Hey, yes this is a reupload because I've found a bug that was affecting my input lag results of the PlayStation controllers. If you've watched the original video, you can just skip ahead to the input lag section which I have redone completely. The rest of the video stayed the same and if you're watching for the first time just enjoy 🙂 Hey guys, HalfwayDead here with the video you've all been waiting for, one with my face in it. Just kidding, I've got next-gen controllers here to compare to the previous gen as well.
As some premium controllers too. I've tested these very thoroughly; so now, I can hopefully provide with the most objective controller review there is (which isn't very difficult considering most are just glorified personal impressions). This review will be from a PC Rocket League perspective. It doesn't mean that most of it doesn't apply to other games or platforms, but it is the focus. I also have to point out that Microsoft and Sony seem to do micro-revisions of their controllers where they swap out the circuit boards and even the analog stick versions, athought the.
Brand stays the same. But I assume if they think they can do that without labeling these controllers any different, the differences have to be negligible Features There isn't much to say here about the next-gen or previous gen controllers. They are all default controllers with a standard set of buttons, a headphone jack, and wired and wireless capability. The Xbox controllers lack an internal battery for wireless use, but they do come with one set of AAs in the box.
From a software perspective, they all work natively with Rocket League, except the DualSense seems to require additional software when using it in Bluetooth mode. PlayStation controllers will not have working vibration. More games will support Xbox controllers out of the box, but DS4Windows is a free tool that will solve that issue. Remapping is available through the official Xbox Accessories apps, but this again can usually be done through third party apps too. The Xbox Elite Series 2 controller comes with the most features. It includes a headphone jack, wired and wireless capability, an internal battery, 4 back paddles,.
Exchangeable thumb stick and dpad types, changeable thumbstick tension, trigger stops, a cable, a charging station, and a nice compact case to store everything. On the software side, the official Xbox Accessories app allows remapping buttons, changing sensitivity curves, trigger deadzones, and vibration intensity. The settings can be stored as up to 3 different profiles on the controller. Like any Xbox controller, it works natively with Rocket League. The controller was paid for by a viewer. The Thrustmaster eSwap PRO controller has a headphone jack; wired but no wireless capability; 4 back buttons; a modular system for analog sticks and the dpad, which allows reordering.
And replacing; and a cable. Different thumbstick versions, dpads, triggers, and side grips are available for purchase separately. On the software side, initially, it wouldn't work with Rocket League until I installed the drivers which may be an issue for a professional at a LAN. With the driver, the controller appears to the PC as an Xbox controller, which gives it compatibility with as many games as possible, but it will show the Xbox buttons in Rocket League instead of the symbols printed on the controller. The official software can do anything the Xbox Elite controller is capable of, plus.
Deadzones on thumbsticks. Up to 2 different profiles can be stored on the controller directly. The controller was provided by Thrustmaster. Polling rates What is the polling rate? I think in previous videos I've made some oversimplifications that left a few wrong impressions on people. The polling rate only tells you one thing, how often does the computer ask the controller for updates via the USB connection. If the polling rate is 125 Hz, the PC tries to obtain a new update 125 times a second,.
Which means once per 8 ms. The controller is not forced to send information though, which is why the true amount of updates can vary. A high update rate will reduce the input lag, which will be covered more in the next section; it also provides another benefit. To understand that, I've made this slow-motion video. Let's watch it in regular speed first, again. It's just me flicking the analog stick up very fast. If we play this back in slow-motion, we see a nice and smooth video that shows us the.
Position of the analog stick. This is roughly what a 1000 Hz update rate is like. At 250 Hz it's not nearly as smooth, and at 125 Hz the motion is only 3 frames: bottom, centre, top. Essentially, your controller has little idea of the exact path your analog stick took. That matters in gameplay, for example on dodges but also the opposite, a fast aerial. It could be the difference between flipping when you don't want to or not flipping when you want to. High update rates also increase input consistency, which I've created an own entire video for.
So what rates do these controllers support. The default polling rates of all the controllers is 250 Hz when you plug them in, but as I said, the update rate doesn't have to be equal to the polling rate. While all the PlayStation based controllers send updates 250 times a second, the Xbox controllers do not. They report only 124 updates a second, yes, 124 not 125. This causes them to report basically every second poll but every 65th time it skips an extra poll. This minor difference will cause a tiny amount of extra input inconsistency.
