You have no idea how much I have been chomping at the bit for a new PlayStation portable console. I loved my PSP, and I loved my Vita even more. So when I saw the PlayStation Portal, I was initially unimaginably excited, followed by a feeling of “huh, that’s a thing.” Well, now I have the chance to take one for a spin to see if it’s worth $380.
So what is the PlayStation portal?
In short, it’s a hardware version of Remote Play. Once you have set it up, it essentially runs your games on your PS5 and streams them to this handheld device. The device itself is made up of a very nice OLED screen, a split-in-half controller, and that’s about it.
It is ugly as sin, but it feels pretty comfortable to use, and it is super light.
So PS5 games on the go?
Kinda. Your PS5 has to be on and connected to WiFi. The PlayStation Portal itself has to be connected to WiFi too, and pretty good WiFi at that. Tethering to my phone did not give me a good experience at all. Someone turned your PS5 off at home? No PlayStation Portal for you. WiFi issues at home? No PlayStation Portal at work for you.
So what the hell would you need one for?
Honestly, for me, the best use case is being able to play your PS5 around your own house. Wanna play Fortnight while you are on the toilet? Grab it and go. One shared TV, and Horizon Forbidden West just can’t wait 4 hours until the kids are in bed? Tuck yourself away in the shed with this beauty. Got COVID and are self-isolating in a bedroom? No need to cart your whole TV and PS5 into the room; just grab your PlayStation portal and go.
I’ve currently got the ‘vid, so it was a great time to be testing this out, and it’s been a godsend.
So it’s a fancy Remote Play device?
I mean, yeah. That’s exactly what it is. Instead of using your phone attached to a Bluetooth controller, you can enjoy this slick 8-inch 1080p screen.
There are some drawbacks, though. The most glaring is not supporting Bluetooth headphones. You can use the PlayStation Pulse headset with it for your wireless enjoyment, but if you use any other brand of headset, then you are out of luck.
The one benefit it has is that it’s surprisingly solid on the battery. I got close to 8 hours out of it, and that’s pretty damn good. When using remote play on my phone, I can strip that thing in about the same time. So having a dedicated device and letting my phone still do phone things is pretty sweet.
Should you get one?
I am really torn here. The PlayStation Portal is a really cool bit of tech and really handy for a lot of situations, the biggest being a shared TV limiting game time. But the lack of Bluetooth support and reliance on good WiFi mean that it will really only apply to a specific group of people.
So do I want one? Hell Yeah. Can I justify it at $380? Probably not.
It has some limitations, but the PlayStation Portal is still pretty damn cool!