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Tags PS4 Thumbstick Mods
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Thumbsticks are used by players of all console types. The popularity of thumbsticks is huge. And that’s not without a reason.
What are thumbsticks for?
Do thumbsticks help your performance?
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Best rated thumbsticks from Amazon
thumbsticks for PS4 and PS5
thumbsticks for xBox and xBox one
thumbsticks for Ninentendo Switch
What are thumbsticks for?
Thumbsticks are basicly designed to increase precision while gaming. Do you need them? No, of course you can play with your controller just as it comes out of the box.
I did play without them for a long time. But as many players get them I’ve noticed a shift. Everyone wants them because you for sure want to keep of up with the game. And Fortnite certainly has become more competitive.
Shop some of the best control freaks by console at the KontrolFreek store on Amazon.
They are on the market for every type of controller.
- Playstation 5 controller
- Playstation 4 controller
- Playstation 3 controller
- Xbox One controller (S en Elite)
- Xbox 360 controller
- Nintendo Switch
Do thumbsticks help your performance?
Thumbsticks surely boost my gaming skills a ton. It is all about precision and perfect timing really.
Anything that can help a bit can make a huge difference in your performance.
Thumbsticks give you:
- a lot more comfort for long gameplay
- an overall better play because of the grips
- finer small control adjustments
- more accurately aiming
- an extended solution for longer fingers
- no slipping of your fingers during the game
- protection from your controller against sweat
And yes, it gets you to customize the looks of your controller.
I find that pretty cool, having a controller I’ve made a bit more ME (and friends never accidentally take one of my controllers if we play together in the same place).
The little grips won’t have to cost much and give you a lot in return. They make a nice gift as well for any player you want to surprise. Check out my guide for gifts in all price ranges.
Kontrol Freek Galaxy thumbsticks for PS4 and PS5
KontrolFreek FPS Freek Galaxy Purple for PlayStation 4 (PS4) and PlayStation 5 (PS5) | Performance Thumbsticks | 1 High-Rise, 1 Mid-Rise | Purple | See details at Amazon.com
KontrolFreek is about more than just Performance Gaming Gear. FreekNation is a global community over 4M strong where performance-oriented gamers can find and share tips, tricks, support and motivation to level-up their games.
Our passion is supporting like-minded gamers in their quest for greatness. This is why we created FreekNation, a global community of 4M+ determined and ambitious gamers worldwide. Join us to level-up your game.
Thumbsticks Playrealm PS4 and PS5
Playrealm FPS Thumbstick Extender & 3D Texture Rubber Silicone Grip Cover 2 Sets for PS5 Dualsenese & PS4 Controller (Radiation Black) | See details at Amazon.com
eXtremeRate Thumbsticks PS4 and PS5
eXtremeRate Black & Clear Dual-Color Replacement 3D Joystick Thumbsticks for PS5 Controller, Analog Thumb Sticks with Phillips Screwdriver for Playstation 4 PS4 Slim Pro Controller | See details at Amazon.com
Pandaren PS4 and PS5 controller cover
Pandaren PS4 Controller Skin Studded Anti-Slip Silicone PS4 Controller Cover Set for PS4 /Slim/PRO Controller (CamouBlue Controller Skin x 1 + FPS PRO Thumb Grips x 8) | See details at Amazon.com
Kontrol Freek Galaxy Xbox
KontrolFreek FPS Freek Galaxy White for Xbox One and Xbox Series X Controller | Performance Thumbsticks | 1 High-Rise, 1 Mid-Rise | White | See details at Amazon.com
Tomsin Xbox thumbsticks
TOMSIN Replacement Thumbsticks for Xbox One/ PS4 Controllers, Black Analog Joysticks for Xbox One S (4 Pcs) | See details at Amazon.com
Aceshot thumb grips for Xbox
AceShot Thumb Grips (8pc) for Xbox One (Series X, S) by Foamy Lizard – Sweat Free 100% Silicone Precision Raised Antislip Rubber Analog Stick Grips For Xbox One Controller (8 grips) GREEN | See details at Amazon.com
E-mods Gaming thumbsticks for Xbox
E-MODS GAMING® 6 in 1 Swap Thumbstick Grips Replacement Parts for Xbox One Elite Controller – Black | See details at Amazon.com
Nintendo Switch thumbsticks Kontrol Freek
KontrolFreek Eclipse for Nintendo Switch Joy-Con and Switch Lite | 2 Performance Thumbsticks | 2 Low-Rise Convex | Black | See details at Amazon.com
LeyuSmart thumb grips caps for Nintendo Switch
LeyuSmart Sakura Flower Thumb Grip Caps, Joystick Cap for Nintendo Switch & Lite, Soft Silicone Cover for Joy-Con Controller (Pink&White) | See details at Amazon.com