It's only gonna affect you every 65th button press though and then only by 4 ms. Overclocking polling rates is something I first showed with the DualShock 4 because of the significant input lag advantage it provides there. Again, that is coming in the next section, but can we improve the amount of updates of the controllers? Unsurprisingly, the answer for the Xbox controllers is no. They give 124 updates, even with a 1000 Hz polling rate. We do, however, have the advantage that the weird rate will only cause at most 1 ms of inconsistency at 1000 Hz.
For the PlayStation controllers, let's start with the DS4. It will overclock to 1000 Hz and the analog stick will also report at that same rate. The DualSense is a bit of an interesting beast. For USB devices there is a category called FullSpeed, which allows polling rates up to 1000 Hz and then there is HighSpeed with up to 8000 Hz polling rates. The DualSense is of the latter category. Because the overclocking software doesn't account for that, you'll get 8000 Hz if you set it to 1000 Hz. If you actually want 1000, you need to set it to 250.
Even though the DualSense will send up to 8000 reports back, the analog stick value will just repeat 8 times. Thus, the true update rate is 1000 Hz. The Thrustmaster eSwap PRO will overclock to 1000 Hz but will “only” have around 940 reports and the analog stick will only be providing 800 unique locations per second. I asked Thrustmaster whether we could see official support for higher polling rates from their software. Unfortunately, they told me that the polling rate is a norm imposed by the licensor, meaning in this case Sony, and in the case of the eSwap X Microsoft.
Input Lag This is the section where I've spent the most time testing. I've gone above and beyond, testing analog sticks and different buttons at different polling rates and frame rates. A total of 132 scenarios, with at least 1000 samples each, which makes a total of over 132.000 samples. If you appreciate that, I would appreciate a like, a sub, the use of my Epic creator code ROCKETSCIENCE, or you can also buy one of the controllers through my Amazon affiliate links which will give me a commission on qualifying purchases.
Let's get along with the results of my labour. These are the results for wired use out of the box. First, I did not find any meaningful differences between analog sticks and button presses. They were all within 1 ms, which is why I display the average. I'm rather disappointed by the Xbox Series X controller. Microsoft keeps talking about their latency improvements and DLI technology but it seems that this has to be supported by the developer of the game, and there seems to be no information available on whether that is even possible on PC or only Xbox. For the DualSense controller, we see a roughly 3 ms improvement over the DualShock 4 and.
The eSwap Pro controller does similarly. The results you're seeing here for the three PlayStation controllers are roughly 4 ms lower than what I showed in the original video that I uploaded in February. The difference is caused by a bug that resulted in those extra 4 ms. This bug only happened in certain ports of my mainboard which may or may not also affect other people with AMD Ryzen systems. The details of what I know can be found in a video I uploaded a week ago. Unfortunately, I have not found any interesting new information since then, however, MSI did contact me on their own.
I've given them as much information as possible to reproduce and hopefully solve the issue. If there are noteworthy news, I will definitely give you guys an update on the issue, and if you're watching this video at a later date there would be a link in the comments to that video if it exists. If you want to be rather safe than sorry and you have an AMD Ryzen system, try to find out which ports on your mainboard belong to the CPU directly and plug your PlayStation controllers in those ports. This kind of information tends to be available in the technical specifications of your mainboard, so that will require a bit of googling and looking at the ports because there are too.
Many different boards out there to cover here. Either way, if you're using an official Xbox controller it doesn't make a difference, as the bug I found is not affecting any of them. Ok, enough about that. Can we mitigate the input lag somewhat? Yes, by overclocking the polling rate. Watch the DS4 overclock video for instructions. All controllers do benefit, but by significantly different amounts. The Xbox controllers are rate limited as discussed in the previous section so by overclocking.
The polling rate, at best you read out the same input a bit earlier. The benefit seems to be 1.5 ms, which is exactly what you'd expect from theoretical standpoint. All the PlayStation controllers experience a major reduction in input lag by overclocking the polling rate to 1000 Hz. With this they're all faster than the Xbox controllers and getting pretty close to the limit of what is possible anyways. But if you want to push it even further the DualSense can easily be set to 8000 Hz which does put it at sub 2 ms. How you get 8000 Hz is explained in the previous section so please don't skip half the video.
