The DualShock 4 for the PS4 is a great controller for most people. However, there are people who find the controller awkward to hold, particularly younger gamers and adults with smaller hands. Fortunately, there are a number of smaller PS4 controller alternatives on the market meant for those with smaller hands that will help alleviate the strain during marathon gaming sessions.
1- @Play Compact
The Compact controller from @Play features a more traditional design compared to the Hori Mini. True to its name, the controller features a much more compact profile. The @Play Compact re-organizes the face buttons, D-Pad, and touchpad into a much tighter configuration. As a result, the @Play Compact controller has a significantly smaller build. Like the Hori Mini, the @Play is a wired controller. That being said, the cord is approximately ten feet long, which should be plenty for most gamers’ setups.
The @Play Compact sets itself apart from the likes of the Hori Mini thanks to the fact that it retains some of the key features of the DualShock 4. It maintains vibration feedback and also includes a headphone jack. This is useful for players who want to chat with other players during multiplayer games. However, like the Hori Mini, the @Play compact ditches the motion sensors and light bar, meaning you won’t be able to play some titles in the PS4 library.
That being said, the @Play Compact is a great alternative for gamers looking for a smaller controller that doesn’t stray too far from the DualShock 4. Curiously, at the time of this writing, the @Play Compact PS4 controller seems to only be available in certain regions.
2- Nacon Wired Compact
If you’re after a controller that doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, the Nacon Wired Compact Controller is worth a look. The Nacon Wired Compact controller adopts a chunkier body style, with shorter handles and a smaller overall profile. Furthermore, the face buttons, touchpad, and D-Pad are all larger compared to the DualShock 4. In addition, the analog sticks are placed closer together. Overall, this makes it much easier for gamers with smaller hands to reach the buttons they need when they need them.
Unfortunately, like all the controllers on this list, the Nacon Wired Compact controller asks you to make some sacrifices. As the name suggests, the Nacon Wired Compact controller is not wireless. This means you’ll be tethered to your PS4 console with a 10-foot (3 meter) detachable USB-C cable. The controller also ditches the DualShock 4’s built-in speaker and light bar, meaning you won’t be able to play VR games that rely on the light bar for tracking.
Finally, the SIXAXIS motion controls have been omitted as well. However, the Nacon Compact retains vibration feedback and a headphone jack. Overall, the Nacon Wired Compact is not only a great option for those looking for a more compact PS4 controller but also for folks who want something that works on their PC as well.
3- Hori Wireless Controller Light
Unfortunately, all of the compact PS4 controllers on this list are wired. This probably has to do with the fact that many compact controllers are also marketed as cheaper alternatives to the DualShock 4. Luckily, Hori has recognized that many gamers don’t like cords and have developed a wireless version of their well-received Hori Mini controller.
The Hori Wireless Controller Light features the same form factor as its wired counterpart, just with Bluetooth connectivity. Like the Hori Mini, the Hori Wireless Controller Light does not include vibration, motion sensors, a headphone jack or the built-in speaker. There is a light bar; however, it only serves to indicate the controller’s charging status, meaning you won’t be playing any PSVR titles with this controller.
The Hori Wireless Controller Light is a fantastic option for those who can’t imagine using a wired controller in 2020. That being said, there is one major downside: it is not available outside of Japan. At the time of this writing, it is unclear as to whether Hori plans on releasing the Wireless Controller Light in other regions. However, you can import the controller through Amazon Japan and other Asian retailers.
4- HORI PS4 Mini
The Hori Mini PS4 controller is not marketed toward your average gamer. Instead, this controller is aimed squarely at children. For these gamers, Sony’s DualShock 4 controller is simply too big to hold comfortably. The biggest problem stems from the amount of travel necessary to go from analog stick to face buttons. This lack of precision is often the difference between success and failure and can be the source of frustration.
The Hori Mini PS4 controller seeks to eliminate these problems. As a result, the Hori Mini is 40 percent smaller than the DualShock 4, making it the perfect alternative for those with smaller hands. That being said, you’ll have to put up with a few compromises. First, the Hori Mini is a wired controller. In addition, it omits the vibration motor and the headphone jack.
You’ll also say goodbye to the light bar and gyroscope. Unfortunately, this means that the Hori Mini cannot be used with some games, most notably PSVR titles. Furthermore, the Hori Mini does not have a touchpad. However, there is a button on the controller that allows the analog stick to function as the touchpad when pressed. The Hori Mini controller is an excellent option for those who don’t mind a drastically-redesigned DualShock 4 alternative.