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DS4 vs. Xbox Controller: Which Is Better for PC?

Some games just play better with a controller rather than with a keyboard and mouse. And if you’re considering a controller for your PC, you’ll want to know which one will best suit your needs.

To choose between the two top controllers: A Dual Shock 4 or an Xbox One controller, you need to consider the features of each. A Dual Shock 4 comes with Bluetooth and USB charging capabilities. An Xbox One controller, however, offers more flexibility and a much easier setup. 

Not only can controllers make playing your favorite games easier, but they can make your gaming experience more enjoyable too. Keep reading to learn more about using controllers with your computer. I’ll also explore which one is better for your PC!

Advantages of Controllers Over a Keyboard and Mouse

Controllers have some advantages over a keyboard and mouse setup and can be a great alternative for PC gamers looking to improve their gaming experience.

You may have some idea of the controller you want, and maybe even an idea of the games you want to play it with. While mice allow for much greater precision whenever you aim your weapons or make movements that need to be controlled, a keyboard can’t do everything for you. 

Here are the main advantages of using a controller over a keyboard and mouse:

  • A controller gives you more control over your hand movements. Moving your hands from one end of the keyboard to the other or off of a mouse to press a few buttons can be a little frustrating on most games, especially games with platforming elements or other fast-moving elements. You might have to move a finger or two, but you will be able to react to situations much quicker. 
  • A controller allows you to play from a distance. This means you can sit back in a gaming chair or on your couch while still playing. A keyboard and mouse will only go as far as the wires on those devices. Even with wireless keyboard and mouse options, you still need a hard surface to use them effectively. 
  • Wireless controllers are more comfortable. You can sit in any seat in any position with a simple Bluetooth connection, and whenever you want to spend time either on your own or with friends, you can certainly do so in comfort. 

Should I Get a DualShock 4 Controller?

You should get a DualShock 4 controller if you plan to use a controller with your PC long-term. These controllers can be used with Bluetooth devices and wirelessly recharged, eliminating the need for batteries. 

If you plan to use your controller for several games or for games that you will play for an extended period of time, the DualShock 4 controller is the best option for your needs. 

The Benefits of a DS4 Controller

The benefits of a DualShock 4 controller include: 

  • Smaller analog sticks and comfortable triggers 
  • An ergonomic design for more comfortable playing 
  • Bluetooth capability 
  • A USB connection for both recharging and wired play 
  • A headphone jack and touchpad for added customizability 

The Drawbacks of a DS4 Controller

The drawbacks of a DS4 Controller include: 

  • Requiring a free program to be compatible with Windows 
  • Needing an add-on for a Back Button Attachment 

Is the Xbox One Controller Better for Your PC?

An Xbox One controller is better for your PC because it has a simple design perfect for casual use. It’s also more comfortable and is compatible with Windows, so it’s easy to connect to your computer.

Some people don’t want to worry about 3rd party software whenever they play games, and if you aren’t one of those people, then an Xbox controller is the best for you and your needs. Since the Xbox software is already compatible with Windows, you don’t need to worry about anything more than plugging and playing! 

The Benefits of an Xbox One Controller

The benefits of an Xbox One controller are as follows:

  • A cleaner design when compared to the 360 controller 
  • More responsive triggers and micro-textured thumbsticks 
  • Comes with a headphone jack
  • The D-pad has been made more responsive
  • Comes with Bluetooth and wired capability 

The Drawbacks of an Xbox One Controller

There are a few drawbacks to this type of controller as well, and they include: 

  • Needing batteries to function 
  • Heavier than the DualShock 4 
  • The offset analog sticks can be off-putting

How To Choose Between the DS4 and Xbox One Controllers

Controllers are ideal if you want smoother and more responsive controls, or if you want to switch up your gaming method. And now that you know the main differences between the controllers, here’s a look at some other steps you can take to decide which one is right for you:

1. Consider How Long Will You Be Playing With a Controller

The length of time and number of games you will be playing with your controller will influence which one you buy. If you are only playing a few games or will be playing shorter sessions, the Xbox controller is the best choice.

One of the most significant differences between the two controllers is how they are charged whenever you decide to play with them. If you have a lot of games in your backlog that would be better played with a controller, such as platformers, RPGs, and racing games, to name a few types, you might be using a controller more often. 

Another reason a controller would be useful is for local co-op. If you don’t want your friend hogging half the keyboard while you both play split-screen, then a controller can be an excellent way for you both to have fun without getting in one another’s way. Plus, it also allows for both of you to get comfortable and play how you want, rather than being pressed against the computer and potentially being uncomfortable while playing. That’s not fun for anyone! 

