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Scuf Reflex PS5 Controller Review

Christopher Coke Updated: Posted:
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Hardware Reviews 0

If you’re a competitive gamer, a great programmable controller can make all the difference. Today, we’re reviewing the Scuf Reflex for PS5 and PC. It’s Scuf’s latest flagship controller and features four programmable paddles on the rear for easy access while keeping your fingers locked on the sticks. It’s also fully customizable and works without the need for a port-blocking dongle. Starting at $199, it’s expensive, but worth considering if you’re in the market for a flagship controller  Find out in this review! 

Specifications

Current Price: $199.99 - Scuf Reflex, $219.99 - Scuf Reflex Pro, $249.99 - Scuf Reflex FPS

Scuf Reflex - What Is It?

We each start with the basic pack in gamepads that come with our consoles. But over time, as we seek that competitive edge, it’s common to wonder: is there something out there that’s better? This is especially true if you’re a fan of games like Call of Duty where it seems clear — sometimes painfully so — that another player just has some edge you don’t. How, I recall asking myself, does that just jump around a corner, go directly into a prone position and manage a headshot as soon as he touches the ground? 

Is he cheating? Probably not (although it’s copium to think so). More likely, he’s using a controller like the Scuf Reflex, or the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2, or the PlayStation DualSense Edge. Each of these controllers features rear paddles that allow you to trigger face buttons without ever removing your fingers from the joysticks. All manner of movement is at your fingertips while still having full control over your aim. It’s a clear, measurable advantage, which is exactly why these controllers have become so popular. 

Scuf has been making customizable, programmable controllers for years. They’re at the forefront of the industry and have more name recognition than most other brands operating in the space. The Reflex is its long-awaited PlayStation 5 controller, and it’s as customizable and easily programmable as they come. But it’s costly.

The Reflex comes in three stock configurations: the base Scuf Reflex, the Reflex Pro, and the Reflex FPS. The core of each model is the same: same ergonomics, same programmability. But there are some important differences between each. Between the Base and Pro models, the only difference is the pro includes a rubberized textured grip. They feature adaptive triggers, motion controls, audio output to gaming headsets, and HD vibration, just like the original DualSense. The extra grip will run you another $20, so the stock model is $200 and the Pro is $220.

The FPS model on the other hand, is designed for stability. Like the Razer Wolverine Pro, there are no vibration motors or adaptive triggers. Nothing to get in the way of your aim, even a little bit. It also adds instant triggers and bumpers to help you nail the first shot before your opponent. It’s a bit odd when two core features are being removed, but the Reflex FPS is the most expensive of the three coming in at $250.

There are some noticeable improvements coming from the Scuf Vantage for the PS4. The Vantage, which I reviewed in 2019, had extra buttons on the shoulders (SAX buttons) and four paddles in the center of the back. While good in theory, the SAX buttons were easy to press on mistake and the center rear paddles could be difficult to reach. 

The Reflex on the other hand, is much closer to a traditional DualSense. There are no “extra” buttons to get in the way. And the rear paddles are offset, much closer to the grips, for easier access and a more natural feel. This makes sense, because as one of their representatives told me, an actual DualSense is the base of the controller. They strip it down and rebuild it, adding features, but keeping the core framework for easy adaptability.

One of the absolute highlights of the Reflex is just how customizable it is. While you can buy it in the stock colorway shown in the image at the top of this article, it’s also available in a dozen different colors or patterns by default (the patterns are an additional $10). 

To truly make it your own, however, Scuf has a full Reflex Builder customization tool that allows you to customize every element of your controller. There are dozens of colors, patterns, and designs for the faceplate. You can choose the size and shape of the joysticks, and the colors of literally anything — right down to the rings around the sticks. By the time you’re done, you’ll have a completely custom controller. 

Just be warned: virtually everything adds an extra cost. The designer patterns are another $30. Beyond basic blacks, whites, and grays, each color-customized piece is anywhere from $2 to $10. Adding instant triggers is $30. The rubberized grip is $20. Removing the vibration motors is another $10. The total cost of the controller customized for this review was $286.92, plus another $13 for shipping. 

But, this is a specialized, premium product and they don’t come cheap. Scuf has also recently sweetened the deal by throwing in some extras that weren’t available at launch. Every Scuf Reflex now comes standard with a one-year warranty (originally six months), a black hardshell case, and four swappable thumbsticks (2 short domed and 2 long domed).

Scuf Reflex - Performance

Playing on the Scuf Reflex immediately felt natural. No surprise since it’s identical in shape and feel to the original PlayStation DualSense. There’s no learning curve to jumping in and playing; there is when it comes to mapping the rear paddles, but it’s very easy and only took one read of the manual to have it down.

Though the Reflex feels familiar, there’s no mistaking how much nicer it feels in the hand. There’s a bit more weight to it and the grips worked perfectly to make it feel steady and locked in my hand. The slight texture differences across the body also lend it a different feel. 

And after spending all that time customizing every single aspect of it, there’s a certain satisfaction that comes just from looking at it. Every piece of it is exactly what you asked for, right down to the color of the face buttons. Even now, almost a month after receiving my sample, I enjoy just looking at it and seeing how well done it is. The configurator does a tremendous job of matching what you’ll actually be holding in your hands. 

Compared to the Vantage, which was my main controller up until the launch of the PS5, the Reflex is much nicer to use. The rear paddles are effortless to access. The outer paddles being placed in line with the grip means you don’t have to think about reaching anywhere. They’re easy to identify without looking, so you can be confident intuitively that you’re pressing the right key. 

The inner paddles are equally so thanks to very smart angling. They’re positioned and beveled so you don’t have to reach at all. Simply moving your fingers outward brings you in contact with them. Triggering any of the paddles is intentional, unlike the SAX buttons, and in the whole month I’ve spent testing, I don’t think I’ve encountered even one accidental press. 

The controller three onboard profiles and you don’t need any special software to configure them. A small button just above the paddles can be tapped to cycle between them or held to map a face button to a specific paddles. Holding the profile button causes it to blink. Then, you press the paddle you want to map and tap the face button you would like to go there. Tapping the profile button again saves your changes. It’s that easy.

The responsiveness of the controller is fantastic, and I love that there are no missing features. Though the Razer Wolverine was great in its own right, it chafes to pay extra to have features removed. If you’re a tournament-level FPS player, dropping adaptive triggers and vibration may help your aim. For a competitive living room gamer, however, it’s nice that you’ll still be able to enjoy all of the features that came with your PS5.

There are two areas where the Reflex still needs work: battery life and face button feel. In my testing, I found that the battery only lasted about eight hours, which is just far too low for a pad this expensive. The face buttons are also softer and less tactile than the default controller, which doesn’t line up with the premium feel across the rest of its design. Compared to the DualSense Edge, however, the entire build manages to feel much higher quality and in keeping with its price point. 

Final Thoughts

Even with these issues, the Scuf Reflex feels great to use and is both easy to program and incredibly responsive. The level of customization Scuf provides is also next level. It’s still too expensive, in my opinion, but you’re getting a top-tier controller that also manages to avoid using a separate dongle to eat one of your USB ports. If you’re in the market for a custom PS5 and PC controller, I would definitely give this worthy consideration. 

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. 

8.0Great
Pros
  • Outstanding customization potential
  • Great rear paddle placement
  • Easy on-the-fly programming
  • Connects without the use of a dongle
  • Feels great to use in both ergonomics and responsiveness
Cons
  • Very expensive
  • Middling battery life
  • Buttons feel rather soft


GameByNight

Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight