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5 ways the PS5 DualSense is better than the Xbox Series X controller

Dualsense Ps5 Xbox Series X Controller Half
Dualsense Ps5 Xbox Series X Controller Half (Image credit: Android Central)

Microsoft's controller dominance is going to being tested by Sony this next-generation with the PS5 DualSense. It's a departure from the DualShock lineup that focuses more on immersion and "a sense of touch" through improved haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. The company could have easily rested on its laurels and been content with a slightly revised DualShock 4, but they didn't. Sony wasn't complacent in its design, nor with the technology it packed into the DualSense.

Here are what I see as the five aspects of the PS5 DualSense where we see notable improvement over what the Xbox Series X controller has to offer.

Adaptive triggers

Dualsense Ps5 Grip Texture

Source: Sony (Image credit: Source: Sony)

Adaptive triggers could easily be a marketing gimmick or an innovative idea that future generations of controllers follow. I like to believe it's the latter. Sony is taking rumble technology in each trigger to the next level.

With adaptive triggers, players will supposedly be able to feel different levels of tension and resistance based on what actions they are performing in-game, a common example used being that of drawing a bowstring. This further adds to the immersion that the DualSense controller can deliver.

It's impossible to know whether developers will take advantage of this feature and how useful it will actually be, but Bethesda's Pete Hines has said on Twitter that the adaptive triggers are impressive, and that he thinks "games are gonna do some really cool things with them."

Touchpad

Dualsense Ps5 Controller Close Up

Source: Sony (Image credit: Source: Sony)

Okay, hear me out: the touchpad on the DualShock 4 was a monumental failure. Practically no developer used it as it was intended. Where it fails as a touch/motion interface, it succeeds at being something so simple: a regular button. It actually may be one of my favorite buttons on the DualShock 4, and the more I think about it, the more I'm weirdly happy it's being kept on the DualSense. It acts as a giant Start button that almost all games use for their menus in some capacity. On either side, it's flanked by the Create button and Options button, separating them a distance, so you aren't accidentally pressing one over the other. It's all muscle memory now: Create on the left, touchpad in the middle, Options on the right — though I'm less of a fan of how they're labeled as symbols on the DualSense.

The Xbox One, and soon Xbox Series X controller, have two buttons on the face that act as Start and Options, which are called View and Menu. To this day, I cannot tell you which button is on the left or right. I know one has three horizontal lines, and another has two boxes overlapping, but which one is which is beyond me. I'm continuously pressing the wrong buttons even after six years of use. I'll sometimes even need to look down at my Xbox controller just to make sure I'm pressing the right button. That's never ideal, but it's never a problem on the DualShock 4's touchpad. I doubt it will be a problem with the DualSense either.

Create button

Xbox Series X Controller Thumbstick Textures

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Before I get into this one, I want to make it clear that I know the Xbox Series X has a Share button now just like the DualShock 4 did. I'm putting the Create button here because Sony indicates that it is "pioneering new ways for players to create epic gameplay content to share with the world, or just to enjoy for themselves." This sounds like more than a simple Share button to me.

To be fair, we haven't seen exactly how the Share button on the Xbox Series X works yet, and Sony hasn't fully detailed what the Create button can do either. Still, I think at this point, I think it's fair to say that whatever Sony has up its sleeve is more than what Microsoft plans to be offering, judging from initial statements.

Built-in mic

Dualsense Mic Array

Source: Sony (Image credit: Source: Sony)

After adding a speaker on the DualShock 4, Sony is going a step further and adding a built-in microphone on the DualSense. Sure, it's not practical for long gaming sessions, but it is a nice option to have if you want to send a friend a quick audio message or hop into a party for a few minutes without trying to find your actual headset.

I think the earbuds that Sony includes with the PlayStation 4 are awful compared to the (admittedly cheap) chat headset Microsoft packages with its console. This certainly doesn't replace them, and I'm hoping that Sony includes a better headset this time around, but it definitely makes voice chat more accessible for some people.

