The First Third-Party Wireless PS4 Controller Is Missing A Few Things

The First Third-Party Wireless PS4 Controller Is Missing A Few Things

Hori’s Onyx, available now in Europe, if the first officially-licensed third-party wireless controller for the PlayStation 4. It’s got its good points, like the Xbox-style staggered analogue stick layout and one piece d-pad, but the lack of a headphone jack and other key DualShock 4 features might be a dealbreaker.

I’ve been playing with the Onyx for the better part of a week, swapping between it and my normal Sony-branded (though vigorously modded) DualShock 4. I’ve almost gotten used to playing games like Destiny 2 with a controller with an Xbox layout, but I still find myself reaching for the face buttons when I need to move the in-game camera about now and then.

Along those same likes, the placement of the “Options” and “Share” buttons takes some getting used to, especially the former, positioned quite close to the right analogue stick.

The Onyx feels good in my hands. It’s significantly lighter than the Xbox One controller and DualShock 4, but not so light as to feel toy-ish. The plastic of the grips is textured, the triggers feel good and the buttons give an excellent tactile click when pressed. The Onyx does feature rumble (at first I worried, since it’s so light), enough to get the job done.

There is no headphone jack. For single-player games this isn’t a problem, but I’ve been doing quite a bit online lately, and not being able to plug in any old headset I have laying around is frustrating. A bluetooth headset solves the issue, but a bluetooth headset is also much easier to lose. I’ve lost my bluetooth headset.

The other omissions might not seem as huge. There is no light bar, just a glowing button on the face that seems to change colour when the bar normally would. There also is no built-in speaker, which more games like to use than I initially thought.

Several times over the past week I’ve swapped out the dead Hori with a charged PS4 controller (the battery life seems comparable) and been surprised to hear sound coming from it.

If you need a headphone jack on your controller, than obviously Hori’s Onyx isn’t for you. The only way to get one is to import it from Europe, and for those prices you might as well just buy another DualShock 4. But if you’re keen on that Xbox layout and need to be wire-free, right now the Onyx is your best and only choice.


    • Personal preference aside, is it widely accepted that the staggered layout is better? This isn’t the first time i’ve heard it but there’s never any clarification when I do. It’s always said in a “we all obviously know that staggered is better” way.

      • I have been told that asymmetric is better ergonomically but never from any kind of official source and that argument has never really made sense to me. It could be from when the x360 controller was seen as the better controller over the ps3 but I put that down to just the actual size of the 2. Honestly I think it’s just personal preference.

        • The symmetrical layout has always worked better for me. Obviously at least partly because it’s what I’m used to, but also because my hands are symmetrical (near enough, anyway), so a symmetrical stick layout just seems to feel like a better fit.

          • For me the fact that my hands are symetrical is why I like the asymetrical layout. Most of the time my hands are over the left joystick and the four main buttons on the right. So having them at the same height is more comfortable. Otherwise my left thumb is lower while my right thumb is higher.

            But that’s just my personal preference

          • Maybe we play different kinds of games! 🙂

            These days I find my thumbs spend most of the time on the sticks (left stick to move, right to look), hence my preference for the symmetrical layout.

          • I think that’s it for me too. A lot of games use shoulder and trigger buttons for the most frequent inputs.

            Alternatively, when playing Miku, I like to have the d-pad and the face buttons level with each other to better alternate presses. Something about balance maybe.

          • I grew up with playstation being the only console in the house so l much prefer symmetrical layout also. Always takes me a bit of getting used to when I play xbox or even switch with pro control now

        • If you’re talking ergonomics, the entire history of Playstation controllers are a lesson in how not to do it. The DS4 is the least bad of the lot, but it’s not exactly good from an ergonomics perspective.

    • It was lucky for Sony that when they first designed the PS1 controller they intentionally put the primary directional input in a heaps shit spot for no reason, leaving the seemingly 3rd rate real-estate to the bottom left free to add a better control method later on.

      Where did they get such foresight?!

      (That’s sarcasm font. The Duelshock PS2, 3, 4 ect controllers are haphazard abominations of ergonomics, and if they feel comfortable it’s only because you’ve gimped your hands from using one for too long or have naturally inbred thumbs).

  • I’ve been waiting for a good PS4 controller with Xbox layout but it would be too annoying when I play with friends to switch back to a regular controller.

  • I’m familiar with symmetrical and asymmetrical, but what grabs me is the ergonomics of the entire package. I love me some PS4 but I can’t stand Sony’s contoller shapes. I have big hands and end up cramped as hell using the things. The XBox’s chunky controller design works better for me. The lack of a light bar blinding me if I tilt the thing sounds good too. One of the great things about using DS4Windows on my PC is I can turn that thing off at will. Hope the small light isn’t too distracting.
    I bet they’d sell more if they made a symmetrical version though. It’s a bit of an adjustment for PS-only users.

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