This November it’ll be 25 years since Sony’s original DualShock controller first landed in our lives, and at a stroke changed the way we haphazardly piloted polygonal heroes around computer generated landscapes.
Its two joysticks and vibrating rumble-pack soon became standard across following generations of controllers. It was farewell to the D-pad and its Eighties clumsiness – the Nineties had arrived at last.
But now, as then, there were options for the more demanding, competitive, or just parsimonious gamer. Alternative controllers for the PlayStation 4 abound, each subtly tweaking Sony’s own controller design to add little competitive advantages and flourishes – and, occasionally, undercutting the officially sanctioned kit.
Of course, part of the consideration here is down to your own personal tastes. A controller which feels right in your hand might feel entirely alien to your mate who’s popped round for a Cuphead session.
There are other considerations too. You might be a pro who needs the milliseconds of extra responsiveness which a wired controller has over a wireless one, or like the idea of endlessly reconfigurable extra buttons to give yourself the edge.
There are a couple of things to be aware of before you leap into buying a non-Sony controller though: if yours isn’t officially licensed by Sony, you might find that lower-end controllers can be foxed by firmware updates to the PS4. Oh, and your home button won’t turn the machine on like it does on Sony’s own model. Cheaper controllers can end up being a false economy, with sketchy functionality and cheaper parts that break more readily. But there are still decent bargains to be found, it’s about knowing where to look.
How we tested
To put each controller through its paces, we used each for over three hours of gaming. We tested out the latency and responsiveness of each controller, along with how comfortable it was to use over an extended gaming session and ran the rule over several different types of games, from sports sims and platformers to puzzlers and first-person shooters.
We were looking primarily for smooth functionality, reliable pairing and comfortable ergonomics, as well as a design which made gameplay feel instinctive and satisfying. Bonus points came for customisation options and outside-the-box ideas. These are the ones that will level up your gaming set-up.
The best PS4 controllers for 2022 are:
- Best all-rounder – Sony PlayStation DualShock 4 V2 wireless controller: £44.99, Currys.co.uk
- Best for converted Xboxers – Gioteck SC3 professional wireless controller: £50.59, Amazon.co.uk
- Best for serious gamers – Nacon PS4 revolution unlimited pro: £120.90, Amazon.co.uk
- Best for innovative ideas – Scuf impact: £174.99, Scufgaming.com
- Best for the pros – Razer raiju ultimate: £259.41, Amazon.co.uk
- Best for little hands – Hori wired mini gamepad: £19.99, Amazon.co.uk
- Best budget controller – Gioteck VX4 PS4 wireless controller: £29.99, Argos.co.uk
- Best for pro moves without the price tag – Gioteck VX4 PS4 wired controller: £19.99, Argos.co.uk