USB-C charging

Dualsense Ps5 Lightbar

Source: Sony (Image credit: Source: Sony)

As if there was ever any doubt, the DualSense will include an internal battery that charges via USB-C. Microsoft is still letting players choose between AA batteries or rechargeable battery packs (sold separately) for the Xbox Series X controller, and while the company says this was based on player feedback of wanting more choices, it's an archaic design decision. Please just leave the AA batteries in the past. If you want to charge your Xbox Series X controller, you'll need a rechargeable battery pack sold separately and a USB-C to USB-A cable since the console does not have a USB-C port.

Still too many unknowns

We know a lot more about the Xbox Series X controller than the PS5 DualSense, so we need to wait until Sony details its controller further before making any final calls. I'm cautiously excited for the DualSense, however. No matter which console (and controller) you end up getting, there's no doubt they'll both be great.

Jennifer Locke
Jennifer Locke

Jennifer Locke is Android Central's Games Editor and has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things on Twitter @JenLocke95.

14 Comments
  • I agree with everything except the option of using AA batteries. While I prefer rechargeable batteries, having options is always better. AA batteries are great because they allow you to instantly give your controller a full charge.
  • Sony put the left joystick in the wrong spot. Xbox wins again. Clever Xbox.
  • - Not knowing which button is which can hardly be Microsoft's fault, that's up to yourself mate.
    - Stupid buttons instead of a joystick upper right is the same mistake Sony's been making since forever.
    - Choice IS everything. I hate the wire to charge the batterypack so batteries are much more convenient to me. To me there will never be a controller better the one that comes with the Xbox.
  • Wait, do you not know your left from your right? Hahaha.
  • The ds looks comfortable but still trash joystick layout.
  • Adaptive Triggers I might be wrong but didn't he Xbox one controller launch with this and was previewed prior to launch with Forza, this was poorly supported, but still works today.
  • Yes, xbox one has had this for years, it's great in the games that use it, the immersion is fantastic. Maybe now Sony have it, more games will use this feature on both consoles.
  • No. Xbox has haptic triggers. Adaptive triggers is more along the lines of resistance changes based on context, not simply vibration.
  • Microsoft made pretty dramatic claims as to the effectiveness of the rumble triggers back in 2013. They were supposed to be truly reactive and context based, just like what Sony is claiming here - and literally no developer took advantage of them. Off the top of my head the only game where I ever noticed the impulse triggers in action was Forza Horizon 3, and it felt much more like a gimmick than anything truly useful. It sounds like the new DualShock is heading in the same direction. I'll believe it when I see it.
  • Thief was another one with the lock picking but most games didn't do much
  • Stopped reading at Microsoft controller dominance. That's not a thing.
  • But it is.
  • So far since the Xbox controller s ( the small Duke) the Xbox controller has been a better controller. The dual shock 4 definitely was a great leap forward in terms of comfort compared to ds4, but still Xbox one controller is a better option. I prefer the aa batteries (I use duracell rechargeable and have 2 extra on standby for a quick swap) , but maybe with quick charging the ds5 may not be as much of a hastle as the ds4. I'm glad they got rid of the top light bar and the shape actually looks like it may be more comfortable for me than the Xbox one but only time will tell. At the end of the day I still prefer offset thumbsticks it seems to be better positioned for most games. I'm worried on the ds5 that the microphone will lead to a really noisy chat room with Noone talking but the sound from their TV echoing in my headset. Hopefully people realize to hit that mute button that is on the bottom, but i guarantee 50% won't. Excited for these new systems. They are powerhouses for a budget, compared to the pc world. Hopefully with all this new tech I'm the ds5 it will still last longer than the ds4 in terms of battery life, which is god awful. My xbox one controller outlasts my ds4 about 3:1, probably more nowadays. Kind of bummed they got rid of the classic colors of the button symbols on the ds5. Ok,
    back to ff7 remake.
  • Come on, you said yourself that the touchpad has a bad track record, based on that it's certainly not a plus YET, it's just wasted space and tech compared to the Xbox controller, and the built-in battery being a plus? you said yourself you can do the same with Xbox, the difference is more options. And we don't know enough about the Create button to say its a plus, its like you admitted every reason why your clickbait "five ways" are flimsy arguments at best. PS controllers continue to sport fancy features that nobody uses while Xbox keeps it simple with more options, superior joystick format, with all-around good aesthetics and ergonomics to boot