When the PlayStation 5 was launched in November 2020, perhaps the best bit of innovation that it introduced was the new DualSense controller. A complete departure from its predecessor, the DualShock 4, Sony's new controller featured improved haptics, adaptive trigger functions, a more ergonomic design, and a much-needed USB Type-C port. While Microsoft stuck with a virtually unchanged controller for its Xbox Series S/X consoles, the DualSense embodied everything that was “next-gen” about the PS5, handing Sony a slight advantage in the console wars. Xbox does offer its own Elite Series 2 controller, one that has proved its quality in the pro controller space that Sony is likely trying to test with its new product.
That new product is the DualSense Edge, Sony's more customisable, more decked-out version to rival professional-grade gaming controllers. At its core, the DualSense Edge, released globally on January 26, retains the DNA of the DualSense. If you're not paying close attention, you could be forgiven for mistaking it for the default PS5 controller at first glance. The DualSense Edge presents familiar aesthetics and textures and is built in the mould of the DualSense. It is slightly heavier (roughly 325g against the DualSense's 281g) and comes in a dual-tone white-and-black finish, in line with the PS5's colour scheme. On the surface, there are some visual differences. The D-pad and face buttons and are filled in black, instead of the transparent ones on its lesser sibling. The touchpad at the top is black too, with the iconic PlayStation Square, Triangle, Circle, and X symbols embossed as a subtle detail. Finally, there are two new Function buttons sticking out, right below the two thumbsticks.
There's a lot more going on, most of it on the rear of the controller. There's a release switch at the back of the DualSense Edge that pops off the front cover that encases the left and right sticks, both of which are swappable. A lever next to each stick module, which, when raised, separates it from the controller. This allows you to replace the thumbsticks with new ones, which Sony now sells separately, in case of a malfunction or stick drift. The back of the controller also has two slots for mappable back buttons giving you additional functionality and input. You'll find two switches at the top-rear to adjust between three trigger depths.
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The DualSense (left) and the DualSense Edge, side by side
What's in the box
The DualSense Edge comes with a variety of components and accessories, all neatly packaged in a premium hardshell carrying case that seems to be made of the same white plastic used for the controller itself. If first impressions are important to you, this packaging is as neat as it comes. Aside from the controller itself, the case includes a braided USB Type-C cable and a nifty little connector housing that serves as a locking mechanism to prevent accidental disconnections during wired gaming sessions.
You get an impressive array of stick options; the controller comes loaded with the default standard caps, like the ones present on the DualSense, as well as two sets of high-dome and low-dome caps, offering two different height settings for both the left and the right stick. These additional caps have convex textured rubber ends, which actually feel great while gaming. The taller stick caps are meant to let you execute quicker, more fine-grained movements, while the shorter ones allow for more purposeful, measured input.
The DualSense Edge wireless controller comes in a slick package
Beyond that, there are additional back buttons to choose from: two-half dome ones and two lever ones, both of which latch on to the back of the DualSense Edge magnetically. These offer very different tactile feels, with the former more clicky and stubby, and the latter more ergonomic and easier to manipulate subtly. The choice of which to use comes down to your preference and what each game benefits from. I found the lever back buttons a bit a more intuitive even if they led to more accidental inputs from my fingers resting on the back of the controller.
These accessories bring the extra ‘edge' to the DualSense, adding a healthy amount of customisability to the controller. It's not industry-leading, though. Many “pro” controllers offer four mappable back buttons as opposed to the DualSense Edge's two. The Xbox Elite Series 2 controller even has a swappable D-pad. It does feel as though Sony stopped short of going all out, perhaps to keep the controller accessible to a larger gaming audience instead of marking it out for professionals.
The carrying case, which holds the controller and all its bells and whistles, is itself perhaps the most attractive accessory here. As someone who often travels with my DualSense controller and struggles to pack it securely, this hardshell case is a blessing. The fact that it looks as slick and premium as it does is a bonus, too.
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The DualShock 4 (top left), the DualSense (bottom left), and the DualSense Edge — PlayStation controllers though the ages
The DualSense Edge's most unique and practical design feature is its replaceable stick modules. As mentioned earlier, the controllers' left and right sticks can easily be taken out, interchanged, and replaced with stick modules sold separately. PlayStation controllers have become infamous for developing stick drift over time. The right stick on my own DualSense that came bundled with my PS5 started drifting in a year or so, and I had to buy a whole new controller to play without hindrance. That is an expensive fix for an annoying problem. Of course, not drifting at all would have been ideal, but giving users a way to replace drifting sticks cheaply is perhaps the second-best solution.
