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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?
By
June 14, 2023
ps5 dualsense controller front
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

The PS5 DualSense controller has been a game-changer for Sony. Equipped with haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, this controller immerses players in gameplay like never before. Here’s everything there is to know about the innovative PlayStation 5 DualSense controller.

Digging into the DualSense controller

People thought the DualShock 4 controller for the PS4 was revolutionary with its touchpad and gyroscope. The improvements Sony has made to its next-generation controller for the PS5 are even better. Compared to competitors like Microsoft, whose Xbox Series X/S controller is virtually identical to the last generation, PlayStation pulled out all the stops to push the limits of immersive experience for gamers.

A futuristic new look

You’ll notice massive visual differences when comparing the new PS5 controller to the PS4 controller. Below is a picture of a PS4 DualShock controller. It had a classic PlayStation look, which remained relatively constant throughout the past couple of console generations, such as the iconic colored shapes.

DualShock 4 on PlayStation

If you 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 default white controller — though Sony has released a midnight black version and pink, purple, red, and blue options. Rest assured, the LED lights around the touchpad will look cool no matter which color you choose.

sony playstation image 5
Paula Beaton / Android Authority

For the most part, all of the buttons are in the same spot. The DualSense is slightly bigger and heavier than the DualShock, but the rounded contours make for a more natural, comfortable fit in hand.

Immersive haptic feedback

The new PlayStation 5 controller offers haptic feedback. This means you’ll be able to feel the difference between driving through the mud and driving on a smooth road. Haptic feedback gives players a much more immersive experience because you can feel the unique differences between in-game environments.

Even movements will simulate real-life touch. For example, when receiving a text in Spiderman, you will feel vibrations on the right side of the controller as you pull up the phone on the right side of the screen. It may not sound like much, but little touches like this throughout the game enhance the experience.

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

If you have a Nintendo Switch, you’ve already got a taste of haptic feedback — that rumble you feel, which varies depending on how intense the story is in your game. The Xbox Series X controllers have similar rumbling effects as well. Still, neither console comes close to the precision of Sony’s DualSense controller, enabling you to feel every single raindrop in your hands as your character stands under a downpour, for instance.

Adaptive triggers

The bottom left and right triggers (L2 and R2 buttons) on the new DualSense controller for the PS5 feature adaptive triggers. For example, when drawing an arrow, you can feel the tension increase as you pull back on the bow. While using firearms, you may feel the trigger lock up as the gun jams, indicating a need to reload the magazine.

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

Usually, when firing weapons in-game, you don’t feel any difference between them and another task where you have to press the same buttons. Instead, each weapon has a unique sensation with the DualSense and is another example of Sony going the extra mile. PlayStation took caution with the controller design and incorporated the bulky trigger hardware without compromising the sleek new design.

More ways to share

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.

PS app dualsense
Adam Birney / Android Authority

While playing a game, you can push the Create button to bring up a menu of options. You can take a screenshot or save a video recording in up to 4K resolution. The PS5 constantly saves the last hour of gameplay footage if you want to keep the memories, which you can save as a video to your Media Gallery or retrieve on the PS App.

You can also start a live broadcast from the Create menu, allowing you to share your live gameplay with friends on Twitch or YouTube.

Motion sensors

The DualSense offers 6-axis motion sensing, consisting of a 3-axis accelerometer and a 3-axis gyroscope. While only a few games have utilized the technology so far, such as Gran Turismo 7, which turns the DualSense into a steering wheel, most games use more straightforward motion controls that are more immersive without feeling extraneous.

Charging and battery life

ps5 accessories dualsense charging stand
Amazon

PlayStation again uses a rechargeable battery in the DualSense controller, which is great, not having to swap out batteries constantly. The battery life lasts around three to eight hours, depending on how demanding a game is on the DualSense. Just make sure to charge the PS5 controller so you don’t run out of juice in the middle of a match.

The larger battery makes the controller heavier, but Sony has made an 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

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

The PS5 controller has a built-in speaker and microphone. You’ll hear various sounds play through the speakers from game to game, including characters speaking, notifications, blasts from battles, audio recordings, and more. The sounds can also tie into the haptic feedback support, such as equipment or weapon effects.

How much is the PS5 controller?

One DualSense controller comes packaged with the PS5 console, but you can buy a second one for $69.

It’s a slight bump from the price point of the PS4. However, the price increase is unsurprising given all the new technological features, especially haptic feedback and adaptive triggers.

playstation 5 dualsense ps5 controller official
PlayStation 5 DualSense Controller

The PS5 comes with a pre-installed game, ASTRO’s Playroom. The game is an excellent introduction to DualSense and its features. We highly suggest playing this game before playing anything else on your new PS5 if you can. It’s a great way to escape by feeling the wind when your robot enters a sandstorm on the beach and hearing the sand’s crispness through the speaker.


FAQs

No, unfortunately, the PS5 controller is not compatible with the PS4. If you’re playing PS4 games on your PS5, you can 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 or mobile device, including iPhone/iPad and Android. Learn more in our guide on connecting the PS5 controller to any device.

Yes, but you can only use DualShock 4 controllers 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.

You shouldn’t expect full functionality when you mix PS4 and PS5 accessories. Even though they’re both Sony systems, they’re different generations of hardware.

The LEDs show your player number; it does not indicate that there is a problem. If your PS5 DualSense controller changes from a blue light display to a red light, you are the second player in a multiplayer game.

To turn a PS5 controller off, select “Accessories” in the Control Center, then “turn off.”

Customizations are possible, but they aren’t always easy or worth it. To learn more, check out our own C. Scott Brown’s experience of customizing his PS5 controller.