While the exclusivity of the DualSense on its latest console has been imposed by Sony for a year and a half, Scuf is marketing the first officially compatible PS5 wireless controller. Aesthetic customization, interchangeable sticks, exclusive buttons and additional paddles, these are the advantages of this model designed for eSports. Are we finally facing the Elite of the PlayStation 5? Here is a complete test to answer it.
- Technical characteristics of the Scuf Instinct Pro
- Finish and design close to the DualSense
- Some additional functions for the Scuf Reflex
- A consistent, but imperfect grip
- Conclusion: Better than a DualSense, but at what price?
While third-party manufacturers had been able to offer many alternative models to the DualShock 4 on PS4, including Thrustmaster, Nacon or Razer, the choice of DualSense was until then mandatory for players wanting to enjoy PS5 games. The controller manufacturer Scuf has, as on Xbox Series, managed to circumvent this limitation by offering a model directly from Sony’s latest controller. Understand that the Reflex uses all the electronic part of a Dualsensedelicately disassembled to accommodate new mechanics and additions of functions, with the aim of creating a modular controller and more suitable for competition, but compatible with PS5, Windows PC and Mac, iOS or Android.
On the Scuf site, you will therefore have access to a choice between three models, Reflex, Reflex Pro and Reflex FPS, with respectively for the last two models the addition of a thicker grip at the level of the handles, and the removal of the adaptive triggers for quick click models. Count a minimum of 219€ for the basic model, and up to 430€ for a custom version, with vibration removed and clickable palettes added. A big difference compared to the DualSense, and even compared to Microsoft’s Elite 2 sold for €170.
Technical characteristics of the Scuf Instinct Pro
|Compatibility||PS5, Windows PC, Android, iOS, Mac OS|
|Connection type||Wired USB and Bluetooth|
|Action buttons||8 + 4 pallets|
Buy the Scuf Reflex on the Scuf store
Finish and design close to the DualSense
If it weren’t for this color change, the Reflex would be hard to differentiate from the DualSense at first glance. Broadly speaking, the latest controller from Scuf takes up the curves of the controller from which it borrows the motherboard and therefore offers a very similar design, several elements that can a priori be exchanged from one model to another. In the details, there are nevertheless some notable differences with a texture of the plastics of the facade that is softer to the touch, less stickyand a clearly thicker grip on the Pro model we have in hand.
Some additional functions for the Scuf Reflex
The main design difference offered by this Reflex is ultimately located under the controller, inside the handles. In the greatest tradition of the brand, we find there 4 additional plastic palletsnot removable, accessible from the middle or ring finger, assignable to the L1/R1, L3/R3 keys, the D-Pad arrows, or one of the four action buttons on the front panel. A dedicated button allows you to change the configuration, on the fly, with 3 integrated profiles that can be modified at will. No software application to accompany these modifications, everything being done very simply but with limitations.
The analog sticks also see their shape and material change, from the basic model, with a concave cap with a thinner texture than the original. We find here the same models as on the Scuf Instinct that we tested recently. And if these stick caps are interchangeableprovided of course that you have purchased the option, they cannot be replaced on the fly like on Microsoft’s Elite model, but require the user to remove the central plate to directly access their mechanical part.
It’s clearly less practical and it takes a good minute to change the two hats, but suddenly you don’t risk losing a part in the operation. We will note all the same that this removable plate is the only source of squeaks when handling the controller. Discreet squeaks which, fortunately, do not feel in game but only when one presses voluntarily on the plate.
After having mentioned the additional palettes and the interchangeable sticks, we have reviewed the additional functions provided by this Scuf Reflex. Stick angle adjustment point, dead spots, no remapping or trigger jamming as found on the Scuf Instinct or Xbox Elite 2. The best you can decide to remove the adaptive triggers typical of the DualSense for immediate click models, like a mouse click, but losing in the process any possibility of progressiveness of the triggers. And this choice is made at the time of purchase, with no possible backtracking. Ditto with the suppression of haptic vibrations which saves a little weight and concentration, to the detriment of gaming sensations.
Finally, a word about the autonomy of the controller which remains unchanged compared to the DualSense. Allow 7-10 hours of gameplay for a full charge depending on the use of haptic vibrations and adaptive triggers. You can more than double this playing time if you go on the model devoid of these two functions.
