DualShock 4 Vs Xbox One Controllers Comparison – Design, Vibration, Trigger Buttons And More

Xbox One and DualShock 4 Controllers: how do they feel and what has changed?

At this year’s E3, I’ve managed to play a couple of next-gen titles on the next generation platforms such as Knack, DriveClub, Killzone , Ryse and Powerstar Golf on Xbox One. And as expected it was exciting to get hands-on both of the systems controllers.

So how different and new the controllers are for Xbox One and PlayStation 4? In this preview, I will be discussing a couple of main concerns that people have on current controllers on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and how the new hardware is improved on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and what to expect.

I will also be comparing Xbox One Controller and the PlayStation 4 in terms of features and tech and improvements to each other and over the last generation. First, I will talk about my hands-on experience with the Xbox One Controller and then talk about the DualShock 4 for PlayStation 4. At the end,  I will have a separate section that compares the two controllers together, and I will add a conclusion to the overall verdict on my final say.

XboxOneController

Xbox One Controller

The Xbox One controller looks sleeker and more appealing than Xbox 360′s controller. When I got my hands on the Xbox One controller everything just felt entirely natural. The X, Y, A and B buttons are no longer colored with the exception for the letters themselves, all the buttons are actually black, and I think that actually looks more appealing.

The X is as always blue, Y is yellow, B is red, and A is green.  The Xbox symbol is now on the far top instead of the center middle, some people actually didn’t like that, but I don’t mind it.

As you start up the car in a racing game then you would feel the vibration on the front of the triggers and the bottom pads in the rhythm of the “Vroom….VROOM!” sound as the engine is starting to run.

The biggest change with the Xbox One controller is the addition of automatic motors that are built into the triggers and the pads on the bottom. There was a demo that demonstrated this feature, and I thought it was kind of neat.

The trigger-motors vibrate based on what’s going on in the game, for example if you’re firing an auto-assault rifle that shoots in bursts, you feel the vibration in that same rhythm just like in real life when shooting in burst mode from a gun.

The same thing can be said for a car engine. As you start up the car in a racing game then you would feel the vibration on the front of the triggers and the bottom pads in the rhythm of the “Vroom….VROOM!” sound as the engine is starting to run. It’s a neat feature that can be used to immerse gamers more than before. However, the true test lies in how developers will take advantage of this in future titles.

xbox one controller

The thumb-sticks look much more elegant, sleeker and have a new texture to them. The new texture makes the thumb-sticks feel less toy-ish/plastic. Another vital feature is that the battery compartment is now actually inside the controller as opposed to outside like on the Xbox 360.

With the removal of the exterior battery compartment,  the controller will be easier to hold, and you don’t have to worry about having your fingers getting stuck in-between the triggers and the battery compartment anymore.

Removal of the exterior battery compartment, addition of the trigger-motors, improved thumb-sticks with new textures and a small design change of the actual controller itself  is all it genuinely needed. The size of the Xbox One controller is also a tad smaller than the Xbox 360′s controller and not as bulky. Overall, I believe the Xbox One is an improvement over the last-generation of Xbox 360 controller.

Dualshock4

DualShock 4 Controller (PlayStation 4)

Sony hadn’t  changed much when it came to PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 controllers. Buttons, functions and rumble, were the same all through-out. Not much was new in the exterior design either, as a matter of fact the design never changed until now. The DualShock 4 is one of the most remarkable controller I have ever used so far.

Sony realized that it was time to change the controller’s design and add new functionality and technology inside their next-generation controller, and DualShock 4 is exactly that.

DualShock 4 is more comfortable to hold, and your hands don’t get as cramped after holding the controller for a while.

The biggest change for me was the way the controller felt in my hands. The DualShock 4 was much more comfortable to hold as opposed to previous DualShocks and you can thank Sony for finally getting rid of the somewhat angular design from the controller.

Since the DualShock 4 is much more ergonomic and has more of a cylindrical design, it has become more comfortable to hold, and your hands don’t get as cramped after holding the controller for a while. Another huge improvement in the design is the shape of the triggers and shoulder buttons. The triggers and shoulder buttons are now curved-out and because of that it feels a-lot more natural for your fingers.

Sony has moved the PS button to the bottom of the controller and added a touch-pad right in the middle of the controller. The touch-pad is not only touchable for different functions, but it’s also a button on its own that can be pressed. Sony pulled a ninja when it came to adding a new button input without clarifying it in the first place. I personally didn’t know you can actually press down on the touch-pad and have things happen in the game until I’ve tried it.

