When it comes to gaming, consoles are a platform that one just cannot ignore. Two of the major consoles that people rely on for their gaming cravings are the Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One lineup of consoles. Both of them have recently crossed the 4K gaming barrier and both of them have their own pros and cons of owning them. But this post isn’t about the consoles, it is about the controllers that these consoles use.
The Sony PlayStation 4 uses the DualShock 4 controller while the Xbox comes with their own controller.
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But why are we comparing controllers you ask? Well, looking at the recent mess-up in the GPU prices due to crypto mining, we can say that it is a safe bet to choose a console over a PC in the current scenario but we are not going into that argument. It’s way too messy and I don’t want to get into the whole PC gaming vs. Consoles debate (even though I prefer PC, sue me!).
But yes, I have my fair share of experiences with the consoles and I was recently very eccentric after playing the God of War 2018 on my PlayStation 4 Pro. I was actually loving the way the game worked and it was only after I finished the game that I realized that the DualShock 4 controller obviously was a big part of the gaming experience. But I started imagining how the gaming experience would be with an Xbox controller. That is when I decided to put both of these controllers to the test and see which one works better. So here is what I found out in this versus post of PS4 controller vs Xbox One controller.
Let’s start with the DualShock 4 controller for the PlayStation 4 and we will see what improvements it comes with over the DS3 and more.
DualShock 4 – PlayStation 4
The DualShock controller hardly had its design changed over the last years of its existence. In fact, if you look at the last generation of the DualShock controller i.e. DS3, it will look a lot similar to the first DualShock controller that Sony ever released. This isn’t particularly a bad thing. Sony has stuck to a design that has worked in their favor and people across the world like that controller so why even disturb this whole ecosystem with unnecessary changes? This is a good call from Sony.
But if you look at the DualShock 4 which is the current generation of Sony’s PlayStation controller, you will notice that the new controller excels on the old design of the controllers while adding new features like a trackpad etc.
The DualShock 4 controller is definitely bigger than DS3 but yes, it is also much more sleeker which makes it easy to handle in those mind-numbing gaming situations. The DualShock 4 is overall very ergonomic when it comes to handling it and it doesn’t tire your hands and your muscles. This is a good thing if you plan to game for very long hours.
Coming to the functionality, it actually improves on a lot of factors over the DS3. It comes with better, smaller and much more responsive buttons that are also analog. The buttons being analog can be explained with a simple example. Let’s say you are playing a racing genre gaming on the PS4 and you have a button assigned for acceleration. Now on a normal keyboard on a PC, you just press the W key and the car accelerates fully. Not on a controller though, you can easily see that the acceleration will depend on how much you are pressing the specific button for it. If you press it all the way, it will accelerate fully and pressing it halfway only means the acceleration will be limited.
Apart from this, the DualShock 4 comes with a trackpad, better and smaller analog sticks, comfortable and easily accessible triggers, a mono speaker and a headphone jack built right into the controller. Not only this, but the DualShock 4 controllers also come with Sony’s very own Sixaxis motion sensor for better gyro and accelerometer-based inputs in games.
Xbox One S Controller – Xbox One S
The Xbox controllers have also carried the “don’t fix what’s not broken” idea and hence there have been not many significant changes in the Xbox Controllers since the Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 controller was the best controller Microsoft ever launched with a console. Yes, it looks bulky but it is very useable and ergonomics wise it checks all the right pointers.
The new Xbox One S controller looks very slim and it’s not as bulky as the 360 controllers. This is a good thing and it hasn’t lost the design language that it carries from Xbox 360’s original controller. The buttons on the new controller are very responsive and the thumbsticks have a texture to them which gives them a certain amount of comfort while holding. You can find a headphone jack and a D-Pad that is completely redesigned. The old D-Pad designs on the Xbox 360 controller was the biggest downside of the controller.
The new Xbox One S controller just carries subtle improvements like a textured grip, new textured buttons, and switches and it is slimmer as well which makes it all a great package of improvement without losing what users love about it.
DualShock 4 vs. Xbox One S Controller – FIGHT!
Now that we have discussed everything about both of these controllers, it is time for us to compare both of them and decide which controller comes out on the top.
The Design & Ergonomics
Look, every controller can look cool but it all boils down to the ergonomics and how it actually feels in the hands of the user. Visual appeal as so less to do with the functionality of the controller but thankfully, both of these controllers look amazing. But we will definitely consider the looks just for the sake of it.
