Being using the PlayStation Portal for a month — here’s my verdict

    I’ve spent the last month using the PlayStation Portal, and I’ve been consistently pleased by this PS5 device. I didn’t expect to like this remote-play gadget so much when it was released, but now that I have one, I’m pleased Sony took a chance on the Portal.

    It’s not only me who is smitten with the PlayStation Portal. The portable gadget is now generating a lot of buzz. The gaming device is among the most in-demand electronic goods in the globe ahead of the holiday season, and PlayStation Portal replenishment tracking has become a daily requirement for those desperate to get their hands on one.

    If you’re currently researching where to buy a PlayStation Portal, or trying to decide if the dedicated remote play machine is worth its not-insignificant $199 price tag, then let me run you through the highs (and lows) of my first month with the PS Portal.

    Delightfully well-designed

    The design of the PlayStation Portal is the most noticeable feature. In simply, it’s a split PS5 DualSense controller with an 8-inch display wedged between each side. And, as strange as it may appear to some, its major advantage over competitors such as the BackBone One is that it feels premium to play on.

    Switching from your PS5 console to the PlayStation Portal does not necessitate retraining your brain (and fingers) to a new control scheme. Instead, all of the buttons are located in the expected locations. This allows you to seamlessly move between playing on your console and Portal. Your muscle memory will be transferred, and the DualSense’s cutting-edge technology will be here as well including adaptive triggers and haptic feedback.

    It also helps because the Portal’s 8-inch LCD screen is almost definitely larger than the display on your smartphone, which is what the BackBone One or Razer Kishi V2 use. Despite my desire for an OLED PlayStation Portal, I’ve been delighted with the crispness of the Portal’s LCD screen, and graphically attractive PS5 titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and Alan Wake 2 still look excellent when played on the Portal.

    PlayStation Portal

    The Portal’s hefty form sacrifices some of the flexibility that comes with one of the finest phone controllers, but the greater play experience outweighs the inconvenience of having to handle a heavier gadget. Plus, as I’ll explain later, the Portal isn’t a travel gadget, so its lack of mobility in comparison to certain alternatives isn’t a deal breaker.

    Playing in new places

    Naturally, the PlayStation Portal allows you to play the greatest PS5 games almost anywhere in your home. You’ll need a home internet connection that reaches throughout the house, but one of the finest Wi-Fi extenders may help you avoid dead zones.

    My PS5 is now connected to a television at my home office, which works well for me most of the time, but now I can take my gaming sessions absolutely wherever in my little apartment. If I want to play Elden Ring in bed, I can, and if I want to play a few games of EA Sports FC 24 in the kitchen, I can.

    PlayStation Portal

    I’ve recently begun a second playthrough of Cyberpunk 2077 to check out the new Phantom Liberty expansion pack, and it’s been a true relationship-saver to be able to explore Night City from the sofa as my partner binges her favorite Netflix series right next to me.

    When playing single-player games on my 260 MB/s home Wi-Fi, I’ve scarcely noticed a reduction in fps. I’ve seen moments where the visual quality has dipped dramatically, but they only last a few seconds and are uncommon enough that they don’t interfere with my ability to enjoy Portal gameplay.

    I’ve had some difficulties playing multiplayer, but that’s a constraint I can live with. I save my online sessions for the PS5 and mostly utilize the Portal to work on major RPGs and open-world titles.

    It’s not for everybody

    PlayStation Portal

    As much as I’ve complimented the PlayStation Portal above, I believe it comes with a huge caveat. There’s no getting around the reality that your mileage may vary. Overall, I’ve had a very pleasant experience, although I’ve heard accounts from coworkers who have had the opposite experience and found the gadget nearly useless.

    It is difficult to predict how the PlayStation Portal will respond to a certain network environment until you have it in your hands and can try it for yourself. That’s why, if at all feasible, I recommend checking out a friend’s Portal before committing to purchasing one.

    It’s also worth noting that the PlayStation Portal is not a travel device. Last month, I took it on a trip to see how it would fare with hotel Wi-Fi, and the results were extremely poor. To Sony’s credit, the Portal’s marketing materials explicitly explain it requires “home Wi-Fi” to function, and it’s never been positioned as a Nintendo Switch killer. So, if you want a gaming gadget for playing on the go, then the Portal isn’t what you’re after, perhaps you should consider the Steam Deck OLED instead?

    Should you buy a PlayStation Portal?

    If you want to be able to play your PS5 pretty much anywhere in your house, the PlayStation Portal is a good investment. It provides a better playing experience than competitors such as the BackBone One, and in my experience, it plays games smoothly with very slight visual hitches.

    However, if you have total control over the TV to which your console is attached and have no need to play your PS5 games anywhere else in your home, you may simply go without the PlayStation Portal. The portable device does not play games natively, and its appropriateness for travel is dubious.

    Nonetheless, if you have a strong home Wi-Fi network and know what you’re doing, the PlayStation Portal is a truly handy, if expensive, device. And it’s one that I’ve found myself starting up a lot in the previous four weeks.

    Purchasing a PlayStation Portal is, of course, easier said than done at the moment. Since mid-November, most major merchants have been out of stock. That’s why we follow PlayStation Portal restocks every day, so be sure to read our comprehensive guide as we’ll tell you when the gadget becomes available so you don’t have to pay an exorbitant resale price.

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