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New PS5 DualSense controller adds hidden upgrades — here’s how to spot one

PS5 DualSense controller
(Image credit: Future)

Update: Sony announces the DualSense Edge at gamescom 2022, its answer to Microsoft's Elite controller.

Earlier this year Sony released three new PS5 DualSense colors: Starlight Blue, Nova Pink and Galactic Purple. Fans initially admired these new controllers for their snazzy designs, but players quickly discovered that the peripherals also sported some minor hardware improvements.

These tweaks are certainly not as substantial as the difference between a regular Xbox Series X pad and an Xbox Elite 2 controller. However, the new DualSense model comes with thicker trigger springs, and a modified piece of plastic near the analog sticks. 

Initially, the refreshed DualSense controller came only in the new hues mentioned above. However, Sony has now incorporated these subtle improvements to all DualSense colorways, including White, Cosmic Red and Midnight Black. As such, if you've bought an additional PS5 controller in the past few weeks, you might not be entirely sure if you’ve got a new or old model. 

Thankfully, a YouTuber by the name of John Glasscock (opens in new tab) has found a reliable method of telling the two models apart. It all comes down to the FCC ID number located on the back of the pad. This 10-character combination of letters and numbers can help identify whether you’ve got a new controller or the original DualSense design. 

The first wave of DualSense controllers have an FCC ID that ends in the number 1, whereas the FCC ID on the redesigned controllers ends in the letter A. You can see the difference between the two types of controllers in the images below. The top is a first wave controller, and the bottom is the new model. 

DualSense controller Cosmic Red FCC ID

(Image credit: Future)

DualSense controller Starlight Blue FCC ID

(Image credit: Future)

We should note that these DualSense controllers look and feel identical. To actually see the differences, you’d need to take the controllers apart. But thanks to this identification trick, that's not necessary. 

These under-the-hood changes may increase the durability of the controller. Some users had expressed concerns that the adaptive triggers were too fragile, and a few unlucky owners even experienced the much-dreaded stick drift. Sony has not addressed this speculation directly, however.

While we’ve yet to see any concrete evidence that the DualSense controller has an especially high failure rate, I have personally experienced issues with the adaptive triggers breaking on my launch controller. If you’re buying a new DualSense controller in the future, make sure its FCC ID ends in the letter A. Ultimately, it's better to have a PS5 DualSense with these minor durability tweaks, if only for peace of mind.

Rory Mellon
Deals Editor

Rory is a Deals Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on deals, gaming and streaming. When he’s not scouring retailers for PS5 restock or writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found attending music festivals and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.  

  • tippinator
    I have a 1A Midnight Black controller purchased on November 12th, 2021. It was a warranty replacement for a Dual Sense that had a hair trigger sensitive R2 button. There are likely a lot more updated Dual Sense controllers out there than expected.
    Reply
  • Azhrei21
    I thought the new colors were the updated controllers... why does the red one in the pic on that article have the old number???
    Reply