Discovering the PlayStation Portal: A Hands-On Review of Sony’s Remote Play Handheld for PS5

Sony’s new PlayStation Portal, set to launch on November 15th, is a $199.99 device designed specifically for streaming games via Wi-Fi from your home PlayStation 5. It requires ownership of Sony’s pricey console.

Unlike cloud streaming services like Nvidia’s GeForce Now or Sony’s PlayStation Plus Premium subscription, the Portal does not support cloud streaming and cannot run any local applications. This raises questions about its purpose, given that similar features are already available on other devices. After spending time with it, I remain unsure of its necessity.

The Portal hardware resembles an eight-inch LCD screen positioned between two halves of a standard DualSense controller. With a 1080p resolution and 60Hz refresh rate, it offers satisfactory performance. Additionally, it features Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), a 4,370mAh non-removable battery, top-firing stereo speakers, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and connects with Sony’s new PlayStation Link-enabled headphones for lossless audio. Notably, Bluetooth connectivity is not supported.

Games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 are right on the edge of playability with the Portal’s latency, but it works fine.

The Portal closely resembles the feel of the DualSense controller but includes an eight-inch touchscreen. It retains the DualSense’s haptics and adaptive triggers, with similar risks of stick drift after prolonged usage.

Despite its bulky appearance, the Portal is relatively lightweight at 530 grams. Its ergonomic design offers comfortable grips, making it suitable for extended play.

After testing various PS5 games with the PlayStation Portal, including Resident Evil 4, Armored Core VI Fires of Rubicon, and Astro’s Playroom, it delivers a familiar experience. It resembles other streaming solutions I’ve used in the past, albeit with a more streamlined setup due to its purpose-built design.

Pay $200 for this or use a slightly less elegant solution for free

The Portal is most suitable for streaming single-player games. However, streaming quality varies, and occasional connectivity issues persist. Priced at $200, it appears to target diehard PlayStation fans despite other available alternatives.

Further exploration of the PlayStation Portal is necessary to uncover its distinct advantages over alternative gaming controllers. Initial impressions suggest that its target audience comprises dedicated PlayStation enthusiasts seeking a convenient tool for in-home game streaming.

Photography by Antonio G. Di Benedetto / The Verge


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