Skull & Co. thumb grips for Nintendo Switch
Skull & Co. Skin, CQC and FPS Thumb Grips Set Joystick Cap Analog Stick Cap for Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Controller – Neon Red+Blue, 3 Pairs (6pcs) | See details at Amazon.com
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If you’re an avid gamer, it’s inevitable that your thumbsticks are going to wear out at some point. This isn’t because there’s anything wrong with them. It’s simply the natural consequence of rubbing your thumbs on the same piece of rubber for hundreds of hours. Of course, this can leave you in a bind. A new controller can get pricey. Do you really want to replace the whole thing just because of a little worn-out plastic? Thankfully, several vendors have come to the rescue with affordable replacement thumbsticks. Best of all, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One use the same type of thumbstick and the same installation tools. As a result, replacement kits for both systems are more or less identical.
That said, let’s point out two things. First off, if your controller is still under warranty, attempting your own repair will void that warranty. Better to let Sony or Microsoft fix the problem. Secondly, these are thumbstick caps, not complete assemblies. They’ll fix wear and tear, but they won’t fix drift. If your thumbsticks are drifting, you’ll need to solder in a new control box. And that’s a whole different can of worms.
Today, we’re going to look at three different replacement thumbstick options for your console. First, we’ll review the TOMSIN Replacement Thumbsticks. These are rubberized thumbsticks that come in a four-pack, so you can refurbish two controllers at once. Next, we’ll check out the TOMSIN Metal Thumbsticks. These thumbsticks come in a two-pack, but they’re metal, and they come in several color options. Finally, we’ll look at the E-MODS GAMING Replacement Thumbsticks. These are another rubberized four-pack, but they include a Phillips screwdriver. Which set is the best? Let’s take a closer look!
How to Replace PS4 Thumbsticks
Disassembling the PlayStation 4 DualShock thumbstick can be a bit complex. Thankfully, the tools aren’t that complex. You just need a #2 Phillips screwdriver, a plastic pick, and a nylon spudger. In a pinch, you can use a small standard screwdriver instead of a spudger, but it’s not recommended. One slip, and you can permanently damage your whole controller.
To begin with, remove all four Phillips screwdrivers from the bottom of your controller. Next, separate the top half of the controller from the bottom. The top half is a glossy black, while the bottom has a textured feel. Squeeze the top half along the hand grips, and you’ll hear the clips release. Pull the two sides apart, and you’re ready to go to work. Be careful, though. The two sides will still remain connected at the shoulder buttons. So you’ll have to fold the controller open like a book.
At this point, the triggers will still be connected to the bottom half of the controller. This is a problem, because they’re housed in the top half of the controller. To disconnect the two halves completely, you’ll need to unplug the ribbon cable. The easiest way to remove this cable is by unplugging it with a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers. You can also pry it loose with a spludger, but be careful not to damage the circuitry. Next, you’ll need to pull out the battery. The connection is a simple friction fit, without any complications. Pry it out gently, and set it aside along with the top half of the controller. In the bottom half of the controller, remove the rubber reset button from the battery housing. Once that’s gone, you’ll see a single screw that holds the blue motherboard in place. Remove the screw, but don’t remove the motherboard yet.
Here’s where things get complicated. At this point, you’ve revealed the PS4 controller’s buttons, and most of them are free-floating. If you don’t want to meticulously replace all the buttons, keep the controller flat and level. Inside the front of the controller, you’ll see a blue tab on the back of a ribbon cable connector. Using tweezers or pliers, unplug the cable. This will free up the motherboard for removal. The motherboard should swing right out, along with the thumbsticks. Be careful not to scratch the board or tug the cables during removal. Another risk at this point is that you may dislodge the Share or Options button. In this case, make sure the curve is properly matched up to the housing when you re-insert them.