The Share button is on the top left of the control. This is the button you will use to share videos and record gameplay footage with your friends via streaming or uploading to YouTube. Unfortuenately, Sony didn’t demo how the Share feature exactly worked, so I have nothing to say about the actual functionality. The Options button is on the top right, this button combines Start and Select buttons into one.

The Playroom Demonstrated some intriguing new rumble features in such a way that was never thought of before.

The touch-pad can be used in different ways, for example; when I’ve played Killzone you can flick your finger upward to use a zip-line and traverse across an area. I was also able to use it to change Owl’s attack modes, Owl is a AI Drone that follows you that can be controlled via touch-pad. However, the most prominent features of the touch-pad were clearly shown by The Playroom. The Playroom is a tech demo which showcased the controller’s many new functions in conjunction with the new PlayStation Eye Camera.

The Playroom demonstrated Augmented Reality functionality with controller, thanks to the sensor bar that is in front of the controller. The sensor bar detects the 3D position of the controller via the PlayStation Eye Camera and also identifies players by color coding. For example, blue color will always be player #1; meanwhile player #2 is always red.

The Playroom Demonstrated some intriguing new rumble features in such a way that was never thought of before. During the tech demo, a bunch of augmented reality robots jumped into my controller, and based on which way I turned the controller (left or right) the rumble would shift towards the side the robots are going inside the controller.

So, if I shift my controller to left and the robots going to the left inside my controller, then you’d feel the pressure more on your left hand/left side of the controller as opposed to the right hand/right side of the controller.

This was something I never thought of Sony would do, and it’s truly unique. I can’t wait to see if and how developers would implement such features. However, The Playroom was just demonstrating the new capabilities of the controller and what it can do.

Although, that doesn’t necessarily mean that every game will actually take advantage of that and  knowing that the technology is there is kind of a neat because it always opens up your mind for something new and exciting.

Comparison between Xbox One and DualShock 4 (PlayStation 4)

Microsoft and Sony both did a admirable job in terms of improving their next-generation controller hardware over the previous generation. The Xbox One controller has a better looking design than it’s predecessor, removed exterior battery compartment and trigger-motors that add new ways for developers to create rumble immersion.

Sony has made the DualShock 4 controller superior in terms of adding more technology and functions that no other controller has on the market.

The DualShock 4 is an enormous change from previous generations and Sony unquestionably needed it. The new ergonomic design, improved thumb-sticks, triggers and shoulder buttons, were actually necessary if Sony wanted to be successful with their next-generation controller. The addition of the touch-pad and sensor bar truly makes the DualShock 4 stand-out on its own as a powerful piece of technology.

I think both of the controllers are prominent in their own way. I never had an issue with the Xbox 360 controllers as much as I did with the DualShock 3. However, with the new improvements in DualShock 4 it’s thrilling to see that Sony not only improved the controller, but also made it superior in terms of adding more technology and functions that no other controller has on the market.


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  • Unimportant Bystander

    I think the Wii U Gamepad and DS4 are the winners this gen. The only difference is that the Wii U gamepad has 9-Axis with digital triggers and TV Remote controllfunctionality and the DS4 has 6-Axis with analogue triggers.

    • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

      Remind me: what’s the difference between analog buttons and digital buttons? does with have to do with the feedback the controller gets when playing a game?

    • this_is_my_humble_opinion

      How can the WiiU gamepad and DS4 both be the winners!?
      The actual huge difference between the WiiU gamepad and the DS4 is that one has an actual screen, and the other does not. The WiiU gamepad is far superior to the DS4 from a tech position, but it doesn’t feel as comfortable because of the size.
      Ergonomically it’s actually the XB1 controller which seems to take the top spot of the three, since unfortunately Sony still puts the left analog in the least convenient place because of their legacy design.

    • bizzy gie

      Trigger placement is purely opinionative. The Xbox controller puts those who play on invert in an awkward position.

      Both the GamePad and DS4 have natural thumb placement. The Xbox controller does not. What if your right hand is dominant? Oh well.

    • this_is_my_humble_opinion

      what do you mean by “natural thumb placement”? How can both the WiiU gamepad and DS have natural thumb placement when the analogs (I wasn’t talking about triggers) placement is the exact opposite?

      This gen, the left analog and 4 face buttons are the parts of the controller that are most used in games. Ergonomically, you would want to comfortably rest your thumbs on exactly these areas, so they will be the easiest to reach. This is exactly what the XB gamepad does.

