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Here's what you need to know about the PS5 controller

The PS5 DualSense controller is certainly an upgrade from the PS4 DualShock. But what changed between the two models?
December 20, 2021
ps5 dualsense controller front
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

The PS5 DualSense controller has been a game changer for Sony. This controller, equipped with haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, immerses players in gameplay in new ways. Here’s everything there is to know about the fantastic PS5 controller.

Also read: The PS5 is good, but the DualSense controller is what’s really blowing my mind

DualSense wireless controller for the PlayStation 5

People thought the upgrades to the DualShock 4 controller for the PS4 were revolutionary. The changes Sony has made to its next-generation controller for the PS5 are even better. PlayStation pulled out all the stops in an effort to enhance the immersion experience for gamers.

A futuristic new look

If you compare the new PS5 controller to the PS4 controller, you’ll notice some massive visual differences.

Below is a picture of a PS4 controller. It has a very classic PlayStation look to it. PlayStation hasn’t really deviated a whole lot in controller design for the past couple of console generations.

If you take a look below at the new design of the DualSense controller for the PS5, you’ll notice just how sleek and different the new design is. The most significant difference is the change to a white controller. For the most part, all of the buttons are in the same spot, but the overall controller is a lot smoother. The new design is very similar to a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller; it feels and handles the same way, if not a bit better.

playstation 5 dualsense ps5 controller official

There’s a great hands-on filmed demo with the PS5 DualSense controller by gaming journalist Geoff Keighley that shows off all the cool features of the DualSense.

Immersive haptic feedback

The new PlayStation 5 controller offers haptic feedback. What this means is that you’ll be able to feel the difference between driving through the mud and driving on a smooth road. Haptic feedback provides a much more immersive experience for players because you can feel the unique differences between various terrains.

You’ll also be able to experience haptic feedback with more than just terrains. Even movements will simulate real-life touch. For example, if you were in a burning building in a game and you reach for a doorknob with your right hand, you’re going to feel vibrations on the right side of the controller. It may not sound like much, but haptic feedback in the PS5 controller truly enhances player’s gaming experiences.

See also: PS5 buyer’s guide: All you need to know about Sony’s PlayStation 5

In the recent hands-on demo, Keighley actually used his breath on the PS5 controller to blow an on-screen pinwheel in the pre-installed game Astro’s Playroom. It’ll be interesting to see if that feature is incorporated into more games, not just a game that’s designed to show off the DualSense. 

If you have a Nintendo Switch, you’ve already experienced haptic feedback – it’s that rumble you feel that varies based on how intense the situation is in your game. The Xbox Series X controllers are going to be enhancing their controllers with haptic feedback as well.

PlayStation 5 DualSense Controller Propped Up
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Adaptive triggers

The L2 and R2 buttons on the new DualSense controller for the PS5 feature adaptive triggers. The example that PlayStation used to demonstrate the importance of adaptive triggers was drawing an arrow. Usually in a game that requires you to use arrows, you don’t feel any difference between shooting an arrow and using the L2/R2 buttons for another task. With the adaptive triggers on the PS5 controller, you can feel the unique tension of drawing an arrow, which again helps you feel more immersed in the game.

PlayStation took caution with the controller design when incorporating adaptive triggers. They wanted to incorporate the bulky trigger hardware without compromising the sleek new design. The angle of the hand triggers has been changed to help the controller feel smaller in the hand.

Check out: Sony PlayStation 5 review: A beautiful, speedy upgrade from last-gen

Create button to replace the Share button

PlayStation pleased a lot of players with the introduction of the Share button on the DualShock 4 controller. With the newest iteration, the DualSense, the Share button has been replaced with a Create button.

PlayStation is taking what players loved about the Share button and enhancing it with the Create button. PlayStation said that they are “pioneering new ways for players to create epic gameplay content to share with the world, or just to enjoy for themselves.”

Motion sensors

The PS5 live event mentioned motion sensors alongside a clip of the new DualSense controller being slightly jostled. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not PlayStation is going to compete with Nintendo’s nearly perfected motion controls on the Switch.

Also read: Is the PS5 backwards compatible with PS2, PS3, and PS4 games?

As of right now, we haven’t seen any revolutionary motion control activity with the DualSense. PlayStation has yet to comment further on the motion sensors and what they’re looking to do with them in the future. 

PlayStation 5 DualSense Controller Top with Triggers USB C Port
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Charging and battery life

PlayStation is using a rechargeable battery in the DualSense controller. While it’s nice to know we won’t have to swap out batteries all the time, it can be a little frustrating if you frequently forget to charge your controller. The battery life lasts for around three to eight hours, depending on how demanding a game is on the DualSense.

The larger battery definitely makes the controller heavier, but Sony has put in the effort to make the controller as light as possible. Compared to the new Xbox Series X controller, the DualSense weighs about the same at around nine ounces. 

Speaker and microphone

The PS5 controller has its own built-in speaker and microphone. During his hands-on video demo, Keighley stated there is a variety of different sounds coming from the speaker compared to the one in the PS4 controller. The sounds also can tie into the haptic feedback support as well.

PlayStation 5 DualSense Controller PS Button and Analog Triggers
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Weight and other features

In the hands-on demo video, Keighley stated that the PS5 DualSense controller does feel a bit heavier compared to the current PS4 controller, but it’s not a substantial difference. He also feels that the PS5 controller does feel a bit heftier compared to the PS4 gamepad.

The PS5 comes with a pre-installed game, Astro’s Playroom. The game is a great introduction to the DualSense and its features. If you can, we highly suggest playing this game before playing anything else on your new PS5. In the hands-on video, Keighley stated you can feel the tension in the haptic when your robot enters a sandstorm on the beach, and also hear the crispness of the sand through the speaker.

How much will the PS5 controller be?

One DualSense controller comes with the console, and you can buy a second one for $69.99.

Check out: The best PlayStation 5 games you can buy

It’s a slight bump from the price point of the PS4. However, with all of the new technological features, especially haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, the increase in price is not surprising.

dualsense controller and playstation 5
Sarah Chaney / Android Authority

Can you use a PS5 controller with the PS4 or PC?

No, unfortunately, the PS5 controller is not compatible with the PS4. If you’re playing PS4 games on your PS5, then you can most certainly use the DualSense. But as of right now, you can only use DualShock controllers with the PS4. 

You can, however, use the PS5 controller with your gaming PC. 

Can you use a DualShock 4 controller with the PS5?

Yes, but you can only use DualShock 4 controllers specifically when playing PS4 games on the PS5. If you’re trying to play a PS5 game on the PS5, you’ll be required to use the new DualSense controllers. 

When you mix PS4/PS5 parts together, you shouldn’t expect full functionality. Even though they’re both Sony systems, they’re still different systems and their parts are independent of each other for the most part. 

Read next: PS5 vs Xbox Series X: Which next-gen games console should you buy?