Once the motherboard is free, replacing the thumbsticks is a simple matter. It’s a basic friction fit, so replacement is very easy. Just pull off the old thumbsticks, slide the new ones on, and you’re ready for reassembly.
Replace the motherboard, and screw it back into place. Make sure to reconnect the ribbon cable in the front of the controller. Replace the reset button just as you found it, with the pointed end towards the battery housing. Hopefully, at this point, the triggers are still intact. If not, you’ll need to replace the tension springs. Put the spring loops over the post inside the trigger. Then, put the ends on the inside of the trigger and the slot in the housing respectively. Give it a little squeeze to make sure the spring is installed correctly. One all of that is back in place, re-install the battery. Reconnect the ribbon cable between the top and bottom plates. Snap the two halves back together, screw them together, and you’re done.
How to Replace Xbox One Thumbsticks
Replacing Xbox One thumbsticks is similar to replacing PlayStation 4 thumbsticks in one important respect. You have to take apart the entire controller. On the other hand, you’ll be using a T8 Torx driver, not a Phillips driver. To begin with, take out the battery pack. Inside, under the label, you’ll find a Torx screw. Remove it. Next, pop off the bottom covers from the side handles. A plastic pick can be helpful here to avoid damaging your controller. Be careful, here. There are small gaps inside the side handles that provide access to internal wiring. If you use a screwdriver instead of a pick, you can permanently damage the wiring.
Behind the side plates, you’ll find an additional pair of T8 screws on either side. Remove both of these, and you’re ready to remove the back plate. Provided you’ve removed all five screws, you’ll find that the back plate comes off easily. The face plate will also come right off. The good news is that from here, the process is much simpler than it is for a PS4 controller. Simply lift out the thumbsticks and replace them. At that point, simply reassemble the controller. Just be careful not to pinch any wires in the process, and you’re good to go!
TOMSIN Replacement Thumbsticks
The TOMSIN Replacement Thumbsticks are a four-pack of thumbsticks that are designed for easy replacement. Each thumbstick has a textured finish, which makes them easy to grip and unlikely to slip. And because they come in a four-pack, you can fix two controllers with the same kit. They have a plain black finish, just like the original Xbox One and PlayStation 4 thumbsticks.
The kit includes a T8 Torx driver for disassembling the Xbox One controller. This driver is relatively basic, with a slim blue rubberized grip. You also get a double-ended nylon spudger, and a small plastic prying pick. You don’t get a Phillips driver for a PlayStation 4 controller. However, since you probably already own one, this shouldn’t be a major concern.
TOMSIN Metal Thumbsticks
The TOMSIN Metal Thumbsticks have a similar design to the TOMSIN thumbsticks we just looked at. However, there’s one important distinction. Instead of being constructed from plastic, they’re made of anodized aluminum. This makes them exceptionally durable, so you’ll never need a new set of thumbsticks. Even when you buy a new controller, you’re going to want to save the thumbsticks from your old one. Even better, they’re available in five different colors. In addition to black, you can buy them in gold, silver, red, or electric blue. All finishes have a shiny, attractive finish that adds plenty of flair to your controller.
In addition to the thumbsticks, you get all the accessories that come with the other TOMSIN kit. You get a T8 Torx driver, a nylon spudger, and plastic prying pick. If you’re a PlayStation owner, get yourself a Phillips screwdriver and you’re good to go.
E-MODS GAMING Replacement Thumbsticks
In most respects, the E-MODS GAMING Replacement Thumbsticks are comparable to the TOMSIN Replacement Thumbsticks. They have a rubberized design, with a textured top. This makes them easy to operate, even if you’ve got sweaty thumbs. In addition, they come in a four-pack. This means you get enough thumbsticks to fix two controllers.
The kit includes three tools to help you get the installation process done. First off, you get both T8 Torx and PH2 Phillips drivers. These will allow you to work on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controllers. The drivers are basic, with slim plastic handles. Still, they’re good enough to do the job. The spudger is highly functional. While there’s no plastic pick in the kit, the spudger end can double as a pick in a pinch.
