Many people will see what at a quick glance seems to be a regular ol’ PS5 controller and wonder why it costs around €200, then immediately think “I would never pay that much for a PS5 controller! That’s crazy!”
It’s not crazy, it’s actually totally fine. If you thought anything like the above, this controller isn’t for you. Neither is a €200+ keyboard, or a €100 mouse, or a €40 mousepad. These peripheral devices are designed for people who have perfected the craft of gaming to such a point that an upgrade of their tools will unlock their ability to bring their gaming experience to the next level. Move better, aim more accurately, and shoot immediately.
A novice home DIYer doesn’t buy craftsman’s tools to put together IKEA furniture, just as a master joiner doesn’t buy an orbital sander in Lidl (no offence Lidl).
Sony saw there were already some third-party high-end controllers on the market like the customizable Scuff Reflex Pro and RIVAL Premium and thought to themselves “why don’t we do that, but better?” and better they did – for the most part.
The DualSense Edge has the immediate benefit of being first-party tech from Sony. Any other controller just has to do its best to emulate the existing controller where it can, whereas Sony can design a new controller that interacts with the PS5 operating system and games in a different way and simply release a software update to make sure everything plays nice together and works seamlessly on the PS5.
And so, we get to the physical differences between the stock controller and the DualSense Edge.
The new controller comes in its own dedicated hard case which keeps it safe and holds all of the extra bits and bobs that come with it. There are 2 sets of interchangeable back buttons, three different sets of thumb sticks, a nice new braided USB cable, and even a clever little device that locks the cable into your controller. Gone are the days of accidentally disconnecting your already low-battery controller.
The triggers have switches to change their actuation points so if you’re playing a shooter like 'Call of Duty', they respond immediately to your touch, or if you’re playing 'Gran Turismo' you can gently feather the throttle out of a corner, or find the exact point just before your breaks lock. The Scuff has an option like this in its customization, but it costs an extra €44.99 (a fully customized Scuff can cost as much just over €420) – and even with this extra cost it is a permanent change. Imagine trying to play 'Gran Turismo' with either 100% throttle or 100% brake and nothing in between. No thanks.
Going back to that software update the PS5 received to coincide with the DualSense Edge release, one very important reason for that was the controller software customization. Just below the thumb sticks are two tabs which are programmable, along with the two new underside buttons (or triggers depending on your setup). The difference with these tabs is that if you hold them down you can quickly change your pre-set profile. Have a setup that works great for 'Horizon'? Save it! Turns out it doesn’t work well for 'Ghost of Tsushima'? Save a different profile for Jin Sakai!
Another very interesting design choice is the addition of completely removable thumb stick modules. On one hand, this is great, if you have a thumb stick issue such as a younger sibling or child covering it in jam, a set of replacements is a very reasonable (roughly) €20. On the other hand, easily replaceable thumb stick modules will immediately say to some people “expect to experience stick drift at some stage”, and issue that affects many controllers but most infamously the Nintendo Switch JoyCons.
It's not all good, unfortunately. Perhaps explaining the fancy new braided USB cable with locking mechanism, the battery life of the controller is actually worse than the stock PS5 controller. This was quite a letdown as it should be something that is easy to improve over the stock controller. Most players likely wouldn’t mind a slightly heavier or bulkier controller if it meant improved battery life. Was this simply overlooked by Sony? Or was there a more nuanced design choice that led to this downgrade? This might not even bother some people who play exclusively wired, but it is still worse than the original.
Another strange occurrence was testing the controller on PC. Initially, it worked fine, just like the regular controller, but then there must have been some kind of a firmware update because it just stopped working. In an effort to troubleshoot, we confirmed the original controller still works on PC which almost makes it even more strange. Some people have found workarounds by enabling the controller in Steam but for the price of this product, and as the original still works, it should be plug-and-play. Though if you’re a PC player looking for a good controller, an Xbox controller is probably a safer choice. In any case, the DualSense Edge isn’t marketed for PC so we won’t dock it points here.
Overall, this is an extremely stylish, functionally superior controller. Better in almost every way than most, if not all, of the other controllers on the market, only let down by its inferior battery capacity. It feels great in your hands, and if you’re at the stage where you want to get serious about your gaming you could do a lot worse than this.