I hate it when I’m in the middle of fighting a boss on Demon Souls and the low battery icon pops up on the screen. I frantically panic, trying to keep one eye on the game and one eye scanning my room to find the USB-C cable. I’m so immersed in the world my brain forgets there’s no pause button until it’s too late. I lose my concentration. Then the dreaded words appear: You died!
I understand that the DualSense comes with some nice new features but they come at a cost:
The battery life.
If only there was a way to increase it, even just a little.
How to increase the battery life of your PS5 controller? You can increase the battery life of the PS5 controller. The biggest drain on the battery is the haptic motors inside the triggers and controller body. You can lower or turn off these haptic motors in the ‘Accessories Menu’. To increase the lifespan of the DualSense do not constantly charge the battery. The lithium batteries in the Dualsense are only designed for up to 500 charge cycles.
The DualSense actually has a battery that’s 50% bigger than the DualShock 4. But this is offset by the controller’s unquenchable thirst for power. You get the feeling that the DualSense won’t stop until it sits on the Iron Throne.
There are some ways to decrease the DualSense’s power draw, from changing some settings to the way you use and charge the controller. Read on for some ways to stop the DualSense’s march for power.
What setting can you change to increase the battery life?
Sony has actually given some really great options to manage the new features in the DualSense.
These options will allow you to customize the DualSense to your personal preferences. By changing the following options:
- Speaker Volume
- Vibration Intensity
- Trigger effect intensity
- The brightness of controller light bars
- Communication Method
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, where can you find these options?
Where do I change the PS5 controller settings?
To get to the controller settings, you need to:
- Go into the main PS5 settings menu from the home screen. This is the cog located in the top right-hand corner menu on the home screen.
- In the full-screen menu that pops up, you need to navigate to the accessories menu. Which is the tenth option in the list.
- The accessories menu is broken down into different sections on the right-hand side. With the settings for that heading on the left-hand side. Luckily for us, the setting we need is second from the top, ‘Controllers’ which is just underneath ‘General’. This will display all the options you can change for the DualSense.
Which setting will give you the biggest battery savings?
The haptic feedback in the triggers is by far the most power-consuming feature in the DualSense controller.
For the haptic feedback to work, Sony has embedded a motor just under each Trigger which developers can program to add resistance for a wide variety of gameplay features. The haptic motors are responsible for a considerable drain on the battery, taking up to one-third of the battery power consumption.
The two motors that supply the haptic feedback in both triggers aren’t the only motors in the controller. There are in fact an additional two, with one in each of the handles, bringing the total to four. Luckily haptic feedback intensity for both trigger motors and controller body motors can be changed separately.
The setting ‘Trigger Effect Intensity’ changes how strong the resistance will be on the triggers. You can’t change just one side, you will have to change both simultaneously. So if you have a weak trigger finger on one hand you will need to lower the intensity so to match the weaker grip/press.
The vibration intensity settings do exactly what it says on the tin. The way the vibration has been implemented compared to the DualShock 4 is completely different. The DualShock 4 relied on spinning weights to recreate a rumble sensation.
Whereas the DualSense uses ‘voice-coil actuators’ manufactured by Foster. And no, I don’t mean the beer company. Voice-coil actuators work by passing a current through a coil of wire to move a magnetic weight to create very large ranges of vibration. In fact, Voice-Coil actuators are what are used in speakers to create a vast range of vibrations to generate all types of sound. From the strum of a guitar to the pew-pew of blaster fire in Star Wars, all the speaker created sound is generated by voice-coil actuators.
The options for ‘Trigger Effect intensity’ and ‘Vibration Intensity’ give you the same options. They are Stong (this is the standard and recommended setting), medium, weak, and off.
Turning these settings down to a lower strength will decrease battery drain. The cost is high because new PlayStation 5 games are being designed to take advantage of haptic feedback. Setting both to off could make you feel like you are using a heavier version of the rumbless ‘Sixaxis’ controller that the PlayStation 3 launched with. It could take some life out of the game.
Even some PS4 games like ‘Last of Us: Part 2’ and ‘God of War’ have been upgraded to use the full power of the haptics in the DualSense. Which is another reason to replay these two classics.
It is going to come down to personal preference on whether you can tell the difference between the strong, medium, and weak settings.
Which setting can you change that won’t affect the gameplay?
Here are some settings that you can change that won’t affect the gameplay as much as lowering the haptics.
The first being the light. I don’t know about you but I turned down the indicator light on the DualShock 4 the moment the setting became available on the PS4. I am still shocked that the default setting is so bright.
I can count the games on one hand that used the built-in speaker on the DualShock 4. But when one did, boy did they get carried away with the feature. So turning down the speaker can be a great way to save a little battery and to stop yourself from getting annoyed. If I hear the beep from ‘Alien: Isolation’ one more time, I don’t think my nerves will shred themselves apart.
