THE PLAYSTATION PORTAL IS THE BEST WAY TO PLAY PS5 ON THE GO BUT IT WORTH $200?

THE PLAYSTATION PORTAL

Despite Sony releasing some of the highest-selling gaming consoles ever, the company hasn’t had much luck in the handheld market. The 2004 PlayStation Portable reached a visual benchmark many thought wasn’t capable at the time, but it ended up being overshadowed by the less powerful but more innovative Nintendo DS. Sony gave handheld gaming another shot with the PlayStation Vita in 2011 with a simpler physical medium, PS3-level visuals and touchscreen and motion controls. Despite being a cult favorite, developer support quickly became dead in the water.

For the PlayStation Portal, Sony is taking a radically different approach to handheld gaming. Leaning into the Remote Play feature first introduced through the PS3, the latest PS5 accessory is designed strictly for streaming games from your PS5 console. It doesn’t matter if you’re at home or out of town: You’ll have access to their console from anywhere in the world as long as connection speeds are good enough.

What sets the PS Portal apart from using Remote Play through a computer or mobile device is that it features a fully functional DualSense controller with the same advanced haptics and adaptive triggers. The touch pad is replicated through the 8-inch LCD touch screen that features a native 1080p resolution at a smooth 60Hz. As an extra touch, the PS Portal also features dual internal speakers, a 3.5mm headphone jack for audio and a microphone.

Priced at $200, it’s definitely worth the money for those who live in a home with one television or are looking to play their favorite PS5 games in bed. When it comes to uses beyond the home, internet connection speeds will ultimately determine how enjoyable the PS Portal experience is. Regardless, as a singular-use Remote Play device, it’s one of the best portable ways to play PS5 games.

Here are our thoughts on the PS Portal after playing daily for a little over a week.
Playstation Portal remote player


The PlayStation Portal’s excellent controls and vivid screen make it a great way to stream your PS5 games away from your TV, but its limited functionality makes it hard to fully recommend to casual PlayStation gamers. And just like the PS5 when it launched, finding the Portal in stock may prove to be a rarity.

$200 at Best Buy
$200 at GameStop

What we liked about it
The best way to use Remote Play
Remote Play allows users to stream games from their PS5 and, as mentioned previously, can be used anywhere. Laptops, desktops, smartphones and tablets all have access to the feature. Remote Play can also be used with various controllers as well. This is what makes the PS Portal slightly confusing for many. What’s the reason for owning something for an app you can use on a device you already own? Well, because the PS Portal is solely dedicated to Remote Play, it includes some perks that makes it the ultimate way to use the feature.


The most obvious benefits are the inputs based around the PS5’s DualSense controller. Everything is there, including the traditional PS button layout, shoulder buttons and adaptive triggers. There are even the PlayStation, Share and Start buttons alongside a mute switch for the internal microphone and the same immersive haptic feedback you’ll get on a standard PS5 pad. Instead of using a touchpad, users can tap the touch or swipe the touch screen depending on the particular game played. Everything about the controller setup feels just as good as the DualSense controller. This allows for an uncompromised PS5 experience on the go.


Since it doesn’t require the same processing power of a typical laptop, smartphone or tablet, the the PS Portal has a significantly long battery life. Sony promises around seven to nine hours per charge. Juicing up the PS Portal takes around two hours from when it’s empty, which is fairly standard for modern mobile devices.

But while you can take the Portal anywhere, you’ll need to be somewhere with a stable Wi-Fi connection to actually use it. According to Sony, the PS Portal requires at least 5Mbps Wi-Fi speeds, though 15Mbps is recommended.

Beautiful 8-inch LCD screen and solid internal speakers


Like other devices that use Remote Play, the PS Portal can only stream as high as 1080p at 60 frames per second. Considering that Sony has touted the 4K/120Hz capabilities of its current gen system, some might consider that a downgrade. However, the 8-inch LCD screen makes the most out of those limitations.