Undoubtedly, each of these kits is well worth considering. To begin with, the TOMSIN Replacement Thumbsticks are a solid choice for fixing two controllers. They sport a high-quality rubber finish that’s nice and grippy. If you’re looking for a straight-up replacement set, they’re an excellent choice.
The TOMSIN Metal Thumbsticks, on the other hand, are a bit more robust. Because they’re constructed from aluminum, not plastic, they’re exceedingly durable. The metal construction may or may not be a good thing for performance, depending on your preferences. But if you enjoy the feel and durability, this set is a great choice. As an added bonus, you get your choice of colors. Pretty sweet!
The E-MODS GAMING Replacement Thumbsticks are similar to the first TOMSIN set in most respects. They’re rubberized, they’re textured, and they’re a great one-for-one replacement. They even come in a four-pack, so you can fix two different controllers. Moreover, you get a Phillips screwdriver. Admittedly, this is a small added bonus, but it’s a nice touch.
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The only thing you need to step up your gaming is less than $20 on Amazon
Based on statistics, there is a good chance you've spent the last few weeks of quarantine playing video games. Most have chosen Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a relaxing game about turnips and homeownership. (I've never played it myself.) But around 60 million people have opted for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, specifically the stand-alone battle royale mode known as Warzone.
I'm one of those 60 million. I also play with an advantage, an affordable edge that has significantly improved my ability to gain kill streaks, nail headshots, and sit atop the scoreboard with the highest kills, the highest score, or both. There's no cheating or hacking involved, either.
We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. Inverse may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article.
I'm talking about KontrolFreek. The Atlanta, Georgia-based company specializes in what it calls "performance thumbsticks." These bits of rubber and plastic basically add height to your controller's thumbsticks while providing ergonomic comfort. The science, KontrolFreek claims, is that the height improves accuracy for shooter games while allowing you to play longer and feel more comfortable. All without straining your hands.
I don't know if any of that is true. In my day job typing words, I still get wrist cramps on long gaming sessions. But after comparing my 2020 Modern Warfare stats to the abysmal scores I had ten years ago when I played Call of Duty in high school, I believe KontrolFreek's gospel. (I unfortunately have no way of digging up my stats from junior year so you'll just have to take my word for it.)
I also agree the thumbsticks make my controllers comfortable. KontrolFreek's rubber feels nicer to rest my thumb or push down on (melee kills!) than my actual Xbox One or PS4 controller's thumbsticks. (It should be said that the thumbsticks are not universal. So if you have multiple consoles, you'll have to buy thumbsticks for those particular controllers.) The raised textures compensate for sweaty slipping, also a plus.
Prior to quarantine you might have seen KontrolFreek's products at GameStop, but to actually use them is indeed a game-changer. KontrolFreek's thumbsticks do make a difference if your in-game performance matters to you. I know that's like saying "This new cologne will morph you into a mythical sex god," but trust me: You're still scoring.
Allow me to clarify that I don't win every game of Modern Warfare. I've yet to actually win in Warzone and not every game of Team Deathmatch or Domination is mine to own. But at the very least, I have far more confidence in my ability to drop into any game and play to win than when I was a goofy teenager who resigned himself to playing "for fun."
If KontrolFreek sounds like what you need to up your game, there's a lot of options. KontrolFreek has its own "Buyer's Guide" that selects for you a set of thumbsticks based on specific console and game choices. Some games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Destiny 2, and Overwatch even have branded thumbsticks inspired by their games. But the options we provide below are virtually universal and will serve you well no matter what battlefield you're dropping into.
We recommend this model because it is available in all three console flavors: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch. Its concave spiral keeps your thumb centered and prevents slipping, and adds 9.9 millimeters of height for 120 percent improvement in range of motion. The red and black color scheme, reminiscent of Darth Maul, affirms you are not to be messed with. So if you want to be really accurate in your, uhh, farming in Animal Crossing, these are a must-buy.
Tailor-made for the battle royale player (Fortnite, Apex Legends, and more). These sticks add 11.3 millimeters of height to both thumbsticks, allowing 120 percent improved range of motion. You don't have to use as much force to get your aim right, which makes a serious difference in battle royale games where quick targeting is your first line of defense.