A consistent, but imperfect grip
As we have said, the Scuf Reflex takes up the design of the DualSense in broad outline. We therefore find here all the qualities of the Sony controller, including the usual grip, with its wide handles that fall well under the fingers, its well-positioned symmetrical sticks, and all the qualities of the buttons that we know. The directional cross remains flexible, in contrast to Microsoft’s proposal, but the result is both precise and pleasant. The contact of the front buttons is fast, but with a rather soft spring. for once we would have preferred to see here clicks more dry for a clearer action.
On the side of the L1 and R1 slice buttons, we also find a certain flexibility, not very suitable for competition practice and which would have deserved a change for a drier model, like the proposal for the Xbox Series Controller. Nothing to cry foul either, the depth being about 1 millimeter in the case of the Reflex. Finally, nothing to say about the touchpad, identical to that of the DualSense, and which therefore retains its precision and touch, as well as for the movement recognition functions which remain unchanged.
The two main factors of change in the grip and the possibilities of play are therefore again on the side of the sticks and additional palettes. For the former, this is a matter of taste and habit. Varying the height to gain precision or speed, choosing the concave or convex shape, is more about the feelings of each person than a real advantage in play. In any case, the grip is sufficiently well cut to allow a good grip in all types of movements and it must be admitted that the models offered by Scuf are really effective, despite a less marked relief at the level of the crown.
For the pallets, we will be a little more critical. We appreciate being able to play without them, without them interfering with the original grip, but their use is not the most practical, for two reasons. First we will point the direction of support of the inner paddles which, to be activated, must be pressed upwards, which tends to unbalance the hand and therefore has an impact on the use of the analog stick. A point that does not involve the outer pallets whose support is more natural.
Then, we regret that the activation threshold is a bit too high, for the outer paddles this time, which again implies a loss of precision on the side of the analog sticks. If the position of these pallets is good, we ultimately prefer the proposal of the Scuf Instinct model, easier to use in game, with lighter support for the fingers. Right here, it will take quite a bit of practice before you really take advantage of these buttons.
Conclusion: Better than a DualSense, but at what price?
The Scuf Reflex is in itself a very good PS5 or PC controller, which takes advantage of all the advantages of the excellent DualSense, and which allows you to trade some unwanted functions such as vibrations and adaptive triggers for weight gain and quick buttons. Its finish is beautiful, it also comes with a 2-meter braided cable for wired play, and the customization it offers is clearly a plus, whether in terms of functions, types of analog sticks or even its aesthetic.
Added to this are the 4 additional paddles which, with practice and the acceptance of imperfect mechanical choices, make it possible to gain performance in certain types of games. But overall, beyond all the qualities of this Scuf Reflex, we regret some lacksdue for the most part to the affiliation of the controller with that of Sony: no application for the curves of the sticks or the remapping of the joystick, no possibility of manually shortening the triggers, no cohabitation of deep or short triggers, and overall no change in the hardness of the different buttons.
Compared to a Microsoft Elite controller, and especially with regard to the price of the controller as well as its options, the account is not really there. Still, the Scuf Reflex is to date the best controller for ps5with a short lead over its only competitor, the DualSense.
Buy the Scuf Reflex on the Scuf store
- A good build quality
- All the sensations of the DualSense
- The possibility of exchanging certain functions
- A very convincing grip
- On-the-fly palette mapping
- Quality buttons and sticks
- 3 profile memories
- Pallets lower than those of the Elite 2
- No really fast buttons
- Quick or haptic triggers, you have to choose when buying
- The price and in particular that of the options
- No software support
The Scuf Reflex controller is positioned as an alternative model of choice against the DualSense, taking advantage of full compatibility with PS5 games, or offering a more precise adaptation to certain types of game if you agree to swap certain functions. The additional possibilities it offers are clearly designed for competitive players and are generally well understood, but we expected more from a premium model. The Scuf Reflex therefore fails to position itself as a real competitor to the Elite 2 model that Microsoft offers to PC/XBox players, the fault being a lack of functions, settings and possibilities. Finally, if we are still faced with a very good controller – the best of the PS5 – its excessive price remains difficult to justify.
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