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DualShock 4 vs DualShock 3: What’s different?

We have a look at the key differences and upgrades between the Playstation 4 and Playstation 3 controllers.

DualShock 3 vs DualShock 4

The Sony PlayStation 3 was not a major success for Sony. This gaming console was outdone by the wide success of the Microsoft Xbox 360. And with the arrival of several other consoles like the Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3 turned out to be quite a failure for the Japanese manufacturer. But with the recently launched PlayStation 4, Sony has changed a lot of things, thus indicating that it has learnt its lesson.

The console has been widely popular in world markets since its November release and has managed to outsell the Microsoft Xbox One as well. Part of the reason for its success was the new DualShock 4 controller. So what did Sony do differently with the DualShock 4 compared to its predecessor, the DualShock 3? We’ll have a closer look.

DualShock 4  vs DualShock 3 design

To begin with, the design of the DualShock 4 has been changed to make way for a slightly easier to hold grip and overall better functionality. While PS3 enthusiasts might find the new DualShock 4 controller a tad too wide and lengthy, there’s no doubting its efficiency. Sony has paid close attention to detail with its new controller as it has redesigned the L1, L2 and R1, R2 buttons on the back for better access and feedback. One of the most notable additions to the PS4 controller is the LEDs on the back which illuminate during various functions (charging the controller, connected via multiplayer etc). So this is one area where the DualShock 4 controller has hit gold.

DualShock 4 Functionality

DualShock Triggers

With the L1, L2 and R1, R2 keys slightly different and clearly spread out unlike the DualShock 3 controller, users can now get more feel out of simple game actions like pulling the trigger or stepping on the accelerator. The DualShock 4 also comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack right in front which allows users to add earphones and get the real world experience. With Sony’s bundled earphone + mic unit, users can interact during multiplayer gaming as well.

Another area of improvement for the PS4 controller is the addition of a touchpad right in the center of the D Pad, joysticks and the navigation keys. This touchpad allows multi finger scrolling and can perform functions such as pinch to zoom and navigation, just like a traditional touchpad. Although its usability is currently limited to a handful of games, it has the potential to be utilized more deeply in future games.

The analog sticks on the DualShock 4 controller have also received a significant facelift from the PlayStation 3 controller and are now more comfortable to use. Maybe this is because Sony has provided more spacing between the two sticks compared to its predecessor or simply because it reacts much better, but the DualShock 4 analog sticks certainly feel like an upgrade.

DualShock 4 features

The action keys on the right are also slightly remodeled as you can see in the images below. The changes are subtle, with the DualShock 4 featuring a more robust looking set of buttons while the DualShock 3 controller has these buttons inside a ‘+’ frame.

DualShock 4
The DualShock 4
DualShock 3
The DualShock 3

Lastly, the DualShock 4 controller can now be charged even when the PlayStation 4 is off, which is a very minor change, but a significant one. This will allow gamers to charge their PS4 while they end their gaming session, so that it’s back up at full charge when they resume again.

So with these features in mind, it is quite evident that DualShock 4 is quite an upgrade over its predecessor. Make a note of this if you’ve been held back from the PS4 fearing its new controller.

Valerie Richardson
26 year old tech writer based in London. Have prior experience working with major media conglomerates. I'm also a lover of all things tech. Well, basically anything with a display and a power button on it.

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