DualSense: The GamesRadar team reacts to the new PS5 controller

(Image credit: Sony PlayStation)

Sony has finally revealed part of the PS5 hardware. Meet the DualSense, the brand new PS5 controller. It's different, that's for sure, and certainly came at an expected time. 

In light of this lovely surprise reveal, here's what the GamesRadar team thinks of the PS5 pad:

"It looks like the future" - James Jarvis

I find it hard to see what's 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 those things are cool! They're also designed to make you smile and feel safe so it's no surprise that there's going to be similarities here. I'm also on board with the two-tone design. If someone had asked me to draw what a futuristic PlayStation would look like based on the current design I would have imagined something  exactly like this. I'd have drawn something that a five years old's mother would even bother putting on the fridge, but I'd have imagined this. It'll be interesting to see how the haptic feedback feels in reality and if it's something that'll become a key feature or is just used for the first generation of games before developers (except first-party studios) ignore it. But the best thing about it is USB-C charging. Never again will I be left searching the house for a cable that only works with one thing. James Jarvis, Head of Video Operations, UK.

"Weird in a way Sony usually isn't" - Ben Tyrer

Not since the original PS3 concept controller (RIP, boomerang) has Sony produced a controller as weird as this. The two-tone colour instantly sets it apart from its predecessors, while the controller's shape almost reminds me of the original Xbox Duke controller. But if its looks take some getting used to (and I fall into the Like Them camp), the controller's features sound fantastic. 

Haptic feedback in the triggers, an upgraded Share button (now called the Create button), as well as an in-built mic which should make communicating online easier if you don't have a headset. Sure, the white might get grubby, and we can never know how good a controller is until we actually use it, but this looks weird in a way Sony usually isn't, and that makes me excited to see how far the PS5 might go. Ben Tyrer, News Editor

"An intriguing look at the Future of PlayStation" - Sam Loveridge

Initially, I hated the look of the DualSense, but I feel safe in the knowledge that it's going to look much better in black. After all, doesn't everything? It's hard to rate a controller without putting it in your hands, how it feels, how much it weighs, what the grip is like. It's all important because you're going to spend a lot of time practically glued to this thing. Thank the gaming gods for USB-C charging. 

But, more importantly, the fact that the DualSense has debuted looking like this, suggests that PlayStation may be moving away from a big black box for the PS5. I am so done with traditional designs, give me something unusual that intrigues the non-gamers that I let into my house one day. Give me something that's unusual, that makes me appreciate it every time I sit down in front of the TV. Go on PlayStation, you know you can do it.

(Image credit: Sony PlayStation)

"I can already feel myself coming around to it" - Alex Avard

I've always appreciated PlayStation's stalwart commitment to matte black over years, which almost felt like an increasingly prescient rebuttal to Silicon Valley's ceaseless, technocratic obsession with the most sterilised shades of white visible to the human eye. With that in mind, my first impressions to the DualSense, and it's disarmingly zebra-like patterning, weren't... great. That said, every time I've taken another look at the new photos, I've felt a little less scared by its warped shape and blazing colour scheme, and a little more interested in what it'll mean for my PS5 experience. By the time the console is out, I'm sure I'll be a zealous DualSense evangelist. And hey, there's bound to be different coloured variants. Alex Avard, Features Writer.

"Get ready for memes (and good, good, good vibrations)" - Brendan Griffiths

Once I got past the whole strappy crop top design, I actually really like the look of the new PS5 controller. The DualSense looks next-gen and not just a cowardly upgrade of a safe bet (I mean, come on Microsoftreally?). I can only go off the looks until I get the new vibration features actually into my hands, but the new light shape around the touchpad looks fantastic and the whole aesthetic has a strong Oblivion (the Tom Cruise movie) aesthetic that I’m really digging. I’m a bit annoyed the L2/R2 triggers are pretty much unchanged though in terms of shape, I would have preferred an inverted curve (like the Xbox One controller) to stop my fingers slipping in driving games and I’m not sure we really need the extra travel on the L1/R1 keys either. If Sony could ditch the two-tone to black design for one colour too (like they did eventually with the DualShock 4) that would be great. That and show us some GODDAMN GAMES ALREADY! Brendan Griffiths, Managing Editor of Hardware.

