Best PC controllers: Recommendations for every gamer

Best PC controllers: Recommendations for every gamer

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If Sony’s DualSense controller were fully supported in Windows, it would be the hands-down winner. While we cannot give it a full-throated endorsement—call it an honorable mention—the DualSense has its place in PC gaming. It’s a little more expensive than the Xbox controller, but the $70 DualSense feels great in the hand, looks slick, and it makes Sony games more immersive with myriad high-end features.

The DualSense has a symmetrical layout compared to the Xbox controller, which has one thumbstick higher than the other. The buttons and d-pad don’t exhibit any wobble, and the press is solidly tactile. In our testing, the DualSense layout is more comfortable, but the trademark shape buttons won’t match the controls in non-Sony games. However, functions will map to the same button locations as they would on an Xbox controller.

The PlayStation 5’s controller works as a generic wireless Bluetooth controller in Windows, but you’ll have to connect it over USB for the best experience (we tested USB C-to-C and C-to-A cables successfully). That allows games optimized for the DualSense to access its advanced hardware features. Sony has ported a dozen popular PS5 games on PC so far, and it plans to continue doing so.

When paired with an optimized game, the DualSense can leverage all its awesome custom features, including haptic feedback so precise it can simulate the feeling of raindrops. The tension in the triggers also adjusts based on what’s happening in the game (e.g. firing a bow feels physically different than firing a gun), and it’s used extensively in Sony’s games. There’s even a speaker that plays select game audio to further immersion. If you want to get the most from popular titles like Spider-Man, God of War, and Returnal, the DualSense is a must-have. Altogether, Sony and other developers have enabled DualSense features on about 30 titles, with more on the way.

The DualSense has a built-in battery that’s good for about seven or eight hours. We like the integrated solution versus Microsoft’s continued reliance on AA batteries, but the DualSense goes dead a bit too fast. Still, that only matters if you’re using it in Bluetooth mode.

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