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PlayStation Portal Review

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PlayStation Portal Review

Before we dive in, let’s do some quick, rapid-fire questions. Do you frequently find yourself carrying your PS5 console around, perhaps moving it between different rooms or taking it with you on trips? Do you typically play your PS5 games on a shared household TV, sometimes having to take turns with roommates, kids, or partners? Have you ever wanted to simply relax in bed or lounge on the couch while playing your favorite PS5 games remotely? Or perhaps even enjoy gaming at your favorite coffee shop, far from home? 

Sony's latest innovation, the PlayStation Portal, could be the ideal solution for your gaming needs. This device is exclusively designed for handheld PS5 gaming, allowing you to stream your entire PS5 interface, including the menu, and play your favorite games on the go without being tethered to a TV. However, a strong Wi-Fi connection is necessary. Not to be mistaken with portable gaming devices like the Steam Deck, Nintendo Switch, or PS Vita, for that matter. Sony has clearly positioned the PlayStation Portal in their marketing as strictly a remote player, not a standalone gaming console. 

Even so, it’s easy to misconstrue its purpose, while some key features you may need are missing from the launch. Additionally, you’re probably already playing your favorite PS5 games on the go, streaming them on your phone, tablet, laptop, and via Chromecast. So, why exactly would you need the PlayStation Portal device? That’s what we intend to find out for you in our PlayStation Portal review.

Super Comfy

Unboxing the NEW PlayStation Portal

At first sight, the PlayStation Portal looks a little silly. It’s precisely your PS5 DualSense wireless controller cut in half, with an eight-inch screen placed in the middle of it. But in the world of tech, sight isn’t everything. Simply having the DualSense controller on each side of the device means you can enjoy the same ergonomic feel and design as one of the best controllers out there. Your hands hardly grow numb, even after extended hours of playthrough. 

Plus, the PlayStation Portal also comes with DualSense’s haptic feedback and adaptive triggers incorporated. It feels exactly the same way they would on the controller. You also have an added touch of the controller’s LED lighting, although shifted to the side, and they behave the same way, changing color depending on your gaming experience. Combined, they give the PlayStation Portal a futuristic feel, and the fact that you can use it for hours without it feeling heavy or uncomfortable is excellent.

A Handheld Accessory for the PS5

PlayStation Portal Remote Player - Pre-Order Trailer

To be clear, the PlayStation Portal serves one specific purpose: remote play. It lets you stream PS5 games using the “Remote Play” setting on your PS5 console to your dedicated PlayStation Portal device. So, the PlayStation Portal must be connected to a PS5 console to work. Additionally, the PS5 console it's connected to must be powered on or in rest mode. Otherwise, it won’t work. You’ll be surprised at how many parents will buy the PlayStation Portal for themselves or their kids, completely clueless about the fact that you absolutely must have a PS5 console to use it.

Setting it up for play is pretty easy. You only need to download the latest software updates and go through a simple setup guide, and you’re good to go. Every PS5 game you currently have on your console should be able to stream onto your PlayStation Portal. You can actually start to play them as soon as you unbox them—well, after charging them, of course. The buttons are identical to your DualSense, so no tutorial is needed there. However, the analog sticks are a little smaller in size compared to the DualSense, so it may take a little while to get used to it.

Easy on the Eyes

Say HELLO to the PlayStation Portal 🔥👋Play PS5 Games On THE GO #Playstation #gaming #ps5 /ad

With the controller side of things sorted, it comes down to the screen, which does play a massive part in delivering a great user experience. Otherwise, you may forego it for your usual TV gaming. But I’m glad to say that despite the screen being a non-OLED one, it streams the visuals and graphics more splendidly than you might think. Its LCD screen has a maximum 1080p resolution and a maximum refresh rate of 60 Hz. 

The colors jump off the screen with ease, and the details, including small text, are pretty clear and vivid. Even viewing it from an angle is just as good as, say, having a buddy looking over your shoulder. The only worry is playing the game in direct sunlight. Capping it to 100% brightness still wouldn’t do the trick, but hey, you could find some shade and enjoy better clarity.

You might also have noticed that the PlayStation Portal is significantly bigger than other portable gaming devices out there. It’s even bigger than most phones, say an iPhone 14 Pro Max that has a 6.7” display, while the PlayStation Portal boasts an 8” HD screen. If you’re using a tablet, you may enjoy a more prominent display, but does the tablet compare to the ergonomic feel of the PlayStation Portal? Hmm.

