Sony officially announced their upcoming handheld gaming device back in August, and whilst the PlayStation Portal Remote Player offers an awful lot in terms of accessing games installed on your PS5 from anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection, the run up to its release has been marred by what the device doesn’t include as well as what it does.
Requires PS5 console
Whilst the upcoming PlayStation Portal Remote Player appears a standalone console, Sony have confirmed that it will require twinning with a PlayStation 5 console to run. See, the PlayStation Portal remotely streams games from the console straight through to the device, and the PS5 will need to be turned on for the system to operate. Additionally, only one PlayStation Portal Remote Player can be connected to the PS5 console at any one time.
Plays compatible games stored on console
The entirety of your game library is playable on the PlayStation Portal including your favourites for both PS5 and PS4; the only caveat is they must be compatible with the handheld device. The implication here is that certain games simply won’t work on the Portal, but it’s more likely the entirety of your collection will stream to the device problem free. There’s no internal storage though; games simply must be streamed. No internal storage means there’s zero access to the PS Store either so if you want to play a game specifically on the Portal you’re going to have to sort it on your PS5 first.
No PS Plus Premium streaming
Whilst PS Plus Premium allows streaming of new games to your console, there’s no official word yet on whether this luxury will be extended to the PlayStation Portal, so for now its games that are installed on your console that are the only games playable.
PS Plus membership not required
And with PS Plus Premium’s capability to stream new games and games not installed to your home console not being extended to PlayStation Portal, Sony have confirmed that a PS Plus membership is not required to enjoy their upcoming handheld. However, if you’re using Remote Play to play a game that has multiplayer capability then you will need an active membership in order to play with others.
8” LCD Screen
Straightforward one this: the PlayStation Portal Remote Player features an 8” LCD screen. Whilst to some this size might not sound particularly impressive, remember the largest mobile phones are somewhere in the region of 6.5” to 6.8” with tablet computers something like 11”. The Nintendo Switch – a console Sony have been very clear is not intended as direct competition for their handheld – measures 6.2”. Sitting between pro-model cell phones and tablets is probably the right call for PlayStation Portal. The extra inch and a half it has over phones will make a sizeable difference once the device is in your hands. Oh, the fact it’s LCD and not OLED might irk some though.
1080p resolution, 60fps
The PlayStation Portal’s 8” screen is capable of streaming PS5 games up to 1080p resolution at 60fps, so not 4K but sharp enough to appear crystal clear and play smooth on a screen of this size.
Bookended by DualSense controllers
Yes, the DualSense Wireless features inherent in your PS5 controller are present and correct in PlayStation Portal. Haptic feedback and adaptive triggers will provide the same level of immersion on Sony’s latest handheld as they do on your home console, providing they’re supported by the game you’re playing that is. The sticks are lifted from the PSVR2 though, despite looking identical on the marketing imagery we’ve been treated to so far. The DualSense’s touch pad is replicated on the Portal’s screen via zones located in the bottom left and right of the screen.
The PlayStation Portal Remote Player does require a Wi-Fi connection to operate. However, this is not limited to your Wi-Fi network at home. Sony are clear though that your home Wi-Fi does represent the best option because you’re in control of the connection speed but disregarding this the Portal will work when connected to any Wi-Fi, anywhere. 5mbps is the minimum speed, with 15mbps being the optimum connection for the most streamlined, high quality play experience. The Portal will turn on your PS5 from anywhere though, so if you’re in a hotel room and you fancy a game you won’t need to text someone at home to turn your console on.
Does not require use of TV
Should the living room TV be in high demand – and, let’s be honest, when is it not – then PlayStation Portal can still be played. As already mentioned, the only prerequisite is that the PS5 console is turned on. Others can be watching a show, a movie, or even playing on another console, and the PlayStation Portal Remote Player will work fine.
A major feature overlooked perhaps; the lack of Bluetooth on Sony’s upcoming handheld has been derided by some. And to be fair, if you’ve a pair of Bluetooth headphones, then the lack of Bluetooth capability is a big miss. Weirdly – or, more likely, not weirdly but a strategic decision by Sony’s boardroom – the PlayStation Portal is PlayStation Link equipped, meaning it’ll work great with Sony’s latest PlayStation Pulse Explore earbuds and Pulse Elite headset. So wireless audio is possible, but you’ll have to shell out for another device to experience it.
Has speakers and 3.5mm audio jack
Another simple one to explain; PlayStation Portal Remote Player features built-in speakers and a 3.5mm audio jack, so for those of you still rocking wired-in headphones this is a great inclusion. Hands up if you still have headphones with a wire. That it? Hmm, seems like Bluetooth would have been a better inclusion than a 3.5mm jack, as welcome as that archaic feature is.
PSVR2 games not supported
Should go without saying really seeing as PSVR2 requires a PS5 to operate just like the PlayStation Portal, but Sony have felt the need to clarify that PSVR2 games are not compatible with their upcoming handheld.
Mixed response from the community
There’s the obvious reaction from many a gamer claiming that Sony is FINISHED, but truth is there’s not an awful lot PlayStation Portal does that a mobile phone and the PS Remote Play app can’t do already. Apart from remote switch on – which, admittedly is pretty neat if you’re out of the house – it doesn’t make much sense to shell out for a handheld companion to your PS5 console. If you want a more streamlined and simple way to connect to the games on your PS5 without the potential for glitches and signal drop-out so prevalent on the Remote Play app, then PlayStation Portal might be the answer. If you’re a mega-fan of remote gaming, then this is the device for you. Furthermore, those of us with kids that relentlessly demand use of the TV, or maybe those who work away a lot, or at least spend a great deal of time away from home, PlayStation Portal also appears a great option. The device’s hardware, screen, and DualSense controllers give it a further edge over a mobile phone and the PS Remote Play app too.
The PlayStation Portal Remote Player retails for £199.99 / $199.99. To be honest, given the price of PlayStation’s peripherals of late, this isn’t extortionate. Perhaps the more modest selling price is indicative of the PlayStation Portal’s lack of features.
Releases 15th November
The PlayStation Portal Remote Player releases worldwide on November 15th. Pre-orders can be placed via PlayStation Direct with those in the US able to order at Best Buy or Gamestop, whilst for UK residents a raft of retailers have pre-orders live now including Currys and Very.