"I like white PlayStation controllers so I'm happy" - Austin Wood

The DualSense is basically a rounder version of the white DualShock 4 currently sitting five feet to my left, so at first blush, I'm pretty pleased with it. I dig the two-tone aesthetic, and I've always preferred white consoles and controllers to black, so I'm hoping the base PS5 is white as well. I'm sure we'll see other color options (hopefully at launch), but this reveal feels tailor-made for me so far. The haptic feedback and smart triggers sound nice, but I still really want to know the battery life on this thing, as that was my main problem with the DualShock 4. As long as the DualSense doesn't die in six hours, I'll be happy. Austin Wood, Staff Writer.

(Image credit: Sony PlayStation)

"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 of the 80s white, black and neon blue just screams robots of the future at me. I know some people will get upset about how quickly white electronics can look dirty but have you considered not being a filthy 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'd change? The name that makes it sound like a vibrator for rich old ladies. Rachel Weber, Managing Editor.

"It’s all a matter of perspective" - Bradley Russell

My first reaction to the DualSense most likely mirrored the majority out there: a knee-jerk response that was disappointed with the decision to seemingly move away from its traditional roots. It looked different – too different – and the face buttons seemed almost flat and flimsy in comparison to its older, sturdier brothers.

But a different shot of the PS5 controller changed my mind.

The side-on view reveals satisfyingly squeezy triggers and a firmer, dare I say, bulkier Xbox-like approach to its controller. We won’t know until we get it into our hands of course, but this now looks like it’ll be a snug, smart evolution to a controller design we’ve barely given a second thought to since the 20th Century. It was time for a change – and the DualSense could be the first promising marker of Sony’s more cavalier attitude in the next generation. Bradley Russell, Entertainment Writer.

"I've already changed my mind five times" - Jack Shepherd

My immediate gut reaction is 🤮 – this isn't the DualShock we've known for 20-plus years. But stepping back for a second, third, and fourth viewing, the DualSense makes a lot of sense: a chonky version of PlayStation's beloved controller that's the first significant upgrade since the bloody first one. The white colour is horrible, yes, but the design's actually pretty great. The triggers look robust, the whole thing looks comfier in hand, it's USB-C charging (!!!), and there's a microphone in the controller (a subtle upgrade a few years too late). Make the DualSence all black and I'll take four (well, let me check my bank account first). Jack Shepherd, Entertainment Editor

"Oh LAWD it comin'" - Iain Wilson

Naturally, it's hard to gauge how a controller is going to feel from a couple of press shots, but my first reaction was "oh LAWD look at that heckin' chonker!" It's definitely thicker than the current DualShock we're used to, presumably to accommodate the haptic feedback feature, but hopefully that won't make it any less comfortable to hold for long gaming sessions. PlayStation purists may be taken aback with the predominantly white design and removal of the iconic face button colouring, but you can't deny it looks futuristic and that Sony hasn't rested on its DualShock laurels. Personally, I have my fingers crossed for an all-black design, which I'm sure will be coming in time. Iain Wilson, Guides Editor

(Image credit: Sony PlayStation)

"Visually doesn't spark any joy" - Alyssa Mercante

A white controller that looks like it's begging to be covered in hand grease? Miss me with that. Sure, it's sleek, and I'm really happy to see the addition of a regular USB charger port to minimize the cords that clog the drawers in my apartment, but visually it doesn't spark any joy for me. It'd look better in black... Alyssa Mercante, Staff Writer.

"A great mix of the new and familiar" - Rob Dwiar

This looks great; a clear advancement of the DualShocks yet maintaining some established features. On a personal note, it is reassuring: I have weird small hands and - somehow - every single iteration of the PlayStation controller has been far better for me to hold than any other, allowing me to play my way - a way that is quite different to 'normal' folk (maybe I'll share just how different some time). The DualSense looks to have kept this winning form and design factor and refined it further, and also crammed it full of features that will make it the perfect truly next-gen controller: it's a bit weird - but that's because it's new; it's got a very cool - because it looks robot-y and futuristic; it's full of features - and some still unknown; it's both reassuring and somewhat familiar in its design form - yet still definitely a refined evolution. Even before we get our (small or normal-sized) hands on it, it looks like a winning formula to me. Rob Dwiar, Hardware Writer

"I can see the built-in speaker getting me in trouble" - Ellen Causey

I can't say I'm in love with the design of the PS5 controller, if it was all black then we'd be talking. But the feature that stands out for me is the built-in speaker which, whilst a great idea, worries me. On multiple occasions I have entered online games without realising that the mic on my headset is on, and sometimes I like to have a bit of a sing along whilst I shoot people and destroy zombies. Who doesn't?! So I just hope that I'm not going to have the same problem with this new controller! What I sing whilst I'm sending in a precision airstrike is my business! The USB-C charging is kind of cool though...