Don't let the purple and silver color scheme fool you. This is one of KontrolFreek's most popular thumbsticks for a reason. The laser-etched ridged detailing helps keep your thumbs centered, while the mixed height combination — one stick adds 10 mm of height, the other 6.5 mm — enables overall better control in FPS games. The higher height of the right thumbstick allows for better shooting accuracy while the lower height of the left reduces wrist and thumb fatigue. I've personally had this specific pair for five years and they haven't let me down yet.
This is Eric's Sick Picks, a weekly blog recommending cool gadgets and peripherals in tech, gaming, and culture to improve your lifestyle.
How to replace your worn out PlayStation 4 thumbsticks
When the PlayStation 4 launched in late 2013 many outlets, including Polygon, heaped praise on its newly redesigned controller, called the DualShock 4. But after a year and a half of steady use, many owners are suffering from torn rubber thumbsticks — a design flaw whereby the solid plastic core of the stick tears through the outer rubber cover.
It's an issue you can get taken care of under the standard 1-year warranty. Once that's passed however, the official word from Sony is that you'll need to buy a new $60 controller.
But there is a cheaper solution.
Hop on eBay right now and you can order up a set of replacement thumbsticks for as little as $6, a fraction of the cost of a replacement DualShock 4. And, if you're not a huge fan of the DS4's sticks, you can even swap them out for sticks identical to the ones found inside Xbox One controllers. As it turns out, they're interchangeable.
Polygon decided to give it a try. How challenging is this little surgical procedure? Your mileage may vary, but for us it took about a half hour and felt like something between building a model airplane and wiring up the motherboard in our first computer. Here's hoping this guide helps you out.
Before we get started, wrangle up a small Phillips head screwdriver and a pair of needle-nosed pliers.
It's at this point we need to make you aware that if your DS4 is under warranty, this kind of repair/modification may void that warranty. And, even if you follow our instructions precisely, you still run the risk of permanently damaging your DS4.
In fact, it's very likely you'll break and/or lose something. You're clumsy. There, we said it.
Furthermore, be careful not to short out the internal lithium battery. Fire is bad, and explosions are worse. Please take careful inventory of your digits and phalanges before and after the project.
Now. Where were we?
Flip your DualShock over and remove each of the four screws from the underside.
Notice how the controller has two halves? The top half is a deep, glossy black and the bottom is more gray and has a texture to it. What you want to do is gently squeeze the top, glossy half right along the length of the hand grips. There's little tabs underneath that top half, and if you squeeze gently you should be able to work them out of the gray bottom half and pop the controller right apart.
It's noisy and a little unsettling to rip a perfectly good piece of equipment apart like this, but if you're gentle no harm should come to it. With a little prying, the DS4 will open like a clamshell, with the two halves remaining connected at the shoulder buttons.
At this point, you've essentially taken the two halves apart, it's just that the triggers — which are part of the top half of the controller — are caught up on the bottom half of the controller.
The trouble is a thick tab of plastic — part of the gray bottom half of the DS4 — that sits between the shoulder button and the trigger. You can see the offending item in the picture above.
What you need to do is carefully push the top half of the controller backwards, gently working the triggers out from under this tab. If you do it right, the bottom half of the controller will just come free, dangling by a thin white ribbon cable.
If you do it wrong, one or both triggers will come off. No big deal, just don't lose the spring, pictured below.
Next, we need to disconnect the ribbon cable attached to the bottom of the controller. It's a paper-thin cable that runs to the light on the front of the DS4. It's about two inches long, and connects to the top half of the controller inside a small, light beige catch. Using your pliers, you can reach out and grab the cable and pull it out of the catch.
Go ahead and put the bottom half of the controller to one side. We're done with it for now.
Staring you in the face is the DS4's battery. Using your finger and thumb, work the battery's connector pins free.
Don't pull on the wires themselves, but rather the head of the connector pin which is white. There are no toggles or clips holding it together, it's just a simple friction fit with a single channel on one side to make sure you've got the positive and negative wires in the right place. It's virtually impossible to put it back together wrong. If you do, bad things are likely to happen.
Put the battery to the side, along with the other half of the controller you just removed.
Next, remove the rubber reset button from the upper right corner of the battery housing. Then, remove the single screw holding the blue circuit board in place.