If you regularly play co-op with friends or like the feel of a controller when playing a particular genre of game, then you might want to invest in the DS4 controller, which is much easier to use for long periods of time. Not only is it Bluetooth compatible and able to be used without wires getting in the way, but it also is rechargeable with no batteries required. 

The cost of batteries can really add up if you are playing for a long time, which is why an Xbox controller is the best for shorter sprints using a controller. If you only have one or two games that play well with a controller and plan on playing the majority of your games with a keyboard and mouse, then you might want to invest in the Xbox option. 

2. Understand the Installation Process

Since the controllers were not made for a PC, many people think that they are tough to install. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth, at least for one of the controllers. Still, you don’t need to be a technical wizard to install your controllers for your PC.

The DS4 controller does need a few extra steps to be compatible with Windows. It would be best if you used third-party software to make the DS4 controller work. All of the available software is free and often needs just one click to install. 

Then your DS4 controller will work just fine with the added software, and you can play any game that requires a controller. If you don’t use the software, you will only be able to play certain games, as most of the controller-supported games on PC require an Xbox controller. 

If you are using an Xbox controller for your games, you need to plug in the USB cable or connect the controller via Bluetooth, and you will be good to go. No additional software or programs are required, and your computer will often pick up your controller right away. 

Again, connecting your DS4 controller to your computer isn’t harder per say, but it does require a few extra steps, while the Xbox controller is more of a plug-and-play. Keep this in mind whenever you buy. 

3. Decide Which Version of the Controller You Want

Understanding the different versions of the controller is important because they factor into which one will be better for your computer, and your gaming needs! The Xbox One controller has a different version you might need to take into consideration.

Even if you pick one controller over another, you might still have something to consider when it comes to the different versions of the controller that you choose. While the DS4 doesn’t have many different versions, the Xbox One controller has the Elite Series 2 option. 

This controller is wireless, comes with adjustable thumbsticks and shorter hair trigger locks. The D-pad has also been overhauled, and you can also customize it with the free Xbox accessories app. If you are a pro gamer or just want the best option for your gaming needs, you might want to look at the Elite Series 2 option. 

However, if you just want a controller that will work for you and nothing else, you don’t need to consider this option. The Xbox One Controller is more than enough for most of your basic gaming needs, as is the DS4. 

4. Assess the Game Genre 

The main reason why you would pick a controller to use with your PC is due to the genre of the video game. This can help you make your choice once you examine your game library to see if you have these genres.

You’ll need to consider which of your games will benefit the most from using a controller

Games That Need a Controller

For starters, platform games are the games that most benefit from using a controller. Games like Ori And The Blind Forest, Super Mario, and Metroid all use intricate and sometimes tricky platforming mechanics. If you plan on playing these games for extended periods of time, then a DS4 controller is ideal because it’ll be more comfortable as you navigate through the games’ increasing difficulty levels. 

Racing games can also benefit from the use of a controller because driving a vehicle in a video game can be just as complicated as in real life, especially if you are in a race where every single turn counts towards your score. Both types of controllers will allow you to make sharp turns in the game, but the larger size of the Xbox controller may be able to give you more control over a vehicle.

Finally, fighting and brawl games such as Mortal Kombat, Injustice, and Super Smash Bros work the best with a controller. Combo moves and quick movements across the battlefield are the keys to winning, and a controller will enable you to move your fingers less while mashing all those buttons. For these types of games, a DS4’s trimmed shape will come in handy as you press the buttons quickly to execute certain moves.

Games That Can Do Without It

Some RPG games, such as Skyrim, Dark Souls, and Fallout 4, can go either way on the controller vs. keyboard front. Those games aren’t made better by using a controller or worse by not using a controller. Instead, it all comes down to your personal preference and how you like to play that specific game. 

Experiment with the various genres and types of games you want to play, and you will quickly figure out which ones play the best using a controller. 

At the end of the day, how you want to play on PC is your business, and whatever lets you have the most fun is the right choice. 

Final Thoughts

Picking a controller for your PC is no easy decision, but you don’t need to stress over it. Instead, make sure to figure out why you want to use a controller in the first place. Are you looking to play certain games with it? Do you want a battery-powered option or a rechargeable controller? 

For ease of install and greater compatibility with most modern games, the Xbox controller is the best option. 

Keeping all of these things in mind will help you choose between the DS4 and an Xbox controller, and once you’ve made your choice, you won’t regret it. 

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