Scuf Vantage PS4 Controller Review

The Scuf Vantage PS4 Controller puts a new spin on pay to win

The Scuf Vantage is pricey, but it offers noticeable performance improvements over the DualShock 4.
The Scuf Vantage is pricey, but it offers noticeable performance improvements over the DualShock 4.
The Scuf Vantage is pricey, but it offers noticeable performance improvements over the DualShock 4.


  • Triggers, buttons, and analog sticks feel great
  • Fully customizable
  • Great battery life
  • Durable and high quality


  • Audio limitations in wireless mode
  • Bizarre charging issues

While the standard DualShock 4 that comes with every PlayStation 4 system is a solid option for most players, Sony lacks a customizable gamepad for its more dedicated players. Scuf Gaming, a company that specializes in pro gaming accessories, acknowledged this and created the Scuf Vantage, a highly customizable controller designed to improve your performance, comfort, and playtime. Its price — $170 for the wired model and $200 for the wireless Bluetooth  – certainly reflects this, and its customization options are wonderful, but the Scuf Vantage also has a few issues you need to know about before going in.

An instant improvement

After taking the Scuf Vantage out of the box and removing a few stickers, it was ready to be paired with a PlayStation 4. The wireless model features a toggle switch on the bottom that allows you to switch from Bluetooth to wired on the fly, and the 10 ft micro-USB cable is long enough to accommodate most gaming setups.

The wireless Scuf Vantage controller feels sturdy, and is slightly heavier than the DualShock 4, while the wired model weighs about the same. There’s also a convenient option to reduce the weight on both controllers by removing the rumble motors inside.

Before customizing anything, the Scuf Vantage already feels like an improvement over the DualShock 4. The analog sticks are arranged asymmetrically and have a concave design without the rubber grip that’s prone to wear on Sony’s model. The Vantage sports a more traditional directional pad and overall, has a layout similar to Microsoft’s Xbox controller.

We noticed a distinct click with a bit of resistance when using the bumpers (R1 and L1) on the Vantage that revealed these were mechanical buttons. We actually preferred Sony’s Dualshock 4 bumpers over these and unfortunately, you can’t switch them out for something else.

A Competitive Edge

Outside of a PS4 controller’s usual buttons, the Scuf Vantage includes four paddles on the back that can be programmed to perform any other controller function with just a flick of a switch and two button presses. The paddles are ideal for remapping face buttons so your thumbs never have to leave the analog sticks, though we found the inner paddles a little hard to reach.

Don’t like the color your controller came with? Just pop the magnetic faceplate off and replace it with a different one.

A “Sax” button is located on either side on the controller, providing even more custom button remapping. These actually came in handy the most during our time with the Vantage, as they kept us from to move our thumb to the directional pad during intense moments. During a mission in Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor — Martyr, for instance, we were able to keep our hands on the sticks and swap weapons at the same time.

If you prefer a more traditional setup, then that’s also an option with the Scuf Vantage. The paddles and Sax buttons can all be removed but with a potential setback. While the Sax buttons pop off without any problems, removing the paddles reveals a small opening where you can see the wires of the controller.  This means that dirt or debris can get inside and potentially cause damage if you choose to leave the paddles off. This may not be a risk worth taking especially with a controller that has such a high price tag.

Make it yours

The Scuf Vantage takes customization a step further. Don’t like the color your controller came with? Just pop the magnetic faceplate off and replace it with a different one. After you remove the faceplate, you can also pop out both analog sticks and swap them with a variety of different sizes and shapes. Some of these replacement parts are included and others are available in an extra accessories kit. The directional pad can also be replaced with a circle pad, and the trigger covers pop off in case you want to add longer ones in their place.

Scuf Vantage PS4 Controller Review
Gabe Gurwin/Digital Trends

In our experience, we found that the Vantage as-is works just fine, but its many options cater to all playstyles. The small switches on the underside of each trigger can turn into hair-triggers, perfect for first-person shooters, though they’re incompatible with some games. If the triggers are too tight or loose for your liking, you can adjust them with an included key, as well.

A few missteps

A couple of issues we encountered made us a bit skeptical of the $200 price tag on the wireless Scuf Vantage. The first problem being the limited access to it’s audio. There’s a touchbar located underneath the PlayStation button lets you easily adjust your headset and controller volume, but it only works when the controller is using a wired USB connection. In fact, you can’t even use the headset or controller audio when Bluetooth is enabled.

The high-performance Scuf Vantage will easily outlast your primary DualShock 4 controller.

The next issue is related to charging the controller. While the Scuf Vantage’s battery life far exceeds the Dualshock 4’s, we did encounter one very bizarre problem when charging it. Scuf Gaming recommends only using the PlayStation 4 to charge the Vantage, but after connecting the two and putting the system into rest mode, the controller turned the console back on after about 10 minutes.

