Crazy new haptics and adaptive triggers are why you'll love the PS5's DualSense controller

Dualsense Controller
Dualsense Controller (Image credit: Jennifer Locke / Android Central)

Almost everyone who has touched the PS5 and the all-new DualSense controller is in love with it. And a big part of the reason why is what Sony has aptly named the "adaptive trigger" experience.

It's a simple idea — use haptic feedback on a trigger that changes the level of resistance. It's also one of those great ideas that someone should have thought of long ago because it really does add immersion. Combine it with an all-new way to make the controller rumble and you are in award-winning territory when it comes to a game controller.

You didn't know you needed resistance and feedback in your triggers until you tried it.

The concept is a little hard to grasp. Like, why would I want the resistance on my triggers to ever change? I get that, but luckily there are a few games already set up to use them in really cool ways. Games like Fortnite use the new haptics to change the vibration based on what gun you're holding and the triggers themselves change based on your weapon, too. PS5 exclusive Deathloop does the same and even locks the triggers when your gun jams. Maybe the coolest demo is how NBA2K21 increases the resistance as you get tired making those three-pointers and long passes more difficult.

I think you get the idea here, but I'm also really impressed with how Sony is doing it.

As YouTuber TronicsFix shows in the video above Sony is using all new hardware inside the DualSense to make the great haptic experience happen. The old tiny motors with a weight on the shaft are replaced with sealed motors that are likely off-balance inside the unit for a much stronger and more precise rumble and a second motor controls trigger tension.

Source: TronicsFix / YouTube

Two things you'll see in the photos above tell the whole story: a worm gear on the trigger itself and the vibration dampeners on the screw holes. The new haptics motors can rumble hard enough that rubber and silicone dampeners had to be added to the rest of the parts to keep them from becoming damaged when the controller goes into a full-blown death rumble. These little motors are impressive.

The DualSense can rumble like never before; it's so strong Sony had to add dampeners to most of the internal parts.

In the trigger assembly itself you'll find a small motor attached that works the gear I mentioned. You'll also find a small circuit board that acts as a motor controller for extremely precise adjustment. When there isn't any power applied to these motors the trigger works just like the PS4's DualShock does and there is only spring tension involved. But when the motors are powered, they control the length of travel and the amount of force needed to push the trigger down, providing true haptics to a part that never had it.

Dulasense Trigger Closeup

Source: Jennifer Locke / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jennifer Locke / Android Central)

I'm saving the best part for last — everything is modular. The battery can be changed the same way you can change a DualShock battery, all the circuit boards are easy to remove and replace, and even those adaptive trigger assemblies pop right out for easy reparability. You'll find the value in that once you have a couple of thousand hours on the controller and things start to wear out. It also makes it possible for third parties to get involved and make custom parts and electronics for the hardcore console gamer.

It might sound crazy, but the DualSense controller has me thinking about buying a PS5 to complement my Gaming PC.

I'm mostly a PC gamer but I use a DualShock with games that support a controller. Seeing the level of detail in the DualSense makes me really want a PS5 of my own. The integration of smart motors and working with game developers to make good use of them is awesome and it's something I'm not likely to get from my big glowing green gaming rig.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.