Sony has finally revealed some of the PS5 hardware. Meet DualSense, the brand new PS5 controller. It is different, it is safe and really came at an expected time.
Against the background of this wonderful surprise, here’s what the GamesRadar team likes about the PS5 pad:
“It looks like the future” – James Jarvis
I have a hard time seeing what not to like here. I’ve seen the new PS5 controller compared to Glados, a BMW and WALL-E’s robot friend, but you know what? All these things are cool! They are also designed to make you smile and feel safe so it is no surprise that there will be similarities here. I̵
“Strange in a way that Sony usually isn’t” – Ben Tyrer
Not since the original PS3 concept controller (RIP, boomerang) has Sony produced a controller as strange as this one. The two-tone color distinguishes it directly from its predecessors, while the shape of the controller almost reminds me of the original Xbox Duke control. But if it looks a little accustomed (and I fall into Like Them mode), the controller’s features sound fantastic.
Haptic feedback in triggers, an upgraded Share button (now called the Create button), and a built-in microphone that would make it easier to communicate online if you don’t have a headset. Sure, it may know it’s going to be rough, and we can never know how good a controller is until we actually use it, but it looks weird in a way Sony usually isn’t, and it makes me excited to see how far the PS5 can go go. Ben Tyrer, news editor
“An exciting look at the future of PlayStation” – Sam Loveridge
At first, I hated the look of DualSense, but I feel confident with the knowledge that it will look like very better in black. After all, isn’t it? It is difficult to rate a controller without putting it in your hands, how it feels, how much it weighs, how the grip is. This is all important as you will spend a lot of time being glued to this thing. Thank the game gods for USB-C charging.
But more importantly, the fact that DualSense has debuted like this suggests that PlayStation may be moving away from a large black box for the PS5. I’m so done with traditional designs, give me something unusual that fascinates the non-players that I let into my house one day. Give me something unusual that makes me appreciate it every time I sit in front of the TV. Go on PlayStation, you know you can do it.
“I can already feel I’m coming to it” – Alex Avard
I have always appreciated PlayStation’s strong commitment to matte black over the years, which almost felt like an increasingly prescient rejection of Silicon Valley’s endless, technocratic obsession with the most sterilized white shades visible to the human eye. With that in mind, my first impressions of DualSense, and it’s disarming zebra-like designs, aren’t … good. That being said, every time I look at the new pictures I have felt a little less afraid of its oblique shape and burning color scheme and a little more interested in what it will mean for my PS5 experience. When the console is out, I’m sure I will be an avid DualSense evangelist. And hey, there are certainly different colored variants. Alex Avard, features author.
“Get ready for memes (and good, good, good vibrations)” – Brendan Griffiths
Once I get past the whole uneven design of the harvest, I really like the look of the new PS5 control. DualSense sees the next gen and not just a cowardly upgrade of a safe bet (I mean, come on Microsoft, really?). I can only stop looking until I actually get the new vibration features in my hands, but the new light shape around the touchpad looks amazing and the whole aesthetic has a strong Oblivion (Tom Cruise movie) aesthetic that I really dig. I’m a little annoyed that the L2 / R2 triggers are pretty much unchanged but in terms of shape, I would have preferred an inverted curve (like the Xbox One controller) to keep my fingers from slipping into driving games and I’m not sure we really need the extra journeys on the L1 / R1 keys either. If Sony could ditch the two-to-black design for a color as well (which they eventually did with the DualShock 4) it would be good. There and show us some GODDAMN GAMES ALWAYS! Brendan Griffiths, Head of Hardware.
“I like white PlayStation controls so I’m happy” – Austin Wood
DualSense is basically a rounder version of the white DualShock 4 that currently sits five meters to the left, so at first blush I am quite happy with it. I dig the two-tone aesthetic and I’ve always preferred white consoles and controllers over black, so I hope the base PS5 is also white. I’m sure we will see other color options (hopefully at launch), but this reveal feels tailor made for me so far. The haptic feedback and smart triggers sounds nice, but I still want to know the battery life of this thing, since that was my main problem with DualShock 4. As long as DualSense doesn’t die in six hours, I’ll be happy. Austin Wood, Staff Writer.