Fast and Responsive

PlayStation Portal starting window

The PlayStation Portal, aside from its initial setup stage where it takes some time to locate and connect to your PS5—a process that may be longer when you're at a distant location like a coffee shop or work—operates with impressive speed and responsiveness. Navigating the menu and choosing your desired game is quick and efficient. Starting the game and adjusting the controls are equally swift. This extends to the gameplay itself, especially during high-stakes moments. The PlayStation Portal's snappy performance is notable, particularly because it doesn't handle any processing itself.

Of course, the snappiness of your load times will also depend on your internet speed. If you intend to use the PlayStation Portal in your bedroom, perhaps you will experience some lag and stuttering if your wifi router is strongest in your living room. Also, you may want to confirm whether you have other ongoing streams in progress, say you have family watching a football game on the same connection or are downloading another game on your PS5. You’ll most definitely notice the difference in lags, which can actually cost a dime when playing competitive games or fast-reflex games like Call of Duty. Perhaps opt for casual gaming instead to avoid possible frustration.

Gaming from a Distance

PlayStation Portal and PlayStation 5

I have to say, though, that connecting to your PS5 console from miles away, provided you have access to a strong Wi-Fi connection, plays on relatively the same smoothness as connecting to your home router. It really changes one’s perspective as far as handheld PS5 streaming devices are concerned, because if you can enjoy a comfortable, ergonomic feel on several-hour playthroughs on a bigger, fluid screen, then why not? 

But note, it’d still be a luxury incentive rather than functional because, at the end of the day, the PlayStation Portal will serve the same purpose you can achieve on your phone and tablet.

No Bluetooth, Hello?

The PlayStation touch pad button is built into the touch screen on the PlayStation Portal! #ps5 #psp

As for sound, it’s, uhm, okay. It’s serviceable. It also supports stereo, catering to PS5 games that utilize this feature. Still, one annoying feature is missing here that, frankly, makes no sense whatsoever to have it missing, and that’s a lack of Bluetooth support. You cannot connect your Bluetooth headsets or earbuds to the PlayStation Portal. Only plugging in a wired headset via the 3.5mm jack will work, or the upcoming Sony's proprietary Pulse earbuds or over-ear headphones. Standard Bluetooth audio isn’t supported, which just makes no sense.

Also, if you want to use the PlayStation Portal via public Wi-Fi requiring a web sign-in, you can’t. See, the device doesn’t have any sort of web browser. So, uhm, yeah. Perhaps connecting to your mobile hotspot for those instances or holding on to see if future updates make the feature available. Speaking of updates, apparently the PlayStation Portal can theoretically support cloud gaming, but Sony isn’t currently making it accessible. 

While still on “lacking features,” you cannot also stream media. So, Netflix and YouTube are out of the question for the PlayStation Portal. While streaming media isn’t necessary for a pleasurable gaming experience, it’d have been a nice-to-have addition to justify the $200 asking price for some. 


PlayStation Portal with sony wireless ear buds

Overall, the PlayStation Portal offers some pretty incentivizing use cases but also comes with a few caveats of its own. At first, it’s easy to question its value, especially with the cheaper phone, tablet, or laptop substitute for handheld streaming. But the device does have surprises tucked in its sleeve, including a fast and responsive gaming experience, plus the coziness and comfortable feel even after playing on it for hours. It doesn’t heat up and has a decent battery life to boost. 

But, in place of its excellent ergonomic feel, is a somewhat silly and delicate design you may hesitate to throw in your backpack for on-the-go gaming. It makes it a rather niche device for gamers looking to play remotely from time to time. Also, the lack of Bluetooth support and web browsing doesn’t exactly open it up to a wider customer base. Whether to buy the PlayStation Portal handheld PS5 streaming device comes down to your personal needs and preferences. All the same, it’s a commendable step forward to a possible second portable Sony gaming device. Here’s to hoping!

PlayStation Portal Review

Super Comfy and Responsive

Say goodbye to carrying your PS5 to multiple rooms and on trips. Or having to wait for others to watch their shows before jumping into gaming. With the PlayStation Portal, you can enjoy playing your favorite PS5 games on the go. You only need to make sure you have a PS5 console to connect to and a strong Wi-Fi connection.


Evans I. Karanja is a freelance writer who loves to write about anything technology. He is always on the lookout for interesting topics, and enjoys writing about video games, cryptocurrency and blockchain and more. When not writing, he can be found playing video games or watching F1.