Nacon Revolution 5 Pro controller review - asymmetrical greatness

Nacon revolution 5 pro controller in black

Nacon revolution 5 pro controller in black

It's not easy making a good premium controller for the PS5, especially when Sony has a bunch of proprietary features like haptics and trigger effects they don't want to share, but Nacon has pulled it off to the best of its abilities. The Revolution 5 Pro is an excellent controller that narrowly misses being the best PS5 controller out there, but through no fault of the French peripherals brand.

The Revolution 5 Pro goes for the Xbox-style asymmetrical thumbstick design we've grown to love from some of the best Xbox controllers around. It still retains that classic PlayStation shape though, but it's formed ever so slightly more like an Xbox controller. Regardless, it fits in the hand beautifully, and the Revolution 5 Pro is the comfiest controller I've ever used.

Its thumbsticks are concave, with a nice wide indentation that makes the controller more precise. The sticks are just loose enough to flick easily, but they also have enough tension to ensure you're not clickety-clacking all over the place in games like Gran Turismo that ask you for precise and smooth inputs. The thumbsticks are also made of a premium rubber that's not too slick or textured.

Nacon revolution 5 pro controller in white
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The Revolution 5 Pro has triggers that are more like an Xbox controller, but slimmed down like you find on the newest Series X pads. They have stippled texturing and a medium trigger pull to them. The shoulder buttons also have a definite click to them when you press them, in contrast to the mushier feeling of what we've come to expect from PlayStation controllers over the years. There are also Xbox Elite-style trigger stops on the rear, as well as 4 extra programmable buttons on the rear that you can hit with your little and ring fingers.

This clickyness carries over to all of the buttons, from the face buttons to the start (or whatever they're calling it these days) and social buttons. In comparison, the DualSense has buttons that are softer and devoid of any click, whereas the Revolution 5 Pro goes more for the Xbox approach of a more binary on or off feeling to each press.

Speaking of face buttons, they're also laid out closer together for a more competitive edge. This might all seem very Xbox to you - and it is, but it never feels like the R5P is just copying the Microsoft formula and pasting it over to Sony. It actually improves on both, and the buttons and general layout of the controller hit the perfect sweet spot between the worlds of green and blue.

Nacon revolution 5 pro controller in white in the hand
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You might think this is all well and good, but what about quality? What about issues like stick drift? Thankfully, Nacon has made a point of doing extensive research on this issue, implementing materials that are resistant to the problem.

The R5P is also made so that anyone can easily repair the controller. The thumbsticks are on separate electronic cards that can be swapped out, meaning you don't need to replace the rest of the controller if something does go wrong. Nacon also sells replacement parts in its online store too, so longevity won't be an issue no matter what.

The Nacon R5P's main body is constructed of rubberised plastic. It feels premium and you couldn't really ask for better (it feels much better than my Xbox Elite Controller). There's pure rubber grips on key holding points, like the sides and back of the controller, so it really doesn't slip around when things get sweaty. Overall, the controller construction is very premium, and there aren't any creaks or warps even with the tightest grip. I found the same with Nacon's Daija arcade stick when I reviewed it, so it seems the French company has got engineering down to a fine art.

Nacon revolution 5 pro controller in white dpad removal
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The Nacon Revolution 5 Pro comes with a plethora of accessories in the box. You get a hard carrying case, which has a number of different thumb sticks (concave and convex) and thumb stick extenders to get the perfect height. Inside are also metal weights. That's right, you can slide the back of the controller grips off and insert weights to tailor the total weight to your own comfort. You also get a braided USB-C charging cable - which you'll be plugging in around every 10 hours - a cleaning cloth, an 8-way and traditional 4-way d-pads, and a neat plastic case to keep it all in.

The R5P has an RBG light around one of its thumb sticks. You can save controller profiles via a PC and mobile app that allows you to switch between different colours and profiles, choosing things like trigger sensitivity and dead zones.

So far so good, right? Unfortunately, there are some downsides to Nacon's R5P controller that stop it from being the go-to premium PlayStation controller.

Firstly, to use the R5P with the PlayStation 5 console, you have to plug a USB Bluetooth dongle into the console - it can't be picked up by the PlayStation 5's onboard systems like a Sony-produced controller. This also means that you can't turn the PS5 console on by holding the PS button because the dongle is not powered at a PlayStation level.

Nacon revolution 5 pro controller in black underneath
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The second major issue is that the Nacon R5P has no vibration or trigger effects when playing PS5 games. Trigger effects are more understandable, but vibration functionality is only available when you're playing a PS4 game on a PS5, natively on a PS4, or on PC.

This means that not only is vibration missing (or the trigger effects, if you care about those), but also that you need to press the power button on the front of your console each time you want to turn it on. Needless to say, this adds a major hassle to your life compared to Sony's DualSense.

We spoke to Nacon about this, and these issues are to do with Sony's licencing, rather than an inability of the French company to actually implement these features. Sony blocks third parties from tapping into its proprietary trigger effects and haptics, and they have specified that you shouldn't be able to turn on the PS5 via Bluetooth or the PS button on anything other than their own official products.

Nacon revolution 5 pro controller in white exploded view
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So, while these issues do set the controller back in overall terms, nothing can be done about that - and it isn't Nacon's fault. Therefore, we can't really level criticism at the company for these features being missing. However, in the end, it doesn't change the fact that if the Nacon Revolution 5 Pro had those features, it would be the best PlayStation-style controller out there.

As it is, the Nacon Revolution 5 Pro is a great controller and many gamers, especially those looking for a premium product that gives them a competitive edge, will love the R5P's asymmetrical design, quality components, and plethora of customisability options.

The controller comes in at €229 (slightly more or less in GBP and USD), which is in the price range of Sony's DualSense Edge. With that, you don't get some of the problems that have cropped up here, but you also don't get the new layout and ability to customise as much as you do with the R5P either. So where the DualSense Edge isn't much of an upgrade over a standard DualSense when you factor in price, the R5P manages to feel like a substantial controller that's worth the money.

If you're not put off by the missing PS5 functionality, then we can easily recommend the Nacon Revolution 5 Pro as being one of the best premium controllers available to buy. But those who seek to game solely on the PS5 and want that seamless console experience with the rumble and trigger effects you get on Sony's DualSense might want to look elsewhere.

Nacon Revolution Pro 5 review
The Nacon Revolution 5 Pro is an almost-perfect controller. Its asymmetrical design fits great in the hand, and it comes with all the accessories and customisability features you'd want on a competitive controller, as well as having a premium, rugged construction. Missing PS5 features like haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, however, hold it back from perfection.
8 out of 10
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