest I’ve seen included with a game controller. I measured the cable to be roughly 2.7m long, which makes playing your PS5 while charging a controller far more viable. Anyone familiar with the original DualSense’s charging cable knows the pain of its uncomfortably short length, so the longer charger is welcome. However, this alludes to the DualSense Edge’s biggest weakness: its battery life, which I’ll discuss further later in the review.
Despite my strong preference for console gaming, I’ve never used an “elite” controller variant before. Prior to testing the DualSense Edge, I worried that I wouldn’t know where to start and get the most out of its rich customization features. Fortunately, my fears quickly dissipated after connecting the controller to my PS5 for the first time. Sony’s design team clearly thought through the onboarding process, with a guided tour showing you each feature. After covering the hardware differences of the new device, you then have the option of tweaking the DualSense Edge at a software level.
Button mapping convenience
One of the first things you can tweak is the button mapping, changing the assignment of each input. I attached the rear half dome buttons and assigned them to perform the input of the L3 and R3 buttons. Many modern games map some form of sprint or crouch to these buttons, but it’s sometimes tricky to click in the control sticks while on the move during intense moments of action. Although it involved wrestling against years of muscle memory, using the rear buttons to sprint in Fortnite felt natural and allowed me to focus on moving under pressure.
Although controller remapping is not necessarily a new and groundbreaking feature, what makes it particularly helpful with the DualSense Edge is the ability to save multiple custom profiles. This means you can assign different input settings and sensitivities for different users or genres of games. The function buttons below the control sticks make it effortless to swap between profiles, too. By holding down the function button, all it takes is another button press to instantly use a different software configuration. It’s cleverly implemented and saves wading through menus whenever you want to change things up.
Aside from remapping buttons, custom profiles let you adjust the control stick sensitivity and deadzones. This refers to how quickly a game registers your movement according to the amount you push the stick. Usually, if you move the stick slightly, your character moves slowly, whereby moving the stick to the edge means faster movement. This is more important in some games than it is in others.
Fighters, like the Street Fighter and Tekken series, favour quick inputs, so it’s better to increase the sensitivity so that the slightest touch registers as a full movement. However, this wouldn’t fly with games requiring stealth, where you need the full span of the stick’s movement for precise control. Being able to program different presets and access them so easily using the DualSense Edge is incredibly convenient.
On a hardware level, the included accessories give you even more customisation options. New to the DualSense Edge is the set of rear buttons, helpful for freeing up your thumbs to use the controller’s face buttons. Out of the two included sets, I preferred the half domes because I could comfortably reach them with my middle fingers. If you use a more claw-like grip, with your pointer fingers on the bumpers and middle fingers on the triggers, the levers are likely the better option due to the fact they sit lower and within reach of your ring fingers.
Since the DualShock 4, Sony has favoured concave control sticks, and these come as the default on the DualSense Edge as well. I tried both the low and high dome convex stick caps but found my sweaty mitts slipping off them more frequently. They’d be cool while playing PS1 and PS2 classics though, as they’re reminiscent of the original DualShock analogue stick’s design.
This being said, I like the concept of the high dome sticks, as they protrude out further from the controller, making it less likely you’ll bump your thumbs into the side of the controller during fast movements. However, I was disappointed Sony didn’t include a high dome equivalent for the concave variant. I feel like I would’ve enjoyed the greater distance from the controller face with a grippier stick cap, but alas, it was not to be.
Battery woes: long cable, short life
Earlier, I mentioned the DualSense Edge’s long charging cable, which is notable for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s great that you can finally play your PS5 comfortably while charging a controller. However, this addition comes out of sheer necessity due to the premium controller’s disappointingly short battery life. Sony’s base DualSense controllers lag far behind Nintendo and Xbox’s respective first-party controllers in a battery contest. Especially the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, which would likely outlast human civilisation.
I estimated the DualSense Edge to last between six-to-seven hours between charges. It may sound like a reasonable amount but when other companies have set a higher bar for battery life, it’s a bummer. I wasn’t even playing any games that used its adaptive triggers or particularly strong haptic feedback, so it wouldn’t surprise me if it drained quicker depending on the game.
Would I buy the DualSense Edge controller?
Look, it’s the $339 price sticker that gives me pause here. Without a doubt, the DualSense Edge is a great controller, but it’s way more expensive than comparable devices. For example, the Xbox Elite Controller costs $249, with a $189 version that comes without a carry case and extra accessories. At nearly $100 more than its rival, the PS5 controller is a hard sell.
Another factor to consider is whether you would make full use of the DualSense Edge’s features. If you play competitive fighting games or shooters and would benefit from modular customization, it might be worth the investment. As I’m a generalist who plays many different games but doesn’t specialise in any genre that requires high precision or quick reflexes, I appreciate the Edge’s overall quality but am clearly not the target market.
I would consider buying it on sale if a retailer listed it below $300, as it is noticeably better and more comfortable than the original DualSense. Its short battery life, while disappointing, is something I can deal with without too much trouble. For now, you can only order the controller directly from Sony, with local stores due to start selling it next month.
DualSense Edge controller
A stellar controller that comes with multiple caveats, the DualSense Edge's high price restricts the potential audience who would benefit from its increased quality and customisation.
Value for money
Ease of use
Impressive amount of modular customisation features
More grippy and comfortable than the original DualSense
Sturdy and convenient carry case to house the controller and accessories
Extremely expensive for a game controller
Disappointingly short battery life
Only comes with one set of concave stick caps, compared to two sets of convex caps