While game selection and hardware are both vital, the PS5 DualSense vs Xbox Series X Controller debate is just as important.
Don’t forget. You’ll be spending dozens of hours playing on the PS5 or the Xbox Series X. This means that your controller of choice plays a key role.
True, aftermarket controllers do exist. The only problem is, it’ll be a while before we see one that’s just as good as what Sony and Microsoft have to offer. Not to mention, that’s an added cost, and the new consoles aren’t exactly what you’d refer to as cheap.
Since the Xbox Series X controller and PS5 DualSense aren’t exactly interchangeable, you’ll want to game with a gamepad that you’re most comfortable with.
With that said, the controller debate has almost always leaned towards Microsoft.
This trend started with the Xbox 360 controller. Even though Sony did make huge improvements with the DualShock 4, most people still preferred the ergonomics and layout of the Xbox One X controller. But, whereas the Xbox Series X controller is pretty much just a slightly improved Xbox One X controller — Microsoft improved the d-pad and added a “Share” button — we can’t say the same for the PS5 DualSense.
The all-new PS5 controller sports an entirely new design from Sony. It doesn’t just come with a new name. The two-tone design isn’t the only design either. It has better ergonomics than the DS4 and features advanced haptics, as well as triggers. The latter two features are designed to help make gaming more immersive.
Of course, this is all still subjective. Controller choice is almost always about personal preference.
However, by presenting with you all the facts, we hope to help you make a more informed purchasing decision.
PlayStation 5 DualSense Controller Features
The PS5 DualSense will come with the following new features:
The “rumble” feature was a staple of the DualShock controllers. It added a level of immersion to gaming that was notably absent in other console controllers. However, with the DualSense, Sony aims to take gameplay immersion up a notch by introducing a more tangible kind of feedback via the Haptic feedback.
According to Sony, this feature will make you feel different kinds of sensations, including the “slow grittiness of driving a car through mud”.
The DualSense will make gamers feel more like they are in the thick of things by offering finer in-game control and feedback.
So, when you’re pulling back the strings of a bow to fire an arrow, you’ll get to experience the varying levels of force and tension to make the game feel more immersive.
Other examples used by Sony include hitting your brakes on your car and pulling the triggers of a gun.
Built-in Microphone and Headset Jack
You can now start chatting with your friends without needing a headphone with a built-in microphone right off the bat with the DualSense.
The DualSense also comes with a dedicated mute button. This’ll allow you to turn off voice capture anytime you want.
Whether or not this hints at the PlayStation 5 eventually supporting Alexa and Google Assistant down the line is something that Sony has yet to confirm.
Sony will replace the “Share” button of the DualShock 4 with the “Create” button for the DualSense.
Sony claims that it’s going to offer players “more ways to produce gaming content and broadcast their adventures”, which suggests that it’s basically just an improved “Share” button.
Although the DualSense is a totally different design from the DualShock 4, it does retain a couple of features from its predecessors. This includes its built-in battery, albeit with nearly double the DualShock 4’s 800mAh capacity at 1,560mAh. Also, the all-new DualSense will now charge via a USB Type-C cable.
The DualSense will also carry over the integrated speakers, as well as the built-in accelerometer and gyroscope of the DualShock 4.
Xbox Series X Controller Features
Microsoft unveiled a lot of details regarding the all-new Xbox Series X controller in a post back in March 2020.
Among their focus was the emphasis of improving the fit of the Xbox Series X controller on a wider number of hands.
Traditionally, the Xbox controller fits better on larger and adult hands. However, this time around, Microsoft designed it to accommodate the hands of an 8-year-old. They did this by making the bumpers and triggers rounder, while also adding more shape or contour to the grips. Microsoft claims that this allows the all-new Xbox Series X controller to fit just as well on adult hands as previous generations did but fit better on smaller hands.
The all-new redesigned D-pad is also based on a combination of the cross and facetted dish D-pad designs for the Xbox Elite controllers.
Other notable additions include the “Share” button that lets gamers take screenshots and record videos with ease. This also makes sharing content more convenient. The new controller will also feature new textures and finishes on the triggers, bumpers, d-pad, and more. This will reportedly make the controller feel and perform better, regardless of whether your hands are wet or dry.