(Image credit: Sony PlayStation)

"Over-designed and indistinct" - Connor Sheridan

Somehow it's over-designed while still looking less distinct than its predecessors. The shoulder buttons poking out of the top are ungainly, though hopefully, their higher profile means they'll have more satisfying travel. The weirdest thing to me is how the touchpad seems to take up more controller real estate now, despite only a handful of PS4 games ever doing anything worthwhile with that feature. That said, the strappy 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... certainly a controller" - Ford James

My initial reaction when I saw the contrasting black and white was that it looks ugly as hell, but after thinking about it some more... I’m really not that bothered. I need to use the DualSense (dreadful name though) before I can judge it because function will always come before aesthetics. That said, it looks slightly bulkier than the DualShock 4 which my hands will be grateful for after long sessions and I’m a huge fan of the built-in mic... as long as it’s off by default because nobody wants to go back to the days of teens playing loud, distorted music down the mic when dead in-between Search & Destroy rounds on Call of Duty. I am disappointed we haven’t seen the back of the controller because of the DualSense doesn’t have back buttons or paddles — and if it’s not compatible with the DS4 back button attachment — then this feels like one step forwards, two steps back. Ford James, Guides Writer

"I love the look but will the tech get used?" - Leon Hurley

I really like the fresh look for the pad. It has that 'new Stormtrooper' feel of an understated redesign of something that's hugely recognisable and hard to mess with. My only reservations are for the tech. Sony has kept the touchpad... which nobody used, and added haptic feedback triggers which Xbox One had and... nobody used. Console makers love a unique feature but the reality is the average developer, with likely four platforms to worry about, isn't going to spend much time on a gimmick that only benefits one format. The new tech sounds nice but I suspect we'll see a familiar pattern: Sony's first party studios will make a point of showcasing the tech for launch and then it'll never be used again. Leon Hurley, Guides Co-ordinator

(Image credit: Sony PlayStation)

"My early impressions are positive, but strategically-placed actuators amount to naught without the right hand-feel" - Jordan Gerblick

Knowing full well how such a design departure could be controversial amongst PlayStation fans, I adore the way the DualSense looks. The two-tone color scheme pops without being distracting, and I find the light bars on the sides of the touchpad tasteful. As for the new features, I like the sound of haptics and adaptive triggers evolving the idea of the rumble feature into something more immersive, but I'd like to see how it all works in practice before getting too excited. My early impressions are positive, but strategically-placed actuators amount to naught without the right hand-feel, so here's hoping Sony delivers on the spectacle. Jordan Gerblick, News Writer

"Is that a Destiny accessory?" - Benjamin Abbott

I can't decide whether I love the Dualsense or loathe it. It's got that mid-2000s everything-is-white-and-matte-for-some-reason sci-fi look, which makes it seem like something Cayde-6 would use in Destiny. The two-tone design also reminds me (and everyone on Twitter, seemingly) of dungarees. 

But is that a knee-jerk, "ahhh, change" reaction? Probably. There's a lot to like here, and if the handset was all black I'd be totally on board. Its shape gives the impression of comfort, I'm keen on the new PS home button, and I'm a big fan of the clear plastic buttons. Come back to me in a few weeks - I suspect I may adore it by then. Benjamin Abbot, Hardware Writer

"I can see myself getting on board with it" - Heather Wald

When I first saw the design, I admittedly wasn't too keen. But after sleeping on it, I'm growing to like it. I think the white two-tone combo threw me off on a cosmetic level, but it does give off some futuristic vibes, and in different colours, I can see myself getting on board with it. It definitely looks like it's making quite a big departure away from the DualShock controller, 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 if it will include any accessibility features.  Heather Wald, Staff Writer

"It's an attractive controller that I sincerely hope will come in black" – Josh West

I think the PS5 DualSense controller looks like a really smart iteration on an already solid design. The fundamentals remain the same between the DualSense and what has come before it, and that's what's important here. I'm a fan of the chunkier chassis, both because it will hopefully fit my hands a little more comfortably than the DualShock 4, and because I'm excited to see what Sony does with Haptic feedback and Adaptive triggers. It's an attractive controller that I sincerely hope will come in black, because there's no way a white controller doesn't become an immediate disaster. I think the addition of the onboard microphone is great, and I'm into the shift of the lightbar to the front of the pad. Let's do this, Sony. You've got my attention – now show me some games I can play with it! Josh West, Features Editor.

PS5 DualSense and Xbox Series X controllers are the most important reveals of 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.

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