DualShock 4: Hands-on with the best PlayStation controller to date

By Abhinav Mishra | Updated 19 Dec 2013
DualShock 4: Hands-on with the best PlayStation controller to date
  • We got a chance to get our hands on the much talked about Sony DualShock 4 controller for the PS4. Read and watch our video to find out what's new and what's old with the new DualShock 4.

We finally got a feel of the much hyped DualShock 4 controller at the PS4 launch event in New Delhi, and there's no denying the fact that the DualShock 4 is probably one of the best controllers out there.


Sony has decided to make some major changes with the DualShock 4 even though it still retains familiar PlayStation layout. Although the design is pretty much similar, you can see some massive changes to what we were used to. For instance, the touch pad, the share button, the awesome LED light, and a few finer points too like the convex thumb sticks, the angle on the edges of the analog pads, the slight indentation on the D-pad, the spacing around the space buttons, slightly fatter textured handles and the use of the PS Vita D-Pad, all add up to make for a rather slick looking kit.

Here's a look at what's new along with what's old with the new DualShock4.


Contrary to its predecessor which had domed convex pads, the new tops for the PS4 are more or less concave with a slight indentation in the center. If you notice, you will see a flat, angled outer ridge, designed for users who use the outside of the analog sticks to push. The design of the analog sticks on the DualShock4 allows gamers to rest their thumbs right in the middle of the pad.


The height of the analog sticks have been reduced on the DualShock4. This doesn't allow the sticks to get in the way of thumbs trying to reach the new touchpad.


The D-pad doesn't come in much use apart from menu navigation or some quick select short cuts, unless you are playing Street Fighter and need to perform a lot of Shoryukens. Such a category of games require precise up/down/left/right directional movement which analog sticks can't deliver that effectively.


The face buttons on the DualShock4 are technically similar to those of its predecessors. And no one's tweaked with the iconic PlayStation symbols.


Though the face buttons feel the same , they don't necessarily respond in the same way as their predecessors. In the older controllers the four face buttons were pressure sensitive. For example, those of you familiar with the PES franchise will know that a firm push of the X would result in a powerful shot on goal, when compared with a slight tap on X.

Did you ever notice that the face controllers on the DualShock3 were not equally spaced and the square and circle were just a bit further apart than triangle and X? Now that's been rectified with the DualShock 4, as the face buttons now form a perfect square.



The earlier outward curving shoulder buttons at the back of the controller L2 and R2, are now curved inward, similar to Xbox 360 style controller layout. The R1 and L1 also appear comparatively larger and rounded, providing better responsiveness. Sony has replaced the DualShock3's awkward inwardly-curving triggers with triggers that curve outward. Shooting is going to be so much more fun!.


Finally, a touch pad has been added, which is a small surface on the face of the controller which gamers can press and swipe, very similar to the touch panel located at the back of the Vita.


So far, the PS4 and its games seem to make very little use of the DualShock 4's touchpad. Clicking the touchpad isn’t a fantastic experience either because it doesn't feel very responsive.


The DualShock4 features the LED light bar, built into the frame of the controller, integrated with the touch pad. It illuminates a spectrum of colours providing useful information. As in the case with PlayStation Move, different players receive different light bar colours, the first pad get the traditional PS blue, the second gets a red light while the third and fourth controllers illuminate in green and pink respectively, and the lights also correlate with the colours of the PlayStation symbols on the face buttons.


Sony has ditched the age old Start and Select buttons with the introduction of the new 'Share' and 'Options' buttons. The Options button is mostly for navigating mostly menus, while Share is to flaunt your gameplay videos. However we could not play around with the Share feature as we could not manage to get online at the launch event.


Sony apparently considered the possibility of an on-board microphone on the DualShock4 for gamers to communicate with each other. Instead it opted for a simple headset jack and audio speaker located right below the touch pad. The headset will come with the PS4, enabling gamers to chat with friends during online gaming and to hear sound effects from the controller. Sound effects from the controller is something we were introduced to with the Wii Motion controller.


Sony has also made several tweaks to the grips so as to make the DualShock4 more ergonomic, apart from the previously mentioned improvements in the analog sticks, D-pad, triggers etc. The DualShock4 does have a completely revamped design and the grips and the layout have been modified so as to have more surface area in the center. The handles look wider and have been given a new shape which consistently fits in the players hands, eventually providing a better grip.


The DualShock4 weighs somewhere around 210 grams, slightly more than the DualShock3 (191 grams). Sony is well aware of the fact that the original PS3 controller was way too light. Its successor, the DualShock3 picked up some weight, and the DualShock4 is even heavier.

The DualShock 4 certainly lives up to our expectations of a next gen controller, Sony seems to have put in a lot of time and effort to eventually come out with a such a slick looking controller.

Check out our hands on video below:

For a more in depth analysis and what went on behind the making of the DualShock 4, click here.

Abhinav Mishra

Recent Questions

PlayStation 4 slim release date in india?
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Dec 16, 2016
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