Gioteck are a creator of third-party peripherals for the PS4, Switch and PC. We’ve been set two of their premium wireless controllers to take a look at, the VX4 for the PS4 and the WX4 for the Nintendo Switch. In this review, we’ll be focusing on the VX4 and take a look at what it can and can’t do in comparison to the original DualShock 4 and the more premium NACON controllers which we’ve looked at previously.
First of all, the VX4 comes in multiple flavours, there’s wireless, wired, and wired with audio support – we’ve been given the wireless edition (which also works wired with a micro-USB cable). As such, the features will be very similar (bar the wireless functionality), but we can’t guarantee all features and functions appear on the wired-only models as well.
I’ve been using this control on-and-off for the last few weeks, trying it out on various devices and games in order to see how it felt and if it came close to delivering an experience which matched or surpassed the original DualShock 4 controller. As such, there are some things I like about it and some I don’t, so let’s start with the design of the controller…
Unlike both the NACON Asymmetric and Revolution Unlimited Pro Controllers, Gioteck has opted for a more traditional symmetrical design with the controller, the same format we see on the official DualShock from PlayStation. Although, the two ‘feet’ which you grab hold of are much more angled than the rounded design on the DS4. At first, I wasn’t sure what I thought of this but after using it for a few hours, it actually feels quite comfy as you fingers perfect rest against it. Also, I have rather big hands and on the official DS4, my fingers are usually hoving in the middle gap at the back, with the VX4 they were snuggly placed as the ‘feet’ are a little wider and deeper.
The second observation, in terms of the build itself, is the screw holes on the back. These were a bit distracting for me as there are four deep screw holes where your fingers lie, meaning you can feel the slightly sharp ridges. In comparison, the NACON Pro Unlimited Revolution has rubber stoppers on these holes and the official DS4 has very shallow recesses with rounded edges in places your fingers aren’t resting. Again though, this was an initial annoyance which I got used to after a few hours of use.
The overall build quality of the controller is very good though – I’m not going to jump on it or throw it at a wall (like I’ve seen some people do), but I’ve tried bending it to see if it shatters or squeaks and it didn’t make a sound or even bend at all. So, as a secondary controller for a younger child – this would be perfect when it comes to the build quality – even my official DS4 controllers squeak and feel a little flimsy at times!
What features have changed and which are the same?
When compared to the official DS4, the standard buttons all feel very similar. However; The face buttons are more rounded, rather than flat, and they can’t use the trademarked symbols as it’s not a PlayStation licensed product. Also, L1 and R1 ‘feel’ a bit more clicky (but they’re not microswitches like we saw in both NACON products), and both of the Thumbsticks and the L2/R2 triggers have more tension on them, meaning they require more force to operate. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to be a bodybuilder to use them but those who like more resistance on these components will appreciate the extra force required.
The touchpad, although working perfect and being very responsive at all times, is a bit small. It starts at the same size along the top edge, but Gioteck has decided to make the touchpad shrink as it goes down, making it a bit harder to utilise if you’re in a game which actually uses the pad properly. Truth be told, a lot of games use the pad as one or two new buttons, so for those it’s fine – but the few which lets you move your finger on it to do things, there’s less surface area than the standard and NACON controllers.
I’ll get into this in more detail, later in the review, but the controller works perfectly in wireless mode via Bluetooth. You sync it to the PS4 in the same way (by connecting it with a cable first, then unplugging it) and then the controller works flawlessly without the use of a dongle – unlike both of the more expensive NACON controllers. Also, unlike the NACON Asymmetric controller, you can even use this controller via a micro-USB cable should you choose to do so – the NACON only charges via the cable.
Just like the NACON controllers, there no Lightbar, so you can’t use the VX4 with PSVR titles. However, it DOES have full six-axis motion controls and a built-in controller speaker! This is the first third-party controller I’ve personally seen which has both of those present. It also has an LED light which changes to the same colours as the lightbar would have been – just like we saw in the NACON Pro Revolution Unlimited controller. Unfortunately, it’s an LED light which is set back within the case that shines out of a small pin-hole drilled into the front of the case.
A little bit of plastic or fibreglass to emphasise this light and bring it into a more visible and easy to see area would have been a much better design (the WX4 actually has this more visible design). Or, even better, seeing as the controller is able to communicate and change an LED within the controller to the colours the official DS4 produces when playing the game, why did they choose to not include the lightbar and make it compatible with PSVR? I imagine it’s to maintain its ~7-hour battery life, but still – I’d have loved it if I could try it out in PSVR as well.
Finally, the controller includes a turbo switch. Activating this is simple, just hold down the new ‘turbo’ button and press any face button. That’s it, the button is now in turbo mode and will continually press itself if you hold it down. The only thing I would have liked here would be some indicator to let you know it was activated as I was playing a game and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t make certain jumps – it was because auto-fire was enabled on that button. But, that’s just being picky, the feature works as intended and is straight forward.