Pixel quality is phenomenal on the PS Portal, and games look fantastic when internet speeds are stable. Whether you’re playing Spider-Man 2 or Gran Turismo 7, these games look amazing on the screen. Colors are bold and crisp, and blacks look great. The brightness is also good enough for the screen to be playable in bright daylight. Most mobile phones and tablets don’t look as good as the PS Portal when streaming PS5 games.

Then there are internal speakers that pump out clear audio and the right amount of volume — if you’re in a quiet enough area, at least. Just be mindful that many of Sony’s first-party games use spatial audio, which will require headphones or Sony’s Pulse Explore earbuds.

Works on any Wi-Fi connection
Though playing at home where the PS5 is located is the most ideal way to play a PS Portal, being able to play anywhere around the world via Wi-Fi can be great during those less than ideal situations. During our time with the device, home provided the most stable connection. Going to an office space, a friend’s home or an Airbnb with a good enough Wi-Fi is where some of the portability really starts to shine (though there are some issues we’ll address below).

The fact that users can be at an office and play Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is actually pretty cool. PS5 games aren’t the only games users can play either: The Portal can also run the downloadable Playstation, PS2 and PS4 games that are available on Sony’s latest system. This all adds up to a pretty robust catalog of games on the go.

Though many of those games are able to be bought by themselves, the PS Portal is especially great for those subscribed to PlayStation Premium, which gives you instant access to a large library of classic and modern titles. It was pretty cool being able to play games like the Wipeout Omega Collection and FantaVision away from my console. You can also use the Portal to download games to your PS5 remotely, which is a nice touch.

What we didn’t like about it
No Bluetooth or third-party headphone support


Beyond the internal speakers and 3.5mm headphone jack for audio, Sony offers its own wireless earbuds for the PS Portal. Priced at $200, the Pulse Explore earbuds deliver lossless, ultra-low-latency audio through the utilization of the company’s latest wireless protocol, PlayStation Link.

Due to the lack of Bluetooth, no other earbuds are compatible with the PS Portal at launch. This approach to wireless connectivity is understandable considering that it could potentially reduce latency, but it still feels slightly anti-consumer. You can’t even use transmitter-based earbuds through the USB-C charging port. Having to pay an extra $200 just to play games with wireless earbuds makes the Portal and Pulse Explore earbuds together more expensive than a Nintendo Switch.

Lack of cloud or non-gaming streaming
The PS Portal does an amazing job streaming native games from your PS5’s hard drive if connection speeds are adequate.

And that’s about it.

One of the most disappointing things about the PS Portal is that users can’t stream games from PlayStation Premium. This means that a large amount of PS3 games aren’t playable on the device. Considering the Portal is a streaming-only device, the lack of PS Premium support is shocking. Sony’s cloud gaming is already a bit lacking compared to what Microsoft offers with Xbox Game Pass, and the PlayStation Portal could’ve been a legitimate way to demonstrate the importance of the service. Hopefully, Sony will provide an update to allow the ability to stream games from its premium service, because it feels like a missed opportunity.

The Portal also can’t stream from video apps like YouTube and Netflix. The portable system is Android-based but doesn’t make the most of the operating system. Outside streaming from the PS5, the PS Portal doesn’t have much use. Some folks might be better off getting a cheaper smartphone controller like the Backbone One or Turtle Beach Atom or pairing a DualSense controller to your device. Adaptive triggers are incredibly cool in games but not that integral to the overall gaming experience. At least smartphones, tablets and laptops provide a wider range of things to do.

  • Wi-Fi connectivity has some limitations

The most concerning issue with the PS Portal is the lack of an internal web browser. Using regular Wi-Fi at home or a friend’s house is one thing; trying to take the PS Portal to a hotel or any place that requires a web-browser to login will be in trouble. This means that the portable device is relatively useless in a hotel.

