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DualShock 4 vs DualSense (2021): What’s New?

The DualSense controller is one of the biggest reasons why gamers are excited about the Playstation 5. It has a new look and it comes with a few new features that can improve gaming immersion. In addition, it improves upon some of the weaknesses of the previous gen DualShock 4 controller. So, how do these two controllers differ? What’s new with the DualSense? Read on to find out.

DualShock 4 vs DualSense Comparison Chart

ModelDualShock 4DualSense
 DualShock 4 Wireless Controller for PlayStation 4 - Glacier White
PriceCheck Price
ConnectivityBluetooth
Wired Micro USB cable
Bluetooth
Wired USB-C cable
Dimensions6.4 x 2.2 x 3.96.3 x 2.6 x 4.17
Weight0.5 lbs0.6 lbs
Ports1 x Micro-USB
1 x Extension port
1 x Stereo headset jack
1 x USB Type-C
1 x Stereo headset jack
Charging Terminals
Battery1000 mAh Lithium-Ion
Up to 8 hours
1560 mAh Lithium-Ion
Up to 12 hours
FeedbackRumble motorsAdaptive triggers
Haptic feedback
CompatibilityPS4, PS5 (PS4 games only), PC, MobilePS5, PC, Mobile

Design

The two-tone color scheme of the DualSense is a departure from the singular color design of previous Playstation controllers.

The DualSense (right) is slightly bigger than the DualShock 4 (left).

While the DualShock 4 saw some design changes when compared to the DualShock 3, it still retained the signature form factor of Sony Playstation controllers. With the DualSense, Sony decided to completely overhaul its controller design and the result is somewhat similar to the form factor of Xbox controllers. It is a bit bulkier and heavier than the DualShock 4, but not too much that it can result in discomfort.

Another design change is the two-tone color scheme of the DualSense. Instead of going for solid colors, like with the DualShock 4, the DualSense matches the two-tone color scheme of the Playstation 5. As of now, there is only one color scheme available, but in the long term, there will probably be a lot of choices available, just like with previous Playstation controllers.

The face buttons and the d-pad on the DualSense have a clear plastic design instead of the colored face buttons of the DualShock 4. It’s reminiscent of the face buttons and d-pad on the short-lived PS Vita.

As for the buttons, there is an additional mute button just below the Playstation button and the “Share” button is now called the “Create” button. Aside from those buttons, there are no other significant changes. The DualSense comes with a USB-C port, which is an improvement over the micro USB port of the DualShock 4.

Features

In addition to retaining the touchpad, Sony added the haptic feedback and adaptive trigger features to the DualSense.

The light bar on top of the DualShock 4 (left) is now located around the touchpad of the DualSense (right).

With its haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, the DualSense PS5 controller can definitely provide the most immersive console gaming experience yet. The haptic feedback feature is different from the standard rumble motors that you’ll find on the DualShock 4. With this feature, the controller will try to provide different sensations based on what’s happening on the screen. For instance, walking on sand will feel very different than struggling to walk through a swamp.

In addition to its haptic feedback feature, the DualSense also has adaptive triggers. With this feature, the triggers will provide various levels of resistance depending on your actions. Drawing a bow to shoot will feel very different to pulling the trigger on guns. Needless to say, this brings a new level of immersion when playing games.

Another feature that’s new on the DualSense is the inclusion of a built-in mic that you can use without a headset. The controller will pick up your voice so that you can speak to your team or friends easily. There’s a mute button just below the Playstation button if you don’t want to use it.

Battery Life

The DualSense battery can last 50% longer than the DualShock 4.

Back view of the DualShock 4 (left) and the DualSense (right).

One of the biggest issues with the DualShock 4 is its pathetic battery life. At best, it can last for around 8 hours, but that’s if vibration is turned off. With normal use, the battery lasts for around 4-6 hours. If you don’t have a spare controller, you’ll be tethered to your console while playing to charge it.

With a higher capacity Lithium-Ion battery, the DualSense can last longer than than the DualShock 4. On the DualShock 4, the battery is a 1000 mAh Lithium-Ion. Compared to that, the DualSense comes with a 1560 mAh Lithium-Ion battery.

Due to the higher capacity battery, the DualSense can last for around 12 hours. While this is still not as good as Xbox controllers and the Switch Pro controller—both can last up to 40 hours, this is still an improvement over the DualShock 4’s battery life.

Click here for our PS5 Dual Sense vs Xbox Series X controller comparison.

Compatibility

The DualShock 4 will work on the PS5 but only for PS4 games.

You’ll notice that the DualSense (right) is now bulkier around the grip.

Needless to say, you’ll need the DualSense controller to play PS5 games. It won’t work on the PS4 console, but it will work with PS4 games played in backwards compatibility mode on the PS5. The DualSense controller will also work on PC and mobile phones.

As for the DualShock 4, it can be connected to the PS5, but only for playing backwards compatible PS4 games. It won’t work with PS5 games since it is lacking features that might be present in PS5 exclusive games. The DualShock 4 also works on PC and mobile phones.

Verdict

The DualSense controller is definitely an upgrade over the previous generation DualShock 4.

Aside from the design, which we think is great, the DualSense also comes with new features that can truly provide next generation gaming. Its haptic feedback and adaptive triggers are great for overall immersion, but ultimately, it will be up to game developers to make full use of them. Hopefully, these features won’t end up like the touchpad on the DualShock 4, which was severely under utilized during the PS4’s lifespan.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Will the DualSense controller work on the PS4?

No, it won’t be recognized by the console as a controller.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the DualSense controller better than the DualShock 4?

Yes, the DualSense controller is an improvement over the DualShock 4. It comes with a longer battery, a few new features and a more ergonomic design.

๐Ÿ“Œ Will the DualShock 4 work on the PS5?

Yes, but only for playing backwards compatible PS4 games.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the DualShock 4 bigger than the the PS5 controller?

No, it is a bit smaller than the DualSense.

Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Carlo Salvador

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about fitness, gaming and music.