Hands-on with the PS5’s synesthetic DualSense controller

Astro’s Playroom, included with every PlayStation 5, is clearly designed as a showcase of sorts for the system. The game takes players on a fantastical platforming adventure through an imagined version of the system’s innards, and through 25+ years of PlayStation history itself.

More than that, though, the game is the perfect showcase for the PlayStation 5’s new DualSense controller, and the proprietary perks it has over previous DualShock controllers. But while Sony has hyped up the DualSense’s fine-tuned haptic feedback and adaptive force triggers in recent months, the company has been largely silent on one of the controller’s most subtly impactful features: the built-in speaker.

Listen to your hands

Sony clearly wanted us to notice this speaker when we received our PlayStation 5 hardware; we were told, both in email and over a video-call briefing, not to wear headphones when testing Astro’s Playroom for the first time. This was confusing at first, since the game’s tutorial doesn’t even mention the built-in speaker while running through the controller’s many features. But it doesn’t take long to hear the thing in action, and it’s much better than you might expect based on recent console history.

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