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Tuesday, 5 May 2015


Xbox One Controller vs PS4 Controller for PC games

Even though there is a wide range of controllers available in the market to be used with PC games including the very tacky yet stylish Razer's Sabertooth but two controllers still dominate the market and obviously are more easily supported by all the titles running on Windows, the Xbox One and the PS4 Controllers which are the refresh of the previous generation of Xbox 360 and PS3 controllers.

So lets put these two head to head and see which one is better for you and make your next shopping trip for controller purchase a tad bit easier.

Xbox One Controller

The Xbox One controller is easy to set up. If you have a wireless Xbox One controller lying around, you just need to find yourself a long micro USB cable.

Plug it in, and the controller should vibrate. That’s it, it works. If it doesn’t vibrate, you either have a bad cable or the driver isn’t installed. If the latter is the case, you can download it here. I had no problem installing it, and even my Sony Xperia USB cable worked flawlessly with the controller!

In use

The Xbox One or Xbone controller is bigger and heavier than the DualShock 4, with offset analog sticks which I prefer to Sony’s symmetrical design. I have big hands and that makes it easier for me to rest my left thumb on the highly placed joystick and control the camera movement in most of the games. If you play a lot of fighters or platformers with the D-pad, you may prefer Sony's layout.
But then its just my personal preference depending on my choice of games and physical size of my palms.
The matte black plastic is lightly textured and feels nice, though sweat does cling to it. The trigger buttons are nice and springy (a little bit mushy-feeling), while the bumpers have a satisfying click. The D-pad is also clicky, which is much better than that spongy Xbox 360 D-pad. That thing was gross. I like the analog sticks as well: they move smoothly, and firmly snap back to center when released. I do wonder why they're so small, but it's not a huge deal, as my thumbs rest in their bowls nicely and they feel sturdy.
The Xbox one controller is well-made, and I like it more than the Xbox 360 controller. It also helps its case that recent multi-platform games I’ve played are based on the Xbox 360 or Xbox One version (e.g. Ryse: Son of Rome, Lords of the Fallen, Ultra Street Fighter IV) and thus use the Xbox’s ABXY button prompts.
  • Easy to install
  • Preferable for those with big hands
  • Most of the games have the ABXY button layout on PC, so less confusing to use

  • No stark difference in design from the Xbox 360 controller.
  • A little bulky and heavy for a few

PS4 Controller

The PS4 controller or the DualShock 4 sells possibly a few bucks less depending on the retailer. To get it working, all you should need to do is download and install the latest version of DS4Windows which will detect prerequisites and install any that are missing, followed by the software. After that, plug in the controller using a micro-USB cable, let Windows detect it as a USB input device, and run the software. It should detect the controller, and now you can leave it alone, or you can create a new profile and play with the button mappings, axis tuning, and even adjust the LED colors.

I love customization, so I give the DS4 a lot of points for it. I can mess with the analog stick sensitivity, make the LED glow PC Gamer red or cycle through the rainbow, and use the trackpad as a mouse. It can also be used wirelessly via Bluetooth, giving it even more points as Microsoft isn't releasing a wireless Xbone controller dongle—at least, we haven't heard plans for one yet.
The DS4 should work with any game an Xbox 360 controller works with, which is to say, practically any game with controller support. I haven't had a problem yet. That said, I more often see people reporting problems with it in troubleshooting forums than I do for 360 or Xbone controllers. It's not officially supported, so if you run into problems, the only help is the community.

In use

The DualShock 4 is smaller than the Xbox One controller, and I have to hold it loosely and arch my index fingers to press the triggers and bumpers with their tips. The bonus of that loose grip is that my palms, and their sweat, stay off the controller. Those with smaller hands will probably find it more comfortable.
As I mentioned, I prefer the Xbox One controller’s offset analog sticks. To me, it feels like the DS4 was designed as if the thumbs will most commonly be on the D-pad and face buttons. If yours are, then you might prefer it, but I usually use controllers for third-person action games like Darksiders or God of War series where I largely ignore the D-pad. The sticks themselves are bigger than the Xbone's and have enough resistance to feel sturdy, which I like, but I don’t like their slightly raised centers, which my thumbs tend to slip over.
I like that the triggers have more resistance than the Xbox One controller's, giving them a less-mushy action, but they're much smaller so it feels like my fingers are going to slip off the edges. I really don’t like the way they creak when I push them down, either—it feels like I’m going to break them. The face buttons are flat and matte, which I slightly prefer to the Xbone's bulbous, shiny buttons, but they also have a less-clicky action. The ‘share’ and ‘options’ buttons are hard to reach, pushed aside by the trackpad.
I think the DS4 is a fine controller, but I definitely prefer the Xbox One controller. I do love how much I can customize it with DS4Windows, but it feels awkward in my hands.
  • Easy to install
  • Customizable interface
  • Premium finish
  • Connectivity via Bluetooth
  • Great if you have medium to small hands

  • No exclusive support site for the controller in terms of PC games
  • All games don't have the key mapping for the Dualshock 4, so can get confusing to use

My verdict

My recommendation is the Xbox One controller—I just think it's better—with the caveats that the DS4 is more customizable and may be a better fit for smaller hands. If you've tried both and like their designs equally, then I'd recommend the DS4 just for all that customization, as long as you're aware that it might require a little more troubleshooting. Aside from the creaking I noticed with the DS4 triggers, I'd say they are equally well-made, and I haven't broken one of either yet.
It's a bit of a Pepsi vs. Coke situation, really, and though I don't like equivocating, I know that the same reasons I believe the Xbox One controller is better may also be reasons someone prefers the DS4. Preference obviously depends on hand-size and which layout you’re most familiar with.
So that was all I had to say guys, if you have anything else to add in this article feel free to comment and do post a query if you have one.

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