PS5 controller teardown reveals improved battery and haptics but the same analog sticks

DualSense controller
(Image credit: Sony)

We've known for some time that the chunky DualSense controller would greatly improve on the DualShock 4 in haptic feedback, battery life and accessibility

Now, thanks to repair expert and YouTuber TronicsFix, we know exactly how Sony redesigned the PS5 controller — and one key feature that wasn't changed at all.

In the video below, TronicsFix does a complete DualSense teardown, taking apart the controller and analyzing how the components compare against the PS4 controller. Assuming you don't have time to watch the full video, we're noting the most significant changes and how they'll reflect on the DualSense's durability.

For starters, we know how Sony achieved a longer battery life with its new controller: the DualSense has a much larger 1560 mAh battery, compared to a 1000 mAh battery in the DualShock 4.

TronicsFix also revealed the new controller motherboard to be far larger, with more attached chips. At least superficially, the DualSense is a much smarter controller, or at least needs more processing power to handle its improved haptic feedback tech.

The biggest thing to note, however, is that once removed, both the DualShock and DualSense appear to have the exact same analog sticks, with identical Alps switches and a design that TronicsFix says will be difficult to repair.

The DualShock 4 plagued many gamers with stick drift over the years, so it's particularly disappointing to hear that this new controller doesn't seem to have switched around the hardware – and it's unclear if the same issues will plague the DualSense. That's especially troubling given the controller costs as much as an expensive PS5 launch game to replace.

Mostly a major overhaul

Thankfully, the return of the DualShock 4 analog sticks was the only disappointing news of the teardown, and many gamers won't mind that given how much else has changed.

One much-needed DualSense improvement is the new adaptive trigger set. TronicsFix showed how the new triggers use a gear to set resistance, a potentiometer to determine the gear's position, and a proprietary piece that pushes against the trigger once it reaches a certain point. 

Placed side by side, the new haptic motor on the PS5 is larger than the mere vibrations motor in the PS4 DualShock. The old unit merely swung a weight around to create vibrations and couldn't be particularly precise, while the new haptic unit can create more exact and varied vibrations.

In fact, because the haptic vibrations are so improved, Sony also had to add rubber isolators on the motherboard and a dampener on the trigger, to essentially protect these components from being slowly broken by the haptic motors.

Overall, the YouTuber claimed that the DualSense controller should be relatively simple to repair if problems emerge, because most of the components like the triggers and haptic motor are modular, so repair shops can swap in replacement components easily. 

You probably won't want to repair it at home, however, unless you're particularly brave and good at soldering wires. It's a complicated device, which hopefully speaks to how well it'll perform – and enhance the experience – while playing your PS5 games.

Michael Hicks

Michael Hicks began his freelance writing career with TechRadar in 2016, covering emerging tech like VR and self-driving cars. Nowadays, he works as a staff editor for Android Central, but still writes occasional TR reviews, how-tos and explainers on phones, tablets, smart home devices, and other tech.