PS5 system software update version 22.02-06.50.00 rolled out last month, adding support for the new controller. So, when you connect the DualSense Edge to a PS5 with a USB Type-C cable for the first time, you'll see a handy welcome screen that guides you through the basics. In the Accessories section of PS5 Settings, you get a dedicated and detailed page for the DualSense Edge controller. Here you can create custom profiles, change settings for profile switching and the Function button menu, adjust the brightness of the LED indicators on the controller, update its firmware, and reset it to its factory settings.
DualSense Edge lets you remap inputs for all of its buttons
Photo Credit: Screenshot/ Manas Mitul
The DualSense Edge supports up to four custom profiles, each corresponding to a desired set of button assignments, stick and trigger sensitivities and deadzones, and vibration and trigger effect intensities. The button assignments section lets you completely remap input on all the traditional controller buttons and the two new back button slots. The back buttons can be set to trigger any traditional single-button function, but the fact that you can't map button combinations feels like a missed trick.
You can adjust the sensitivity of the left and right sticks and their deadzones individually. Here, you do have freedom to experiment; you could set your left stick sensitivity using the Steady curve for consistent movement input in your action games, and change the right stick sensitivity to Quick for snappy aiming. Once you're done customising a profile, you can assign it to a shortcut, accessed on the fly via the two new Function buttons on the controller. This Function menu can be pulled up at any time, in-game or on the PS5 home screen, by holding down either of them. This way, you can easily switch between profiles, adjust headphone volume, and rebalance game/chat audio at any point.
The settings menu features multiple customisation options for stick sensitivity and deadzone
Photo Credit: Screenshot/ Manas Mitul
Gaming on the Edge
I took the new "pro" DualSense Edge for a field test over the last week, playing a wide range of games on the PS5. In Hogwarts Legacy, I set the right trigger to its shortest length for a snappier button-like feel with spell attacks. Mapping the left stick to Steady sensitivity for smooth movement and the right stick to Precise for more accurate aiming presented the best balance. Based on my experience, these settings would be ideal for any third-person action/adventure title. I also mapped the left D-pad input to a back button, so I could quickly scan my environment without taking my thumb off the left stick.
In Like a Dragon: Ishin!, I found mapping the Triangle input to the right back button was the most natural solution to a minor obstacle presented by the default PS5 controller — this button triggers a finisher attack in the game, but with a regular controller, you always have to take your thumb off the right stick right in the heat of battle to press it, thus losing control of the camera. A back button presented a perfect mapping opportunity in this case. In an arcade/sports game such as Rocket League, mapping the back buttons to inputs for speed boost and jump was my preferred way to go.
You can switch between custom controller profiles on the fly using the Function buttons
Photo Credit: Screenshot/ Manas Mitul
Where the DualSense Edge truly shines is in first-person shooters. For a frenetic battle royale game such as Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0, I set both triggers to their shortest lengths, giving me a hair-trigger feel for quick aiming down sights and shooting. I also set the right stick sensitivity to Precise for more accurate and consistent aiming. You could also go for the Quick setting in the more frantic Deathmatch and Hardpoint multiplayer modes in the main game. Additionally, I assigned the Circle button (for crouching) to the right back button and Square (for interacting) to the left one, allowing me to have both my thumbs glued to the two sticks. In multiplayer FPS titles, where a second lost could mean death, this could give players a decent advantage.
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Sony's new controller promises considerable upgrades over the already stellar DualSense, and it delivers on most of them. There are some downsides, though. With its host of new components taking up more physical space, the battery capacity of the DualSense Edge has taken a hit. While Sony has not provided specifics, in my testing the Edge lasted about four to five hours on a single full charge — a considerable downgrade from the DualSense, which has been giving me seven to eight hours of battery life (depending on the game) on average.
I also wish that Sony had taken a bigger leap with the aesthetic design of the DualSense Edge, to set it apart from its sibling. In its sole white-and-black colourway, the controller looks a bit too similar to the DualSense. While there's no official word from Sony yet, we can expect other colour options and special editions to arrive in the future, just like they did for the standard controller.
Then, there's the cost. The DualSense Edge comes in at an eye-watering retail price of Rs. 18,990 in India, over three times the price of the regular DualSense controller, which you can pick up for Rs. 5,990 onwards. And while everything that comes with the new controller will come as an upgrade for most, it will likely not represent great value for many.
As a complete package, with its army of accessories and the handy carrying case, the DualSense Edge establishes itself as the alpha among PlayStation controllers. It does feel like it fits in its spot at the top of an iconic line of gaming controllers, but it stops short of scaling a dramatic new peak. Compared to previous-gen consoles' controllers, it looks like the future, but next to the DualSense, which is still one of the best wireless controllers on the market right now, Sony's new offering loses just a bit of its edge.
- Excellent customisation options
- Premium carrying case and packaging
- Smooth setup with PS5
- Replaceable stick modules
- Weaker battery life than standard DualSense
- Conservative design
- High price
Rating (out of 10): 8
DualSense Edge wireless controller released January 26 and is compatible with PS5, PC.
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