Hands on with the new PS4 controller at E3 – Clickable touchpad & better everything

PS4 Dualshock 4 controller

E3 gave me my first hands on with the new PS4 controller and I have to say it was actually not what I expected. There are lots of subtle changes at play from overall scale to button profiles, trigger resistances and more. But importantly it’s all for the better.

Hands on with the new PS4 controller at E3

My first surprise was that I thought the back of the handles would be rubbery and grippy but they’re  actually not. It’s a different feel from the front of the pad and a lot like the grip of a pistol where the scored lines go across in a diamond pattern, but on the new DualShock they only go in one direction. The handles are also actually slightly longer so that the whole thing is taller from top to bottom.

PS4 Dualshock 4 controllerAnother change is that the face buttons don’t protrude as much. That’s actually a good thing because you can slid off from one to another a lot more easily. The new triggers are also excellent. They curl out quite a lot in the new design. They’re really nice and they have a lot of springiness, making them quite taut.

The redesigned sticks are really good too. The indentations on the top work really well in terms of you being able to keep your thumb on it, even if you’re moving around fast or changing directions quickly. Like the triggers they’re also far tighter than the old DualShocks and they don’t have that slight dead zone near the center – everywhere you move them they’re really crisp .

The touchpad wasn’t active when I was using it but I did press it and clicks in so I think you can click it as well as stroke it. It’s hard for me to say because they disabled that along with the Share button. It didn’t have a display (which had been previously rumoured) as far as I could tell. I would suggest, having been up close to it, it won’t have a display. It’s not smooth either, it’s kind of textured.