The Nacon Asymmetric PlayStation 4 Controller is an affordable third-party option for players who may not be keen on Sony's traditional analog stick layout. You can find the Nacon Asymmetric for around or under £40 at some retailers, often pricing it below Sony's official DualShock 4. The price point obviously means that this isn't a "pro" or "elite" controller -- it doesn't come with any bells and whistles. However, if you're on the market for a simple alternative to the aforementioned DualShock 4, the Nacon Asymmetric is probably your best bet.
Build quality and comfort
The Nacon Asymmetric feels good to hold. It's a little weightier and a little wider than the DualShock 4, but the plastic's smooth, and the curves of the controller's "arms" allow it to rest easily in your hands. While said plastic does feel a touch cheaper than the DualShock 4's, there's still a solidity to the overall design that goes a long way in providing comfort, even during longer gaming sessions.
Nacon's done a good job of laying out the Asymmetric's face buttons. Unlike the regular DualShock 4, the circle button curves with the controller's body, angling it very slightly off to the right. This is actually quite a comfortable little quirk, and it's helped by the fact that the X, square, triangle, and circle are placed close together. Pressing these face buttons in, they're a tad "clickier" than what you'll find on the DualShock 4, but they're just as responsive and easy to push.
Shoulder buttons and triggers
Much like the premium Nacon Revolution Unlimited's, we're big fans of the Nacon Asymmetric's R2 and L2 triggers. Firm and responsive, they've got a satisfying spring to them. Unfortunately, R1 and L1 don't fare quite so well. While they're far from bad, the distance between them and the lower triggers feels off. It's something that you'll no doubt get used to, but if you've been playing with a DualShock 4 for a while, you'll notice that there's a slight awkwardness to lifting your index fingers up to R1 and L1. The good news is that they've got a definite click to them -- you'll find no sponginess here.
As its name implies, the Nacon Asymmetric's main selling point is its asymmetrical design. The analog sticks mirror the positioning that you'll find on an Xbox pad or Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. Again, if, for whatever reason, you're not a fan of the traditional PlayStation DualShock stick layout, then the Nacon Asymmetric is clearly trying to appeal to you.
And it does a great job of doing so. The analog sticks themselves have just the right amount of resistance to them, and the grips on top of them are high quality. They do make a noticeable click when pressed in as R3 and L3, but that's not a huge deal unless you enjoy gaming in absolute silence. All in all, these are some slick and responsive sticks.
At first glance the Nacon Asymmetric's d-pad doesn't look great -- it's quite pronounced and it's just one big cross-shaped button -- but give it a chance and it's actually pretty good. While we don't think it's quite as effective as the DualShock 4's design, this is a surprisingly accurate d-pad. That said, it may take some getting used to. At first it can definitely feel a touch too spongy, but give it some time and it's more than serviceable.
The Nacon Asymmetric has all of the features that you'd expect of a DualShock 4. A touchpad, a headphone jack, and a share button are all present, and all do their job well enough. The touchpad doesn't have the kind of click to it that the DualShock 4's does, though, but that's not really an issue given how rarely the input is used for anything other then opening a map or menu.
If there's one sticking point that we have with the Nacon Asymmetric, it's that the controller can only be used wirelessly. A wired connection to your PS4 simply doesn't work -- although it does charge the battery -- which means that you'll need to use the wireless USB dongle that comes with the controller. Fortunately, it's easy to connect -- just one press of the PlayStation button and you're good to go.
Should you buy the Nacon Asymmetric PS4 Controller?
The Nacon Asymmetric gets an easy recommendation from us, especially if you're looking for an Xbox-style layout. The controller has a nice weight to it, its build quality is solid, and its buttons, triggers, sticks, and d-pad are all hard to fault. It may take some time to adjust if you're switching from a regular DualShock 4, but overall, this is an affordable, admirable effort from Nacon.
Looking for something more "elite"? Check out our review of the premium Nacon Revolution Unlimited "pro" PS4 controller.
Are you a fan of asymmetric analog sticks? Let us know if you're thinking about picking one of these controllers up in the comments section below.