With no option to keep the PS4 asleep, the only alternatives are to leave the console on for the sole purpose of charging the controller or charge the controller while you’re playing. We were told this was the result of the controller switching between Bluetooth and USB to initiate the charging process, but it didn’t make the issue any less annoying, especially after hearing that it’s supposed to do that.

We also ran into an issue with the left analog stick drifting after a few months of use. Scuf claimed this was due to a firmware problem and sent us a new model with the update installed. The issue appears to have gone away. If you’re purchasing a new Scuf Vantage today, it should have the most recent firmware on it already.

Warranty information

The Scuf Vantage is backed by a 180-day limited warranty that begins on the date of purchase.

Our Take

The Scuf Vantage is an excellent gamepad that anyone with some extra cash to spend should definitely consider, but you need to be aware of its potential issues. At a minimum of $170, it’s not the best option for casual players, but those in need of something beyond the cookie-cutter DualShock 4 should still consider it.

Is there a better alternative?

There are other “pro” style controllers on the market, but the Scuf’s customization options are seriously impressive.

How long will it last?

The Scuf Vantage is a high-performance controller that can easily outlast your primary DualShock 4.

Should you buy it?

Yes, if you are in need of extra customization options above all else.


Google’s Stadia is the future of gaming, and that’s bad news for our planet

Google’s upcoming Stadia cloud gaming service, and its competitors, are ready to change the way gamers play, but in doing so they may kick off a new wave of data center growth – with unfortunate consequences for the environment.

You can now stream PS4 games on your PC using Remote Play (and here’s how)

Remote Play is one of the PlaySation 4's most intriguing features. This guide will show you how to properly set up Remote Play, so you can start streaming your PS4 games on your PlayStation Vita, PC, Mac, or Xperia device.

Panasonic Lumix S1R vs. Nikon Z 7: When megapixels matter, which do you choose?

The 47-megapixels Lumix S1R and 46-megapixel Nikon Z 7 are the two highest-resolution, full-frame mirrorless cameras on the market. The S1R features a high-resolution mode that can take 187MP images, but the Nikon is lighter and cheaper.

10 Nintendo Switch tips and tricks to get the most out of your hybrid console

Have a new Nintendo Switch? Awesome! It's a great console from the moment you turn it on, but owners can make it even better by using a few simple tips and tricks. Here's what every Switch owner should know.

Get in control with some of the best Xbox One gamepads you can get right now

A number of different controllers are available on the Xbox One, from gamepads made by Microsoft, to third-party controllers loaded with special features. Here are the best you can buy.

A beginner’s guide to flawless victory in Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11 is a complex fighting game with several systems to learn, but with our beginner's guide and a bit of practice, you can be finishing enemies off with a Fatality in no time.
Product Review

Gloriously gory and fantastically fluid: Mortal Kombat 11 is the best one yet

Mortal Kombatt 11 reinforces NetherRealm Studios’ status as the greatest western fighting developer on the planet, building on what made Mortal Kombat X so great while adding in a few new tricks.

Cyberpunk 2077 dev speaks on gameplay and Witcher 3 Easter eggs

A Spanish publication had the opportunity to pick the brain of Cyberpunk 2077's quest director at CD Projekt Red and he speaks on gameplay changes, player choice, and how the team approaches Easter eggs across games.

Asus launches a fleet of ROG gaming laptops with 240Hz screens and 9th-gen CPUs

Asus launched updates to nearly every gaming laptop line they have, ranging from the high-end Zephyrus to the budget-level TUF Gaming. The naming schemes might be hard to parse, but there are some impressive options in Asus' new lineup.

From fatalities to new characters, here's what we know about Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11 releases April 23 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Here is everything we know about NetherRealm's latest fighting game, including its characters.

A guide to climbing the Klassic Tower and Towers of Time in Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11 has two Towers modes: Klassic and the Towers of Time. Klassic is an offline mode, whereas Towers of Time is an online revolving door of challenges that force you to deal with combat modifiers and wield trusty Konsumables.

Master Mortal Kombat 11's cryptic Krypt and get the best rewards

Once you complete the story mode in Mortal Kombat 11 and try out the Towers, you'll head into the Krypt to get your rewards. In our Mortal Kombat 11 Krypt guide, we'll show you how to make the most of it.

Swing Thor’s Stormbreaker during the Fortnite-Avengers: Endgame crossover

Epic Games revealed a new crossover with Marvel and Disney's Avengers: Endgame film, showing off Captain America's shield. Players will also get to summon the powers of a god as well when they wield Thor's Stormbreaker.

Here's our guide to becoming a master of Fatalities in Mortal Kombat 11

Fatalities are the bread and butt of any Mortal Kombat game, and they're particularly brutal in Mortal Kombat 11. Here's how to do Fatalities in the game, and how you can unlock new ones.