Next up is the Communication method, how the DualSense talks to the PS5.
The DualSense communicates with the PlayStation 5 using Bluetooth. The controller is constantly sending little packets of information every time you press a button. And it is not just a one-way system. The PlayStation sends information back for the speaker and haptic feedback. This near-constant back and forth uses a lot of power. After all, that’s what the controller is designed to do.
Whenever you press a button the DualSense will try to send the information as quickly as possible. But it can’t be sent immediately.
There is the tiniest of delays that is imperceptible to most people.
However, there are cases when you can feel the delay or lag more when playing online.
You can lower lag by using a USB-C cable as the communication method for the DualSense. The downside is that you have to have the controller plugged in. So you might only want to do this if you are a career gamer. After all, how many professionals have you ever seen using wireless controllers or keyboards? Not many.
How long should the battery in my DualSense last on a charge?
Now that the PlayStation 5 is officially the current-gen. My old and trustee gaming companion, the DualShock 4, is a bit like a phone:
When you first have a new phone the battery lasts for the advertised length. Over time the battery starts to diminish. For instance, my phone is so old, the last 30% may as well be a timer!
It has been reported that the DualSense controller can last up to 15 hours.
My experience has been close to this, maybe a bit less for games that use the haptic a lot more.
How long does it take to charge the DualSense?
The DualSense can do a full charge from dead in 3 hours. It does this by using fast charge technology.
For more information check out our article on how to charge the PlayStation 5 controller for all sorts of tips and tricks.
Conveniently, 3 hours is the exact amount of time that PlayStation 5 stays in rest mode powering devices as default. Although this can be changed in the settings to power devices for longer. The good news is that the DualSense is charged using USB-C which will future proof it for the years to come.
Where find out how much battery power the DualSense controller has left
To check if you need to charge your DualSense, you can look at the battery indicator in the quick menu. You can access this menu at any time by pressing the PlayStation button on the DualSense controller. It will only show the battery level of the controller you are using so if there are multiple controllers connected to the system, you will need to check the levels separately.
How to make your DualSense battery last longer?
So is there a way to better look after the battery in the DualSense in order to make it last longer?
While there are some tips and tricks to make your DualSense last longer. These aren’t just exclusive to the DualSense controllers they will also work for your mobile phones. Like most phones, the DualSense uses a lithium-ion battery, which is designed to use fast charging.
As lithium batteries are only designed for up to 500 charge cycles.
This is why your phone’s daily battery life starts to dramatically decrease at the 2-year mark. After about two years, most mobile phones’ power capacity will have dropped by about 25%. If your phone normally lasts 15 hours on a full charge, after two years, it will only last a little over 11 hours. And the same goes for the DualSense controller.
The DualShock 4 has a 1000 mAh battery. The DualSense has a 1560 mAh battery. That’s over a 50% increase.
With the controller still able to be used for 15 hours. The DualSense isn’t quite comparable to mobile phones in terms of size, the iPhone 12 Pro has a 3687 mAh battery. You would have to go back to the iPhone 6s to get a comparable size battery at 1430. Still, it is a big battery for a controller, considering it doesn’t have to power a screen.
But even with all that power, you will only get comparable results with the DualShock 4 because of the extra features incorporated into the DualSense.
Is there a way to make the life of the battery last longer?
Yes, there are a few small things you can do.
Batteries are made up of lots of cells that fill with electrical energy. These cells are very efficient at filling up to the 80% mark. The problem comes when charging passes this point, as it takes a lot more energy to force the cells full, this is why your phone gets hot when charging. And it’s this heat that wears the battery down little by little with every charge.
Try not to live on the edge and charge your DualSense every 5 mins. If you keep charging it when it’s at 99% that extra 1% will do more harm than good. Let the battery run out every now and then. This helps to reset the battery.
Have a quick check of the battery level before you plug it in. Unless you are a power user you probably aren’t having 15-hour game sessions. So try to charge the controller less if you are using it less.
There are a few settings you can change if you want to get more than 15 hours of gameplay from your DualSense controller. First, you should look to change the settings that don’t impact your gameplay like the brightness of the control indicators and speaker volume.
The biggest saving can be made by reducing or switching off the haptic feedback, whether it’s lowering the trigger intensity or playing around with the vibration. However, there is a trade-off between your gameplay experience and battery life.
Sony recommends ‘Strong’ as the standard-setting on their haptic feedback for the new DualSense for a reason. It is their new killer feature, which helps to separate them from the competition.
Don’t over charge your controllers, they should be good for up to 15 hours.
Can I replace the battery? There is no official way to change the battery in the DualSense or DualShock 4. Sony wants you to spend $70 on a new controller.
Can I charge the DualShock 4 on the PS5? Yes, It works in the same manner as charging the DualSense. The PlayStation 5 doesn’t come with a USB mini in the box. Only a USB-C cable, so you will need to use your own cable as the two controllers have different port types.