The Xbox One S controller looks very minimal and to the point as compared to the DualShock 4 which aims towards the modern look. I would prefer the Xbox One S controller any day because of the ease of use and minimalism. But coming to the ergonomics, both of them are very comfortable to use and none of them have a specific thing that makes one less usable than the other one. But you compare the weight and you find out that the Xbox One S controller is a tad bit weighty as compared to the DualShock 4 controller. It isn’t something that might bother a lot of people, but if you are nitpicking, this is a point where you can deduct some marks for Microsoft.
On the other hand, Xbox controllers can be well customized with the Xbox Design utility which lets you choose variations of different colors that you might want to have on your cool controller. You can even choose to go for rubber and metal on your controller so you have this type of customization available at your exposure from Microsoft.
The Analog Sticks
When you compare the DualShock 4 and Xbox One S controller side by side, you can see that both of these controllers use a different layout for the analog sticks. The ones on the DualShock 4 come positioned symmetrically.
The analog sticks on the Xbox One S controller, however, aren’t lined up symmetrically. But it is a personal preference as to how one likes to use their controllers. As far as I am concerned, I don’t really care as long as the sticks work.
The Xbox One S controller has an advantage when it comes to ergonomics as they are placed at the right location on the controllers where our thumbs can easily reach them. The ones on DualShock 4 being symmetric aren’t bad but they aren’t that ergonomic as the Xbox controllers.
Coming to the D-Pads on both of these controllers. The D-Pads and their usage have changed a lot and now in modern games, they’re just used for selecting items, skills or utilities. They used to have different functionality in 2D games which was movement.
The Xbox 360 D-Pad was terrible and everyone knows this but with the Xbox One controller they have made it perfect and it works flawlessly. The design, as well as the functionality on the Xbox One S controller, is amazing and there are no signs of the faults that the Xbox 360 controller had.
The DualShock 4’s D-Pad is just the same but it is a bit bigger and tactile as compared to the DualShock 3. It works perfectly and has no flaws or rigidity at all.
The Shoulder Buttons
The Xbox 360 controller’s shoulder buttons weren’t really designed to be kept held down and instead of that they were designed to be clicked and that’s all. But Xbox One S controller has totally fixed that. The shoulder buttons on the Xbox One S controllers are bigger and way easier to reach out to and press.
Coming to the DualShock 4, the shoulder buttons on them don’t feature pressure sensitivity anymore and the button design has been changed from a rectangular button to a rounded one. Both of these controller’s shoulder buttons sound clicky but the clicks are less audible on the DualShock 4 controller. Apart from that, both of them work flawlessly and there’s nothing specific bad about them.
When Xbox 360 had poor D-Pad, the DualShock 3 came with poor triggers due to the convex design that they featured. They were a pain to hold for more than a few seconds but this has been fixed on the DualShock 4 controllers and they’re more ergonomic and can be used easily.
Talking about the Xbox One S controller, the triggers on these are awesome and they win by a huge margin if you compare them. Not only are they bigger but they also give a haptic feedback while using them which makes using them much more fun and immersive.
Both Xbox, as well as the DualShock 4 controllers, come with a headphone jack that you can use instead of speakers to get a better immersive experience. On Xbox controller, you can use it on a PC without having to buy any sort of Bluetooth controller for the audio but for Sony you need to buy the Sony Bluetooth Dongle to stream audio wirelessly which is a disadvantage.
The DualShock 4 controller comes integrated with gyroscope and accelerometer sensors which can be utilized in a game. This is something that the Xbox One S controller lacks and games on PlayStation 4 can easily take advantage of these sensors to make for a better gaming experience.
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The Xbox One S controller lacks a touchpad while the DualShock 4 controller does not. But as per many of the users discussing on Reddit, they don’t need a trackpad on their controller. I don’t know if it is the salt talking but we will never know what the developers of the Xbox platform can do with a touchpad. We can only know when Microsoft decides to add it to their controller someday. Till then, I can go with DualShock 4 just for the extra functionality.
Now that we’re done with the comparison and if you go back to the whole thing and read it all over again, you will see that both of these controllers actually are pretty even. The Xbox One S controller has better ergonomics obviously but the DualShock 4 isn’t that far behind.
If you’re someone who likes playing 2D games, you can actually go for the PlayStation 4 and DualShock 4 combo since the D-Pad on that controller is quite good and functional for 2D games. No, I’m not saying that Xbox One S controller has a terrible D-Pad, I just mean to say that DualShock 4 controller does the job better.
If you are going to use the controller for racing games, then the Xbox One S controller is the one that you should go for with your eyes closed. It just has better analog sticks and shoulder buttons that will let you play racing games with ease. But if you take an overall look, you will notice that the DualShock controller actually gives you everything that the Xbox One S controller does but it also gives you a few things extra. All in all, it all boils down to which system you will be playing your games on. For PC, I will choose an Xbox One S controller any day.