Many PC gamers hide behind their mouse and keyboard while shuddering at the thought of using a controller for PC gaming. But the fact still remains that some games just play better on a controller. Racing games, for example, are much more intuitive with a joystick or gyroscope. And if you’ve ever played FIFA with a mouse and keyboard, we’re sorry.
But what kind of controller should you reach for when gaming on PC? The Xbox Series X|S Wireless Controller, the PS5’s DualSense, and Nintendo’s Pro Controller excel in their respective fields. But how do they compare on a computer?
Introducing the DualSense Controller
The PS5 DualSense controller is a truly remarkable piece of hardware. It’s decked out with the latest technology, like a touchpad, adaptive triggers, a gyro, and a built-in microphone so you can deliver your witty responses to those trolls on COD even without a headset.
However, while the DualSense’s internal microphone is great, it can be problematic. There are a few reasons why you should avoid using the microphone on your PS5 controller in-game, as it can remove some of the other features that this controller offers.
However, using this internal microphone is less of a problem when using your DualSense on your computer. This is due to the fact that most of the features of DualSense are not supported by many PC games.
The PlayStation DualSense wireless controller will give you about 6 hours of play time before it needs to be recharged. It is also supported by Steam and a good amount of PC games. It will cost you $69.00, which is more expensive, but it is a very luxurious and high quality controller.
Introduction of the Professional Controller
The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is the controller of choice for many gamers and is packed with almost as many features as the DualSense. The Pro Controller features gyro, HD noise and Amiibo support.
It’s worth noting that, like the DualSense, many of these features are unavailable during PC gaming. This is especially true for Amiibo support, which can only be used on the Nintendo Switch. If you’re wondering what an Amiibo is, we have a Nintendo Amiibo guide if you want to learn more about them.
The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is compatible with Steam and PC and has incredible battery life. The Pro Controller lets you play non-stop for up to 40 hours (although breaks in between are seriously recommended!).
The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is on the larger side, so it’s very ergonomic and comfortable for long gaming sessions. The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller costs $69.99, making it the most expensive controller on this list.
Introducing the Xbox Core Wireless Controller
The Xbox Core Wireless Controller is widely regarded by many as the most ergonomic controller on the market. It doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles that the DualSense or Pro Controller do, but sometimes less is more.
The Xbox Core Wireless Controller is compatible with almost everything. You will have no problems connecting it to Steam or almost any other game available on your computer. It also has an easy-to-access share button, so you can capture your precious gaming moments without having to navigate through menus. It also has a hybrid D-Pad that allows for easier diagonal movement.
The Xbox Core Wireless Controller is the cheapest by far, costing just $49.49. This makes it a great option for when you’ve spent all your money on video games.
Rather than using a built-in rechargeable battery like the DualSense or Pro Controller, the Xbox Core Wireless Controller uses two AA batteries. The two AAs in the Xbox Core Wireless Controller should last 40 hours on average. This is on par with the Pro Controller, but the Xbox Core Wireless Controller is not self-contained, which is something to note when deciding which controller is best for you.
What Are the Differences?
Each of these three controllers holds its own space in the market because they all have their own strengths and weaknesses. But when comparing them for use in PC gaming, many of their luxury features become superfluous.
|DualSense||Professional Controller||Xbox Core Wireless Controller|
|Battery Life||6 hours, built-in rechargeable||40 hours, built-in rechargeable||40 hours, 2x AA size|
When it comes down to it, the main things you want to weigh in on are the price, ergonomics, battery life and compatibility.
Which Controller Is Cheaper?
In terms of price, the Xbox Core Wireless Controller is the cheapest by far, costing about $20 less than both the Pro Controller and DualSense. Sure, you don’t get as many features with the Xbox Core Wireless Controller. But at the end of the day, most of these features become irrelevant for many games available on the PC.
To support features like adaptive triggers and Amiibo, the games would have to be specifically programmed to do so. Since most PC games are designed to be played with a mouse and keyboard, this type of support is often not included. Therefore, you’d be much better off skipping the features and saving $20 by buying the Xbox Core Wireless controller for PC gaming.
Which Controller Has the Best Battery?
When it comes to battery life, the Nintendo Pro Controller provides the ultimate experience, offering a whopping 40 hours of playtime.
The Xbox Core Wireless Controller matches this, but because it relies on two AA batteries, which you may not always have, it loses out to the Pro Controller in this category. The last thing you want mid-boss fight is for your batteries to run out, only to discover you have none.
Which Controller Is More Comfortable?
The Pro Controller and Xbox Core Wireless Controller both have the most intuitive button layout, with the analog stick parallel to the A, B, Y, and X buttons. They’re also both larger than the DualSense, minimizing clamps and offering a more comfortable grip.
All three controllers feel great to use for long periods, but the Xbox Core Wireless Controller is often considered the top of the range in terms of comfort. Its larger size and intuitive button layout provide a more stable and comfortable gaming experience.
Which controller is most compatible with PC?
The Xbox Core Wireless Controller is superior when it comes to compatibility. It is fully functional with most PC games, allowing you to quickly connect your controller and start playing without a second thought.
The DualSense and Pro Controllers are also compatible with a wide range of PC games but nowhere near as many as the Xbox Core Wireless Controller. They can also require button remapping, which makes the process slower and less intuitive.
Which Controller Is Best for PC Gaming?
The Xbox Core Wireless Controller is easily the best choice if you’re looking for a new controller to play your PC games. Since many PC games strip the DualSense and Pro Controller of many of the features that drive up its price, the Xbox Core Wireless Controller is the most cost-effective.
It also takes the cake for the most important category when it comes to PC gaming—compatibility. When you’re looking for a PC controller, the last thing you want is to mess up remapping your buttons before you can play or maybe not be able to connect your controller at all.
So when it comes to which controller has the best compatibility, battery life, comfortable feel and price point, the Xbox Core Wireless Controller wins this contest by a landslide.
Enjoy PC Gaming with Your New Favorite Controller
There are so many incredible controllers on the market, and finding the best one for you can be overwhelming. All three of these controllers have their niche in which they fit perfectly. But when it comes specifically to PC gaming, the Xbox Core Wireless Controller is the best choice.
Hopefully, with the help of this guide, you’ve found your next favorite controller for PC gaming—just make sure to keep a few extra batteries on hand.