Ok, right off the bat the controller is going to be your main peripheral which you will be holding in your hands for most of your gaming time. It, in our opinion will make a major impact on which console you buy and what kind of games you will be playing, eg. Fighting, Shooters, RPG.
For the purpose of this comparison we will break it down into various sections to analyze each and every factor when deciding the best controller.
Look and Feel
- At first glance the 360 controller looks smooth with its rounded edges. In size it also looks bigger than the PS3 controller. In the hand it actually feels quite nice and literally fits like a glove.
- There is a grainy texture to the top of the controller which feel quite solid.
- Note: we are using the wireless controller which has the petruding battery cover at the back, and this can sometimes be annoying during long gaming hours, so is something to consider.
- The PS3 dual shock 3 (DS3) controller feels more compact. If you have ever used a PS1/PS2 controller, you will be very familiar with this controller as well.
- The plastic used in the controller sometimes does feel a little cheap but still we have had no complains with long gaming hours.
Ergonomics and Weight
- From an ergonomic point of view, the 360 contorller feels very comfortable indeed. It slides into the hand as mentioned earlier and is a pleasure to use.
- Again, as mentioned earlier the petruding battery cover at the back can be a nusense if you are one of those people who likes to spread their fingers at the back of the controllers.
- The fingers can easily reach the trigger buttons and other input buttons and after long gaming hours there was minimal signs of strains.
- The controller feels slightly heavier compared to the PS3's DS3. This is probably because of the AA batteries dragging it down in weight.
- The controller feels smooth and light in the hand.
- With the smaller design and inbuilt battery which is rechargeable, the PS3 controller definitely is the lighter of the two. Having said that, the ergonomics with reaching towards the triggers is a negative for the PS3. Often times we found that in games where we have to hold down the trigger buttons (L2, R2) our fingers would end up slipping downwards.
- The same thing happens with the Analog sticks. Our thumbs after holding the analog sticks (eg. forward) would make the thumbs slider off making us lose focus in the game.
- The 360 has a nice button layout. Lets start with the positives first. The Analog sticks are positioned in a clever way, as opposed to a traditional way past console manufacturers have been placing it. The tradional method in the past has been to place analog sticks directly parallel to eeach other as seen in the PS3 DS3 controller above. In the 360 controller the left stick is moved to the position of the D-Pad and the D-Pad has shifted down to where the left stick used to be. After playing for long hours this certainly allows our left hand more flexibility and freedom to be positioned upwards. This also resulted in us getting less strain holding it. The analog sticks clicking buttons are also quite nice as they have a silent noise to them and feel responsive enough. Sometimes they can feel slow when clicked.
- The Start and Select buttons on the 360 controller feel fine. During gameplay they are easily accessable.
- The Xbox home button is also quite nice. It lights up in neon green and you will find yourself using it quite a lot.
- The A, B, X, Y buttons look good too. They have a special texture effect to them which looks like the letters are inside the see through buttons. The buttons feel responsive, however the B button at the far right has issues on some controllers where it does not have enough pressure on it.
- The Triggers and shoulder buttons on the controller are ok. The shoulder buttons feel normal as a button being pushed, but they make the most horrendous loud noise we have ever heard on a controller. It is so annoying that sometimes we have to avoid using the shoulder buttons wherever possible. The triggers feel fine as a functioning trigger but they seem to be very spring loaded. If you hold down the trigger and let go, it springs back very fast. It does not really feel like a trigger should feel, but still we have no choice but to use it.
- The D-Pad is probably the worst part of the 360 controller. We consider it to be less of a D-Pad but more of an analog stick in disguise. Using basic navigation functions is fine with the D-Pad but if you want to bust those super-moves in Street Fighter, then stick with a Fight stick instead.
- The DS3 has a very familiar layout. If you have ever used a PS1/PS2 controller in the past the buttons on the DS3 should be second nature by now. If you are using the DS3 for the first time, you will quickly get used to it.
- The analog sticks both feel very loose. This was worring for us when playing shooter games as we were concered about sensitivity issues, but the analog sticks played fine even though they do not give that secure feeling we would expect. The major flaw with the analog sticks on our DS3 was when clicked inwards they make a really loud noise. This noise feels cheap and can be frustrating. Normally in games we are not required to push in the analog stick buttons much but this can be something to take note. Some have had opposite opinioons on this where they felt the click noise gave the sticks more awareness and the players knew the sticks were pressed by the sound they made. Due to the parallel placement of the analog sticks we found ourselves to have strain in both our left and right thumbs and wrists. Some players have not complained of this and have found it perfectly alright. It will all boil down to personal preference in the end.
- The Start and Select buttons on the controller are ok, however they are raised upwards quite a bit. Also sometimes we found ourselves having to push the Start/Select buttons more than once for our input to register. This could be something to do with the buttons being more of a rubbery texture rather than solid plastic.
- The PS home button is ok and does the job well.
- The Triangle, Circle, X, Square buttons which have made the Playstation famous with its signature button layout, all feel great. In fact these buttons are the best part of the DS3. The only downside is the colors used in them feel very basic but not a major problem. If you are a new user to these buttons you will get used to them fairly quickly also.
- The Shoulder L1 and R1 buttons are good and are very functional in every game.
- The Trigger L2 and R2 buttons however have some issues. Again, similar to the Xbox 360 controller's trigger buttons, the DS3 trigger buttons have a spring loaded mechanism, but instead it is a soft loading spring. This method we think is probably better than the Xbox 360's trigger, but the button layout, due to it being so small made our fingers slip off during long hours of gaming.
- The D-Pad on the PS3 is quite good (compared to the Xbox 360's D-Pad). Using this D-Pad on a fighting game gave average results but were acceptable.
The Xbox 360's wirelress controller takes AA batteries (and a rechargable battery pack bought sperate), whilst the PS3's wireless controller comes with pre-loaded reachargable batteires which are recharged via the PS3 console being ok and plugged in using a USB charger cable (the USB cable that comes with the PS3 console is not very long so best to charge the controller before playing each time).
The DS3 has tilt functionality with its sixaxis controls where we can tilt the controller or move it up and down to perform tasks in games. The Xbox 360 controller does not have this option.
Overall we found both controllers good to use for each console with each controller having its own unique button layout and familiarization options.
The PS3's DS3 controller however had more problems when compared to the Xbox 360 controller. So in this battle we have decided to give this win to the Xbox 360 controller.