Let’s cut to the chase: the Snakebyte Game:Pad 4 S shouldn’t be your primary PS4 controller. While there isn’t anything necessarily terrible about it, its design and limitations make it hard to recommend for the majority of your playtime, but as a backup controller or for party titles, it might just be perfect.
The most obvious distinction between the Game:Pad 4 S and the standard DualShock 4 is that it is wired – there’s no skirting around it. If you like to play your games far away from the TV, you might be struggling for flexibility with the 3 meter cable. Through a week of testing it out, the controller would occasionally cut out, but this was for a split second, if that. Not ideal if you’re playing competitively.
There are a couple of other concessions, too, the most notable being the lack of a microphone port. It’s strange, because the controller is designed in such a way so that it appears as if there was meant to be one, but what looks like an unfoldable flap is just a rigid bit of plastic at the bottom – unless I was too weak to open it, that is. That was possibly the biggest shortcoming of the Game:Pad 4 S for me considering I almost always use a pair of headphones to play. It was fine for the brainless nonsense of GTA Online, but I had to immediately switch back to the DualShock for Fortnite.
As for how it feels, it’s considerably lighter and smaller than the DualShock 4, which may work wonders for younger gamers, though the density of the inputs is a little irritating. The share and options buttons are perhaps too close to the directional sticks for my liking and ended up in my randomly taking screenshots a couple of times. Still, it’s comfortable to hold overall and has pleasant curvature, which makes playing for long sessions cramp-free. With third-party controllers, it’s often the case that some of its “edges” are a little rough and tend to dig into fingers after a while – no such issues here.
The touchpad is one of the best controller innovations of the last few generations, and it’s present here, though it doesn’t feel anywhere near as refined. It’s smaller as well, so maybe youngsters won’t struggle with the complexities of a massive controller with less to focus on. There’s also a lightbar that I didn’t get the chance to test with games as motion controls aren’t used for much outside of VR, though the light is considerably dimmer than the official controller.
Ultimately, despite some qualms with its design, the Snakebyte Game:Pad 4 S is a more than competent controller that will serve as the perfect backup to what you have. However, if you have kids and don’t fancy them getting jam all over your DualShock 4 (or whatever random mess they manage to get on themselves), the Snakebyte Game:Pad 4 S might be your saviour, as well as perhaps being a better option for little hands. It’s not an essential pad and probably shouldn’t be used competitively, but you’re really getting what you’re paying for. Unit provided for review purposes