Once you've gotten that last screw out, things get a lot more fiddly.
Below that circuit board are the buttons, many of which are free-floating. If you drop your controller at this point in the process, or tip it up at the wrong angle, everything is likely to fall out into your lap. Proceed cautiously.
Tipping what's left of the controller up slightly you should be able to see the free end of a second ribbon cable. Inside our controller, this tab was colored blue.
Using your pliers again, just grab the blue tab and pull it right out of its catch.
With that ribbon cable removed, you've finished gutting your DS4. The main board — sticks and all — should fall right out. Swing the board out, towards you, taking care not to damage the power cables going to the rumble motors inside each grip.
It's at this point where you'll more than likely dislodge either the Share or the Options button. If they fall on your floor, here's what you're looking for:
The buttons are bevelled to match the curve of the top of the controller, so when you drop them back in you'll need to be sure to put them in the right way.
Here's what they should look like when they're installed correctly from the back side.
From here, it's a fairly simple matter to remove the damaged thumbsticks and replace them with new ones. Again, no tabs or clips; just a simple friction fit.
Here's our damaged PS4 thumbstick after we removed it, resting on the DS4's main board just below its actuator.
Just press on your replacement DS4 thumbsticks or, if you're daring, Xbox One thumbsticks like we have here. Now you're ready to start reassembly.
After you replace the main board, screw it back in place. Then, return the first of the ribbon cables to its catch. Then you'll need to put the reset button back in. Again, it's quite small. Here's a picture of it in case you've misplaced it.
The reset button is cylindrical and has a larger flat end, and a tiny pointed end. It's that pointed end that will go back into the battery housing as shown in the picture below.
Once it's in, the battery housing should look like this.
If you knocked a trigger off, putting them back together is a little trickier.
Each trigger will have two posts where it clips to the controller's top half. The loop of the spring goes around the inside post on the trigger. Then, one end of the spring fits within the trigger and the other end fits inside a little channel cut into the controller, shown at the arrow below.
With the little loop of the spring around the inside post of the trigger, and the top of the spring under and within the trigger itself, firmly press the trigger's posts back into place while encouraging the bottom of the spring into that channel on the controller.
It's not as hard as it sounds, and if things don't line up correctly once you get the trigger seated you can wiggle the spring around with the tip of your screwdriver to get it where it needs to go.
Re-install the battery, then re-insert the other ribbon cable and start gingerly working the top and bottom halves of the controller back together. Press firmly just about everywhere until the seams line up, and then put the four screws back in.
Voila; one newly refurbished DS4.
Oddly enough, the reason that the Xbox One sticks work on the DS4 is because their stems are the same thickness as the stems on the DS4, giving the sticks the same amount of travel. The pads are a little smaller, but they seem to be less prone to wearing out. Again, your mileage may vary.
If you've got any questions, or run into any unexpected problems with your own repair, stop by the comments below. We'll do our best to help you through them.
These “Performance Thumbsticks” by KontrolFreek Are Literal Game Changers
- 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
- 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
- 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
- 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
- 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
- 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
- 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
- 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
- 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
- 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
You likely have many gaming accessories you can’t live without, like a cushiony headset or maybe even that comfy gaming chair. But what about a relatively minor, small, and cheap accessory that kind of sounds like a gimmick? I thought these $15 “performance thumbsticks” from KontrolFreek would fit into the latter category, but after trying them out on my DualShock 4; boy, was I wrong.
Here's What We Like
- They provide much better grip than stock joysticks.
- The added length helps with precision and accuracy.
- The relatively-low price point makes these a no-brainer.
And What We Don't
- They sometimes unclip and fall off in the heat of battle.
- They take some time to get used to.
I used to think there was nothing wrong with most controller joysticks. And save for the ones with manufacturer defects, most joysticks are just fine. They have smooth travel, decent grip, and hold up to most abuse. They’re one of the greatest advancements in gaming hardware, and they provide a much-appreciated alternative to the D-pad. But honestly, the perfect joysticks should be forgettable—ones you never even have to think about. They do what they’re supposed to do, and that’s it.
Which is why I nearly scoffed at the idea of “performance thumbsticks” for my DualShock 4. (They’re also available for the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.) Why would I need to solve a nonexistent problem? The joysticks on the DS4 work just fine, and the moment I change something that already works is usually the moment when it works no more.
