DualSense Edge

Review: DualSense Edge

It feels like Sony has been a bit behind the curve with peripherals when compared to competitors. However, things are finally looking up this year as the DualSense Edge is set to launch this month as a direct competitor to Xbox’s Elite Series 2. While Sony has taken its time to launch a premium controller, the company offered the back button attachment for PlayStation 4’s DualShock 4, an excellent little addition that came at such an odd time for the console. Scuf and Astro offered consumers the best premium controller right until now as the DualSense Edge is a great first-party choice. 

From the moment you open the box, the design is what you’d expect and feels recognizable. The idea behind the DualSense Edge is high performance and personalization in mind. The controller features button remapping, the ability to fine-tune stick sensitivity and triggers, the option to swap between profiles, and an on-controller user interface. The DualSense Edge also includes three changeable sets of stick caps and two changeable sets of back buttons. Also, there is customizable button mapping on the back, a carrying case, and the Connector housing. 

DualSense Edge — Built For Competitors

From the initial announcement, it was abundantly clear this was made with the enthusiast in mind. The DualSense Edge also boasts the same excellent form factor the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller offers with many bells and whistles to match.  

One thing I appreciate about the DualSense Edge is that it doesn’t diverge too far away from the standard DualSense. I appreciate the size and form factor of the PlayStation 5 controller because I have large hands, making play sessions comfortable. Sony adapts many new technologies while keeping one of the more important aspects, like the form factor the same.  

The build quality is exceptional, and holding the controller in your hands feels like a premium product. Sony has not only made the Edge look the same, it also feels almost the same in your hands. Of course, there is a bit more weight to the overall product. Still, it isn’t noticeable unless you’re actively looking for that comparison – the 46 grams barely register with me and won’t bother the average consumer. This makes it compatible with all the accessories already on the market, including Sony’s official charging base.

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The DualSense Edge comes in a sturdy clamshell case neatly placed with all the accessories and interchangeable components. The clamshell case also includes an empty compartment inside it to place a possible additional analog module in case you decide to buy one separately. Thus, it is already equipped in case of a breakdown or for an additional scruple in case you are used to travelling with a controller. 

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The other interesting thing I noticed about the clamshell case is the back flap the case utilizes to charge your device effectively via USB-C without removing it from the case itself. Speaking of the USB cable, the case includes a USB-C braided cable of about 3 metres that can also be inserted and uses a locking mechanism to ensure the cable doesn’t slip during charging.  

As for the other elements accompanying the DualSense Edge, there are four replacement domed analog sticks (two short convex heads and two tall convex heads. Replacing them is simple; you only need to pull them upwards with force and place the new ones with firm pressure.

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DualSense Edge — Features, Features, Features

One of the main features of the DualSense Edge, in fact, is the ability to replace both joysticks physically. This is a killer feature deployed by Sony to quickly circumvent the drifting problem and offer longevity on a premium product. I say this because, with recent console generations, the biggest fault these controllers tend to have is stick drift. Thanks to smartly modulated components, the DualSense Edge circumvents this potential fault by allowing you to replace the joysticks. However, on closer inspection, it doesn’t seem like these components utilize Hall effect sensors, which would theoretically eliminate stick drift. 

Thankfully, GuliKit is working on a solution in the coming months.

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DualSense Edge — Accessories 

The DualSense Edge comes with four rear buttons that can be mounted on the back of the controller —two have the classic paddle shape that we have seen on dozens of premium controllers, while the other pair has a more original, half-moon shape. These buttons have a magnetic attachment with a small additional groove that prevents accidental detachment, as a slight twist is required to remove the attachment. You can also mix and match the paddles if you wish to do so by choosing one of each to create something unique. It is essential to mention that the DualSense Edge only allows two rear buttons at a time, though.

The first thing that jumps out at you as soon as you pick up the controller is its total resemblance to the classic DualSense. The Edge has the same dimensions and the same layout of buttons and ports. Moving on to the different design elements of the Edge compared to the standard controller, four standout features exist.

Another inclusion is the trigger stops, with each one giving you the choice to minimize or maximize the amount you need to press on either L2 or R2 to activate them. The maximum travel is the same as with the DualSense, then, there is a medium setting that reduces the trigger travel by about half, and finally, a third setting that almost completely reduces the trigger movement. This is particularly useful for those who play shooters and need virtually instantaneous feedback when the trigger is pressed. However, Sony had to limit one of the main features of DualSense — the adaptive triggers are deactivated anything other than the maximum trigger stop. I can understand why this decision was made as it would cause some confusion with some video games and how they react to the adaptive triggers. 

Sony added two Function buttons positioned immediately below the analog stick. When pressed and held down, these bring up an on-screen menu to access premade profiles. Each profile is fully customizable, allowing you to swap between them and adjust the audio settings on the fly. You can even pin four of your favourite profiles for easy access if you have a lot of games you cycle through. 

Acting on the front buttons in combination with Fn allows you to select one of four usage profiles while using the digital cross when connecting a headset to the pad via the 3.5mm port, allows you to change the console volume and audio mixing between voice chat and game sounds on the fly. Sadly, wireless headphones do not work with this feature so I ask Sony to add it in a future update since I do use my Pulse 3D headset often.

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Finally, there is the matter of the replaceable analog modules, which is probably my selling point. By sliding a little button on the back of the controller, it is possible to unfasten the plastic front cover and gain access to the two metal levers that, when lifted, slide the two analog modules forward. Doing so makes it possible to slide out one or both and then position the new ones by simply pressing all the way down and then lowering the metal lever. The procedure is quick and painless, but I don’t particularly appreciate removing the plastic cover to swap out the analog parts. 

