The Rival Pro Is A Solid Pro-Style PS5 Controller, But You Can Build It Yourself For Less
HexGaming's new Rival Pro PS5 controller is essentially a custom DualSense for those who don't want to build one.
Over the past year, HexGaming has released a variety of customized PS5 controllers aimed at competitive gamers. I tested a couple of early models, and while they were good, it was hard to recommend spending close to $300 on a controller. The latest edition, the Rival Pro, somewhat remedies this issue, as the controllers start at $200. Granted, only the matte black color scheme is available for this price--others are quite a bit pricier. For instance, the "White Wave Red" model I tested is $290. In terms of feel and performance, the Rival Pro is just about as good as the Scuf Reflex Pro, our pick for the best PS5 Pro-style controller. The Rival Pro is a great PS5 controller for multiplayer games thanks to its mappable rear triggers and its improved grip. However, if you're up for the task, you're better off modding your own DualSense controller. In fact, you can make your own Rival Pro.
While it's not made apparent on the controller's Amazon page, HexGaming is owned by ExtremeRate, a controller components company that sells parts so players can mod their own controllers. As such, HexGaming PS5 controllers are modded DualSense gamepads that use parts that are available separately on Amazon, too.
The $290 model I tested is pretty stylish, thanks to its vibrant ocean wave design that's accented by white buttons and sticks as well as red triggers. But at $290, it's quite a bit more expensive than the cost of building it yourself. The custom components on this controller include: housing shell, trim shell, rubberized grip, hair triggers, button/trigger set, and a programmable back panel with four buttons.
The build quality is stellar. It retains most of the great DualSense features while adding ergonomic back buttons that can be mapped on the fly, a rubberized grip that feels markedly better, swappable sticks of different styles, and hair triggers that heighten trigger pull sensitivity. When I said most of the DualSense features are still there, I meant all but one. The hair trigger mod eliminates the adaptive triggers, which is fine for competitive multiplayer (arguably better) but probably not so great for immersive games that make great use of that technology.
Of course, you can pick and choose which modifications you'd like to make. If you're purely looking for performance, the three main modifications are the aforementioned trio: mappable back buttons, hair triggers, and rubberized grip. The interchangeable sticks somewhat fall into that category, too, but it's all about personal preference. The rest of the customizations you can make are mainly for aesthetics.
So, let's build a controller that's very similar to the White Wave Red controller using ExtremeRate pieces and parts listed on Amazon to compare the cost.
- The Great Wave Housing Shell -- $22
- Black Programmable RISE4 Remap Kit -- $43
- Black Performance Rubberized Grip -- $20
- Clicky Hair Trigger Kit -- $15
- ThumbsGear Interchangeable Thumbsticks -- $15
- Full button, trigger, and D-pad set -- $13
- Decorative Trim Shell -- $15
Total cost of components: $143
Prices fluctuate depending on the color schemes and patterns you choose, but you're looking at around $150 to do the complete Rival Pro build. Naturally, you need a DualSense controller, too. So if you factor in the price of the controller, you're at around $220. As mentioned already, the matte black Rival Pro is only $200. However, if you opt for that plain look, you're basically just getting a Midnight Black DualSense. In that case, you can buy the controller for $70 and get the back button attachment, grip, and hair triggers for $78. This brings your total investment to around... $150 again.
That $78 mark is the key here, as that's essentially the price to turn your DualSense into a Pro-style controller using ExtremeRate parts. So, yes, you are paying a premium by buying a modded controller that is built for you by HexGaming--no matter which way you look at it. This is especially true if you only want to mod certain parts of your controller.
This premium, however, may be worth it for you. If you've never taken apart a controller, a warning: It can be pretty tricky, especially since you're working with lots of tiny screws and components. You might even break your DualSense controller if you aren't careful. Or maybe you'll put it back together and some of the inputs start acting funny. The labor alone, which is fairly intensive and qualifies as a weekend project, makes the pre-built Rival Pro controller a viable option.
Whether you opt for a pre-built or build-your-own custom PS5 controller, just know you're getting quality components. I'm very impressed with the Rival Pro, especially when it comes to the back panel attachment with four mappable triggers. Back triggers are helpful regardless of the type of games you play. They put the "pro" in pro-style controller, in a sense. I'd definitely recommend at least picking up ExtremeRate's RISE4 Remap Kit, which comes in a bunch of different colors and includes a fresh back shell to give your existing DualSense a new look.
If you're interested in ordering a pre-built custom PS5 controller online, you can visit HexGaming to build a controller from scratch.
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