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Sony DualSense Edge for PS5 review: more premium than pro

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The event is non-trivial. The release of the DualSense Edge marks the first time that Sony and its PlayStation division have developed an “extra” controller themselves. So far, the Japanese manufacturer has been content with creating an official verification label, but has left the field to its partners such as Nacon, Razer or even Thrustmaster. Faced with the popularity of the Xbox Elite and the array of personalized accessories offered by its direct rival Microsoft, it seems like PlayStation had no choice but to respond with the release of the DualSense Edge for PlayStation 5.

Joystick itself

It’s no wonder this controller has such a sweet moniker as the DualSense Edge, a far cry from “Elite” that almost suggests combative instincts. The Edge is clearly DualSense, both in form and handling. We will still note the weight, far from a slimming product, as we get 330 grams versus 282 grams for the classic model. The difference is not so noticeable on paper, but really felt when you lie on the couch.

© Lionel MORILLON / 01net.com

More than that ? Obviously, you will need to look for buttons added here and there to the handle. Let’s start with the two function buttons below the two joysticks, always parallel to the bottom of the joystick. They each perform the same function: allowing the user to change the profile on the fly by combining them with one of the four buttons on the front of the controller (square, king, circle, triangle) once configured, albeit safely. You can also adjust the volume using the joystick.

© Lionel MORILLON / 01net.com

From here the first question is already born: why is this key both on the left and on the right? In use, by their arrangement, it is obvious that only the left hand will primarily press the function button when the right hand searches for the profile. Since it is not possible to select a profile on the directional d-pad, the button on the right seems to be very useless due to the small function it performs. Moreover, this key is not reprogrammable.

© Lionel MORILLON / 01net.com

It is on the back that we will find the most significant changes to the DualSense Edge. First of all, the activation distance of the two sticks can be changed thanks to the switch located on the sides of them. Three distances are possible: traditional course, medium course and instant activation. This feature is almost mandatory for a controller that claims to be “pro”, as it allows players with nervous titles to reduce reaction time and fatigue by eliminating unnecessary effort. These settings work great.

© Lionel MORILLON / 01net.com

We also have two small magnetic pads into which two types of accessories can be inserted: long trays that can be oriented lengthwise or widthwise, or half domes that will put these keys at articulation distance. These two new programmable keys are conveniently located, and the paddles in particular provide superior comfort. We’re less convinced, however, by half domes that we tend to bounce more than once when we pick up the controller and whose magnet isn’t strong enough to keep them from moving.

© Lionel MORILLON / 01net.com

Finally, you’ll notice a small slide called “release” on the back that will allow you to blow off the cover surrounding the joysticks on the front. This cache is very different from the original DualSense as its glossy rather than matte finish is a fingerprint trap. It’s hard to explain why Sony decided to go back to the DualSense Edge, which we don’t like at all. Luckily, it hides a feature we really like: the ability to detach two joysticks from their bases using two small levers. A maintenance operation, first of all, as Sony plans to sell the two joysticks separately so that the controller can be repaired at home if necessary. An elegant system prevents grinders from prematurely abandoning this professional controller.

© Lionel MORILLON / 01net.com

The same sticks can be exchanged for caps of your choice: regular DualSense convex domes or high or low concave domes. It’s more than a shame not to find the taller convex domes that are often welcomed among FPS players when the original DualShock’s concave domes are no longer appreciated by an increasingly slimmer section of players. The rest of the buttons do not differ from the classic DualSense, except that the membranes of the cross-shaped / square / triangular / round buttons seem to us a little softer than usual. However, it is difficult to determine if this is simply due to usage.

© Lionel MORILLON / 01net.com

The final element is included in this controller’s already well-stocked packaging: a very long, braided USB cable connected to the plug locking system on the controller itself. You can actually plug this cable into a small, inexpensive plastic box, which will then put two hooks on the back of the controller so your connection is never interrupted by uncontrolled footsteps in front of you. Why not, but the fact that this little case itself is very fragile and that it is only for this official cable does not play in favor of a system that we would like it to be better designed and open to other manufacturers.

© Lionel MORILLON / 01net.com

You get it after this description: we can’t blame the DualSense Edge for poor grip, as it’s just identical to the DualSense. A controller whose ergonomics have already proven themselves and continue to be ultra-comfortable. The DualSense Edge is a very good PS5 controller as we already make a lot of them and offers the “professional” options we’ve come to expect from it, with the exception of the asymmetrical stick placement. But in this we will forgive Sony, which cannot separate itself from the trait that has now become a marker of its difference.

© Lionel MORILLON / 01net.com

How about customization?

In terms of features, DualSense Edge is again… DualSense. This time in the best sense of the word as it is the only professional controller on the market that allows you to take advantage of the brand’s vibration enhancements and variable trigger force. But it’s also somewhat ironic, because the support for this feature could allow for a short activation of these famous triggers in the software if the developers of the Japanese conglomerate were willing to look into it.

However, its autonomy suffers a little: 7 hours and 10 minutes of intensive use (brightness at maximum, in a game with regular use of vibration) is observed in an average of ten hours with DualSense. Either way, the difference isn’t that noticeable, and it will hold up well to intense gaming all day long… counting a few breaks for the belly and eyes, or considering the brightness and power of the vibrations down.

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It’s also the controller with the best native PlayStation 5 integration, and it was absolutely necessary to justify this purchase. As soon as you plug in, Sony’s latest console offers you a look at the beast’s customizations, which are in the accessories category of settings. There is no need for an additional app on PSN, or even to configure it on PC/mobile before connecting to the console, as is often the case with its competitors.

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Settings are more than chicken. We have access to three customizable profiles since the fourth one is reserved for the default DualSense configuration. And we are somewhat stunned by some of the shortcomings of the software development team. You can fine-tune the behavior of each joystick, such as decreasing or slowing down the movement of the cursor on the screen, and the interface is clear and concise. The same goes for remapping each key to perform a different function: a triangle can become round, two customizable keys can perform every function in the world, and so on. You can change profiles on the fly in the game using the function keys, or quickly go through the setup tool before resuming the game. Everything is done very easily and very naturally. We only regret that we cannot reprogram these function keys, in particular to give more utility to the right key, which is a little damaged in use.

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On the other hand… You can only assign one key to… a key. Keybindings are not possible, while this feature could be of great value to MMORPG players like Final Fantasy XIV (whose hotbar can be called up by combining R2 and L2), or fighting game players like Street Fighter V (whose most powerful attacks should be launched using two or three touches with the fist or leg). This is a major breach in the face of competitors who have been integrating these features for a long time and suggesting that the DualSense Edge was not designed with the capabilities of the competition in mind. The same goes for, for example, the ability to create macros or activate the turbo mode, even if these two features are often singled out because of the cheats they allow. Never mind: Sony could very well develop a competitive mode that deactivates them during tournaments. Its advantage is supposed to be mastering the platform from start to finish.

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Another disappointment: setting up the controller on platforms other than the PS5 will not really work. The DualSense Edge is immediately well recognized on the PC and remembers the last used configuration, but I would have liked to have a small local tool. We note at least that it is compatible with the native and official Remote Play app, even if the Fn keys are not recognized after connecting to PS5 remotely; reconfiguration is also not possible in this context.

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Not to mention the union minimum, monitoring Sony’s software on this DualSense Edge reveals little slips here and there that it can’t afford, coming very late to this now lucrative market. This disappointment is all the more great as the advertised price is much higher than that of the competition. The conclusion is simple: he must be better than his rivals … but he is not. It certainly has potential with possible software updates, but we can only judge it by what it will bring on its release day.

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