But at the same time, I’m not one to shy away from making something good even better. And if you asked me if I wanted to add a little “improved accuracy” and “increased comfort” into my gaming regime, I wouldn’t turn away the opportunity.
I was still a bit skeptical, though, since there’s really not much to these things—they’re basically just joysticks for your joysticks. They clip onto your controller’s existing joysticks and add a bit of length, which supposedly helps with accuracy thanks to the wider range of motion. The “platforms” also have a different texture and shape than stock joysticks, adding more grip for your thumbs.
Since KontrolFreek offers a ton of different styles, you can usually find a pair that fits your tastes. A lot of the ones they sell are themed after games or come with extravagant textures, but I’m a simple man, so I went with the classic and basic “Ultra” thumbsticks. There’s nothing too special about them, but they’re slightly concave and have an array of nubbles, both of which help with grip. I snapped them onto my DualShock 4’s joysticks, fired up my PS4, and prepared for hours of pure gaming bli…these feel weird.
You know that feeling you get when you drive someone else’s car? It’s not your car, so everything from the steering wheel to the pedals to the seat just feels odd. That’s how it felt using the performance thumbsticks for the first time. I felt like I had to place my thumbs in a strange position to reach the joysticks, and the increased range of motion was so extreme that I felt like I was operating a backhoe.
The worst part? I wasn’t really noticing much of a difference in my gameplay. If anything, I kept focusing too much on how weird these things felt that I was losing focus on the actual gameplay. I was about to call it right then and there, but I wanted to give these a fair shake. So I kept them on with the hopes that I’d get used to them over time, and then I’d re-evaluate.
Weeks went by, and one night I accidentally grabbed a different controller as I sat down and fired up the PS4. I was too lazy to get up and swap out controllers, so I dealt with a performance thumbstick-less experience. How bad could it be? After all, I’d get to go back to the stock setup I’ve been used to for years.
Right away, it was bad. My gaming was just…sloppy. My quickness and finesse playing Overcooked disappeared, and my accuracy in Call of Duty was suddenly terrible. On top of that, it felt like my thumbs were continually slipping off, and I was missing the wider range of motion that allowed me to be more precise with the joysticks’ positioning. It’s like I was playing with feature-locked joysticks—the freemium version, if you will. Only I didn’t pay up for all the useful features you’d actually want.
For the first time in my life, I complained about joysticks, and I couldn’t believe how horrible the experience was without the performance thumbsticks. I must’ve slowly gotten used to them that I didn’t even notice the improvements. But sure enough, they make my aim more accurate, and I have more precision over characters, cars, or whatever I’m controlling. On top of that, the amount of grip compared to the stock joysticks is insane. Even just the simple nubbles on my Ultra thumbsticks help a ton.
Of course, very few things in life are perfect, and I have one tiny complaint about these: they unclip and fall off more often than I’d like. That’s mostly due to my aggressiveness, as I tend to apply more pressure to buttons and joysticks than I need to—carpal tunnel will call my name at some point, I’m sure. Perhaps this is where controllers with completely-interchangeable thumbsticks would come in handy, like the Xbox Elite or any of the options from SCUF. Those are significantly more expensive than the KontrolFreek add-ons, but I reckon I wouldn’t have to deal with them easily popping off.
Sure, I could probably go back to the stock joysticks and get used them again, but the performance thumbsticks are clearly working. I’m never playing a game without them again. And because they’re so cheap, I’m considering getting some extra pairs for my everyday carry, because you never know when a gaming session might break out while far from home.
Here’s What We Like
- They provide much better grip than stock joysticks.
- The added length helps with precision and accuracy.
- The relatively-low price point makes these a no-brainer.
And What We Don't
- They sometimes unclip and fall off in the heat of battle.
- They take some time to get used to.
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If you dont kiss me now, then Ill go to him, let him kiss. When Aigul stopped hugging me and stretched her hand. Down somewhere, I did not attach any importance to this, selflessly kissing and closing my eyes. Only when my wife pulled away from me and ran a slippery hand over my lips, I again felt the bright smell of her secretions, mixed with the smell of. Semen.