      The WiiU gamepad seems to have a slightly different approach, where emphasis is on thumb placement in dual-analog games (GW for example, but this is also an increasing trend with FPS games) where you mostly wish to use the right analog over the 4 face buttons. I can see its usefulness in some cases.

      But the DS4? Reaching both the left and analog controllers is the least convenient. Your left thumb is actually resting on the DPAD, which has little practical use outside some 2D fighting games and that’s about it. It is a legacy of the PS1 days where Sony was late to introduce analog sticks to their controller, and simply stuck it at the bottom middle of the controller. It was ok back then since most games were using the dpad mostly, but times have changes and it’s already a third generation where they are failing to adapt.

    • LupineMP3j

      Frankly, it really comes down to preference. That junk about it being harder to reach the left analog stick is utter rubbish.

      If my right thumb can comfortably reach the right analog stick (and spend a lot of time there for character and camera movement), I don’t see what the big deal is about my left thumb being able to comfortably reach the equidistant left analog stick. No one complains about the right analog stick, and it’s in the same place on both controllers. Why should there be an issue with the left analog stick? Do people just have weird left thumbs or something?

      Left thumb resting on the D-pad? This may be difficult for inexperienced gamers, so do this at your own discretion: move your thumb an inch downward and to the right. Problem solved, crisis averted.

      I’ve heard all sorts of weird reasons for preferring that thumb placement. “It’s better for your hands” (What is this, Oil of Olay?) and “It looks more balanced” (… Yeah, because asymmetry looks totally balanced), etc. I don’t buy any of it. Both thumb configurations are just fine. It’s really nothing but preference, and with the very positive reviews I’ve heard about the DualShock 4 so far, I don’t think fans of either system have anything at all to worry about.

    • Darran

      By least convenient you mean out the way of the touchpad???If they’d moved the analog stick to where the dpad is it would just get in the way when swiping. So by leaving it where it is it’s actually in the most convenient place.

  • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

    Personally, I think people will be more impressed with DS4 than Xbox One Controller when the consoles release but that’s just my opinion on the matter…let the public decide that.

    • Sahil Patel

      they’re both pretty cool. its nice to see they mixed it up with the new ds4 controller. I own a ps2 and 360 but I prefer the 360 controller. just more comfortable for me. but the ds4 will change that :)
      I’m still getting the xbox one but still nice to see improvements on all fronts.

    • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

      My purchase of Xbox One will coincide with my purchase of Halo-until then no Xbox One for me at launch unless my family really opts for it compared to their desire for PS4.

    • BobFour

      dont get it no need to and dualshock is the best in many ways to many actually

    • Sahil Patel

      No need to be petty bro. They’re both good consoles. I rather own the xbox though.

    • bizzy gie

      PS4 has more and better exclusives with full indie support.

      It’s significantly more powerful.

      It’s much cheaper.

      It holds gaming as a primary focus.

      Cheaper online service.

      Smaller.

      Faster digital downloads.

      Replaceable HDD.

    • LupineMP3j

      Someone saying “I’d rather own an Xbox” is not always to be translated as “Please convince me to buy a PS4.”

      Here is an Xbox fan who has maturely stated his preference, a huge step up from the all-too-frequent “XBOX IS BETTER HAHA LOL ROFLTHARGAOBNA PS4 IS FOR LOSERS” etc.

    • bizzy gie

      Just making sure he understands his choice.

    • LupineMP3j

      lol, Personally, I do agree that the PS4 is the better choice this gen. You never know though. People like different things for different reasons.

      I was also speaking to BobFour. Your comment just happened to be where I was on the screen at the time, lol. ^^’

    • Joe

      Xbox is much more than a gaming console. Its no less of a gaming console then the ps.

      PS only has 8 more exclusives, 80% are either something for a day care or in japaneese. And u can’t beat Halo & Gears of War.
      Does anyone really have a lack of space on their entertainment center??
      Xbox looks like a professional adult peice of machinery.
      Don’t see how u can claim faster digital downloads.. Plus the fact that u can play ur games WHILE they are downloading.
      How much of a price difference is the online service? If any, I don’t know the price of ps+
      Why would you need to replace the HDD?
      And the difference in power is definitely not “significantly” especially considering the vast number of servers that will be available for the Xbox and providing cloud based power.

    • tracyllrkn

      Can’t really talk about exclusives this early in it’s life cycle. PS4 can also download things in the background. And just in case your HDD goes down, or have a ton of games, you can just replace it.