“Looks like it was designed by Pixar” – Rachel Weber
It looks like it was designed by Pixar and I’m here for it. As a child in the 80’s, white, black and neon blue just screams robots of the future at me. I know some people will be upset at how fast white electronics can look dirty but have you considered not being a dirty oik? I love the ability to jump into a voice chat without digging out my headset, and I’m interested to see what Sony does with the improved haptic feedback and touch sensitivity. The only thing I would change? The name that makes it sound like a vibrator for rich old ladies. Rachel Weber, editor-in-chief.
“It’s all a matter of perspective” – Bradley Russell
My first reaction to DualSense probably reflected the majority out there: a knee-jerk response that was disappointed with the decision to seemingly move away from their traditional roots. It looked different – for different – and the face buttons seemed almost flat and thin compared to their older, harder brothers.
But another shot of the PS5 control changed me.
The side view reveals satisfactorily pressed triggers and a firmer, dare I say, more extensive Xbox-like attitude to its controller. Of course, we do not know until we get it in our hands, but it now looks like it will be a tough, smart development for a controller design that we have hardly thought of a new thought since the 20th century. It was time for a change – and DualSense may be the first promising marker for Sony’s more cavalier attitude in the next generation. Bradley Russell, entertainment writer.
“I’ve changed five times already” – Jack Shepherd
My immediate gut reaction is 🤮 – this is not DualShock that we have known for 20-plus years. But when he goes back for a second, third and fourth viewing, DualSense makes a lot of sense: a chonky version of PlayStation’s beloved controller which is the first significant upgrade since the bloody first. The white color is awful, yes, but the design is actually pretty good. The triggers look sturdy, it all looks great in the hand, it’s USB-C charging (!!!), and there’s a microphone in the controller (a subtle upgrade a few years late). Make DualSence completely black and I take four (yes, let me check my bank account first). Jack Shepherd, Entertainment Editor
“Oh LAWD it’s comin ‘” – Iain Wilson
Of course, it’s hard to gauge how a controller will feel from a couple of press photos, but my first reaction was “oh LAWD look at that heckin ‘chonker!” It’s definitely thicker than the current DualShock we’re used to, probably to accommodate the haptic feedback feature, but hopefully it won’t make it any less comfortable to hold in long gaming sessions. PlayStation purists may be surprised by the predominantly white design and removal of the iconic face button color, but you can’t deny that it looks futuristic and that Sony has not rested on its DualShock layers. Personally, I have my fingers crossed for a completely black design, which I’m sure will come in time. Iain Wilson, guide editor
“Visually brings no joy” – Alyssa Mercante
A white controller that looks like it is begging to be covered with grease? Miss me with that. Sure, it’s neat, and I’m really happy to see the addition of a regular USB charger report to minimize the cords that clog the drawers in my apartment, but visually it brings no joy to me. It would look better in black … Alyssa Mercante, Staff Writer.
“An amazing mix of the new and familiar” – Rob Dwiar
This looks good; a clear progression of DualShocks but still retain some established features. On a personal note, it is reassuring: I have strange little hands and – in some way – every single iteration of the PlayStation control has been much better for me to hold than anyone else, which allows me to play my way – a way that is totally different to “ordinary” people (maybe I share just how different at some point). DualSense seems to have retained this winning form and design factor and further refined it, and additionally filled it with features that make it the perfect real next-gen controller: it’s a bit strange – but that’s because it’s new; it has a very cool – because it looks robot-y and futuristic; it is full of features – and some still unknown; it is both soothing and a little familiar in its design form – but still definitely a refined development. Even before we get our (small or normal) hands on it, it seems like a winning formula to me. Rob Dwiar, hardware writer
“I can see the built-in speaker getting me into trouble” – Ellen Causey
I can’t say I’m in love with the design of the PS5 control, if it was all black since we should talk. But the feature that stands out for me is the built-in speaker which, although a good idea, worries me. On several occasions I have recorded online games without realizing that the microphone on my headset is on, and sometimes I like to sing a little while shooting people and destroying zombies. Who does not ?! So I just hope I won’t have the same problem with this new controller! What I sing while sending in a precision flight is my business! However, USB-C charging is kind …
“Over-designed and unclear” – Connor Sheridan
