The Game:Pad 4 by Snakebyte provides a budget alternative to Sony’s Dualshock brand of controller. We went hands-on with it and here is what we thought.
Let’s face it… if you want all the latest Playstation hardware then this has been an expensive year for you. The Playstation 4 Pro and the Playstation VR headset both came out, creating a heavy burden on many console gamers’ budgets. If you were thinking of adding a second or third controller to your setup, then it’s good to know that you’ll finally be able to save money. How does Snakebyte’s Game:Pad 4 stack up against the Sony original?
The most obvious change is that this is a wired gamepad, so it doesn’t have the DualShock’s wireless functionality. If wireless is a must for you or the PS4 is hard to access while playing then this most likely isn’t your gamepad, but for me personally it wasn’t a big deal – I generally leave my DualShock plugged after charging anyway, just because I forget to unplug it.
The upside of this is that you can play wired. That may sound silly, but Sony’s gamepads didn’t allow for this until the recent release of the v2 of the PS4’s Dualshock. That particular model also allowed you to see the controller’s lightbar color just above the touchpad – something that’s unfortunately missing from the Snakebyte version.
Although visually similar to the DualShock controller, the Game:Pad 4 feels a little different. Despite being almost the exact same size, its corners aren’t as rounded, making it feel a little bulkier to hold. The options and share buttons have also been moved, and can now be found just above the thumbsticks and below the touchpad. This placement felt a little awkward, since it’s hard to not seriously nudge the thumbstick when you go for these buttons mid-game.
There are other subtle differences, like the tops of the thumbsticks not having raised edges and the shoulder buttons being more separate from each other than in the DualShock – a lot like the old X360 controllers. Are these issues? Not at all – it’s a matter of personal preference.
As is often the case with gamepads in the budget category, there is a difference in how the face and d-pad buttons feel. If you have experience with standard controllers as well as budget ones, you’ll know what I mean. The overall build quality feels cheaper, but it’s a product that retails for close to half the price of a Dualshock – so that’s the tradeoff you have to make. It’s not a difference you’ll quickly notice when casually playing with friends, but if you’re a competitive online gamer then the ‘looser’ feel might not appeal to you.
I wouldn’t advise replacing a primary controller with a Snakebyte Game:Pad 4, but as a secondary controller it’s a great way to have others join the fun without having to pay full price for another Dualshock. Wired only functionality might be a limiting factor, but a 3m cable ensures that the Game:Pad 4 can be used with many PS4 setups.