HexGaming Phantom PS5 controller review — HEX-ceptional

I’m a heavy duty controller user, and since I made mention of a distinct lack of “pro” controllers for PlayStation when I reviewed HexGaming’s Rival controller, the market has exploded. There aren’t just a bunch, even PlayStation got in on the craze with the DualSense Edge. From here, you have to question if HexGaming is behind the curve or if they might get lost in the shuffle. After using their latest innovation – The Phantom – they’re back in the race for best PS5 controller.

Unboxing the HexGaming Phantom PS5 controller from KickStarter! #gaming #controller

Opening the box you’ll find the HexGaming Phantom PS5 controller, a stylish box containing your eight thumbsticks and the joystick adjustment tool, and a few joystick protector rings along with the paperwork. There weren’t any thumbsticks attached to my controller in the box, and my assumption is that this is to keep them from getting lost. Other packages for this controller on Kickstarter come with a USB-C cable and carrying case, but the one we received did not. As someone who uses a bunch of pro controllers, I highly recommend grabbing one with a case, you lose less stuff and protect your investment. Also, I love the quick start guide in the box, which is very thorough and will help you in getting the most out of your controller.

As soon as I pulled the Phantom out of the box, I was in love. The controller isn’t much different than a DualSense in appearance, but the clean design of the body is phenomenal. I chose the blue color, and it is straight up stunning. The blank black face buttons are crisp, the thumbsticks and back buttons accentuate the color flow, and the Hex logo in place of the PS button looks awesome. There is also an advert on the touchpad, and while I don’t mind it personally, “customize your victory” makes a little less sense to me in practice. It feels like I’m being advertised to after I already paid for the controller. Even so, it’s just a great looking controller, and available in four colors at the moment.

In hand, the Phantom has a nice weight to it, slightly more heavy than a standard DualSense. These are made out of DualSense controllers, simply recrafted with the parts necessary to “upgrade” them. The back plate has a fantastic textured grip to it, allowing you to hold your controller and not have it slip during an intense combat moment. Beyond this, everything feels like it should, just like the DualSense you know and love.

Several things set the Phantom apart from a regular controller, and those are the swappable thumbsticks, back buttons, and digital triggers. Starting with the thumbsticks, they are easy to change around as they pop off with a light tug. Somehow it’s not so easy as to not come off during gameplay as well. You have eight total thumbsticks to choose from and set up to your liking, so play around with them until you feel comfortable. I also like there being two sets of high thumbsticks; I’ve seen several come with just one. The textured grips on them are very nice as well.

A big selling point for the Phantom compared to other HexGaming controllers is an idea they’ve implemented to counter stick drift. Using what they call a “DRIFIX module”, you can simply open a covered port under the USB-C port on the controller and turn screws using an included tool. While it won’t be able to cancel out ridiculous deviations, it’s awesome to not lose an expensive controller over a little stick drift. Given the controller I have in hand is new I haven’t had to make those adjustments, but there is so much information the team has dropped I can’t see not being able to fix my controller myself easily.

The digital triggers are a surprise, not just because of what they do, but also because of what they don’t. Many custom controller companies have to get rid of what makes the DualSense special in the adaptive triggers. Here, those have been preserved, with a slider that swaps between those and digital triggers. The digital triggers work perfectly, clicking just like a mouse button with a 1.5mm trigger pull that feels great. Also, in case you wondered, the regular haptic feedback is here too, and it’s still as sensational as ever.

I also like the back buttons even more than the ones that were on the Rival. On that controller, there was a custom module that HexGaming made that you could buy separately, and was added to the back of the controller. It was bulky, and two of the buttons required a bit of the reach. On the Phantom, the buttons are a part of the controller, repositioned and fashioned into the back plate. This allows them to fit much more naturally into your grip, which makes it easier to utilize them as you play. It’s a cinch to remap them as well: all you do is use the profile button with a few other button presses to set your back buttons in seconds. There’s a video for that below (it’s for a different controller but the same button logic applies), it truly is that simple.

All of this put together while gaming? Magic. The DualSense is already an outstanding controller. With HexGaming bringing their expertise and ideas to the table, it makes the Phantom an ultimate weapon. I play a ton of Call of Duty (which you know if you’ve followed me for any amount of time), and I’ve not slowed down a bit with the Phantom controller. If anything, I’ve found myself hitting sniper shots to be more consistent, meaning this controller is fine tuned for anyone looking to increase their accuracy.

How to Remap Your HexGaming PS5 ULTIMATE Controller Buttons

There is some feedback I have for the HexGaming team. They need to get an app going, at least on PC. With being able to make adjustments to your thumbsticks for stick drift and remapping your buttons, having the ability to do that via PC would be great. It would also help you better manage the six profiles. Again, this is more suggestion than shortcoming, as the controller does mitigate the necessity of an app via its ease of use.

It’d also be nice to have a better battery. Given this controller is retrofitted from a DualSense, it retains the 1650mAh battery. That means you’re stuck with the six to eight hours the standard controller gets. I understand that might up the price, but for the players who like to go wireless, it’d be a worthwhile investment.

You can back the HexGaming Phantom PS5 controller on Kickstarter to get your own via this link!

Lead Video Game Editor | [email protected]

David Burdette is a gamer/writer/content creator from TN and Lead Editor for Gaming Trend. He loves Playstation, Star Wars, Marvel, and many other fandoms. He also plays way too much Call Of Duty. You can chat with him on Twitter @SplitEnd89.



HexGaming Phantom PS5 controller

Review Guidelines

HexGaming has come roaring out of the gate with their latest invention. The Phantom PS5 controller is a product of careful recrafting and alteration, building the DualSense into a weapon fit for the finest. Between all of the enhancements, purchasing one of these is a no-brainer.

David Burdette

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

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