In some way, it is over-designed while still looking less clear than its predecessors. The shoulder buttons that protrude from the top are harmless, but hopefully their higher profile means they get more satisfying trips. The weirdest thing for me is how the touchpad seems to take up more controller real estate now, even though only a handful of PS4 games ever do anything worth it with that feature. That said, the uneven crop top design of the two-tone look is pretty weird too. I’m still ready to be convinced – especially if other colorways look less like late-2000s sci-fi – but I’m not sold on the design right now. Connor Sheridan, news writer
“It’s … really a controller” – Ford James
My first reaction when I saw the contrasting black and white was that it looks naughty as hell, but after thinking about it a bit more … I’m really not that cumbersome. I have to use DualSense (terrible name though) before I can judge it because the feature always comes before aesthetics. That said, it looks a bit bulky than the DualShock 4 which my hands will be grateful for after long sessions and I’m a big fan of the built-in microphone … as long as it’s off by default because nobody wants to go back to those days teens play loud, distorted music down the microphone when dead between Search & Destroy rounds on Call of Duty. I am disappointed that we have not seen the back of the controller because DualSense does not have back buttons or paddles – and if it is not compatible with the DS4 rear button attachment – it feels like a step forward, two steps back. Ford James, Guides Writer
“I love the look but will the technology be used?” – Leon Hurley
I really like the new look for the pillow. It has the “new Stormtrooper” feel of a discreet redesign of something that is extremely recognizable and difficult to touch. My only reservations are for the technology. Sony has kept the touchpad … which no one used and added haptic feedback triggers that the Xbox One had and … no one used. Console manufacturers love a unique feature, but the reality is the average developer, with probably four platforms to worry about, won’t spend much time on a gimmick that only favors one format. The new technology sounds nice but I suspect we will see a familiar pattern: Sony’s first party studios will make it possible to showcase the technology for launch and then it will never be used again. Leon Hurley, Wizard Coordinator
“My early impressions are positive, but strategically placed actuators are nothing but the right feeling” – Jordan Gerblick
Once I know how such a design departure can be controversial among PlayStation fans, I love how DualSense looks. The two-tone color scheme shows up without being distracting, and I find the light bars on the touchpad’s sides to be tasteful. As for the new features, I like the sound of haptics and adaptive triggers that develop the idea of the rumble function into something more immersive, but I’d like to see how it works in practice before I get too excited. My early impressions are positive, but strategically placed actuators are nothing but the right feeling, so here’s hoping Sony delivers on the spectacle. Jordan Gerblick, news writer
“Is it a Destiny accessory?” – Benjamin Abbott
I can’t decide if I love Dualsense or loathe it. It’s got the mid-2000s all-white-and-matt-of-the-reason sci-fi look, which makes it look like something Cayde-6 would use in Destiny. Two-color design reminds me (and everyone on Twitter, apparently) of swings.
But is it a knee-jerk, “ahhh, change” reaction? Probably. There’s a lot to like here, and if the phone was black I was completely on board. Its shape gives the impression of comfort, I am interested in the new PS home button and I am a big fan of the clear plastic buttons. Come back to me in a few weeks – I suspect I can love it then. Benjamin Abbot, hardware writer
“I can see myself getting on board with it” – Heather Wald
When I first saw the design, I was certainly not so keen. But after sleeping on it, I grow and enjoy it. I think the white two-tone combination threw me on a cosmetic level, but it gives off some futuristic vibes, and in different colors I can see myself getting on board with it. It definitely looks like it’s making a pretty big departure from the DualShock control, and now I can’t help but wonder what the PS5 will actually look like. What I’m more interested in finding out, though, is how comfortable it is to hold in my hands, and whether it will include any accessibility features. Heather Wald, Staff Writer
“It’s an attractive controller that I really hope will turn black” – Josh West
I think the PS5 DualSense controller looks like a really smart iteration on an already solid design. The basics remain the same between DualSense and what’s come before it, and that’s what’s important here. I’m a fan of the chunkier chassis, both that hopefully it will fit my hands a little more comfortably than the DualShock 4, and because I’m happy to see what Sony does with Haptic feedback and Adaptive triggers. It is an attractive controller that I really hope comes in black, because there is no way that a white controller will not be an immediate disaster. I think the addition of the built-in microphone is great, and I go into the front of the light bar on the cushion. Let’s do this, Sony. You’ve got my attention – show me some games I can play with it! Josh West, feature editor.
PS5 DualSense and Xbox Series X controls are the most important revelations for the next generation to date: Now that Sony has shown the PS5 controller to the world, I’m ready to invest my excitement in the new consoles.