Sony is taking a bold step into the handheld gaming landscape with the PlayStation Portal remote player, a device designed to stream PS5 games over Wi-Fi. With an eight-inch LCD screen boasting 1080p resolution at 60fps, the PlayStation Portal is set to launch later this year at a competitive price of $199.99. But what sets it apart from the current handheld devices on the market? Is it merely a way to stream PS5 games you already have installed on your PS5 onto a handheld for remote play, or does it offer something more?
Let’s delve into the top features of this intriguing device and see how it stacks up against the competition.
1. DualSense Wireless Controller Integration
- The PlayStation Portal integrates adaptive triggers, a feature that provides varying levels of resistance depending on the in-game action.
- This creates a more tactile and immersive experience, allowing players to feel the tension of drawing a bow or the recoil of a gun.
- Haptic feedback simulates touch sensations, providing nuanced vibrations that correspond to in-game events.
- This enhances the sensory experience, allowing players to feel different textures, impacts, and movements within the game.
2. Vibrant 8-inch LCD Screen
1080p Resolution at 60fps
- The 8-inch LCD screen supports 1080p resolution, delivering crisp and clear visuals.
- The 60fps frame rate ensures smooth gameplay, reducing motion blur and enhancing the overall visual experience.
3. Remote Connection to PS5
- The PlayStation Portal connects to the PS5 over Wi-Fi, allowing remote play from anywhere within the Wi-Fi range.
- This enables a seamless transition from playing on the PS5 console to the handheld device, providing flexibility and convenience.
4. Compatibility with PS5 Games
Supported Games and Audio
- The device can play supported PS5 games installed on the console, extending the gaming experience to a portable format.
- The inclusion of a 3.5mm audio jack allows for wired audio, enhancing sound quality.
- Note: PS VR2 games and games streamed through PlayStation Plus Premium’s cloud streaming are not supported, limiting compatibility to specific PS5 titles.
5. Integration with PlayStation Link Technology
Low Latency, Lossless Audio
- PlayStation Link Technology connects with Pulse Elite and Pulse Explore wireless audio devices.
- This ensures low latency and lossless audio, providing a high-quality sound experience without delays or distortions.
We’re going to compare the console with other products in a future article. For now, let’s also have a quick look at what early testers had to say.
Early reviews of the PlayStation Portal
Sean Booker from CNET took it for a spin, and here’s his summarized review:
- Display Impressions: he found the visuals to be sharp and crisp but expressed a preference for an OLED panel over the LCD for brighter and higher contrast.
- Weight and Feel: the Portal felt light to the tester, and the 8-inch LCD screen was appreciated, though no definitive comment on battery life was provided.
- Controls Experience: the controls, replicating the PS5’s DualSense controller, were well-received, though the analog stick pads were noted to be a little smaller.
- Gameplay Experience: games like Astro’s Playroom and Returnal felt exactly the same as playing directly on the PS5 console. The tester noticed no lag when playing, even in action-intensive games, though this was in a controlled demo room close to the PS5.
- Audio Devices Impressions: The new Pulse Explore earbuds and Pulse Elite headset were found to be light and comfortable, with high audio fidelity.
- Overall Impressions: The tester came out of the demo feeling positive about the experience but questioned whether the extra $200 was worth it, given existing Remote Play options with other devices.
Here’s what Bo Moore with IGN found:
- Design and Feel:
- The tester found the design a bit unusual compared to other handhelds but appreciated its light weight.
- The DualSense grips felt exactly like a regular DualSense controller, and all the best features were available, including haptic feedback and adaptive triggers.
- Visual Quality:
- The eight-inch 60Hz LCD display was praised for translating PS5-quality visuals into a handheld format.
- Colors were described as bright and vibrant, and the 1080p resolution offered a nice pixel density.
- Gameplay Experience:
- The tester played Astro’s Playroom, Horizon Forbidden West, and Returnal, and did not experience any noticeable latency.
- The Remote Play experience was described as smoother compared to other game streaming platforms.
- Audio and Connectivity:
- The Portal’s audio was described as passable but nothing special, and the lack of Bluetooth was noted.
- The tester got to test the new Pulse Elite headset and Pulse Explore wireless earbuds, which use Sony’s new PlayStation Link standard.
- Battery Life:
- The tester noted that battery life is a big question mark, as the size hasn’t been finalized, and expressed concern about potential short lifespan between charges.
- Overall Impressions:
- The tester saw the Portal as a compelling use case for situations like playing in a different room or when the TV is occupied.
- While not as portable as other devices like the Switch or Steam Deck, the tester found the Portal’s price and ability to play PS5 games out of the house appealing.