When it comes to giving die-hard PlayStation 4 players an easy way to tailor their controller’s button layout to a more bespoke set-up, Sony has showed very little interest for most of this current console generation. However, when rumours started to circle that a back button attachment designed specifically for the Dualshock 4 controller could possibly change all that and add two new buttons, those seeking a more customisable play experience were understandably excited.
Thank heavens, then, that the rumours not only turned out to be true, but the product in question actually turned out to be relatively inexpensive and smartly designed. We’ve spent quite a bit of time trying out the PlayStation 4’s cool little gizmo - available exclusively at GAME here in the UK - so we thought it worthwhile highlighting some of our thoughts.
Dualshock 4 PS4 back button attachment – Design
The first thing you notice about the back button attachment is simply how small it is. While players with an affinity for playing in the most professional way possible will likely have become accustomed to all things ‘pro’ coming in big packages, this back button is the opposite – but it’s too its benefit. It snuggly fits underneath the middle of your Dualshock 4 between its two analogue sticks, as you’d expect, featuring a subtle 3.55 pin input that slots into the controller’s headset jack.
Overall, from a design perspective, the Dualshock 4 PS4 back button attachment achieves a lot out of very little, sporting two clickable buttons that can be assigned to any other button on the pad. You can see what you have this set to by just tapping the circular screen, showing you which paddle will engage what action when pressed via a smart LED screen. It’s hard to imagine the design of this device being any more practical than it already is.
Dualshock 4 PS4 back button attachment – Comfort
For a lot of people thinking about picking this up, the most important factor will unsurprisingly be how comfortable it is to use. Thankfully, on that front, the Dualshock 4 PS4 back button attachment again impresses, still making the controller comfortable to hold while your middle fingers neatly rest on both of the two paddles. Clicking them in feels satisfying and responsive, giving the Dualshock 4 an added sense of weight that isn’t too dissimilar to other ‘Pro’ style controllers you’d find on the market.
We used the Dualshock 4 back button on a fair few games, from first-person shooters to third-person adventures, during our time with it, and never did we find the act of using it annoying. In whatever two buttons we chose to assign to it, getting used to the new layout always felt intuitive. Comfort it obviously so important when it comes to accessories like this, so it’s good to know that the attachment won’t make playing your PS4 feel cumbersome over time – it’s a solely additive experience.
Dualshock 4 PS4 back button attachment – Function
The Dualshock 4 PS4 back button attachment functions flawlessly, too, when inserted into the bottom of your controller. The cleverest thing about it is that no external power input is required, as its entirely powered by the Dualshock 4’s main battery. This saves you having to worry about remembering to charge it or to buy additional batteries; instead it’s just plug in and play right from the get go. The attachment works with any Dualshock 4 from across the board, letting you switch between a maximum of three pre-set button layouts at any one time.
Dualshock 4 PS4 back button attachment – Affordability
Whereas most controllers specifically geared towards Pro players tend to be priced around £100 and over, the PS4 back button attachment only costs a modern £25.99 here in the UK. Of course, this is on top of what you have to fork out for a Dualshock 4 controller, but even then you’re looking at a reasonable £75 or so. Granted, this DS4 and back attachment combo won’t see you able to enjoy such luxuries as hairpin trigger locks or precision analogue sticks, but some sacrifices are to be expected given the price point.
Dualshock 4 PS4 back button attachment – Verdict
While the bonuses it offers to players might be fairly niche in nature, there’s no denying that the Dualshock 4 PS4 back button attachment is a well-designed bit of kit that succeeds in what it sets out to do. Clicking in the back paddles feels fun, the act of assigning it buttons is easy, and despite some initial stiffness when first slotting it in it works like a charm. Here’s hoping that we’ll see a similar set-up in the forthcoming PS5 controller, because using your Dualshock 4 like this quickly becomes second nature.