Then ask in the comments. This is the best time to mention that polling rates can also have a downside. The thing is that, once the PC checks the controller 8000 times a second for new information, that information gets sent to the game 8000 times a second. If your game runs at 60 FPS, it will have to handle 133 events every frame. Many games don't expect that. That is why I also tested everything at 60 FPS and I did not find any adverse effects in Rocket League on my PC. That does not mean, that this doesn't happen in other games, nor does it mean that it can't.
Happen on your PC. If your PC struggles to get 60 FPS and is fully maxed out, then having handle that many events may cause delays or even performance issues. Thus I do not recommend 8000 Hz or even 1000 Hz in those cases and in any event, you should just turn it back to default if it seems like it causes any problems for you. A note regarding the original video. The 1000Hz results of the PlayStation controllers are roughly 1 ms better than they were in the original video because of the bug mentioned earlier. The 8000Hz result difference was within the margin of error.
Let's get to the wireless results. I found slightly improved average latency with the official dongle, using the Xbox Series X controller. The Elite 2 and One S do just fine but it's similar to their non-overclocked wired performance. On Bluetooth, something weird happened. The Xbox One S controller does just as well as when I tested it years ago, but the Xbox Series X controller and to a degree the Xbox Elite 2 controller caused framespikes in my game. Those framespikes disappear as soon as you disconnect the controller and reappear again.
As soon as they are reconnected. When testing at 60 FPS, there were no visible framespikes left, but the impact on the input lag was the same regardless. For casual use, this might be acceptable if the framespikes are unnoticeable, but if you seek to use it wirelessly otherwise, get an official wireless adapter. The DualShock 4 result over Bluetooth has come out within the margin of error of when I last tested it. As long as your Bluetooth dongle or internal chip is running at a 1000 Hz, which they usually are by default, it performs like a wired overclocked DS4.
The DualSense does 2 ms worse on average which is still very good. The wireless results seem unaffected by the USB port bug I mentioned early. A note for wireless in general. I tend to just let the data speak for itself, but because this question comes up time and time again and many players may not have the necessary knowledge to make that decision for themselves: Is Bluetooth better than wired for DS4 and now DualSense? No, it is not. If you care about the couple of milliseconds in average input lag that you can gain by going from default wired to default Bluetooth, then you should just overclock the polling.
Rate instead. Wireless can always cause inconsistencies that you have little to no control over. It is good enough to be used competitively or even by a pro but it is never as consistent. Use wireless if you want to use wireless, otherwise don't, it's actually that simple. How do these relate to previous controllers I've tested. I did of course include the previous gen controllers but I have tested even more. Notable other controllers are the Steam controller with a button lag of 6 ms and analog lag of 8 ms, the Xbox 360 with 8ms, the DS3 with 14 ms, and the Switch Pro with 19 ms. The full list is available in the spreadsheet found on inputlag.rocketscience.fyi.
Last but not least, I'd like to quickly cover the topic of physical input lag. I always measure the lag from the point where the button is on. But in order to do that, you need to physically move that button, 0.9 mm in the case of the Xbox controllers. That doesn't happen instantaneously which Thrustmaster pointed out to me when I talked about polling rates. I don't want to just restate marketing material but there is no such thing as being too informed. So I took some video of me pressing the button on an Xbox controller. It's not that easy to see a start.
If we are really lenient it takes 12 ms, but the time from where the button seriously starts moving to bottoming out is only 3 ms. The travel distance on the so called Ultra responsive buttons, which are really just regular mouse buttons, is only a third of that. It's so small I wasn't really able to see when the button was pressed on video. But if you consider the possibility of half-pressing buttons ahead of time, I doubt that you can realistically save more than 8 ms and it might be as little as 1-2 ms saved. That is nice to have and you may want to keep it in mind when viewing the input lag numbers, but it certainly wouldn't make a bad controller good.
And since it is just additional to the measured input lag, you'd always want to reduce that anyway. Analog sticks I would love have very detailed analog accuracy tests but that was not within my capabilities for now. If you are an electrical engineer or a hobbyist in that direction and would be interested in helping develop proper testings methods for the ADCs and potentiometers, please contact me. I do, however, have one finding already. There aren't many movements I can perform very consistently, but one of them is just.
