Just like how the market is flooded with an overwhelming amount of headsets, the same could be said of controllers for consoles and PC’s. Is this a bad thing; nobody could truly say. But today we’re still going to cover another controller to make certain that you know all there is to know about it just in case you’re on the fence about it. It’s the GAME:PAD 4S Wireless Blue controller ($34.99, Snakebyte) for the PlayStation 4.
‘Tired of being tethered down by a wired controller? The GAME:PAD 4 S WIRELESS™ for PS4™ is made for gamers seeking that cordless freedom. Dual vibration motors let you feel all the action, while the twin analog sticks and trigger buttons guarantee precision control. Bluetooth technology allows the GAME:PAD 4 S Wireless Bubblegum Camo™ to easily connect to your PS4™ allowing fast response times at extremely low latency.’
- ‘Wireless controller for use with PS4™
- 3.5mm Jack
- LED Home Button
- Twin analog joysticks and trigger buttons for precise control
- Dual vibration motors enhance the haptic feedback’
- Comfort. I think that one of the first things that anyone who buys one of these GAME:PAD 4S wireless controllers is their ergonomics. Heck, from the pictures alone you can definitely tell that they’re shaped in such a way that your hands rest in comfortable positions. You have the slants for the ball of your palm to rest on and the backside is rounded for your secondary fingers to curl underneath. The thumbsticks are also properly placed and a great distance apart from one another. The same goes with the placement of the triggers. They’re in such a perfect place for your fingers to press on without having to overextend or, conversely, accidentally press them all of the time.
- Colors. Now, most companies that make controllers obviously make multiple color options available. If not, they try to find different ways to design them to appear unique and make different types of people happy. Snakebyte’s tactic here is no different. If you visit their site you can see pictures of all of the options, but I can clue you in as to what you’ll be looking for (if you’re interested). You already know that the blue version I’m reviewing is an option. What’s more is you’ll see bubblegum camo (pink camo), blue camo, black, and grey.
- Range. This is always my favorite topic when reviewing wireless controllers. Sure, 99% of controllers have zero lag, but it’s the distance I can get out of it with no lag that makes it fun. Needless to say, I couldn’t quite find where the end was on this thing. My whole gaming area is 30 feet long, but I reached the end of it. So I decided to head upstairs on the opposite side, furthest away from the PS4. It still had a good signal, but that was technically only 10 feet higher than I was in the gaming area. So I headed to the top floor and was still able to hit those marks. Needless to say, even though I didn’t come out finding an exact number, I can still confidently state that you can be further away than your eyes can see and still be able to play. So if your couch is quite a ways away, you’re good.
- Thumbsticks. Joysticks are a hot topic debate for a lot of reasons. Tension, distance between them, analog/digital, the list goes on. Well, I can officially state that I really, truly love these thumbsticks. The very first thing that I noticed about them was their tension. There’s enough push back to help you if you need to let go in a moment’s notice. But it’s not such a ridiculous amount that you have to force them any given direction. It’s the sweet spot, ladies and gentlemen! There is another great addition that they have on the sticks. On the top where your thumb is resting, there are little rubber nubs to help push and pull sticks whichever direction.
- Touchpad. This isn’t something that 100% of 3rd party controllers have, but the GAME:PAD 4S most certainly does. Not only that, but it actually works, unlike some lesser Chinese aftermarket controllers. And while less and less games seem to use this and a company could reasonably not include it, it’s still there. And not only does the touch portion of it work, but also, the whole pad is a button you can depress as it should be. I was very taken aback that the product featured it and I have to give Snakebyte some kudos here since it probably could’ve kept the cost down to omit it.
- Triggers. All 4 triggers are a massive ergonomic improvement over the official Sony controller. The only downside to them is the amount of travel in them. The original controller has less travel, so some games may take some getting used to playing with this. In fact, the L2 and R2 may be so different to some that it could be a deal-breaker if all that you play are FPS games that don’t allow custom button mapping. I couldn’t care less about travel as it hasn’t impacted a single game that I play.
