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 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.
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.