Then again, Sony never marketed the device as something you could take anywhere. During our time with the Portal, usage in the home was usually relegated to playing on the bed while my partner watched “Baddies East.” I tried playing on an office connection a little over ten miles away from home and the experience wasn’t the smoothest, but it was playable depending on the game. Trying to play on a public Wi-Fi server at a location like Starbucks was a no-go.

Bottom line
A large departure from Sony’s previous ventures into handheld gaming, the PlayStation Portal’s potential success hinges on its single purpose of streaming native PS5 games. With a focus on Remote Play, it presents a dedicated device offering a unique and immersive experience for PS5 owners. The utilization of the full DualSense controller, an impressive 8-inch LCD screen and internal speakers contribute to a high-quality gaming experience, distinguishing it from alternative platforms like the Nintendo Switch.

The device’s portability shines in environments with stable Wi-Fi connections, allowing users to access their PS5 and play a diverse range of games remotely. The exceptional pixel quality on the 1080p LCD screen enhances the visual appeal of games, making them look stunning even when streaming limitations are considered. The extended battery life and the ability to download games remotely add practicality to the device.

However, it has some notable drawbacks. The lack of Bluetooth connectivity restricts audio options, forcing users into Sony’s proprietary and expensive Pulse Explore earbuds. A lack of support for streaming services like PS Premium, YouTube and Netflix, coupled with the inability to connect to Wi-Fi networks with web browser logins, limits the device’s versatility, especially compared to multifunctional alternatives like smartphones or tablets that you can use with an attachable controller.

Regardless of these drawbacks, the PlayStation Portal demonstrates Sony’s commitment to evolving the Remote Play experience. Future updates addressing some of its limitations, such as expanding streaming support and enabling web browser functionality, may further interest. As it stands, the Portal offers a compelling option for dedicated Remote Play enthusiasts, but its broader market appeal may be constrained by these limitations.

 

You may also like to know about -Sony’s portable PlayStation Portal is up for preorder right now — how to get yours

 

Sony just opened up a new gateway to constant gaming with the PlayStation Portal, its PS5 remote player. The handheld device is basically a 1080p screen grafted to the arms of Sony’s DualSense controller, and it’s available for preorder right now.


Sony’s PlayStation Portal links to your PS5 so you can keep gaming when using your TV is inconvenient.

$200 at Best Buy
$199 at Walmart

 

 

The $200 PlayStation Portal has a Nov. 15 release date, perfectly timed for holiday shoppers. Those splurging for themselves, though, can use it to keep playing Baldur’s Gate 3, Spider-Man 2 and anything else their heart desires when the TV is inevitably taken over by the Thanksgiving and Black Friday NFL games (or the annual yule log video).

We mention using the PlayStation Portal when your TV is otherwise occupied because remote play requires connecting to the home Wi-Fi network your PS5 is on. Sony notes you’ll need broadband speeds of at least 5Mbps to play, with a recommendation of 15Mbps. Chatting with folks excited for its release, we’ve already heard about how the PlayStation Portal looks like the perfect way to level up in your favorite game while lying in bed.

As for other specs, its 8-inch LCD screen offers 1080p resolution at up to 60 frames per second. And if you love the DualSense controllers for their adaptive triggers and haptic feedback, know that the Portal offers those same perks. It just won’t support Bluetooth accessories, dropping that wireless standard for Sony’s new PlayStation Link technology. The company promises low-latency, lossless audio in its upcoming Pulse Explore earbuds and Pulse Elite headset. Cloud streaming isn’t supported either, so you’ll need to install games on your PS5 before playing them.

While third-party alternatives, such as a phone with a Backbone controller or the Razer Edge, exist, no competitor gives you the same feel of unified PS5 hardware. And for that reason alone, there’s reason to believe that many will buy early, leading to a revival of the PS5 restock situation we only recently exited. Sony, aware of such a potential issue, is limiting preorders to one per customer at its online store. We can’t wait to test the PlayStation Portal for ourselves, so stay tuned for our full review.

 

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