Sliding the stick around the outside ring. When you do this while using a software that can log your inputs, you expect a relatively consistent result. That is, what I can get on any of the PlayStation and Thrustmaster controllers. But any of the Xbox controllers are not as consistent at low speeds and more importantly, highly inconsistent at high speeds. You see, when I trace the circle but do it fast, I don't have a circle anymore. The analog values shoot outside of the area that I can reach when going at slow speeds. The same behaviour seems to happen when tracing out a smaller circle inside the area, but.
I can't completely verify my movements. This is very concerning, as this kind of thing can potentially screw up your dodge direction. Unfortunately, due to my limited testing methods, I know neither the cause of this, nor do I know what else could be affected. Nevertheless, to see this at all in an Xbox Elite 2 controller with such a high price tag is very disconcerting. How well do all of these sticks recenter? First a disclaimer: There is unit to unit variance that I can't account for with my sample size of one controller, and analog sticks will wear out over time.
The previous gen controllers in this test have had less than 10 hours of use and the others only around 1 hour of working them in. Let's cover the Xbox One S first. It did the worst because I could get it to stick at 0.11 in one direction. The problem wasn't that it was 0.11 off centre, but rather that the centre doesn't seem to be calibrated. On average, it seems to want to go back to 0.06-0.07 and 0.05 on the other stick rather than straight 0. I can't even keep it at 0 without pushing it there.
I have some more heavily used Xbox One controllers that show the same kind of behaviour. Thankfully, it seems that Microsoft has fixed this issue on their newer controllers, although I can't be certain, as the only controller sticks that I know to be calibrated are the Thrustmaster ones. The NXG sticks are also the clear winner. They were never off by more than 1%, no matter what I tried. I was able to push one of the regular sticks 6% to the side and have it stay there. The Xbox Series X and Playstation controllers all do quite similar with 4-5% maximum off centre.
The Xbox Elite 2 with its custom sticks is the worst. They can easily be pushed 7% in any direction and they will stay, at worst one stayed at 9%. Higher tensions don't really help with this issue. If you don't play with a very small deadzone you could dismiss this, but it's still sub-optimal. For example, my stick is 0.07 to the right, and now I want to move left. With a 0.15 deadzone I would have to move the stick a distance of 0.22 to the left to start moving to the left. Yet I would only have to move it 0.08 to the right before it starts moving in that direction.
Not a premium experience. What about the outside? We would like the controllers to reach the same value in every diagonal. Unfortunately, that only seems to be important to Thrustmaster. Both types of sticks were within 1% in all diagonals making them very consistent and lending credibility to my measurement. The PlayStation controllers don't necessarily reach into each corner equally. I found an up to 8.5% difference on the DualShock 4. Unsurprisingly, the Xbox One S which was already off centre, does the worst at up to 10%.
Furthermore, the Xbox One S and Elite 2 controller were highly inconsistent to the point where I could repeat this experiment and would likely get a different value on the same diagonal. Of course, I have already talked about the inconsistency at high speeds which also affects the Xbox Series X controller, but it did at least seem reasonably consistent in this test. One more factor that may be important to you is stick tension. I've measured these values with a spring dynamometer and gotten very consistent results on the NXG eSwap sticks as well as the Xbox Series X for example. The Xbox Elite 2 has not yielded consistent results at all depending on the direction. It is also consistently lower than the number Microsoft officially shows in their marketing.
It's supposed to be 58 gf at the minimum setting and therefore the same as a regular Xbox One controller. I also found the regular eswap pro sticks to require slightly more force than the NXGs, despite the marketing claiming the opposite. Another aspect that has a great impact on the feel is how far you can push the analog stick. The distance is the greatest on the DualSense which should put it closer in feel to the old DualShock 3. The eSwap sticks move the least.
This creates an effective sensitivity difference out of the box. The Thrustmaster sticks end up being 14% more sensitive than the DualSense. All sticks seem to have good texture to prevent slipping off except the 360 style sticks that are one of the choices of the Elite controller. So, as a summary, this was a clean sweep of the NXG eSwap sticks with highly consistent results. In terms of effective sensitivity and stick tension it may not be your favorite though. The default stick or the PlayStation controllers would also be a decent choice. What about the buttons and triggers?.
