Announced under the codename Project Q during the PlayStation Showcase in March 2023, the PlayStation Portal marks the return of PlayStation handhelds. This innovative device offers the opportunity to stream top-notch PS5 games from anywhere with a robust Wi-Fi connection.
While the PlayStation Portal may not fully replicate the legacy of Sony’s handheld consoles like the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Go, the prospect of enjoying streamed PS5 games is undeniably appealing. Let’s delve into the key details about the PlayStation Portal, gleaned from information shared on the PlayStation Blog and a hands-on preview published by IGN.
Price and Availability of the PlayStation Portal
Upon its impending release later this year, the PlayStation Portal is set to be priced at $199. Currently, there appears to be a single available configuration for the remote player. As of now, there is no information available about potential peripherals for this device. Sony is expected to unveil further details about the commencement of pre-orders for the PlayStation Portal in due course.
Design Elements of the PlayStation Portal
The design of the PlayStation Portal combines elements of familiarity and novelty. Resembling two halves of a PlayStation DualSense controller, the device boasts an 8-inch LCD display positioned in the center. Although this configuration might seem unconventional, the overall design maintains a semblance of similarity to leading gaming handhelds, especially concerning button placements and grips.
Physical Attributes and Display
The PlayStation Portal’s physical attributes include a single USB-C port for charging and a 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom, along with a pair of speakers and a volume rocker at the top. Notably, the button layout and grip design mirror that of the DualSense controller, aligning with the PlayStation aesthetic.
In terms of display, Sony has disclosed that the PlayStation Portal features an 8-inch 1080p LCD display with a refresh rate of 60Hz. While the official announcement does not explicitly state it, the aspect ratio appears to be 16:9, consistent with the majority of PlayStation games. Detailed assessment of display brightness and color accuracy requires further testing, but the combination of a 1080p resolution and 60Hz refresh rate should deliver crisp visuals and smooth performance. It’s worth noting that the 8-inch display surpasses the dimensions of the 7-inch panels found on competitors like the Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck.
Technical Specifications of the PlayStation Portal
Given its role as a dedicated streaming device, the PlayStation Portal doesn’t demand the same level of CPU and GPU power as a device intended for local gaming. However, considering the typical battery life of DualSense controllers ranging from 6 to 12 hours, the battery performance may not be exceptional. Nevertheless, even a 6-hour battery life would outlast competitors like the Steam Deck and Asus ROG Ally, which generally offer less than 2 hours of gaming time (albeit for locally run games).
The DualSense controller segment of the PlayStation Portal retains all the features of the authentic controller, including haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, and touchpad functionality. The device’s screen incorporates two touch areas to simulate the touchpad experience.
Connectivity and Features of the PlayStation Portal
The PlayStation Portal leverages the existing Remote Play app, compatible with both the PS5 and high-quality gaming PCs and laptops. This novel device supports Wi-Fi and incorporates the new PlayStation Link wireless technology. Instead of local processing, video content is streamed from the PS5. Notably, gameplay streaming is not confined to the same room or network; a strong home connection and a reliable play location suffice.
The PlayStation Portal offers the remarkable capability to engage with your PS5 games even from considerable distances. However, owning a PS5 is a prerequisite for utilizing this handheld, as it exclusively relies on streaming and lacks local processing capabilities. Interruptions in Wi-Fi connectivity or PS5 usage render the handheld inoperative.
It’s worth highlighting that due to the absence of Bluetooth connectivity, connecting the device to wireless headsets isn’t feasible. Nonetheless, the introduction of PlayStation Link, Sony’s new connectivity standard, allows compatibility with devices such as the recently introduced Pulse Elite headset and Pulse Explore wireless earbuds. Although currently limited to these headsets, Sony plans to extend the availability of PlayStation Link to third-party products in the future.
Outlook for the PlayStation Portal
PlayStation Remote Play has been part of the gaming landscape since the era of the PS3. While this feature facilitates game streaming to various devices, the experience hasn’t consistently been flawless. The PlayStation Portal, purpose-built to leverage Remote Play for gaming, aims to offer a more seamless and consistent experience.
Sony pledges to unveil further insights about the PlayStation Portal in the forthcoming weeks. Stay tuned to this post for the latest updates on Sony’s upcoming gaming handheld.