5 mistakes everyone makes with PS5 DualSense controllers

Don't fall into these common DualSense controller traps when gaming on your PS5

Man using PS5 DualSense controller
(Image credit: Reet Talreja / Unsplash)

I've owned a PlayStation 5 since day one and have loved gaming on the console for many years. Despite distractions from the Xbox Series X (yes, I took the plunge and bought one – something I now half regret and wish I'd waited for a Switch 2) and Nintendo Switch, it's the Sony console that gets the most play time out of the trio.

But it got me thinking: it's so easy to just unbox the PS5 and dive into gaming using the included DualSense Wireless Controller that many people won't think twice about various mistakes made and traps fallen into when it comes to the default Sony controller. So here are tips, tricks and errors to avoid with your Sony DualSense to make for a better gaming experience overall...

1. Ignoring firmware updates

I've often been guilty of this: "oh the PS5 wants to update; oh the DualSense wants to be wired to the console for an update too," before then ignoring it and digging into a gaming session instead. Well, obvious as it is, this is a bad idea – because it means you can miss out on feature drops, such as enhanced sound/volume, light intensity adjustment, and more besides.

Sony added the ability to wirelessly update the DualSense Wireless during 2023, so that's removed the faff of needing to wire in a cable to the USB port, but updates will only happen if your console software is right up to date too. It's clearly worth it, though, in delivering the most up-to-date and feature-rich experience overall.

2. Forgetting to mute the mic

By default the DualSense Wireless has a microphone that's set to 'on'. That's great if you're actively engaged in gaming sessions where you want to be heard – but quite the opposite if, like me, you half the time forget the setting is even there. People don't need to hear you sniffing away or talking through what's for dinner, eh?

Fortunately it's easy to mute the mic: simply press the button that's below the 'PS' button and it'll illuminate orange to show you that the mic is muted (this will also display on-screen to verify). There's another nifty trick too: press-and-hold the same button and it'll disable all audio (represented by 'breathing' orange), should you want to stop a major racket of sound for any reason.

Alternatively, you can set the mic to mute by default. Simply go to Settings > Sound > Microphone > Microphone Status When Logged In and select 'Mute' instead of 'On'. That's what mine's now set to, in order to reverse the default out-the-box setting.

3. Not adjusting settings for battery benefit

One thing that I love about the DualSense Wireless Controller is the haptic feedback. It just feels so much better than so many competitor controllers. But do you ever think about how much battery energy this is using up? And did you know you can adjust the intensity of the setting too – especially useful if you don't like it feeling so highly intense.

Well, you can easily adjust this – and also the Adaptive Triggers' sensitivity, too – by hitting the PS button to bring up the control centre, then selecting Accessories, highlighting the connected controller (Wireless Controller by default), and picking Controller Settings. This will open up a whole new screen.

From here you can adjust Vibration Intensity, Trigger Effect Intensity, Brightness of Controller Indicators, and Communication Method. Dumbing these down or switching various ones off may suit your preference, but also save on that all-important battery life!

4. Failing to charge

Speaking of battery life: the DualSense Wireless Controller doesn't really last all that long per charge. And I find it's all too easy to forget to charge the controller at the end of a session. Fortunately you can use any USB-C connection for this task, so don't feel as though you're restricted to using the USB-A socket on the front of the console – which will fail to charge if you turn the console off anyway (select 'Rest' and it'll work though).

My best solution for this? Buy the official DualSense Charging Station from PlayStation. It's got two slots where you can rest the controllers in easily at the end of a session and, as identified by a colour illumination, commence charging without needing to plug anything in. The accessory is attached to a separate mains socket so independently draws power and has no attachment to the PS5 console itself.

5. Not upgrading your hardware

Another top tip I recommend: buy another DualSense Wireless Controller! When battery on the first runs out you can easily switch over to your second, charged controller and continue unimpeded. Having two controllers is also obviously great for multi-player in the same room, when applicable.

If you're a hardcore gamer and want additional features then I'd also suggest considering upgrading to Sony's DualSense Edge – yes, it costs a lot more than the standard DualSense version, but brings heaps of adaptable features, replaceable thumbstick options, additional trigger controls, and a much better build quality.

Mike Lowe
Tech Editor

Mike is the Tech Editor and AV Editor at T3.com. He's been writing about consumer technology for 15 and, as a phones expert, has seen hundreds of handsets over the years – swathes of Android devices, a smattering of iPhones, and a batch of Windows Phone products (remember those?). But that's not all, as a tech aficionado his beat for T3 also covers tablets, laptops, gaming, home cinema, TVs, speakers and more – there's barely a stone unturned that he's not had a hand on. Previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for a 10 years, he's also provided work for publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more. In addition to his tech knowledge, Mike is also a flights and travel expert, having travelled the globe extensively. You'll likely find him setting up a new mobile phone, critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next getaway... or cycling somewhere.