The PS5 DualSense vs Xbox Series X controller battle has never been fiercer. Maybe it depends on the platform or you are interested in having one on PC. Here is everything you need to know.
Nearly two years after launch, the battle between PS5 and Xbox Series X is already on. While things like exclusive games, high-value services, and console specs get a lot of attention when deciding which console to go for. But it’s important not to underestimate the importance of each console’s controller.
As peripherals, both the DualSense and the Xbox Wireless Controller are currently enjoying discounts over the Cyber Monday 2022 period. The winter sales event has seen great prices on both the PlayStation and Microsoft gamepad families, respectively. If you’re interested in learning more from both manufacturers, you’ll want to keep an eye out for Cyber Monday Xbox deals and Cyber Monday PS5 deals.
A controller can have a significant effect on your gaming experience, so it’s worth paying attention to whether or not your chosen console has one that suits your needs. Interestingly, both Microsoft and Sony have approached the driver issue differently with their next-gen consoles.
While Microsoft has opted for a refinement of its existing design, Sony went a bit further by dropping the DualShock name for the DualSense, which introduces exciting new immersive features like haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. Either way, it all helps make the best PS5 games and the best Xbox Series X games.
Want to know how the two controllers compare? We’re comparing the PS5 DualSense controller and the Xbox Wireless Controller, providing a detailed comparison of the two state-of-the-art gamepads. If you’re curious about how the consoles specifically stack up against each other, check out our PS5 vs Xbox Series X guide.
PS5 DualSense Controller vs Xbox Series X Controller: Price
While the prices for the Xbox Series X and PS5 consoles match up, the controllers differ slightly. The DualSense controller for PS5 costs $69.99 / £59.99 / AU$95.85, while the standalone price for the Xbox Wireless Controller is $59.99 / £54.99 / AU$74.99.
However, it’s not worth it that you can use all your existing Xbox One accessories on Xbox Series X/S, including older controllers. The same can’t be said for the PS5, which only lets you use a DualShock 4 if you’re playing a PS4 game via backwards compatibility, while the DualSense can’t be used with a PS4 console at all.
PS5 DualSense Controller vs Xbox Series X Controller: Design
Both companies took different approaches to driver designs with this generation. Sony has done away with the traditional DualShock design, but Microsoft has doubled down on it and improved on its current design in subtle but important ways.
The immediate change you’ll notice with the PS5 DualSense controller is in its white color scheme, which in the past was restricted to limited edition PlayStation controllers, while the controller’s core look remains black. While the analog sticks are in the same place, the face buttons are now transparent, giving the controller a more premium look.
Otherwise, the trackpad returns, and the light strip embedded in it from the Dualshock 4 mid-cycle review now sits around the trackpad. The ‘Share’ button has been replaced by the ‘Create’ button, which Sony claims it is using to “develop new ways for gamers to create epic game content to share with the world.”
The controller now also charges via a USB-C connection, as opposed to micro-USB before. USB-C is becoming the new standard, which means you’ll be able to charge your controller via the same cable you use for many Android phones, recent iPad Pros, MacBooks, or your Nintendo Switch.
That USB-C port can also be found on the Xbox Series X controller, though Microsoft’s changes are much more conservative. For one, a new ‘Share’ button has been added to the center of the controller, meaning we’ll no longer be digging through menus in the heat of battle to grab a clip.
The D-pad has also been swapped out for a plate-style hybrid input that takes cues from the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller. That allows for more control over the complex inputs that you might find in a fighting game. There are also new textured grips on the triggers, helping to prevent players from slipping in those tense battle royale encounters. The overall contour of the controller has also been minimized, helping smaller hands feel more comfortable when holding it.
PS5 DualSense Controller vs Xbox Series X Controller: Features
The Xbox Series X controller has a nifty feature under the hood. It involves sending information from the controller to the console (and to the TV via HDMI) more frequently, allowing your actions to match the frames on the screen. That shaves milliseconds off response times and is part of what the company calls dynamic input latency.
The controller runs on the same Xbox Wireless Radio infrastructure as Xbox One, and continues to offer Bluetooth support through Bluetooth Low Energy pairing for instant device switching. This is likely to come in handy if you plan to stream via Xbox Cloud Gaming to other devices you own.
Sony’s DualSense offers a lot more gamer-oriented technology. The DualSense has its own built-in microphone, so you can use it to talk to your friends online without wearing a headset. Furthermore, it also offers Bluetooth connectivity, the main addition being haptic feedback and adaptive triggers.
This technology, built into the game’s triggers and body, allows players to feel in-game actions, such as pulling a bowstring or driving through thick mud. It’s extremely impressive and can create some really amazing sensations that help make games feel more immersive. It’s up to the developers to implement the technology, of course, but expect Sony’s own studios to adopt it regularly.
One downside to the DualSense that we’ve noticed is that while it has a lot of great features, it also has pretty mediocre battery life. It’s not capable of competing with the Xbox Series X controller, which can use AA batteries or a “play and charge” pack.