As of today there's a new way to enjoy your favorite PlayStation 5 games. PlayStation Portal, a remote player for PS5, launched Nov 15 for $199. The hardware design looks slick, but with so many options for Remote Play on PlayStation 5 will this portable player find its way into your hands?
PlayStation Portal has Pulse Controller-style grips with an 8 inch screen in the middle. The LCD panel outputs 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second. For situations where your TV is occupied by another member of the household or you're at work and want to do a quick gaming session on your break the PlayStation Portal will allow you to keep gaming on the go…with some limitations.
Gaming on the go
To be clear, Portal is not a standalone device. The games are actually being played off of your PlayStation 5 and you're just experiencing them through PlayStation Portal. This is the same experience you would have if you were using Remote Play on your phone to enjoy your PlayStation 5 games.
In order to play games, your PlayStation must be connected to Wi-Fi and your portal needs to be connected to Wi-Fi (but don't worry, they don't have to be on the same Wi-Fi network, you could play, for example on hotel Wi-Fi when traveling).
This also means games have to be downloaded on your PlayStation 5. You're not going to be able to stream PlayStation Plus titles to Portal.
The new Pulse Elite Headset is compatible with PlayStation Portal
Recently Sony acquired a new, premium, wireless audio format. This new format is included in Portal. While it should improve audio quality and latency in gameplay, it means you will also need to upgrade to the very pricey Pulse Elite headset (available in early 2024) or Pulse Explore earbuds (available early Dec 2023) . Portal is not compatible with Bluetooth audio so your choices are to use the 3.5 mm audio port or drop $249 USD for a new set of earbuds or headphones that work with Portal.
Too many tradeoffs?
To be transparent, we have not been hands on with Portal yet, but we have some reservations. There is such a wide variety of controller grips (like the Backbone One or Razer Kishi V2) and inexpensive clamps that attach to your PS5 controller and phone that will give you a similar remote play experience. And with more titles that were previously exclusive to PlayStation arriving on Steam (The Last of Us, Spider-Man, and Returnal), maybe the new OLED Steam Deck is a more appealing portable player for some?
But on the other hand, we would really like to see PlayStation relive the glory days of the excllent PSP.
The 8 inch screen of the Portal would be larger than you would get with your phone, but is the tradeoff worth buying a whole new device? Especially if you have to buy new earbuds or headphones as well, whereas your phone and Remote Play already work with your existing earbuds.
What are your thoughts on PlayStation Portal? Do you plan to get one or are you skipping this portable player? Let us know your reasons in the comments.