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Sony PS5 DualSense controller review

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9.8Expert Score
Sony DualSense Controller review: Comfortable revolution

The Sony DualSense is the best bundled controller Sony has ever released. The inclusion of haptic feedback and the adaptive triggers truly help create an immersive experience.

Design
10
Performance
9.5
Pros
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Adaptive triggers are really immersive
Cons
  • Battery life could be better
  • Integrated mic can cause feedback

After using the Sony PlayStation 5 and its DualSense controller since launch day in November 2020, I can confidently say that the real star of this generation’s PlayStation console is the controller.

While the PS5 itself feels fairly iterative compared to the PlayStation 4, the DualSense feels like a real leap forward.

From the comfort of its grip to the intelligent improvements to its vibration function and the adaptive triggers, the DualSense is a pleasure to use. 

Design

There’s a real sense of evolution rather than revolution in Sony’s controller design over the years. But it feels like all those previous generations, from the original DualShock to the Sixaxis to the DualShock 4, were all building to this controller.

The two-toned colour scheme (originally in white, but now available in a wide range of colours) looks sleek, seamlessly matching the style of the console.

But it’s the build quality that shines.

There is a real heft to the DualSense controller that makes it feel like a premium product. It doesn’t feel too heavy, instead it balances nicely in the hand, perfectly weighted.

The texture on the rear of the controller is subtle, yet gives a feeling of attachment to the controller.

The hard plastic buttons offer a good sense of distance when pressed, but are all easily accessible for average sized-hands.

Unlike the previous DualSense 4 controller, the analogue sticks feel firm and secure. You can easily control each one, and they snap back to centre satisfactorily.

Another improvement over the previous generation are the triggers. In basic use they feel comfortable to press, with just the right amount of spring. But partner them with the right game and they completely change the gaming experience.

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Performance

One of the best examples of the benefit of the adaptive triggers is in the free bundled game Astro’s Playroom. Built as a showcase for the PS5’s power, it ended up being a demonstration of how good the DualSense controller is.

Depending on your action, the triggers will offer increased resistance when trying to press them. So when you are shooting a weapon, it might be hard at first, but then get easier.

When paired with the more advanced haptics in the controller, you will suddenly find yourself feeling much more immersed in the gaming experience.

The DualSense also has an integrated microphone, which can easily be switched off with a button press. While it’s relatively effective, it can’t compete with a dedicated gaming headset, and has occasionally caused conflicts when I’ve played Rock Band 4 using a USB microphone.

The biggest draw back of the controller is its battery life. You can expect to get between nine and 10 hours of play time between charges, which isn’t a huge amount compared to the likes of Nintendo or Xbox’s controllers.

However, it’s a minor quibble, especially given the easy access to charging stations.

PS5 DualSense review - close up of the controller with the microphone light on

Verdict

Sony’s real innovation in this generation of game consoles was this controller. It is comfortable to hold, looks great and feels incredible.

Improvements to haptics and the adaptive triggers offer brand new gaming experiences, making it a great controller for all types of gamer.

Buy the Sony DualSense controller online

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Product disclosure

The product for this review was purchased by the author.

Author

  • Nick Broughall

    Nick is the founder and editor of BTTR. He is an award winning product reviewer, who has spent the last 20 years writing, editing and publishing technology and consumer content for brands like Finder, Gizmodo and TechRadar.

    View all posts
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