Our first impressions of PlayStation’s premium DualSense Edge PS5 controller are somewhat muted. It largely feels the same in the hands as the standard model, visually it comes with a few added niceties, yet it costs £150/$130 more. That reality will doubtlessly be hard to swallow for some, especially if this is your first foray into the premium controller market, but if you have the inclination to dig a little deeper (both into the controller’s fresh features and indeed your pockets), there is additional meat on these familiar old bones.
For starters, the DualSense Edge offers some welcome customisation options for your sticks, and this new modular approach means you won’t need to replace your full controller should the unwelcome spectre of stick drift come knocking. You’re also getting two additional stick cap styles beyond the original DualSense ones: a high-rise and a low-rise option, both comparable to the domed-top sticks on the classic DualShock controllers. Thankfully, it’s simple to switch out the stick caps and the entire stick module should you ever need to replace it. You can pick up a fresh module online for around the £20/$20 mark, so while stick drift still comes with a cost, it’s certainly not as painful a prospect as binning a borked controller.
Then there are the back buttons, which for many titles are a proper game-changer. Yes, they make the most sense for competitive shooters where you’ll want to eke out any possible advantage, but I’ve found them equally useful when endlessly slinging spells in Forspoken or racing to freeze a necromorph in Dead Space. The Edge comes with two back button types: one smaller and less obtrusive, the other longer and easier to press in a pinch. They’re a terrific, high-quality addition, and they easily attached to the controller with a satisfying magnetic snap. The only real downside is that you’re only getting two back buttons compared to the Xbox Elite Series or SCUF Reflex Pro’s four. This ultimately limits your ability to go wild with button remapping via the new - and rather slick - DualSense Edge menu.
This is another strong addition that makes quickly switching between button presets and remapping layouts a cinch. You can pull up the pop-up menu by hitting the new FN buttons located below each stick, and you can even play around with stick dead zones and sensitivity if you so please. I very much enjoyed switching between my multiple layout profiles after a whole bunch of fiddling around, and if you’re the type to spend £210/$200 on a controller, that’s probably your idea of a good time too. In fact, jumping between profiles is so speedy that I even found myself hopping between multiple within a single game to suit my current activity. This isn’t going to feel essential in most titles, but the option’s always there.
Beyond that, you can switch the depth of your trigger presses between three settings using a manual switch on the controller’s back. The highest option is handy for twitch shooters where rapid responses are a necessity, while the lowest option, which is standard, lets you enjoy the adaptive triggers to the fullest.
The DualSense Edge also comes with a braided charging cable, which you can lock to the controller to avoid any accidents, and a rather fetching carry case. It’s white, it’s hard-shell plastic, and it’s likely never leaving my house, though I suppose it’s nevertheless nice to have and adds a bit to the overall premium feel. I do like that it offers easy access for charging your controller while it’s all nice and snug in there.
Regrettably, there’s one obvious win left unexplored here: improved battery life. But it’s not just that you’re getting the same mileage here as you would with the original DualSense - no, the Edge’s battery life is weaker still, dropping from 1560 mAh to 1050 mAh. Considering battery life is likely the biggest widespread criticism of the otherwise well-liked DualSense, it’s frustrating to see the problem worsen here, and even as someone who doesn’t regularly use all of the controller’s more battery-hogging features, charging the Edge has still had to become an almost daily ritual. A five-hour battery life with adaptive triggers and haptic feedback turned on is hardly the most devastating of inconveniences, but it’s an undeniably disappointing step backwards.
So while the DualSense Edge is convincingly premium and comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect of its weighty price tag, it’s the weak battery life that holds it back from being the clear-cut best PS5 controller. Sadly, splitting hairs is a necessity when the price is this steep and the competition at this level is generally so strong, yet the strength of the original DualSense design combined with the Edge’s iterative additions still puts it right up there. The question is whether you find the standard DualSense to be sufficiently premium for your tastes, and I suspect most will.