Sony DualSense Edge
If you’re a gamer, a decent controller is a crucial part of the basic set-up. Yet the ones you get with games consoles have never been that great.
Be it Dualsense, Elite Series or Joycon, there’s a ton of controllers out there. Each console has its own selection of controllers and it’s even common to have one for PC games. There are huge differences between the pro-controllers that are sold with consoles and the ones you can buy separately. Some have additional keys, others can be fine-tuned down to the last detail. Here you’ll find my favourites for your console or PC.
It took a while but Sony now also offers its own pro-controller. It’s called Dualsense Edge, costs a lot of money and offers numerous configuration options. Three different sets of analogue sticks are included, depending on whether you prefer an inward or outward curve. Even the length varies. There are two paddles on the back, which, as with the rest of the buttons, can be assigned freely. If they’re in your way, you can take them off.
Two buttons below the analogue sticks let you switch between different profiles and adjust audio settings. You can change the button assignments in the Playstation menu, along with the dead zone or the intensity of the triggers. Speaking of triggers, the trigger depth can also be adjusted at three levels via two sliders. This is optimal for the type of game you play – whether it’s a racing game or a shooter game.
From above, the controller looks chic with it’s black and white Stormtrooper design.
Personally, I think it’s the best controller for PS5.
Alternative: The Scuf Reflex Pro doesn’t look as smart, but has more grip. It can also be customised. It has four paddles on the back instead of two.
Unlike with the PS5, there’s no official Sony pro-controller for the PS4. Fortunately, third-party manufacturers are stepping into the breach. One that I haven’t personally tried, but is said to be among the best, is the Revolution Unlimited Pro by Nacon. The controller is officially licensed by Sony. The seal of approval shows that the manufacturer of the console trusts Nacon and so can you.
You can customise the controller in any which way that suits you. The heads of the analogue sticks are interchangeable with ones that are curved outwards or inwards. Additionally, you can adjust the length of the sticks with spacers. There’s even different weights that you can put in the handles, so you can make the controller as light or as heavy as you want.
On the back, there are four paddles that you can configure via the PC software, just like the rest of the controller.
Alternative: A cheaper and older option, but still reliable, is Sony’s Dualshock 4. It can’t be customised, but you can choose from a wide range of colours.
Whether it be for the previous or the current Xbox generation, the choice is simple: Elite Series. The first version of the high-end Xbox controller was already released back in 2015. The Elite Series 2 offers various analogue stick sets that are easily removed thanks to magnets. This also applies to the control pad, which can be replaced by a circle if desired. The four paddles on the back can be taken off with ease. The triggers can be adjusted on three levels depending on how far in you’d like to press them. There’s no other controller out there that’s easier to configure than this one.
You can do further fine-tuning or key adjustments on the PC or Xbox via the accompanying software.
The Elite has rubber handles and it sits comfortably in your hand. The stately weight gives the feeling that you’re dealing with a premium product.
Alternative: The Xbox Series controller is also an excellent controller. It can’t be configured as many ways, but it’s much cheaper and lighter.
If you primarily play the Switch on the TV, you’ll need an additional controller. The Joycons they include in the package only suit small hands. You deserve better. The 8BitDo Ultimate for example. Hall effect sensors in the analogue sticks ensure that you don’t have to worry about Joycon drift. Plus, the digital control pad is much more precise than the almost unusable one on Nintendo’s own Pro Controller.
The 8BitDo app allows you to customise the button layout, vibration strength or the behaviour of the analogue sticks and save them in the profiles. You can switch between them with the dedicated button on the front. On the back of the controller, there are two paddles for additional inputs.
If you purchase the 8BitDo it includes a charging dock that also serves as a wireless receiver. Alternatively, the 2.4 GHz dongle can be removed and the controller can be connected via USB. There’s Bluetooth too.
Alternative: The Nintendo Pro Controller has a miserable directional pad, but has the more sophisticated HD Rumble, Amiibo support and an infrared sensor.
For the PC, you can theoretically use any controller listed here. You can’t really go wrong with any of them. I would recommend the Scuf Reflex Pro. If money is no object I’d choose this one over Sony’s Dualsense Edge. The Scuf is even easier to hold because of the grip on the back. Plus, it has four back paddles. They don’t bother me when I’m not using them – unlike when I’m playing with the Dualsense Edge, where my fingers always bump into them. And that’s not all – the Reflex Pro comes in different colours too.
Otherwise, it offers the same advantages as Sony’s controller. The adaptive triggers also provide unique feedback on the PC through varying resistance. The vibration function is great too and has a wide range from a powerful hum to a fine whir.
Note that the controller is usually recognised as an Xbox controller when used wirelessly. So it’ll show the wrong key symbols in the game. To solve the problem, you can install DS4 Software or you can use a USB cable.
Alternative: The Dualsense Edge is cheaper, also feels very good to hold and looks a bit more elegant.
Being the game and gadget geek that I am, working at digitec and Galaxus makes me feel like a kid in a candy shop – but it does take its toll on my wallet. I enjoy tinkering with my PC in Tim Taylor fashion and talking about games on my podcast http://www.onemorelevel.ch. To satisfy my need for speed, I get on my full suspension mountain bike and set out to find some nice trails. My thirst for culture is quenched by deep conversations over a couple of cold ones at the mostly frustrating games of FC Winterthur.