Yes, it is a lot heavier than the current controllers and feels much more solid. It doesn't feel like you could snap it in two like the original Sixaxis. I just arrived at the office now so I won't be able to take it home and test it for another 8 hours or so. What I noticed just by holding it is that the L2 and R2 buttons are a bit harder to push than before. I bet its going to be easier to control your speed in driving games.
Also when when you push down to click on the analog controllers they feel a bit different than before; sharper somehow. I will post impressions of the actual rumble once I get home from work. (I don't really expect it to be any different than the PS2's or the Xbox 360's) I don't know yet if backwards compatible games will work with rumble but I have God of War and Gran Turismo 4 at home waiting to find out...more on that later.
Besides the weight you can look on the back of the controller and in addition to Sixaxis you'll Dual Shock 3 branded in blue.
The price was 5500 yen or around $50 U.S.
I just got home from work so I can give a few more impressions...First off the rumble feels very good... it can be a bit more subtle than the Xbox 360's rumble. I much prefer the feel of slightly going off the track in Gran Turismo 5 than in Forza 2. Is it a huge difference? No, not really but its there. I honestly can't feel a direction to the rumble as some people had hoped. Its still just a rumble in the limited testing I've done. I can't tell you if its different than the PS2's Dual Shock controller because I'm probably one of the few gamers on the planet not to have owned a PS2.
I threw in God of War and Gran Turismo 4 and the rumble worked fine so it is backwards compatible with those two games at least and I see no reason it wouldn't be for all the PS2 titles.
I also saw that someone was wondering if the Sixaxis functions worked with the rumble function and I can say for sure that they do. I have the game Toy Home (released last week on the Japanese store) and in that game you drive the car with the Sixaxis and when you crash into things or hit the brakes hard, etc..you can feel the vibration as well. As far as I can tell there is no problem with them working together.
I can't comment on battery life yet and probably won't be able to with any accuracy because I'm not a hardcore gamer. I really only play on weekends so I can't judge that very well.
After the family goes to bed, I'll test out Warhawk, Motorstorm, Lair and the demos such as Uncharted and Ratchet and Clank and report further if anyone is interested.
Ok, I did quite a bit of gaming over the last 24-48 hours and I've come to some conclusions...This controller is MUCH better built than the original Sixaxis controller. To make an analogy...imagine you have one of those under $20 basketballs and played with it for months. Now you go out shopping and buy an official NBA ball..all leather. That's the difference in this controller. All the buttons seem to have a slightly 'heavier' clicking sensation but probably the most importantly both analog sticks and the R1 and R2 buttons have more 'weight' to them. I found when playing Warhawk I could be much more accurate with this controller than I was with my old Sixaxis. If you take your games seriously and want to win...you'll definitely notice a difference...IMO.
The Sixaxis looks pretty much identical to the DualShock 3 but now that I've really played with it, I would never want to go back to the original Sixaxis.
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