While were still talking about the thumbsticks, they have significantly different force requirements to press down. The NXG sticks require the lowest force which may be great if you want to use them a lot or bad if you don't want accidental presses. The Xbox Elite 2 force increases with the tension setting up to a whole kilogram of force. In the trigger department we've got the maximum travel, inherent deadzone, and force. The outlier here is the eSwap controller. It has significantly less travel distance and requires more force.
Although once again there are separate kits available for triggers that provide a longer lever so it would both reduce the force required and increase the distance moved. All the triggers have a small to medium deadzone, meaning the distance they have to be moved before a signal gets sent. I noticed a significant discrepancy between the deadzones of the two triggers of my eSwap but it was easy to add some additional deadzone to the more sensitive one in the software. In terms of buttons, I will remind you of the different type of face button the eSwap controller uses. That's why it has a fraction of the travel distance and requires more force to press.
Than any of the others. The DualSense has noticeably heavier buttons too. For the Dpad the heavy outliers are the DS4 and eSwap controller. The bumpers of the eSwap feel similar to the old Xbox bumpers, while the Xbox Series X controller uses a new mechanism that is noticeably heavier. The PlayStation controllers with the rubber dome buttons have a completely different feel. The shell We've had a whole lot of information already, but we're not quite done yet. It doesn't just matter what is on the inside of a controller but also on the outside.
Shape and size is something that is difficult to really bring across unless you can hold the controller yourself, but I'm gonna try my best. The Xbox controller shape is a classic and it's the same for all of them. It really does seem molded around your hand. Rest your hands on the desk and then put the controller in it. The only difference in finger position is really the index fingers on the triggers. This works for my small hands but should work fine for almost any size. The Xbox Elite 2 paddles should be mentioned here. They just rest exactly where your fingers are anyways, so they're super easy to use.
And don't impact the grip much. They can be removed individually too, if you don't use some of them. The DualShock 4 is the smallest of the bunch and holding it feels a lot more like gripping around something like the grip of a racket. If any of these controllers would cause a problem for large hands it would be this one. It should still be possible find a decent grip though. The DualSense has changed quite a bit and I would say it's 50% of the way from the DualShock to the Xbox controllers. It is bigger and should work better for larger hands but it remains great for small ones.
The eSwap controller on the other hand, is noticeably the biggest. It is in fact on the edge of what I would consider comfortable with my small hands. This results in certain grip styles like index fingers on bumpers and middle finger on the triggers feeling very awkward. In theory that would never be necessary because this controller has 4 back buttons. However, with my short fingers these are not that easy to reach either. In my opinion, the 1 and 2 buttons are a bit awkward to press even if one can reach them without a problem. Using these buttons will make your grip worse.
Otherwise, it is exactly like a big Xbox controller. I can understand that Thrustmaster had little choice in their size because of the modules that can't realistically be made much smaller, but at the end of the day, that doesn't mean it's not important to point out. In terms of texture, both the Xbox Elite 2 and eSwap controllers have rubberized parts making them the least slippery, though the Xbox Series X controller does have quite the nice surface that still helps a lot. The DualSense is honestly a step back on the DS4. The texture barely stops slipping at all, similar to the Xbox One S controller.
If you like a lightweight controller, I have the numbers for you. The DualShock 4 is definitely the lightest despite the internal battery. If you're a bit of a modder, you can remove internal batteries as well as rumble motors to significantly reduce the weight in wired mode.The DS4 does then only weigh 145 g. Does this difference in weight show in terms of build quality? It depends.The DS4 feels like I could crack the shell with my hands; the Xbox One S and eSwap are noticeably tougher; the DualSense and Xbox Series X don't seem to bend under my force at all; and I'm pretty sure if I were to throw the Xbox Elite controller against the wall, the wall would break and not the controller.
Cables, you don't want them unplugging in the wrong moment, so I thought I would test the force required to unplug them from the controller. Disclaimer: the mechanisms can wear out over time and change the force required. You might also get different forces when pulling at an angle. The cables used were official Microsoft ones from the Xbox Elite and a regular Xbox one controller. The Xbox Elite promptly does the worst with its own cable, although the other Type C controllers don't do too much better. The Xbox One S on Micro B does similarly, while the DS4 and eSwap can withstand 1.4.