    • LupineMP3j

      Fine, but what I wanted was an epic gaming console. I prefer to use my other devices to do the other things the Xbone does–ESPECIALLY browsing the Internet. I don’t want to do that on ANY console, with analog sticks for a mouse and keyboard.

      1. PS has over 140 games in development, according to Sony’s Andrew House. Many are exclusives, many are new IPs. Many will be released within year one.
      2. Yes. I’m a college student; I don’t HAVE an entertainment center other than my desk, and I need all the space I can get.
      3. Xbox looks like a VCR.
      4. The ability to play games while they are downloading was a highly-touted feature back at the first PS4 reveal in February.
      5. Because I will be putting a lot of video, music, and digital games on it and 500 GB may not be enough–especially where the games are concerned. Ironic for Xbox, who wanted to go digital-only.
      6. Those servers are not 100% for Xbox, and the machine will likely not use them much after going disc-based.

    • Sahil Patel

      when the digital only option was going to be implemented, the games would be stored via the cloud. ms said to play games on another console all you had to do was retrieve your account and the games library was already accessible. I get chewed out constantly for saying this but I liked the all digital idea. it had some flaws but still nice.
      also I should note I’m a casual gamer so I don’t really care who has more exclusives but who has the better ones at the moment. halo and gears and titanfall and the new plants vs. zombie game being the top of my list. the rest of the games are usually multiplat.
      also I agree that having a removable hdd has its advantages I don’t see myself replacing it especially since the os is stored on the hdd isn’t it? I doubt you can just remove it willy nilly? though I wouldn’t know. besides you can always add more memory via usb ports.
      I also prefer my console having tv stuff and apps from windows store. essentially they are creating an ecosystem with windows (phones, pc, tablets, xbox). not to mention all of the xbox features are pretty much out of the box while sony left out the eye just to make it look like it has a better price.
      so as you can see playstation also has down sides and the xbox also has upsides. though I admit some of the stuff sony did is better (like the earphones are the standard port ones so you can put in any ear buds—lol why the fuck didn’t ms think of that).
      one of my roommates is actually getting a ps4 so hey i’ll have the best of both worlds anyways.
      either way guys, just have fun with your consoles!

    • LupineMP3j

      The digital thing wasn’t a bad idea. What Microsoft did with it was.

      “Better” is subjective. Those are solid games (though mostly FPS), and I’m glad you have something to enjoy them on. Don’t overlook PS’ exclusives though. Sony has always had a strong exclusive library, and sources across the Internet say there are many more to be announced at Gamescom. Andrew House mentioned something like 140 games currently in development for PS4, many of which are exclusives, many of which will arrive within the first year. PS’ exclusives are often seriously good, and I think there is much more variety on PS than on Xbox.

      Think of a computer. Yeah, the OS is stored on the HDD, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change the HDD and transfer the OS over.

      Across its markets, the Windows ecosystem has some serious flaws so far (especially the comparative lack of apps) that Microsoft needs to iron out. Add to that the fact that in other markets it’s so far behind Android and iOS, and most people find it hardly worth going for. As a standalone system for Xbox, however, it works just fine, as long as they don’t pull an Apple (they’ve been surprisingly Apple-like lately) and make it only work with their own systems.

      Sony did not just leave out the Eye to make the PS look cheaper. That was debunked a while back, and quite sensibly so. What Jack Tretton said was that a company of Sony’s size, with so many partners and retailers and shareholders and etc. makes decisions like that far in advance, and that makes sense. The news that sparked the whole Eye thing came from a single IGN article (independent web journalism isn’t always the most reliable source), and it doesn’t make sense. Small corporations like Ouya can do that, maybe, but not monolithic ones like Sony or Microsoft, for that matter. Microsoft had to do some quick work with its policies, but what was happening to them at the time would be considered a crisis situation for them and would likely be handled differently than simply deciding price.

    • BobFour

      there is no such thing you only need and should get PS.

    • Sahil Patel

      although its awesome to see both these new consoles and what they can do its more baffling to see the amount of stupidity and narrow-mindedness you have BobFour.

    • BobFour

      thats not true at all..

    • Sahil Patel

      its actually completely true. you enjoy yourself though.

    • BobFour

      im not a zombie like alot of people

    • bizzy gie

      Both consoles will have cloud-based online. It’s just that PS4 has a much better GPU, faster RAM that developers will more of to use, and a faster CPU. PS4 also has easier architecture.

