The battle between the PS5 DualSense and the Xbox Series X controller has never been fiercer. Maybe you’re platform dependent or interested in a PC. Here’s everything you need to know.
Two years after launch, the battle between the PS5 and Xbox Series X is on. Exclusive games, high-quality services and console specifications are given a lot of attention when choosing a console. But it’s important not to underestimate the importance of any console’s controller.
As peripherals, both the DualSense and Xbox Wireless Controller are currently enjoying discounts in the Cyber Monday 2022 period. The winter sales event has brought excellent prices to both gamepad families from PlayStation and Microsoft respectively. Interested in more from both manufacturers, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the 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 your chosen console has one that’s right for you. Interestingly, both Microsoft and Sony have approached the controller problem differently with their new generation of consoles.
While Microsoft has opted for a refinement of the existing design, Sony went a bit further by dropping the DualShock name for DualSense, which introduces new and exciting immersive features such as haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. Either way, it all helps make the best PS5 games and the best Xbox Series X games.
Do you want to know how the two controllers relate to each other? We put the PS5 DualSense controller and the Xbox Wireless Controller head to head and offer an in-depth comparison of the two latest generation gamepads. If you’re curious about how the consoles stack up against each other specifically, 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 are pretty much the same, the controllers differ slightly. The DualSense controller for PS5 costs $69.99 / £59.99 / AU$95.85, while the Xbox Wireless Controller standalone price is $59.99 / £54.99 / AU$74.99.
However, it’s worth nothing that you can use all of your existing Xbox One accessories on Xbox Series X/S, including older controllers. The same cannot be said about the PS5, which only allows you to use a DualShock 4 when playing a PS4 game via backward compatibility, while the DualSense cannot be used with a PS4 console at all.
PS5 DualSense Controller vs Xbox Series X Controller: Design
Both companies have taken different approaches to controller design with this generation. Sony did away with the traditional DualShock design, but Microsoft doubled down and improved on the current design in subtle but important ways.
The immediate change you’ll notice with the PS5 DualSense controller is the white color scheme – which has historically been limited to limited edition PlayStation controllers – while the central aspect of the controller 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 touchpad returns, and the strip of light embedded in it since the Dualshock 4’s mid-cycle revision is now positioned around the touchpad itself. The ‘Share’ button has been replaced by the ‘Create’ button, which Sony claims to be using to “find new ways for players to create epic gameplay content to share with the world”.
The controller is now also charged via a USB-C connection, unlike the previous micro-USB. USB-C is becoming the new standard, meaning you can charge your controller using 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. Firstly, a new ‘Share’ button has been added to the center of the controller, which hopefully means we no longer have to scroll through menus in the heat of battle to get our hands on a clip.
The D-pad has also been replaced with a hybrid dish-style input inspired by the Xbox Elite wireless controller. That gives more control over complex inputs that you might encounter in a fighting game. There are also new textured grips on the triggers, which help prevent players from slipping in those exciting battle royale encounters. The overall circumference of the controller has also been minimized, making smaller hands feel more comfortable holding it.
PS5 DualSense Controller vs Xbox Series X Controller: Features
The Xbox Series X controller has a useful feature under the hood. It means that information is sent from the controller to the console (and the TV via HDMI) more often, so that your actions match the frames on the screen. That saves milliseconds in response times and is part of what the company calls Dynamic Latency Input.
The controller runs on the same Xbox Wireless Radio infrastructure of the Xbox One and continues to offer Bluetooth compatibility using Bluetooth Low Energy pairing to make switching between devices instantaneous. That’s probably very useful if you plan to stream via Xbox Cloud Gaming to other devices you own.
Sony’s DualSense offers much more player-focused technology. The DualSense has its own built-in microphone, so you can use it to talk to your friends online without using a headset. In addition to that, it also offers Bluetooth connectivity, the main addition being haptic feedback and the adaptive triggers.
This technology, built into the game’s triggers and body, allows players to sense in-game actions, such as pulling back the string of a bow or driving through thick mud. It’s extremely impressive and can create some truly amazing thrills that make games feel more immersive. Of course, it’s up to the developers to implement the technology, but expect Sony’s first-party studios to adopt it on a regular basis.
One downside to the DualSense that we’ve noticed is that while it has a ton of great features, there’s also pretty lackluster battery life. It can’t quite rival that of the Xbox Series X controller, which can use AA batteries or a ‘play and charge’ pack.