Videogame consoles are really cool pieces of equipment. They’re specialized pieces of hardware so developers know what they are working with. This creates a seamless, problem-free gaming experience for consumers. Unfortunately, this also means consoles and their accessories are not very customizable. In a world where one can get a gaming mouse with 15 different buttons and RGB lights galore, controller players are left in the dark. Quite literally.
Enter the eXtremeRate DTFS LED kit for DualShock 4, available on Amazon for $38.99. For those of you who love RGB, this will hit all the right notes.
The DTFS light kit is an LED PCB that you install inside your controller. Its clever design allows for holes in all the right spots to allow the pressure plates to still be activated. If you’ve ever cracked open a controller before, you’ve probably seen there’s not much room inside. However, eXtremeRate has done an awesome job at cramming some cool features in a tight spot. Having used and reviewed another one of their products, I’m once again impressed by their ingenuity.
The eXtremeRate DTFS LED kit comes with everything you need to get the installation done in a very well packaged kit. I’ve received enough things like through Amazon to expect a jumble of parts much like a bag of Legos. This was the opposite, each piece was placed inside a soft foam molding made specifically for this product. The screws, and some other assorted pieces were placed in separate plastic bags for identification. The packaging was a nice change from the ordinary bag o’ parts that I’m used to expecting.
Once you’ve gotten everything out of the box, however, you can tell that installation might be a bit tedious. First of all, I should say I installed this on a controller that already had a mod inside. So there were a few extra wires I had to deal that didn’t make things easier. However, even for people who use a vanilla controller, installation is a bit involved, if not difficult. This mod requires the disassembly of pretty much the entire controller. Don’t be too intimidated, though. ExtremeRate has also bundled in some great instructions to follow as well as a fantastic instructional video on YouTube. It makes tackling this job much less intimidating. It’s also important to know that this kit will only work on DualShock 4s with the lightbar at the top of the touchpad.
Getting into the controller, uninstalling and reinstalling the buttons is the easy part. Aligning the PCB contacts and making sure everything is properly placed can get complicated. Especially if you are using this in conjunction with another mod. However, time and patience is all it takes to make this successful. It should also be noted that the USB charger port is replaced for a new one. So if your old one is giving you trouble charging as mine was, this will take care of that issue as a side effect. As long as you don’t rush, make sure the PCB is in place, and the buttons are properly seated, it’s not too bad. It’s also imperative that when placing the wires and sticky pads beneath the thumb sticks they don’t interfere with movement.
Once all that is done, reversing the procedure and putting the shell back on is easy other than that tiny ribbon cable connecting the charger port to the led PCB. That was the one step which I actually got pretty frustrated with. Ribbon cables can be a pain to work with, but they fit in tight spaces, so it stands to reason they’d be used a lot in this situation. If life were a videogame, installing this mod would have definitely given me some dexterity XP.
What can I say? After the hard part is done and the controller is back together again, it looks really cool. The version I received does not have the fully translucent buttons. Rather, it has the buttons which only allow light through the shapes and indicators. I find this looks classier and less ridiculous than the fully clear buttons. However, there is that option for those of you who want a disco floor as a controller.
RGB is a subjective taste. Some people are turned away by the spectacle and would rather just stick with something more low-key. However, I belong in the group of people that can appreciate a tasteful application of lighting. The eXtremeRate DTFS LED kit really does it right. You can even switch through different colors for different areas of the controller if that’s what you prefer. It’s a conversation starter for sure, and makes your controller stand out in a world of “same old, same old.”
Now for the buttons. The process of replacing the buttons and rubber bumpers does make the button feel change ever so slightly. There’s also a new layer of pcb between the buttons and the pressure pad, even if they don’t directly connect. So if I had to label the button feel as anything, it feels a bit more stiff after the install. The button travel feels a bit shortened too. Perhaps by a millimeter or so. That’s not much, but after years of using your controller, your brain tells you there’s a difference. It’s almost like using someone else’s controller for the first few minutes. It works fine, something just feels a bit… off. However, you quickly get used to the new feeling.
Also, remember how I was telling you it is imperative that the wires for the thumb sticks not interfere with the movement? It becomes even more evident after it’s completely installed. Even with me being as careful as I was about making sure the thumb sticks were clear of wires during install, I can still hear a slight crunchy noise as the thumb sticks come into contact with wires underneath. There is not much to be done about this, you are installing something that was never meant to originally belong. But it’s a tiny reminder all that’s crammed underneath.
Something else that should be mentioned is that all the fancy lighting will drain your battery faster. You’ll probably notice that gaming sessions aren’t lasting as long as they used to. There’s no getting around it, lighting the entire controller takes power. Power that has to come from the same battery that’s used for driving the controller itself. Fortunately, if this is something that is an issue, you can opt to turn the led’s off using a set of key combinations. Or save power by only assigning the led’s to the buttons you want. Even better, buy a fresh battery before you perform the installation and swap the batteries while everything is disassembled for a fresh start.
Overall the eXtremeRate DTFS LED kit is a fantastic way to breathe new life into your controller. And with the PS5 confirmed to be compatible with DualShock 4, the lifespan on this hardware just got significantly longer. There are controllers that have RGB and lights on the market, but for 30$, you’d be hard pressed to find one that has the quality and feel of the licensed product – which is exactly what this is. The low price means a bit of work on your end. However, eXtremeRate has gone above and beyond to make it as simple as it can be. If you’re willing to put in the work, this is a mod well worth your time.