Longevity isn't exactly the DualShock 4's favourite word. Sony's latest controller may be the most comfortable that it's ever made, but if it was on a Duracell commercial, it would be one of those knock-off bunnies on its haunches staring longingly at the cotton tails of its supercharged counterparts. The PowerPak 1, an ergonomic accessory from Prif, aims to extend the life of your PlayStation 4 controller by a good 20 hours – but is it any good?
"If the DualShock 4 was on a Duracell commercial, it would be one of those knock-off bunnies on its haunches"
For the price, it's actually a decent bit of kit. The unassuming object plugs into the DualShock 4's micro USB port, and wraps around the back of the controller, snugly hugging the unit's curves. It does add a bit of weight to the input device as you'd expect, but not much – and after you've had it attached for a few hours, you'll hardly know that it's there. So far, so good.
It's worth noting that the profile of the PowerPak 1 does mean that there's less room in the trigger area, and if you're the kind of person that rests their middle fingers on the L2 and R2 triggers, then you will feel its presence. If, however, you use your index fingers for all four shoulder buttons, then it's much harder to notice – though long fingers will rub up against the battery pack in the grip area regardless.
It's not invisible, then, but it's about as discreet as it could be, and it actually works really well. During our tests, we've got about 15 to 18 hours extra life out of a single DualShock 4 charge, which is a huge improvement over the usual five to six hours that the device offers. Its operation is simple: when your controller's getting low on battery, you simply push a button on the top of the PowerPak 1 to charge it back up – completely cable-free.
If you need to charge the DualShock 4 and the battery pack, then there's a micro USB slot on the top of the unit that allows you to plug it into the PS4, and you can actually charge both the PowerPak 1 and controller simultaneously to save time. It's all rather seamless, and while the build quality on the accessory isn't great – the power button is particularly cheap – it never overheats or anything like that.
It's worth adding that, while you can buy the PowerPak 1 individually, you can also pair it with an item called the Crescendo 1, which plugs into the headphone jack on the DualShock 4. This works as an amplifier, boosting the volume of the console's sounds if you opt to route its audio through the controller and into a pair of non-powered headphones or earbuds. This does add a little humming, but it works as advertised, and comes with a handy volume wheel and microphone toggle.
All in all, then, the PowerPak 1 is an accessory worth considering. If you're tired of plugging your controller into a charging station with irritating regularity, then this cheap and cheerful add-on will reduce the number of times that you need to re-charge. There are alternatives available from the likes of Nyko which perform a similar task, but given the price – and compatibility with the Crescendo 1 if that interests you – then you can't really go wrong with this ingenious little extra.
Are you happy with the DualShock 4's battery life? (107 votes)
Yes, it seems fine to me
Meh, not really bothered
No, it's pretty darn poor
Please login to vote in this poll.