The PlayStation Portal is a unique piece of hardware for a very specific audience, something that makes it tough to peg whether it’s worth getting or even good enough to consider.
PlayStation fans have been asking for a portable device since PlayStation Vita. With portable gaming devices in vogue once again thanks to the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch, the time is seemingly ripe for a new PSP. Fans aren’t getting one, though.
The PlayStation Portal is a new device that exclusively streams games from a PlayStation 5. It’s not a stand-alone console like the Nintendo Switch, nor is it as versatile as the Steam Deck. It is a DualSense controller with a screen in the middle, and just enough software to do remote play. The Portal is made for a very small subset of PlayStation gamers, with a premium price tag that will challenge consumers to determine whether it’s worth getting.
Reviews are in and many are full of praise for the device, honing in on its comfort and its usability. Others are not as positive, citing severe limitations in functionality and scope that make it unworthy of the asking price.
Is the PlayStation Portal good?
The PlayStation Portal is a great device for streaming games over Wi-Fi from the PlayStation 5. For anything else, it’s a paperweight.
The Portal needs a PlayStation 5 to function. It’s not streaming games from the cloud, it’s streaming them directly from a PlayStation 5 via the remote play function. A good, stable Wi-Fi connection is necessary for it to function properly. The device doesn’t have cellular connectivity, so players are stuck using it at home, on Wi-Fi, and that’s it.
Thankfully, it works well under those conditions, allowing players to play their installed library anywhere with good Wi-Fi remotely. Besides streaming games running on the PlayStation 5, the PlayStation Portal has little use. It cannot run media apps, so the 4-6 hours of battery life can only be used for gaming.
Is the PlayStation Portal worth it?
The PlayStation Portal is worth it for PlayStation diehards with a single TV, but nobody else.
It’s a great device for players who want a superior remote play experience than using their phone, or gamers wanting to play their PlayStation games in bed. For those who are living with a large family or those who have children and want to get some time in on not-safe-for-kids games like Mortal Kombat during waking hours, the PlayStation Portal is worth considering.
But apart from those very limited use cases, the Portal is a restrictive device. It doesn’t function without the internet, doesn’t have cloud streaming, cannot play media, and is expensive for what it is. Ultimately, the device is just for running a mobile app that works on basically any modern smartphone.
The PlayStation Portal is optional for PlayStation gamers. The consensus is that the Portal can be a good supplement, but that it comes at a disproportionately high cost. Reviewers also note that the screen quality is not stellar, either. The colors pop, but it’s still an LCD screen with average viewing angles so it’s still not even fully optimized within its niche.
It’s still a solid device for what it is, but users will ultimately have to decide whether they’re willing to spend its high asking price when there are so many comparable alternatives.