My biggest complaint with the controller actually lies in both the thumbsticks and the rear triggers, but not because of the resistance but more within the design. First of all, the thumbsticks have a smooth head on them with no ridge, as we see on the DS4, or grip like on the NACON controllers (The WX4 has much better thumbsticks with a grip and smaller surface area). So, due to the lack of grip, increased force, and bigger surface area of the thumbstick heads, it made long play sessions a little uncomfy and I was regularly having my thumb slip on the smooth design. However, I found my old Batman rubber thumbstick grips which I used to use on my old DS4 and although the surface area is bigger on the VX4, the grips fit on them fine and greatly increased my usability.
So, if you pick up this controller and have issues with the thumbsticks as I did, grab a £2 set of rubber thumbstick grips and shove them on the top – just make sure they are stretchy rubber and not hard rubber.
The issue I had with the triggers is more to do with the physical design. Whereas the DS4 triggers have a slight overlap – which is part of the design – the VX4 overlap is far too big for me (whereas the WX4 size is smaller and comfier). Looking at it in a positive light, the fact that the triggers are now about 50% longer than the DS4 ones means you’re less likely to have your finger slip off the trigger and you can comfortably rest your middle fingers on it – if you’re the type of person who uses both your index and middle finger at the same time (I’m not one of those people).
However, because I only use my index finger on the triggers, as I rest my middle finger around the back of the controller with my other fingers, I found that pushing the larger triggers down would sometimes result in it rubbing against my finger, causing an irritation. This may just be an issue for me, as those who place fingers over all four triggers at the top, or those with smaller hands, may not have this happen to them – but it did to me.
What does this controller work with?
Seeing as the Gioteck VX4 is both wired and wireless, you can use it without any issues on a few devices. The box it came in states you can use it on the PS4 and the PC yet the instructions also say you can use it on the PS3 – I’ve not tried this but I’ll explain why I believe this may be the case. This controller is essentially cloning the DS4 – it not only thinks it’s an official controller, it tells whatever it’s connected to that it IS an official DualShock 4. This means there are a few other devices you can use it on, such as iOS, Android, PSNow and PS4 Remote play…
That’s right, a few weeks ago I signed up to a free trial for Apple Arcade as I wanted to try out some of the new games which had been created for the service. I don’t have an Xbox One controller and my two NACON controllers require dongles to work. So, as I didn’t have a DS4 to hand, I thought I’d try the VX4 – it connected perfectly and all button prompts in the games were replaced with PlayStation icons! I was impressed as I honestly thought that it would see it as a generic pad or an Xbox Compatible, as that’s what most cheaper controllers do.
So, to push it further, I tried something which never works – not with my wired third-party Xbox One controller or either of my NACON controllers, Remote Play and PS Now on the PC. As I expected, whilst connected with a wire or via Bluetooth, the PC saw the controller as an official DS4 and so did Sony’s applications – allowing me to play them perfectly with this new controller. As such, this has now become my permanent Remote Play controller as I play my PS4 from the PC quite a lot when I’m reviewing games. Similarly, Remote Play on the iPad also worked perfectly with this controller wirelessly.
I don’t know if there are others out there but this is the first controller I’ve used, other than the official DS4, which tells all devices it’s a DS4 and works perfectly with things like Remote Play and PS Now.
After about 200 hours of use, what do I think of the VX4? It certainly has good points, but it also has some negatives for me personally. The design of the controller took me a little getting used to, with the longer triggers, wider thumbsticks, open screw holes where your fingers rest, and smaller touchpad, but after a few hours, I didn’t even realise I wasn’t using my official DualShock 4. Plus, although the controller is missing the lightbar (the only feature missing on this controller), the turbo function and the fact it mimics a DS4 on all devices from PC to mobile, easily allows me to overlook that – except when I’m playing on my PSVR headset.
If you’re looking for a cheap second controller for your PS4, or maybe you wanted to pick up a controller for Remote Play and iOS like myself, then the Gioteck VX4 is a great alternative to the more expensive official DS4. If you don’t need the controller to be wireless, there is a wired version with and without audio support which is even cheaper as well.
**Update** to celebrate the addition of Fortnite Split-screen mode, Gioteck is releasing two new designs for their VX4 range controllers in January 2020. First up is a wired ‘Artic-Camo’ design (which is also coming to the Switch as Wireless) and a Fortnite inspired Purple wireless controller.
Gioteck VX4 - Wireless Controller£19.99-£29.99
- - Works wirelessly with no extra dongle (if you pick up the wireless model)
- - Contains Motion controls, Speaker, and vibration
- - Has an easy-to-use turbo button
- - Works flawlessly with iOS, Remote Play and PS Now on all devices
- - Construction build quality is very sturdy and solid
- - The rear triggers a bit long, about 50% longer than the standard DS4
- - No Light bar and the colour-changing LED is set within the case and only visible via a small pin-prick hole
- - The touchpad is a little too small as it shrinks to fit the design of the controller
- - The thumbsticks surface area is bigger than the DS4 and very smooth, leading to uncomfy and sore thumbs after many hours of use (unless you use a thumb-grip)