May 27, 2024
PlayStation Portal

It seems that Sony has not taken any lessons from the Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck’s success. Or even from its own handheld devices, such as the PSP and Vita. The $200 PlayStation Portal is a handheld device that can only stream games from your PlayStation 5. Yes, technically it’s just another PSP. It cannot play anything locally, has no built-in apps, and is not connected to Sony’s cloud game streaming service. As the name suggests, it’s just a streaming window into your PS5.

As such, the device’s survival depends on the reliability of your internet connection. Although it’s primarily designed for use at home, you could theoretically use any Wi-Fi network to play remotely while on the go. However, that is only feasible provided your PS5 doesn’t crash or act strangely, and if both that connection and your home internet can keep up. Should something go wrong along the line, all you’ll have is a tacky $200 doorstop.

PlayStation Portal from Sony

Engadget:68

Critics – Not yet scored: A/N

Users – Not yet scored: A/N

Pros

  • Excellent DualSense-like controller
  • Decent streaming performance in ideal circumstances

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Connectivity can be fickle
  • Useless offline
  • No cloud streaming

The primary issue with the PlayStation Portal is that it’s hard to see why anyone should buy one given its obvious drawbacks. For instance, you could get a Backbone controller for $100 in order to stream games directly from your phone. Alternatively, you could use any current controller to use the PS Remote app on a Windows PC, Mac, phone, or tablet. The PlayStation Portal feels so outdated even before it comes because there are so many more convenient methods to play games while on the go.

Its design even appears disorganized; it appears as though Sony disassembled a DualSense controller and inserted a simple 8-inch tablet in the center. You can tap and swipe on the Portal’s screen in place of the DualSense’s center touchpad (though it was never as seamless as I would have liked). Positively, the Portal has the delightful haptics of the DualSense, and its futuristic black and white case complements the PlayStation 5 nicely.

Gallery: PlayStation Portal

The PlayStation Portal is similar to an enlarged DualSense controller in your hands. Although my fingers and palms were quite comfortable, the 8-inch screen made it difficult to balance. Not to mention how flimsy the screen’s bottom corners were, caught my attention. With its relatively narrow profile and large bezels, it looks just like a tablet. However, there is nothing to shield the lower portion of the Portal’s screen from a heavy fall or from being crushed inside of a backpack, unlike the Switch, Steam Deck, or even PlayStation Vita.

Although I’m sure the controller arms would provide some protection in many cases of falls, during my testing I couldn’t help but handle the device like a child. Even while I felt comfortable letting my 5-year-old daughter touch a Switch, I didn’t allow her to handle it during my evaluation. The Portal’s screen virtually begs to be broken; it’s like giving your child a costly doll that you know would break a leg in a day.

I’m confident that some PlayStation enthusiasts will use the Portal despite all of its drawbacks. Deputy Editor Nathan Ingraham and Executive Editor Aaron Souppouris of Engadget were both curious about playing on the couch while viewing other content on their TVs. I can also see the Portal’s limited appeal after using it for a while, but not for $200.

As someone who actually enjoyed the PlayStation Vita, I find Sony’s release of a bare-bones handheld device to be disappointing. While I don’t anticipate the Vita 2, at least provides real cloud gaming.

 

 

 

 

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