Major upgrade

PS5 DualSense

Dualsense Ps5 Transparent Render Large

On its way out

DualShock 4

Render Dualshock 4 black

There's good reason Sony didn't simply call this the DualShock 5. DualSense attempts to revolutionize the line with a more ergonomic form factor and features like adaptive triggers and haptic feedback that serve to enhance your immersion. It truly is the next big step that Sony is taking, and it speaks wonders for what the company plans with the PS5

$70 at Amazon


  • Adaptive triggers
  • Improved haptic feedback
  • Light bar surrounding touchpad
  • New textured grips, triggers, and thumbsticks
  • USB-C charging
  • Built-in microphone and create button


  • Symmetrical thumbstick layout

The DualShock 4 added a light bar and touchpad over its predecessor the DualShock 3, but at its core it's only a very adequate controller. There's nothing too special about it besides the Share button, which pioneered content creation and sharing on social media. The design itself is nothing noteworthy, and the battery wasn't great either.

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  • Touchpad
  • Share button
  • Built-in speakers
  • Light bar used for certain games


  • Light bar can drain the battery
  • Grips aren't comfortable to hold
  • Symmetrical thumbstick layout
  • Face buttons and D-pad feel squishy to press
  • Micro-USB for charging

Every console generation is met with a new iteration of controllers. Major revisions, minor tweaks, and technological advancements all play a part, inside and outside of the hardware.

As much as the DualShock line of controllers has evolved since its inception, they all had a similar look and feel. Sony's new DualSense for the PS5 completely changes the shape of the chassis, giving it a more modernized look and improving its ergonomics. Both the DualShock 4 and DualSense are still part of the same family, but it's clear that Sony isn't content with just the same old formula anymore.

Sony is taking a generational leap

Dualshock EvolutionSource: Sony

Sony's never really been one to drastically change its controllers. The three pictured above — the original DualShock, DualShock 3, and DualShock 4 — show that. The first three DualShocks are nearly identical to one another, with the major change coming in the form of the DualShock 3's wireless compatibility (and the addition of thumbsticks in a revised DualShock controller in 1997). If I were to hold a DualShock 2 and 3 side-by-side, most people may not even be able to tell them apart. The biggest giveaway is the absence of an analog button on the DualShock 3, replaced with the PS button.

The DualShock 4 was Sony's greatest departure yet with its Share button, light bar, and touchpad, but even then it kept a similar form factor throughout its entire chassis, with some minor adjustments to make it a bit more comfortable to hold. You could easily tell that all four DualShocks were within the same family line.

Dualsense Ps5 ControllerSource: Sony

Now taking a look at the DualSense, you can really see that Sony wasn't satisfied with just minor revisions. It looks like a proper controller meant for a next-gen system.

PS5 DualSense DualShock 4
Price $70 MSRP $60 MSRP (Jet Black)
USB-C Yes No
Share button Yes (Create) Yes
Haptic feedback Yes No
Trigger layout Symmetrical (inline) Symmetrical (inline)
Trigger type Adaptive triggers Regular triggers
Battery Internal Internal
Textured grips Yes Yes
Touchpad Yes Yes
Microphone Yes No
Audio jack 3.5mm 3.5mm
Compatibility PS5/PC PS4, PC, Android 10 or iOS 13 (or later)
Dimensions 6.3in x 2.6in x 4.2in 6.4in x 2.0in x 3.9in
Weight 280g 210g
Release date November 12, 2020 November 15, 2013

Form factor and other features

Dualshock 4 Hero CloseupDualsense Ps5 Controller Close UpSource: Jennifer Locke / Android Central and Sony

Now more than ever, the DualSense is being compared to the Xbox One controller. That's not something that could be said in the past. This is due to the ergonomic design it now sports, which changes the shape of the grips and the rest of the chassis. This might seem like a minor tweak, but it's one of the most important changes that Sony made. Ergonomics are everything when it comes to a controller. It doesn't matter what advanced features it has if the controller is uncomfortable to hold. This is aided by new textured grips and thumbsticks.

Because of the addition of adaptive triggers, which I'll get into more below, Sony has to slightly tweak the shape of them as well. They definitely look similar to those on the DualShock 4, but a quick glance shows that the bumpers have certainly increased in size.

We had to consider how the components would fit into the hardware, without giving it a bulky feeling. Our design team worked closely with our hardware engineers to place the triggers and actuators. The designers were then able to draw the lines of how the exterior of the controller would look and feel, with a challenge of making the controller feel smaller than it really looks. In the end, we changed the angle of the hand triggers and also made some subtle updates to the grip.

The button themselves appear to be more tactile now, as well. On the DualShock 4, the face buttons and D-pad felt a bit squishy to use. On top of all that, Sony swapped out the Share button for Create, added a mic array to the DualSense's internals, and is now utilizing USB-C charging.

Adaptive triggers

Dualsense Ps5 Grip TextureDualShock triggersSource: Sony and Jennifer Locke / Android Central

There was nothing special about the triggers on the DualShock 4. That's changed with the DualSense. Sony has created adaptive triggers, adding layers of tension and resistance to the triggers depending on what actions you are performing in-game.

Combined with the DualSense's improved haptic feedback technology, these features are set to deliver a new level of immersion that was otherwise impossible before. You'll feel your actions. Judging from people who've had their hands on the controller — myself included — the DualSense is every bit as revolutionary as Sony claimed. Adaptive triggers are no joke and I hope more third-party developers utilize them.

Light bar placement

Dualsense Ps5 LightbarDualShock 4 light barSource: Sony and Jennifer Locke / Android Central

The light bar was an interesting idea that not enough developers took advantage of, and it ended up becoming more of a nuisance than anything. Instead of providing news ways to experience a game, you were stuck with some bright light that drained the battery and couldn't be completely turned off. Sony apparently decided not to give up on it though because it kept the light bar on the DualSense.

This time, however, the light bar takes the form of a small strip that borders the entire touchpad. We still can't turn it off fully in the settings, but at the very least it's less obtrusive and doesn't battery as much.

Bottom line

There's no doubt that the DualSense is far more advanced than the DualShock 4. It's impossible to fully judge just how much without being able to go hands-on with the DualSense, but all signs point to this being a huge generational leap for Sony. The DualSense seems to be an upgrade in almost every way — if only Sony could do something about that unfortunate thumbstick layout.

A major step forward

Dualsense Ps5 Transparent Render Large


Sony's design team at its best

It might be a bit too early to tell, but the DualSense seems to be shaping up to be everything you'd want from a controller revision. Sony's going full steam ahead for its next-generation, and I can't wait to see what else it comes up with.

Old hardware

Render Dualshock 4 black

DualShock 4

Better to leave this hardware in the past

The DualShock 4 serves its purpose on PlayStation 4, but it's quickly becoming obsolete hardware. A subpar battery, janky ergonomics, and boring triggers makes it something you won't want to use going forward.

PlayStation 5


PlayStation 5

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