- PS4 Battery. With regards to the battery life on the GAME:PAD 4S, it’s pretty superb. Since it doesn’t have some core features (which we’ll talk about in cons section) that does indeed mean that there is more battery to stay connected for longer. I don’t know about you, but the longer I don’t have to have a controller tethered to the console charging while I play or while stopping me from playing, the better. The other part that I found to be interesting is that the controller battery life is able to be read by the system too. So while it does indeed give you a blinking home button when it’s going to die, the console will also tell you.
As far as how long the battery lasts, I can tell you a few things about it. First of all, if you’re wondering, they don’t advertise how long the battery is supposed to last. But what I found in my regular play is that the battery life lasted a long time. Like, much longer than I wanted to keep testing! So, if your main concern on the PS4 is battery life, ditch the other controllers and pick one of these up.
- D-Pad. I personally hate singular/all in one D-Pads, I much prefer 4 separate buttons (share your hatred of me in the comments below). So you can naturally see that my complaint here is that the D-Pad on this controller is just a single plus shaped pad with 4 directions. More than that, it doesn’t really roll very well for fighters, but it may just be that the D-Pad is so new that it’s still pretty stiff. Time will tell with this controller.
- Buttons. My overall complaint here is the amount of force required to push them. They’re quite tight and not exactly easy to play fast paced games with. Now, I will be fair here, they are loosening up the more I play games with them. However, now I’m afraid they’ll keep getting looser as time goes, but who knows for certain. My other secondary complaint is that the fact that there are no shapes printed on the surface of the face buttons is sad and ugly. I’m uncertain if those shapes are trademarked, but I can’t imagine that they could be. By printing the words on the buttons instead of a picture, they’ve only caused me to roll my eyes.
- Small touchpad. This one is only a downside if you have larger fingers or are just horrible at making smaller movements. If so, then this smaller touchpad may be the deal breaker for you. It’s probably honestly hard to know for certain without buying one and testing it out. I just wish I knew the percentage that this one is shrunken down from the original Sony controller.
- Weight. This is also an area where it’s going to depend on you and your preferences. I do find that this controller is pretty lightweight. I’m surprised that they didn’t simply add some weights into the body of it. For most people, it will probably be a little jarring and will take some getting used to. I do suppose that by having a lighter controller then you stand to have less overall strain on your wrists and such, holding up the weight for long periods of time.
- No PSVR. So by this, I just mean that there is no lightbar support on it. Which are a blessing and curse all at once. What you need to remember is that by omitting the lightbar you do indeed get better battery life. The other side of that coin is that if there are PSVR games that you love to play with a PS4 controller and the game requires the lightbar to see the controller, then you’re dead out of luck with this controller. I have a PSVR and simply cannot use this controller at all with it. If you don’t and you want to save battery, then the lack of lightbar is awesome.
- Vibration. Ok, so, don’t freak out. The con isn’t that there is no vibration in the controller. What I’m actually driving to is that the vibration is incredibly muted. Which, like the lack of lightbar, means that you have some extra battery since the motors aren’t screaming bloody murder. I was playing Onrush which is basically all vibration (if you’re playing it right) and the vibration felt like a cat purring as opposed to a controller vibrating. I’m a little disappointed by the hum that is supposed to be considered feedback by this controller.
If I’m being truthful, I think this controller is pretty down the middle. You could make a case both for and against it. It’s not the prettiest controller in the world, and it has some cons. If you don’t have a PSVR and have games that require that lightbar controller, then I think you’ll actually enjoy it. Yes, yes, I do know that you can use the lightbar to help you autologin to your PS4! Although, I can’t imagine heaps of people use that feature. All in all, if you need a replacement controller and you’re on a tight budget and you like one of the controller options, then this is a great option to at least hold you over until you can save for a standard controller. Additionally, at the time of buying a new Sony PS4 controller, you then have a stupendous secondary controller.
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