So you’re looking to buy a new controller for your PC, but you can’t decide between the PS5 DualSense or the Xbox Series X controller.
The PS5 and the Xbox controllers are both very sturdy, cost about the same, and can connect over Bluetooth.
But which one is better for PC games? I was struggling with the same decision, and after making the wrong choice, I wanted to share what I learned with you.
Let’s do a quick comparison and then run through the pros and cons of each option.
DualSense or Xbox Series X Controller for PC?
In my opinion, the Xbox Series controller is much better for PC because it’s natively compatible and you can easily switch paired devices by double-tapping the pairing button.
The DualSense controller has adaptive triggers and haptic feedback but only a few PC games support it at the moment.
The PS5 controller is not natively compatible with most games or gaming platforms. You will need to use an emulator such as DS4 for Windows to use it with non-supported games.
When it comes to these two options, I would choose the Xbox Series X controller it’s also more compatible with PC games than the DualSense. I would also recommend buying a rechargeable battery pack. If you have some extra money, the Xbox Elite Series 2 is another good option. Xbox controllers are less of a hassle to set up than PS5 controllers.
The only good reason to buy a PS5 controller over the Xbox controller is if you plan to buy a PS5 console in the near future.
Otherwise, for PC games, the Xbox controller is the best choice. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise, considering it’s a Microsoft product.
Also, Xbox controllers can randomly disconnect from your PC. I wrote a guide on how to fix that problem.
Using a PS5 DualSense Controller on PC:
I actually really like the ergonomics and feel of the PS5 controller, it’s very comfortable and looks modern and sleek. There are also no clicky sounds when you press buttons or move the analog sticks around.
What makes the DualSense controller special are the haptic feedback and adaptive trigger features.
But here’s the catch:
While those features are attractive, the problem is they don’t work on the majority of games.
PS5 Controller Quick Features:
- Haptic Feedback
- Adaptive Triggers
- 3.5 mm Headphone jack
- Built-in Speaker
- Touchpad& Lightbar
- Rechargeable Battery
Few Games Support Haptic Feedback and Adaptive Triggers
On PC, there are only a handful of games that support DualSense haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. The most notable game that supports adaptive triggers is Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition.
Eventually, more games should support adaptive triggers on PC, but at the moment, the list is very small. Read my guide on how to use adaptive triggers on PC here.
The PS5 DualSense controller can work on a PC over Bluetooth or a wired connection, but not all games or gaming platforms support it. Thankfully Steam does support the DualSense controller. Most of your Steam games should automatically detect your new controller.
While you can use the PS5 controller on Steam, none of the special features will work, unless they’re supported by the game. In other words, it’s basically a generic controller.
Adaptive triggers can be game-changing for video games, but it will take some time for developers to integrate them into their games.
Lacks Compatibility with Games:
As mentioned earlier, the main downside with the DualSense controller for PC is that most games don’t support it. Non-Steam games or games from other platforms likely won’t work with the DualSense controller.
For example, almost all the games on Xbox Gamepass won’t natively work with the PS5 controller. However, you can usually get the controller to work on non-support games by using an emulator to emulate an Xbox controller.
The emulator I use is DS4 Windows. But if you use an emulator, none of the special PS5 controller features will work.
There are a couple of issues worth talking about. For one, you have to open a third-party program every time you want to play a game. You can’t turn the controller on and jump into the action (unless the game is on Steam). The extra step is a little bothersome.
Secondly, when using an emulator, the in-game button prompts will be mapped to the Xbox buttons. If you’re not familiar with the layout of the Xbox controller, it can take you a while to figure out which button to press. It can also be bothersome for people with OCD.
For example, you’ll see a command such as “Press A to jump” but on your PS5 controller “A” is actually “X”.
I played through the entire Halo Infinite campaign with the PS5 controller.
Xbox Series X Controller for PC:
The Xbox controller hasn’t changed much over the generations. It doesn’t have any particularly interesting features, no microphone or headphone slot either. But it does support Bluetooth.
Natively compatible with all Windows Games
However, the controller is very durable and is natively supported by Windows. Pretty much any game that will run on Windows will be compatible with the Xbox controller out of the box. No need for emulators. It also works perfectly with Android devices.
Requires AA Batteries
The problem with these controllers is even the Xbox Elite Series controllers still use AA batteries. What I did is I bought an official Xbox Rechargeable Battery Pack. Insert the battery into the AA slot and you can charge it through the USB-C port. Very convenient.
No need to have to worry about swapping out batteries and digging through drawers full of empty ones!
Bluetooth Pairing Switch from Console to PC
If you bought an Xbox Series X or S you can use the same controller with your PC. If your PC has Bluetooth, tap the pairing button on the back of the Xbox controller to pair it with your PC.
Next, whenever you want to pair the controller to your Xbox or PC just tap the pairing button twice and the controller will cycle through paired devices. Super convenient. I use the Xbox controller that was included with my Xbox Series S on my PC all the time.
While that is a bit frustrating the Xbox controller is still the best option for PC gamers.
The Bottom Line:
The PS5 controller can be a bit of a hassle to get working on a PC because you need to use an emulator on most games. I would personally use the Xbox controller. Just buy a battery pack and you’re good to go.
What do you think?