(Pocket-lint) - Sony switched the game up when it debuted the DualSense controller alongside the PlayStation 5 in 2020, offering new levels of immersion with haptic feedback in the triggers that fight against you as you play.
For well over a year, it was the only way to play on PS5. Now, however, the third-party PS5 controllers are here.
Scuf's Reflex is probably the most high-profile among them. But is it good enough for you to part with your DualSense?
We've been using it in order to find out.
Scuf's controller is a superb entrant to the market and, in our view, should be the default choice for most players looking for a major upgrade. Its customisation options are really excellent, but the stock controller is a great bet, as well.
The addition of paddles makes for huge leaps forward in terms of control scheme options - and the ease of reprogramming them shouldn't be overlooked - while offering different profiles for your layouts is another superb touch.
Between how much control you have over its looks and how you use it, the Reflex could be a seriously potent tool in the hands of an aspiring professional gamer - or just someone who wants to get a leg-up on the competition in public servers.
We wish it came a little cheaper, but, still, this might just be the new standard-setter for those trying to go the extra mile on PS5.
- Amazing customisation
- Paddles are superb
- Feels very premium
- Really expensive
- Face buttons a tad spongy
- Fully customisable or available stock
- Reflex Pro adds a non-slip grip
Scuf launched the Reflex to enormous demand, and, for the first few months, it was only available in some stock colours. Now, that's changed. You can order it freely and customise almost every element of the controller as you like.
This means you're able to mix up colour combinations to cover not just the controller's faceplate, but also its triggers and buttons, the thumbsticks and even the home button, which gives you a great deal of freedom to go simple or complex.
There are some jazzy decal pattern options, too, which we chose for our unit. As with most custom controllers, the downside is clear - each customised element will add to the price of your Reflex, and that price can get frighteningly high with every add-on.
The Reflex Pro adds a nice non-slip grip to the controller, which makes it feel really nice in the hand, and Scuf's customisation lets you add all of this yourself without any hassle.
Impressively, the addition of paddles on the rear and that grip still only leaves the controller 20g heavier than a stock DualSense, so you shouldn't notice too much of a difference as you play.
We've tried a professional-grade PS5 controller before in the form of AimControllers' PS5 pad, and, while that was also superb, the Scuf has the advantage in terms of how premium it feels, with more flourishes and a higher-quality finish.
Like AimControllers, Scuf lets you choose an FPS-centric option to give the Reflex clicky triggers, as well. This isn't great for racing games or others that use the trigger variably, but it is ideal for shooters where you just want the minimum travel time.
Finally, you can also select from different heights of thumbstick to avoid the need for an accessory like a KontrolFreek thumbstick - and the controller comes with spares so that you're not locked into your choice. They're easily swapped, as well, thanks to a removable panel on the Reflex.
The controller comes with a nice carrying case for storage and travel, which is appreciated, along with a good USB-A to USB-C charging cable, which is also useful enough.
A quick note for those who already have their charging setup locked in, though - the Reflex Pro likely won't fit into docks that you might use for normal DualSense pads, since the paddle unit changes its shape just enough to render it too big.
- Programmable paddles
- Three user profiles
The Reflex looks great, then, but that's really not the main thing where controllers are concerned - it's all about how it is to actually game with.
On that front, things are largely excellent. The main focus of the controller is arguably on those four paddles to its rear, seamlessly added onto the frame.
They're great to click and easy enough to flick with your finger, while still possessing enough resistance to protect against accidental inputs. They're also fully reprogrammable through a very simple process, which is hugely useful.
Best of all, you can save three separate button profiles in order to easily swap between layouts for different games on the controller. This is a great quality of life feature, and it works seamlessly. You know which you're using, as well, thanks to an LED light.
Moving to the other buttons, we opted to use normal triggers and they work nicely, replicating the DualSense's excellent tension to make gunfights and actions feel real in games that employ them properly. This also goes for the haptics more widely, which are detailed and responsive.
The thumbsticks are a delight, too, with both concave and convex options, and the height variation is perfect for those who like to fine-tune their setup.
The only duff note we've had of any sort is that a couple of the face buttons (where square, circle, cross and triangle would be) are slightly spongier than we'd expect - the clickiness of the normal DualSense seems slightly more satisfying, although were willing to accept this might just be muscle memory.
Overall, though, it's a peachy upgrade on the standard controller. The difference is huge when you go to games like Call of Duty: Warzone, where being able to move your aim with the right stick while also using buttons on the controller's rear is a massive boost.
That's not all, either - in a game like Elden Ring, where the control scheme can get a little convoluted, it's a great way to avoid a claw-like grip that you might otherwise have to employ in order to sprint away from enemies mid-fight.
The controller can also easily connect to your PC or Mac, and indeed your Android or iOS phone, so it's not just limited to the PS5, which is great. After all, the ergonomics of the DualSense are just as excellent here, so, if you're looking for a pro controller on those platforms, you're also in luck.
If you're looking for a pro-level controller for your PS5 or PC gaming, they don't come much better than this - even more so with the customisation options on offer.