- The Sony PlayStation Portal is a handheld gaming device that connects to the PlayStation 5 over Wi-Fi, allowing gamers to play their favorite games in another room of the house.
- Priced at $200, the PlayStation Portal offers an 8-inch LCD screen with a 1080p resolution and a controller similar to the PS5’s Dualsense controller, providing a similar gaming experience.
- However, the PlayStation Portal has limitations, as it can only stream games from the PlayStation 5 and does not support PS VR2 games or games streamed through the PlayStation Plus Premium cloud streaming platform. It also lacks Bluetooth connectivity.
Sony surprised everyone back in May when it announced that it was working on Project Q, a handheld gaming device that appeared to be a new take on the cloud gaming platform. In another surprising move today, Sony revealed some additional key information about the upcoming PlayStation Portal gaming console alongside the retail price.
In May, we reported that Sony’s upcoming Project Q would come with an 8-inch screen and the ability to play games at up to 1080p at 60fps. We didn’t know the name or how it would work back then. The quick peek didn’t offer much information, and we only saw a little piece of the full picture. Sony shared that the Portal would be a cloud-based system and that it could rely on the PlayStation 5 but not much else.
Fast-forward to today, Sony announced that its handheld gaming device will be called the PlayStation Portal. The gaming device will come with an 8-inch LCD screen with a 1080p resolution. The Portal also has a 3.5mm headphone jack, but it misses out on Bluetooth. The controller will be nearly identical to the PS5’s Dualsense controller in shape, feel, and features. It’ll have adaptive triggers and vibrating motors to provide a similar experience.
The device is intended to be the “perfect device for gamers in households where they might need to share their living room TV or simply want to play PS5 games in another room of the house.” The Portal will remotely connect to the PlayStation 5 over Wi-Fi, and users will be able to enjoy their favorite games for as long as they have a stable connection. It’s worth pointing out that PS VR2 games, which require the headset, and games streamed through the PlayStation Plus Premium cloud streaming platform will not be supported.
The PlayStation Portal will retail for $200 in the US, €220 in Europe, and £200 in the United Kingdom. Sony didn’t share when the Portal would become available, but pre-orders could start as early as this year.
The Sony PlayStation Portal offers too little for too much
The Logitech G Cloud retails for around $350, and the Razer Edge costs around $400. Both of these devices offer a competitive experience and let you play various games, including Android mobile games, and PC games, via cloud services. When you compare these against the PlayStation Portal, Sony’s option may be appealing until you find out that it’s limited to streaming games from a PlayStation 5. It can’t stream games from the PlayStation Plus Premium platform, and it’s solely intended to be used within your household.
The Portal doesn’t have cellular connectivity, and hotel Wi-Fi could offer a patchy performance. The Wi-Fi latency and connectivity are still an issue for many in North America, and it remains to be seen how reliably users can stream games from their PlayStation 5 console.
In its current form, the PlayStation Portal makes little to no sense for most users, and at $200, it’s extremely limited and relatively expensive for how little it can do. And to add insult to the injury, the Portal also lacks Bluetooth. Users can only use the PlayStation Link technology, and PS Link compatible devices to wirelessly listen to lossless audio. Luckily, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack, but this means that your existing wireless earbuds and headphones are out of the picture, and you’ll have to get new ones that could quickly add even more to the cost.
It’s worth noting that you could get your hands on the Steam Deck for a little more. The handheld from Valve lets you play full-fledged PC games and even some AAA titles, starting at just $399. The Nintendo Switch OLED costs $350, and it allows users play the entire Nintendo catalog and many other popular games from other publishers. These devices don’t rely on another gaming console, and can run games on their own. While they cost more, these can be used anywhere, even on a plane without any internet.
The PlayStation Portal seems like a promising device on paper, but the execution and the currently published features make it seem like Sony missed out on a big opportunity. If the Portal could stream games, and had Bluetooth, it could’ve offered a console-like gaming experience on the go, and it could’ve been an easy buy for millions of users. Instead, Sony opted for a market that appears to be very niche, and in the current stage, I don’t see a scenario where this becomes successful. It remains to be seen whether Sony adds the cloud gaming capability later down the line, but as we always say, buy a device for what it is today, and not for what it promises to be tomorrow.
IGN got to test out the PlayStation Portal early, and Bo Moore, the tech editor at IGN, made a quick hands-on video detailing some of the features. In case you’re interested, the video shows some of the limitations and the device in action.
Game at home or on the go with these consoles
The Sony Playstation 5 console is one of the most powerful gaming consoles on the market today, and it provides excellent performance and experience for playing AAA titles. It has a DualSense Wireless controller with immersive haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, and hundreds of games.
Valve Steam Deck
The Steam Deck supports a massive catalog of games from the Steam library, and it offers excellent performance and competitive gameplay in a small form factor. It’s one of the best handheld, portable gaming devices available in 2023.
The Nintendo Switch is currently one of the best gaming consoles on the market, as it lets you play your games on a huge display at home or in handheld mode with a 6.2-inch display when you need to hit the road.
Nintendo Switch OLED
The Nintendo Switch OLED is an improved version of the classic Switch. It replaces the screen with a larger OLED panel, and it has slightly revamped hardware that not only looks and feels better, but is also more enjoyable.
Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld
$299.99 $349.99 Save $50
The Logitech G Cloud is an excellent portable cloud gaming console. It has a large 7-inch display, an expandable MicroSD card slot, and a long battery life. It’s capable of streaming your favorite AAA titles and runs Android, supporting services such as NVIDIA GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming.
The Razer Edge promises to be the best Android gaming handheld console on the market, powered by the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 chip, and paired with a 6.7-inch 144Hz AMOLED display. The device still hasn’t been released, but we’re impressed with the functionality, form factor, design, and the ability to play any games via the cloud, using 5G or Wi-Fi 6.