Kilos. That's not the whole story, because the eSwap controller comes with its own cable with an additional locking mechanism that allows it to hold up to 1.6 kilos. Lastly, repairability. The eSwap controller hits a home run on pretty much every count. Analog sticks tend to be the first thing to wear out when playing Rocket League. Thus, swapping these out on a whim is the best you could ask for. The sticks are anything but cheap but still a whole lot cheaper than any new controller. If I had to criticise something, it would be that the face buttons aren't in a module.
I did not really see a reason for why that would be impossible to achieve. But even if we don't account for the modularity. The controller is easy to open with no prying tools required nor special screwdrivers. All components inside seem reasonably accessible. The DS4 is similar in that regard. One just has to be careful not to break the ribbon cable. The DualSense doesn't have exposed screws but the parts blocking those are removable without proper prying tools. No special screwdrivers are needed either.
Microsoft shows you the big middle finger. You won't get the right parts off without proper prying tools, and then you get to see special screws that you can't open without the proper screwdriver. Once you have the Xbox One or Series controllers open, their parts will be reasonably replaceable. Ah, but the Elite controller. It has all the difficulties of the other Xbox controllers, and you better get a heat gun for all the glue they've used. Even if you get it open, you can't replace the analog sticks with the same type because Microsoft has a patent on them.
So, if you can replace it all, you will lose those features. Whew, I hope you didn't fall asleep. And I hope I provided the value I promised. As a summary: The Xbox controllers are well built on the outside, their input lag is very low, but their input rate is limited, which limits both an even lower input lag as well as more consistency. My big concern is regarding analog sticks. The minimum deadzone is only good on the Xbox Series X controller. The readout seems to have inaccuracies when you quickly move your stick in curves.
This should be just fine for any casual player, but you can argue that about any problem that doesn't outright break the controller. The PlayStation controllers are both fine. The DualSense is more sturdy and has an excellent shape that should make both Xbox as well as previous PlayStation players happy. The input lag, wired out of the box, is fine, and they can both be overclocked to get the two lowest input lag values that I have measured. The eSwap controller is very large which could cause issue for players with smaller hands. The input lag is similar to the DualSense controller, and amazing when overclocked.
The accuracy of the analog sticks was the highest in my tests, and the recentering of the NXG sticks is the most accurate. The module systems allows easy replacement of thumbsticks or the dpad. What is my conclusion? I cannot in good faith recommend any of the Xbox controllers for competitive players. The Xbox Series X got slightly better but if you want accuracy, get something else. Even the Elite controller, which is often touted as a Pro controller really doesn't fit that term. It is a controller full of features that's very sturdy and could last you a bit longer.
Than a regular one. How much longer, I don't know, and when it does break you're gonna have to pay full price again. The label Pro fits the eSwap controller better in every way, except the lack of included traveling case. You might have noticed a trend by now: yes, you can buy one. From a technical perspective I can highly recommend the controller. From a financial perspective you're gonna end up paying a lot more up front than the regular controllers, especially if you want the better analog sticks.
If you're one of those people that gets a new controller every couple of months though, then this one could even save you money over time. I have to give two warnings with my recommendation: If you have small hands, you might want to find a way to test the shape first. And if you're looking at this controller because you want 4 back buttons, it might not be as great as others. Of course if you want a controller that's wireless capable, the eSwap is not even an option. Otherwise, I will recommend the DualSense controller.
It doesn't seem like there is anything seriously wrong with it. It has some slight improvements over the DS4, the most noticeable being the shape. It has the lowest input lag when overclocked, and the readouts seem reasonably accurate from my arguably limited testing. It is a decent choice for casuals and pros alike, and the price is quite fine. The DS4 is still just fine, and if you're happy with it, then there is no need to upgrade right now. It does seem like it's no longer getting produced though, or it's just sold out everywhere for other reasons.
So prepare to make a choice when yours breaks. If this video helped you make the choice to buy one of these controllers. Please help me out by using my Amazon affiliate link for your purchase. You can also support me directly on Patreon, or through my Epic Creator code ROCKETSCIENCE. This video was the most work I've ever put into one video, so I would really appreciate if you would at least leave a like and subscribe and I will stop the begging immediately. Follow me on twitte- oh you subscribed thanks. See I stopped begging. Thanks for watching and I'll see you soon for the next video.