PlayStation DualSense Edge: The Kotaku Australia Review

PlayStation DualSense Edge: The Kotaku Australia Review

Let’s get this out of the way: do you actually need a Pro/Elite/Edge controller? Almost certainly not. However, let’s not pretend that “need” is what’s driving most of us here. A controller like the one you see in the picture at the top of this article is pretty, convenient, and might (but probably won’t) make us better at our favourite games. Xbox has been making Elite controllers for years, and there have been plenty of PlayStation third-party “pro” controllers (I still have my bat-themed Scuff Impact controller). But the PlayStation DualSense Edge marks the first time Sony has waded into this premium pond. At $340, it can seem difficult to justify. But before we get into budgetary gymnastics, the big question:

Is the PlayStation DualSense Edge Any Good?

Yes, very much so. It’s also a bit understated in the number of features added. I expected more bells and whistles for $340, but Sony has gone the “everything you need, and nothing you don’t” design route, and I really appreciate that.

The two back buttons are perfectly placed and shaped. I cannot stress how much I enjoy using them. I don’t think I could ever go back to using the regular DualSense on games that require you to press down L3 to sprint after experiencing this level of comfort on the Edge. The controller comes with two options of back-button shape: paddles and little nubs, allowing for different shaped hands and play styles. Plus, it’s nice and easy to change how far the triggers travel with little sliders on the back on the controller, allowing for faster shots.

While the case is lacking in one key area, I do really like the shape, hardness, and inner design. The design of the Xbox Elite controller case has always irritated me slightly because the cable never quite fit properly in the cable pocket with the controller in it. The DualSense Edge case has a proper place for everything, and you don’t have to Tetris any of it to get the case to close. Love that.

What isn’t so good?

Underside of the playstation edge controller
Image: Alice Clarke, Kotaku Australia

While I really like how easy the function buttons make it to change between profiles and adjust audio settings, there really doesn’t need to be two of them so close together, taking up such prime real estate, without being remappable themselves.

I also think that it’s weird that Sony didn’t boost the size of the battery. I got a bit under 6 hours out of a single charge, which is pretty close to what I get out of a standard DualSense. For $340, I would want it to go well above that.

How does the PlayStation DualSense Edge compare to the Xbox Elite controller?

Xbox Elite: top left, Playstation DualSense Edge: bottom middle and Playstation DualSense top right. Image: Alice Clarke, Kotaku Australia

In this arena, the PlayStation DualSense Edge is at a slight disadvantage just because everyone is so familiar with the second-generation Elite controller. We know it, we’re used to it, and it’s moulded what we expect from a pro-level controller. However, there are also some significant differences that will matter in different ways to different people.

In terms of the obvious differences, the Edge only has space for two paddles on the back instead of four, it’s lighter, has two function buttons, and it has a share button (the Elite has the profile button where the share button is on a standard Xbox Series controller).

Also, the Edge case doesn’t have a built-in battery to seamlessly add extra charge between sessions (which the Elite does), instead it has a hole that you can pass a cable through. That alone makes the value proposition more difficult to parse once you take the price disparity into account.

However, the Edge has replaceable analogue stick modules (sold separately for $35 each), which makes it more repairable and means it’ll last longer.

I also prefer the placement, shape and feeling of the two rear buttons on the Edge than I do on the Elite. I find that I rarely use the top two buttons on the back of the Elite, but the lower paddles are slightly too curved. I would love it if Xbox came out with back paddles closer to the shape of the Edge paddles as an option, because the Edge’s are truly excellent. One wonders if, in the focus testing stage, PlayStation also had a four-paddle configuration and found people just didn’t use them all.

While the battery and extra heft on the Xbox Elite controller are clear winners for me, the easier-to-use back paddles of the Edge mean it’s easier to use it for its intended purpose, which is perhaps a more important slam dunk.

Who would benefit from the PlayStation DualSense Edge?

Playstation edge in case
Image: Alice Clarke, Kotaku Australia

Pro controllers are, understandably, usually aimed at pro players. But there is another group that I think would benefit from the back paddles: people with arthritic fingers, or similar hand mobility issues. I usually rely on the back paddles on my Xbox Elite controller whenever I dislocate my thumb, because it can sometimes be a bit stiff after I put it back in and won’t travel as easily from the right stick to the ABXY buttons. That’s when the back buttons become the most useful. So, older players, people with RSI, and other people with stiff thumbs may benefit from the Edge just as much as those players for whom milliseconds can make all the difference.

Were I ruler of all that is controllers, how would I change the PlayStation DualSense Edge for the inevitable second-generation controller?

I’m so glad you asked. While it’s really good as it is, I would make it so that the function buttons were remappable. As I said, it’s weird to have two of them so close together. I would also move the function button to somewhere slightly more out of the way, because you don’t need to be changing profiles that frequently, and make it so that those two buttons can be for other shortcuts. Those function buttons are in such a good spot that is so easy and comfortable to press, they’re wasted on changing profiles.

I would also give it just a bit more heft, while also increasing the battery size, to make it feel more premium and get more use out of it.

Plus, I would release a bunch of different colours of the removable controller face so I could dress it up in little outfits to match my game/mood.

Should I immediately run from my home and purchase a PlayStation Dualsense Edge?

Playstation edge and case
Image: Alice Clarke, Kotaku Australia

As far as controllers go, this one is so pricey that I feel like this recommendation should carry one of those “financial advice” disclaimers.

Unless you really think you would properly take advantage of the buttons on the back, or that you would really benefit from being able to switch between four fully remapped controller profiles on the fly, this isn’t a controller worth saving up for.

However, if you think you really would take advantage of all this controller has to offer (and you play a lot), or you’re just really rich, this is absolutely the best controller available for the PlayStation 5. It’s not perfect, but it is really good and has improved my comfort when playing.

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