This shiny plastic’s glossiness gives an annoying optical effect that makes the Edge look like a cheap controller and retains fingerprints precisely like the glossy plastic you’ll also find on the PlayStation 5. Sony has been open this generation to offering several colours to personalize your console, but honestly, for the Edge, I would have preferred something akin to the standard DualSense. 

DualSense Edge — Software 

When using the Edge, I was surprised by the software built right into the OS. Compared to all other controllers you can find on the market, this is an official first-party design made by Sony. Offering total integration with your PS5 makes a lot of sense and feels like an extension of the console. Once the peripheral is connected, I can effectively manage it through a dedicated menu in the console’s general settings and an overlay that appears by holding down the Fn key. 

The clamshell case includes a QR code linked to an online manual, and the first time you sync your Edge controller to your console, a tutorial will guide you through the key features. It is a brief setup but one that I appreciate to put me on the right path. 

Firstly, there is the ability to remap every button, including the two rear ones. There are, however, a handful of exceptions — the touchpad, for example, can be deactivated entirely and cannot be assigned to another button. The same limitation also applies to the Share, Menu, and PlayStation buttons, which can only be switched off or retain their original function. The Fn buttons, on the other hand, are not shown at all. Outside of these specific keys, any button can perform the function of any other button. 

Secondly, it is possible to adjust the sensitivity of the two analog joysticks and the dead zones separately. Several sensitivity levels are available out of the box, so you can swap between precise, quick, and digital inputs, each option being particularly suitable for fighting games or making it precise and suitable for aiming in first-person shooters. 

Let’s talk about the triggers — these can be configured individually or with a single setting that applies to both, and the settings relate to their travel range. Adjusting the settings it is possible to act both on the minimum pressure to be carried out for the command to be registered and on the maximum pressure to register how the games measure pressure digitally. 

The other OS options allow you to act both on the Fn menu that appears in the overlay to alter the strength of the haptic vibration and adaptive triggers, exactly as with the original DualSense, as well as manage the intensity of the LEDs and the type of notifications related to the selected profile. And speaking of the standard DualSense, it’s a bit of a letdown that Sony doesn’t allow a similar feature with the DualSense, considering how useful these functionalities can be for everyone needing accessibility. Thankfully, Project Leonardo seems like a step in the right direction for accessibility. 

The DualSense Edge on PC

For those who want to use the DualSense Edge on PC, I want to be clear that it is functionally the same as the standard DualSense. Using Windows 10, 11, and Steam, I could have the OS and program recognize the controller, but that’s about as far as I could get it to go. Configuring the back buttons is impossible, and the OS can’t recognize them. I had no issues with haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, though, so I would advise waiting until Sony can introduce more features on PC. For now, the standard DualSense is a fine and capable controller to use if you want to game on a PC.

How does the Edge perform when tested? Very well and perfectly in line, for better or worse, with the DualSense that comes with your PlayStation 5. Clearly, with the new controller, there are many new and convenient additional features. Still, the actual user experience, the tactile feeling, the handling and ergonomics of the controller, and the button feedback are comparable to those of the standard DualSense. 

You have a lot of freedom to create the perfect controller for your needs with the Edge. This is thanks to the PlayStation 5’s OS-level interface, the two additional rear buttons, the ability to mechanically minimize trigger travel, and the on-the-fly change profile swaps that allow you to switch from one gaming experience to another. 

However, as much as I like the DualSense Edge, some omissions should be discussed when comparing it to the Elite Series 2. The price is hefty for a controller retailing at $269 CAD, about 40 dollars more than the Elite Series 2. With all the bells and whistles you’ll be using, I think this is a great controller, but the trade is shorter battery life. Suppose your only controller ends up being the DualSense Edge. In that case, this isn’t the right controller for you, but if you want to pick it up, the braided USB-C cable is long, and you can sit comfortably anywhere with a corded controller.

Sony came out before the launch and confirmed the DualSense Edge features a shorter lifespan than the DualSense.  All the tech included drains the battery faster, and I would be okay with the battery lasting the same length as the DualSense. I wish the Edge had a longer battery life when compared to the Elite Series 2’s 40-hour life span. I fully drained the battery three times, and that left me with around six hours of battery life.

Regarding who the DualSense Edge was crafted with in mind, I did say this is a perfect controller for tournament players. However, I’ve been using the Edge to tackle Final Fantasy XIV this week. The additional buttons and ability to completely remap the controller seem perfect for the Edge. I haven’t been able to fine-tune a controller setup yet, but the ease of access and ability to map controls on the fly leaves me excited to figure this out so I can give myself the best experience playing an MMO on a console.

Verdict

It was clear from the first look at the DualSense Edge that it was created with the enthusiast in mind. PlayStation delivered its first premium controller, and it is easily one of the best in the market. With that in mind, the integrated OS features, the suite of features, and the tech built into the controller are brilliant. The Function buttons are such a game changer, and I can see them getting a lot of use in the tournament scene and also for someone who wants to tackle an MMO that often has a lot of hotkeys to remember. And for all the great new tech hidden in the innards of the Edge, the battery life leaves a lot to be desired. Regardless, if you’re heavily invested in the PlayStation ecosystem, then you likely know this is something you want and have already picked up. 

[Sony provided a pre-launch final retail unit for this review].

DualSense Edge
Summary
PlayStation delivers its first premium controller and it is easily one of the best in the market.
Liked
The ergonomic back buttons
Built-in OS software
Tons of features built for competitors in mind
Didn't Like
The battery life is disasppointing
No built in Hall Effect modules