PS5 DualSense vs Xbox Series X Controller
Design and Ergonomics
For the first time, the Xbox and PlayStation controllers look roughly the same.
The controllers could easily be mistaken for each other. In fact, unless you take a close look, both look really similar. This includes the shape and the size. Naturally, this means that both controllers should feel similar on your hands. But, this isn’t exactly a bad thing, as ergonomics was a bit of a problem with the previous DualShock controllers.
Design-wise, we’d have to give the DualSense a win here.
The Xbox Series X controller doesn’t look any different from the Xbox One controller. Instead, Microsoft focused on making more subtle improvements while retaining what made the predecessor so good.
On the other hand, the PS5 DualSense looks very sleek and modern. Although we do have to admit, it is a bit divisive.
Some people may agree with us when we say that the DualSense looks better. However, we do understand if you feel like the black and white colors feel a bit too much.
Battery life has always been the crutch of the Xbox controllers. Namely, because they didn’t have a built-in battery.
Although Microsoft does sell battery packs for their controllers, they are an added cost. This means that gamers will either have to plug in their controllers to play. An alternative is to go out and buy disposable and/or rechargeable batteries. Either way, it’s an added cost.
This isn’t always a disadvantage. Because you can invest in good batteries, the Xbox Series X can easily outlast the DualSense in terms of battery life. Also, you can always have an extra. This means that you can keep on playing on just one Xbox Series X controller. This is unlike with the DualSense, where you’ll have to buy two if you want to keep on playing or be forced to plug it in.
Another advantage is that batteries will naturally degrade over time. This isn’t such a huge problem for the Xbox Series X. Unfortunately, this is an issue for the DualSens since you can’t exactly replace its built-in battery.
Considering both controllers have their own advantages in this aspect, we’re inclined to call it a tie.
This is where the Xbox Series X controller wins over the DualSense hands down.
The Xbox Series X will have backward-compatibility with previous Xbox consoles. Also, the Xbox Series X controller will work seamlessly with Windows PCs, as well as Android and iOS devices. In addition to this, Microsoft added what’s known as “Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE)” for the Xbox Series X controller. They claim that this feature is what will make pairing the controller with other devices easier.
The Xbox Series X controller will also come with a USB-C port this time around and can remember multiple devices.
On the other hand, YouTuber Austin Evans recently revealed that the DualSense worked with Android and the PC. However, this comes with a caveat. Because Sony didn’t officially list those as supported platforms. Not to mention, it only seemed to work wired with the PC. Also, while it did work with the PlayStation 4 Pro, it needed to be connected with a cable.
This is arguably where the DualSense will have a chance to take a win against the Xbox Series X controller.
Microsoft’s approach with the Xbox Series X controller is evident. They wanted to improve on the negatives of its predecessor while improving or at least retaining what worked for it. However, the DualSense is such a radical take. It doesn’t just take what its predecessor did and improves on it. Rather, it’s Sony’s way of saying that the DualShock no longer worked, so they wanted to try out something new, which they did, along with a name change.
Now, the DualSense will come with a variety of new features. This includes haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, and a built-in microphone, all packed in a redesigned two-tone controller.
With that said, it all boils down to how well these new features will be utilized.
We’re guessing that developers will have their work cut out for them. Sony will want them to make use of the added features for the PS5 DualSense. But, of course, it’s not like the developers have failed to do this over the years. There’ve been plenty of games that took full advantage of the DualShock 4’s vibration function, exclusive or not.
Since the DualSense’s newer features promise a more immersive gameplay experience, we don’t see any reason why developers wouldn’t want to take advantage of this.
What Sony has done with the PS5 DualSense has the potential to exceed what Microsoft did with the Xbox Series X controller. However, it also has a bigger potential for failure.
For now, we’ll have to give Microsoft props. They made an already great controller into something that’s even better.
The Xbox Series X controller isn’t necessarily a better gamepad. It’s just the gamepad with a more proven and tested design. It’s not as experimental as the DualSense is, which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it.
At this point, it all boils down to what gamers feel and think about the controllers at launch.
Considering that we currently only have review samples to go on, we’ll have to wait to see which of these two controllers win out in the hearts of gamers.
What do you think of the PS5 DualSense? Do you think Sony has a winner here? Is it a much better controller than the DualShock 4, or more importantly, the Xbox Series X controller? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.