PlayStation Portal: Is It Worth Buying?


Sony is launching its latest handheld gaming gadget, the PlayStation Portal. If you’re a fan of Sony’s previous handheld consoles, you might remember the PlayStation Portable (PSP) from 2005. Unfortunately, it was discontinued without any follow-up models, which disappointed many fans.

Now, nearly two decades later, Sony is introducing a new handheld device with a similar name, but it’s quite different from the old PSP. With the gaming industry expanding and more handheld devices available, Sony decided to enter this market and put their unique twist on it.

So, what exactly is this new device, and should you consider buying one for yourself or as a gift during the holiday season? There’s been some confusion, but we’ll explain all you need to know about Sony’s PlayStation Portal before it hits the market.

What is the PlayStation Portal?

Sony gave us a sneak peek of their latest handheld gaming device back in May, and they named it the PlayStation Portal on August 23, 2023. This name might remind you of the 2005 PSP, but the Portal is quite different. It’s primarily designed for remote play with your PlayStation 5 (PS5). Without a PS5 and a good internet connection, you won’t be able to use the Portal.

Unlike standalone consoles like the Nintendo Switch or Valve’s Steam Deck, the Portal is more like an accessory. It doesn’t have storage, and it won’t function without being connected to a home device. In simple terms, you must own a PS5 to use the Portal.

In terms of design, picture a DualSense controller split in half with an 8-inch LCD screen in the middle. It offers the same features as the DualSense, like haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, with slightly smaller analog stick pads borrowed from the PSVR2’s controllers.

Sony is also launching a wireless connectivity feature called PlayStation Link, along with two new headset devices: the PULSE Elite wireless headset and the PULSE Explore wireless earbuds. These accessories will be available for purchase in the coming months but are not yet up for pre-order.

What are the pros and cons?

The PlayStation Portal is a unique product that has left some consumers puzzled. So, what are the upsides and downsides? Let’s break it down.

The standout feature is its remote play capability. It’s great for gamers who like the flexibility of playing in bed, on the couch, or when someone else is using the TV. It’s not limited to home use—you can play your PS5 games while traveling, as long as you have a stable internet connection. Sony recommends a minimum of 5 Mbps, with 15 Mbps for the best experience.

Battery life is similar to the DualSense controllers, ranging from 4 to 5 hours with all features on, and potentially up to 12 hours with some features turned off.

However, there are drawbacks. Unlike the PSP or Nintendo Switch, the Portal only streams games from your main console, so you can’t play games that aren’t already installed on your PS5. It lacks Bluetooth functionality, so you’ll need Sony’s new headphones for wireless audio. It uses an LCD screen, not the OLED display found in the Nintendo Switch and PS Vita, which disappointed some gamers.

If you want remote play without buying the Portal, Sony’s Remote Play feature allows you to stream games to other devices like your phone, tablet, or computer.

How much does it cost?

The PlayStation Portal is priced at $199.99, making it somewhat expensive but still accessible for many consumers. Don’t expect Black Friday or Cyber Monday discounts, as it’s a first-generation product launching around the holiday season.

The Pulse Explore wireless earbuds also cost $199.99, the same as the Portal, and the Pulse Elite wireless headset is priced at $149.99.

When does it launch?

The PlayStation Portal will be released on November 15, 2023, in several countries, including the U.S., United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, Canada, and Japan.

The Pulse Explore wireless earbuds will be available on December 15, 2023, and the Pulse Elite wireless headset will be released on February 21, 2024.

Also read: Online Games for PC in 2023: Free and Paid