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DualSense vs DualShock 4: How much better is the new PS5 controller?

After much anticipation, Sony has unveiled (some of) the PS5 – this being the new DualSense controller. The new PS5 DualSense controller (not named DualShock 5 as expected) takes over the perfectly-fine-but-not-amazing DualShock 4. In DualSense vs DualShock 4, who will win?

The DualSense controller is the biggest ever departure from a PlayStation controller’s previous iteration – significantly changing up buttons and colour scheme.

Despite these changes, Sony will likely be hoping DualShock fans will still feel at home with the new PS5 DualSense. Could the changes be too much? Is the new colour scheme too much? And, will all the tweaks be worthwhile? We’ll have to wait to get our hands on the next-gen system but, for now, let’s see who comes out on top from what we do know.

Related: PS5 vs Xbox Series X

DualSense vs DualShock 4 – Price

Much like the PS5, we do not yet know the price of the DualSense controller. The DualShock 4 has floated around the price of £49.99 ever since release – with retailers regular offering significant discounts.

We wouldn’t expect the PS5 DualSense to be any cheaper than the DualShock 4, so you can probably expect to fork out around £50 if not more. We will have to wait for the full PS5 price reveal for concrete details.

Of course, you’ll get at least one DualSense controller bundled with the PS5 console, so this is only an issue for multiplayer or if you break your initial pad.

Related: This is how much it’ll cost to build a gaming PC with the PS5 and Xbox Series X’s specs

DualSense vs DualShock 4

DualSense vs DualShock 4 – Design

Before anyone gets their hands on the PS5 and its new controller, the biggest difference would obviously appear to be the design. With the DualSense controller, Sony has told the world it’s ready for something so new and different that it wouldn’t fit being called the DualShock 5.

The first thing you’ll notice is the colour scheme, the new DualSense definitely makes an impression. In the long term though, this will probably be a moot point of comparison as numerous colours will likely be available if the original doesn’t take your fancy. 

The shape likely won’t change, however. Without going full Xbox, Sony does seem to have opted for a more chunky and angular design compared to the DualShock 4 – borrowing some elements that may get the Xbox controller its frequent praise.

DualSense vs DualShock 4

DualShock 4

Some may also be disappointed to see that this default PS5 controller has dropped the long-running coloured face buttons from the DualShock 4 design – a staple of PlayStation design. Another change is the ditching of the oh so bright (even when dimmed to the lowest setting) light bar. The lighting has now been moved to under the touch bar, for what looks like a more understated effect.

The two controllers definitely have very different looks, even if they do share some DNA. The DualShock 4 has a more contemporary look without knocking anyone’s socks off while the DualSense is sure to ruffle some features – in both a good and a bad way. Ultimately, it comes down to personal taste.

Related: Upcoming PS4 games 2020

DualSense vs DualShock 4 – Features

Let’s kick off with the new shoulder buttons. The buttons are a new shape, with the bumpers looking the most different, and add new haptic feedback technology. I’ll let Sony explain what this means: 

“This is why we adopted haptic feedback, which adds a variety of powerful sensations you’ll feel when you play, such as the slow grittiness of driving a car through mud. 

We also incorporated adaptive triggers into the L2 and R2 buttons of DualSense so you can truly feel the tension of your actions, like when drawing a bow to shoot an arrow.”

These buttons feel like an area in which the DualSense is sure to one-up the DualShock 4 and if games choose to incorporate them heavily it could truly set the PS5 apart. Opinions on the DualShock 4’s offering seemed to range from just fine to not great, when lined up against competitors. Hopefully, PS5 DualSense brings a welcome improvement rather than trying something and failing.

DualSense vs DualShock 4

The DualSense PS5 controller has chosen to ditch the Share button for a new Create button. Sony hasn’t fully explained what this means but has suggested a renewed focus on the options available to players who share content.

The new controller also adds a new microphone. The microphone will allow you to talk to friends simply by speaking normally, with the new DualSense able to pick up your voice. A nice and simple addition. There’s also a mute button right on the controller for those worried about the controller picking up stuff you don’t want it to.

Sony is definitely attempting to provide a new controller experience compared to the previous DualShock 4 but it remains to be seen how valuable these new features will be. The touchpad was a big new addition for the DualShock 4 and it has hardly been earth-shattering.

DualSense vs DualShock 4 – Battery life

One of the biggest annoyances of the DualShock 4 was its battery life – it simply isn’t long enough. It also doesn’t offer the replaceable battery solution that Xbox does with its controllers, forcing you to utilise its onboard battery.

This makes it unfortunate that Sony is yet to elaborate on how, or even if, it is planning to improve this with the DualSense. Sony did say:

“We also took thoughtful consideration into ways to maintain a strong battery life for DualSense’s rechargeable battery…”

But, that was our lot for now. Hopefully, this shows that Sony knows players weren’t all that happy with battery life on the DualShock 4 and it has worked to improve the DualSense battery life.

Pictures at least confirm the DualSense controller uses a USB-C connection (the same power point the Nintendo Switch and most smartphones use). Not only should this allow for speedier charging, but also means you can use the same cable for charging the majority of your devices.

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