PS4 DualShock 4 Back Button Attachment review: Turn your controller pro

There has been a lot of talk about pro controllers in recent times – gamepads designed with extra buttons for more responsive gaming.

Microsoft, for example, has released two generations of its Elite controller for Xbox One already.

However, PlayStation owners have always had to rely on third-parties when seeking a “professional” style controller for their setup – with options from the likes of Nacon, Scuf, Razer and Thrustmaster.

Now though, there is an official add-on that can change all that. And, as it attaches to an existing DualShock 4 controller, it needn’t cost anywhere near as much as buying a separate pro pad.

So, is it worth the price?

Build quality and fit

Well, when first taken out of the box, it’s not immediately impressive. It is extremely light and plasticky.

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There is a 3.5mm jack and proprietary DualShock 4 connector, that fit the bottom holes on the PS4 controller, a port on the underside for your headset and two paddle-style buttons.

The inside (rear) of the paddles is coating in silicone, to avoid damaging your controller, and the shiny circle under the buttons is clickable and houses a small OLED panel.

Connect it to your DualShock 4 (either first or second-generation) and you instantly realise why the build is so light and seemingly flimsy – it is meant to be in order to avoid adding any undue weight.

And, once fitted, it feels solid and as if it was always part of the controller. The attachment certainly doesn’t feel like it gets in the way, nor unbalances the feel or aesthetic of the pad.

What it does

Connecting it is a little fiddly, but once plugged in, the OLED panel is illuminated briefly, showing you which buttons are assigned to the rear buttons by default. It is powered by the DualShock itself and doesn’t seem to draw much battery life.

Two of the existing buttons on the main pad can be assigned to the paddles at a time, with reassignment as easy as pressing the screen for a second at a time.

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You can choose any two options (including, well, Options) and store up to three different profiles that can be skipped through quickly (again, buy just pressing on the screen). That’s great if you have specific button assignments for different games.

For example, we like to use the back buttons as paddle-style gear shifting in F1 2019, Dirt Rally 2.0 and other racing games, so assign square and triangle to left and right respectively (which is, incidentally, the default setting from the box). Yet, when playing an RPG say, that uses the Options button to bring up a map, it’s good to be able to switch to that through one tap rather than remap the inputs each time.

Sadly, you can’t map the touchpanel (left or right) to the attachment, but that’s a pretty large target on the front anyway.

Ease of use

During play, the attachment is well placed to be comfortably used without getting in the way when not required. The rear paddles on some pro controllers can be a little too large or unavoidable, leading to accidental button presses at inopportune times – such as firing a bullet when you’re actually trying to hide, or passing the ball to an opponent when you’re trying to dribble in FIFA.

We haven’t accidentally tapped either of the back buttons once in our tests, which is excellent.

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We do have one minor quibble though. While you get a headset port on the bottom of the attachment, you don’t get a charge port. It’s also the wrong shape to fit in a DualShock 4 charger anyway – including Sony’s own official one.

That means you have to remove the device every time you have want to charge your controller on an official or licensed dock. You can still charge through micro-USB at the top of the DualShock (and via some third-party charge docks that work that way around), but it’s not ideal if you already own the alternative. Especially so, considering it’s fiddly to attach each time anyway.

Still, this is a small worry for a niche section of the PS4 playing public. And, pro controllers often require separate cabled charging anyway and rarely ever fit a charging dock.

Verdict

If we’re being honest, we can’t hand on heart say that the addition of the Back Button Attachment turns your DualShock 4 into a pro controller. It doesn’t make it any more sturdy, nor gives you the depth of customisation available on the Nacon Revolution Unlimited, say, but it does expand your experience and offer button profiles that could help in certain games.

It is also a reasonably inexpensive add-on that undoubtedly enhances your existing kit. And it is simple to setup and use, without needing to get used to a controller you are not accustomed to.

Yes, we have a new games console from PlayStation on the way, but why not treat your existing machine one last time before it is superseded? We think it’s well worth it.

The DualShock 4 Back Button Attachment is available through multiple retailers in the US, but only through Game in the UK. You can buy it from here.

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