Scuf Reflex Pro review: Generally great, but with one major flaw

The PS5’s DualSense is one of the most feature-rich controllers ever made. And at $69.99 (or a little more for the brighter colors), it’s quite expensive as is if you need to buy another one. Nevertheless, peripheral brand Scuf has added even more to its line of Reflex controllers, in turn increasing its cost.

This departures at $199.99 – half the cost of a PS5 Digital Edition. And the cost increases with the $229.99 Reflex Pro (the model I tested, which costs more than three DualSense controllers) and the $259.99 Reflex FPS. The Reflex FPS lacks both haptics and adaptive triggers in favor of Scuf’s more clicky “instant triggers”, but that’s apparently what professional gamers want: less features and a higher cost.

Reflex and Reflex Pro controllers have the same features as Sony’s controller, adaptive triggers, touchpad, advanced haptics, headphone jack, rechargeable battery, and more. It even has similar system integration; your PS5 can provide it with updates just like it would with Sony’s Dualsense. But Scuf took liberties with some design and functionality choices (some of which were made to create opportunities for you to spend even more money).

The biggest draw (and, perhaps, the most controversial quality) of the three Reflex variants is the rear-mounted paddles. Each has an irremovable module on its back from which four paddles depart. These can be mapped to perform almost any function on the controller other than duplicate home, options or create functions. The Reflex also cannot remap rear triggers, which Scuf does not acknowledge in its online FAQ. However, the controller’s instruction manual specifically lists the functions that can be remapped.

Here is the statement Scuf spokeswoman Lexie Harkness provided to The edge why he chose not to include this feature:

“The internal structure of the DualSense controller is very unique and the adaptive triggers represent technical limitations for other components. Since the L2 and R2 triggers are already in a relatively accessible location, we decided to prioritize other features that give the user more options for harder-to-reach areas.

I can accept not being able to remap some of the key functions at the OS level of the controller, but the lack of remapping of triggers on the paddles is a blow to the value proposition of this expensive product – not to mention the Scuf’s key audience who wants a compromise non-controller. Also, triggers may be “relatively accessible” for many people, but that doesn’t help people who may need more accessibility to play games. Scuf’s line of Xbox Instinct wireless controllers have the same limitation.

It’s worth mentioning that with the PS5, Sony’s DualSense supports custom button assignments, allowing you to remap any function (triggers included) to any of the face buttons. Like Scuf’s controller, this excludes home, options, or creative buttons.

Scuf Reflex Pro

The grip is what separates the $199 Reflex and this $229 Reflex Pro.

Scuf Reflex Pro

Each rear paddle can be removed, in case you only want a couple.

The Reflex Pro remains a very good controller, if you manage to ignore this flaw. And as for what he can remap, the function works as expected. You can switch between three saved profiles with a backlit button on the back, allowing you to switch between a few custom control schemes. Unlike the Xbox-specific Instinct controller made by Scuf, the Reflex’s paddles can be removed one at a time, if you prefer fewer, or just to have them on one side of the controller instead of both.

Your interest may vary with customizing the controls, but it may make it easier to perform certain controller functions that typically require greater range. I remapped the “look behind” function in Grand Touring 7 to a back paddle, which was more intuitive for me than the default L1 button mapping. In Ring of Elden, I changed toggle between gear from the d-pad to one of these paddles. This saves me from awkwardly reaching for the d-pad, which is especially annoying during battle.

Scuf Reflex Pro

It is quite easy to remove the plate, as well as the sticks.

Scuf Reflex Pro

The Reflex Pro includes a few sticks of varying heights.

As for other changes Scuf has made to the DualSense, the company has removed the face button labeling, giving the Reflex a more sophisticated look than the DualSense – assuming you’re already intimately familiar with Sony’s traditional layout. Other changes are generally positive, with the exception of the home button. Instead of the PlayStation logo sticking out slightly from the DualSense, there’s a slightly harder button to press here. It might sound fine to some people, but I sometimes failed to press it, which isn’t an issue I have with the DualSense.

You can get a Reflex in other colors than what Sony currently offers for its DualSense. The overall color of the controller (which has a soft-touch coating) cannot be changed after purchase, but the frame that surrounds the controllers can be removed. By removing this bezel, which seamlessly locks into the sockets at the bottom of the Reflex’s grips, you can also swap out the thumbsticks themselves, as well as the colored rings around them. With your purchase, Scuf includes a few interchangeable thumbsticks in different heights and with convex or concave surfaces, to accommodate different styles of play. The company says you’ll one day be able to buy more sticks and their surrounding rings in different colors.

Despite these changes, the Reflex feels identical to a DualSense when you’re focused on the game and not the controller. Still, my favorite change here is the patterned rubber grips added to the Reflex Pro and FPS (but not the standard model). It feels like the definitive PS5 controller. It fits more comfortably in my hands during more intense gaming sessions, while also making it less prone to sliding around on my coffee table between gaming sessions.

Scuf Reflex Pro

Unlabeled buttons are great, but unwelcoming to new PlayStation players.

Scuf Reflex Pro

Thanks to its handles, it will not fall into this precarious position.

Having paddles on a controller isn’t for everyone, but it’s one of those things you might not be able to live without once you get used to it. And for people who have never purchased a controller like this, you may only realize your preference by trying it out. It would be easier to recommend more people to try it, if only the starting price of $199.99 for Scuf’s Reflex wasn’t so high. And unfortunately, with hardly any wireless alternatives to the DualSense currently available, Scuf charges more for these extra features than they’re worth.

Scuf knows how to make already good controllers a little better. But these prices only serve to prevent most players from being able to experience it. With no other equally customizable options, I still can’t recommend it to most people. I’m just going to sit here, cross my fingers, and hope that Sony eventually makes a PS5 version of its back button attachment, or an even higher-end wireless controller that costs less than this one.

Photograph by Cameron Faulkner/The Verge