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Eurogamer Expo 2013: Hands On with the PS4 DualShock 4 Controller

We recently visited the Eurogamer Expo 2013 at Earls Court in London where we were able to get an up-close and personal look at the controllers of the next-generation consoles coming our way in the latter part of the year from Sony and Microsoft. In this hands on we give you our early verdict of the PS4’s DualShock 4 controller.

The DualShock 4 doesn’t lose a lot of the classic PlayStation controller shape but is a tad smoother and is a fair bit lighter than the DualShock 3. This comes as a surprise when first picking it up and like the Xbox One Wireless controller, doesn’t look a lot different from the preceding model at a glance. That is aside from the rather noticeable addition of the two-point touchpad which sits where the Start and Select buttons would normally be, which you’d think perhaps would add a bit of extra weight to the pad.

As far as the D-Pad, function and trigger buttons go, all remain mostly unchanged since the PS3, with only the shoulder buttons and triggers now having a more natural shape and feel to them. The thumb sticks have had a slight redesign, now with a ridged edge to improve grip and accuracy. As mentioned, the touchpad is a new feature offering a new method of control and this resembles the touch feature introduced to Sony gaming gadgets on the back side of the PS Vita.

New buttons for Options and Share now replace Select and Start and offer quick access to menus and social sharing of screenshots, videos and other content. The PS Button shifts down below the PS4 controller’s own in-built mono-speaker.

Another major introduction is the LED light bar, found at the top of the controller. This light will change between four colours according to activity in the games, making for an interesting and unexpected addition. Like the touchpad, we’ll be interested to see if this is a new addition that is well received by players – especially after it was confirmed that the light will be an ‘always-on’ feature.

The DualShock 4 comes with the USB port once again, on top for easy to access but not hampering any playtime with curved cables stretching to the underside of the gamepad. This offers USB charging and there is also an access point for headphones. Unseen is the Six-Axis sensor system which from within the controller offers motion control, and with the handset’s slight weight loss the feel is more natural than before.

We enjoyed using the PS4 DualShock 4 controller as it doesn’t really change much from the successful formula which we know and like. The few things that have changed – the trigger shapes, thumb sticks and weight – are a welcome evolution and the additional features of touchpad and light bar we approach with some apprehension, but these do not appear to be obtrusive to the user experience.

Sony’s PlayStation 4 with DualShock 4 controller is set for release in late November.

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