      Replaceable HDD may be for those who want a larger hard drive, but want an internal one. Soon, when things like 4K become more common, 2TB will be a minimum. You have to think 10 years down the road.

      And you’re right. Xbox One is so much more than a gaming console. It’s cable box and spy device. PS4 holds gaming as a primary focus.

      PS4 has faster downloads because you can play games as they download. Xbox One can’t do that.

      PS+ will cost $50 a year or $5 a month.
      XBL will cost $60 a year or $10 a month.

      PS4 will have full indie support. Apart from that, PS4 is getting 20 exclusives its first year.

      Overall PS4 is getting 30 exclusives 12 of which are brand-new IPs which is many MORE than Xbox One’s 15 exclusives 8 of which are new IP.

      Both consoles will be good. It’s just PS4 will be much better and for a hundred dollars less.

    • Josh

      Just so you know you’re wrong on many MANY accounts:

      - Uncharted > Gears but Halo > Killzone
      - Some ppl like Japanese styled games
      - Day care games? Just look at Kinect this gen, comeon son
      - Both are for families & adults, personally I like the PS4 slant
      - Plus confirmed to not change price. $50/yr vs LIVE’s $60
      - Plus offers free game library, LIVE just started last month and only for a few months
      - Larger HDD is needed as console gens get outdated. Also, music, movies, and push to downloadable games. It’ll be key.
      - Console vs Console, PS4 has better hardware. Cloud based power can be done on any console, and still lacks proof considering bandwidth restrictions currently.
      - PS4 cheaper

      But whatever, to each his own. Just dont state your opinions as facts.

    • BobFour

      strongly disagree

  • gt1111

    xbox has always had the best controller.
    they built a great looking controller and added rumble triggers.

  • Zohak Diaz

    Lol PS 3.5 controller looks so ugly. Nothing compared to the elegance of the xb1

    • bizzy gie

      3.5 > 1

  • Sahil Patel

    nice comparison. and you were right, I didn’t even know the ds4 touchpad was clickable. also you forgot one huge improvement for the x1 controller: the d-pad. they got rid of that terrible disked d-pad and added an actual d-pad. now its easier to actually differentiate your directions. otherwise great comparisons and break down of the controllers. I think it all comes down to preference.

  • BobFour

    my hands never got cramped on DS4 from 9 hours of straight playing and thumbs never slipped why some people say this?

  • SwappingFrom360toPS4

    I am really keen for the Dualshock 4, So far it’s the most awesome looking controller :D …I watched a video-review of the controller and someone said that in the PlayRoom there was a demo with pouring champagne and it apparantly felt like there was liquid flowing around in the controller. Amazing!

  • Jorge Chávez Colmenares

    Great article, but I was expecting some info about the battery. Does anyone know if both controllers will have an internal battery like Dualshock 3? I mean, the play and charge kit on 360 was a terrible idea, just so Microsoft could get more money.

    • LupineMP3j

      The Xbox One controller will use AA batteries like the Xbox 360′s controller. There will likely be a separate, rechargeable battery pack for sale in the near future.

    • Jorge Chávez Colmenares

      That’s another point that might make me go for the PS4. I used Sony rechargeable batteries on the 360 lol, but if that will be the case, I won’t continue on Xbox. I mean, they talk a lot about the new vibration system on the XB1 controller, but the key is the internal battery.

    • Sahil Patel

      great point. I feel like the rechargeable battery should have been included but I do see the advantages in removable battery packs. battery dies, buy new pack. for ps, battery dies, buy new controller?

    • Jorge Chávez Colmenares

      That’s so right. So, in the end, they should include the rechargeable battery pack.

  • Haralson

    Can’t wait till I try these out for myself :)

  • jcrick

    How can you objectively say what the DS4 has done with rumble is unique and groundbreaking, and gloss over the innovative rumble tech in the X1 controller? GamingBolt should choose unbiased reviewers for comparisons.

    • LupineMP3j

      Well, it IS unique and groundbreaking. The author DID mention the sweet rumble tech in the Xbone controller. What Sony’s done with the rumble is different than what Microsoft has done with theirs. Microsoft made it possible to feel rumble in the triggers and stuff, which is really great, but it’s also true that no other controller has the kind of rumble that the DS4 has (unique) and that no other controller has put the rumble to use in this way before (groundbreaking).

      Seeing as the author divided his or her review into three sections littered with rightful praise for both controllers, I’d say he or she was rather unbiased. Don’t call bias just because his or her opinion was different from yours.

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