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PlayStation Portal: It Can Change Your Life, But it Can also be Very Frustrating


In the past, the only thing I’ve resent most about travel (aside from the other negatives in it) is the fact that I’m unable to take the PlayStation 5 with me. Because of the PlayStation Portal, I can finally get that done.

Sony’s price of $200 for the Remote Play (a feature that allows you to stream PS5 games to other devices like your smartphone) device for PS5 can be both exciting and a pain. With Portal, it is possible to take your PS5 games with you without having to carry around a massive console or compromise on the quality of graphics or loading times. All you require is a stable WiFi connection, and you’ll be able to enjoy your PS5 games wherever you go without losing any data.

But reliable WiFi isn’t always easy to locate. Due to its reliance on reliable internet connections and small features. The PlayStation Portal is decidedly not my favorite device, but one I’ll, however, take with me whenever I travel out of town in the future.

What I am in love with is the PlayStation Portal

At first look, PlayStation Portal looks like the long-awaited (but unfortunately, it’s unlikely to ever happen) successor to Sony’s previous PSP as well as Vita portable consoles. It also appears rather silly since it’s a huge LCD screen that’s tuck between two halves of the DualSense controller.

It’s a fun idea that actually performs well. This DualSense controller that comes with each PS5 is the most powerful controller Sony has ever made, in addition to Portal. feels exactly like it. It’s done! It’s not over, however.

It Feels Amazing in the Palm of your hand

Sony actually came with the exclusive haptic mechanism, which includes an incredibly precise controller rumble as well as dynamic triggers, which are available with Portal. Through my experimentation with the built-in game Astro’s Playroom on the console, I was able to confirm that everything felt exactly the same as it had when I initially turned on my PS5 in 2020. 

Astro’s feet created an enjoyable tap-tap-tap sensation with each step, and the triggers were a bit stiff whenever the game needed them.

Portal’s weight is the only restriction on this. At 529g or slightly more than 1 pound, Portal is quite light. It’s certainly not heavy or difficult to hold; however, it’s nearly twice as heavy as the DualSense controller by itself. It’s slightly awkward to carry with just one hand, but apart from the fact that it’s heavy, I don’t think it’s a big issue here.

A Fantastic method for playing RPGs

One aspect which is fundamentally a problem for a gaming device is the delay. It’s impossible to avoid the possibility of a small and almost invisible gap between pressing an icon and seeing something happen on screen with PlayStation Portal. The good thing is that in a majority of games, this isn’t a problem to you in the least.

A case in point: I am a huge fan of RPGs.Along with Octopath Traveler II, I have played a number of role-playing games (RPGs) on Portal, including Dragon Quest XI, Star Ocean: The Second Story R, and Tales of Arise. 

 I found it to be a great opportunity to play these games. If I was just slogging away to earn experience points or playing sidequests, it’s enjoyable for me to enjoy these kinds of games with a handheld player while watching soccer on my television.

Playing Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 on Portal was also unexpected. In reality, the one thing I’d avoid is twitchy action games that are first-person shooters, especially. Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t even the most twitchy shooter out there However, I found it to be a bit difficult for me to use on Portal. Aiming for precise headshots on a small screen with a tiny amount of delay in the middle of an intense firefight isn’t a great experience.

More powerful than any phone

One of the most common arguments against Portal is that it’s a $200 gadget designed for a task that you already do with a smartphone. You can connect to a DualSense controller on mobile devices, which means you won’t be able to enjoy the haptic feedback.

I don’t think it’s difficult to counter the argument that $200 is a large amount of money to pay for a readily available service. However, the 8-inch LCD screen on Portal is a lot bigger than what you’d see on your typical smartphone. The size is impressive, but I do believe that the design of the DualSense split in half, with a huge, honkin’ screen that is in the middle is better for gaming as opposed to an iPhone that has a controller from another manufacturer that is glued to the display.

Portal’s display can get the job completed; however, its max 1080p resolution and 60Hz refresh speed aren’t going to impress anyone. The last statistic is intriguing because there are PS5 games that allow 120Hz gaming on TVs that are compatible. It’s not possible to play on Portal. Yes, it’s frustrating; that’s not the case, but it’s the snags.

What I don’t like about the PlayStation Portal

At the moment, you could be thinking that the Portal is an awesome device, but it has two minor drawbacks. Let me break that illusion a bit.

Connection Lost

Without hesitation, Portal had an incredibly difficult time maintaining steady connectivity to PS5 while I was testing. Certain sessions were okay-to-good; however, the majority of the time I’d get an error in disconnecting after 15 or 20 minutes. This happened when I was sitting just at a distance of six feet from the PS5.

The issue can be quickly and easily resolved, which is a plus. If the portal is disconnected, your game is suspended, and your screen will stop for between 5 and 10 minutes, then request to connect. The process takes only a few seconds, which means it’s a minimum 30-second inconvenience each time it occurs. I’ve never experienced a scenario where the portal could not instantly reconnect to the console when I requested it.

It’s not a major issue for the experience in any way. However, it’s very frustrating. Portal is able to make updates for software, which means that maybe Sony could fix this issue, but for the moment it’s a capital P issue.

Technically speaking, this isn’t anything new

To avoid repeating my mistakes, Portal costs a couple Benjamins to recreate the experience I experienced without “free” by just owning a PS5 and smartphones. The price isn’t particularly impressive. There’s nothing more to say about this. It’s easy to see the point.

None Bluetooth

It’s not my intention to mumble about the subject for too long. PlayStation Portal only supports wired headphones, as well as PlayStation-branded first-party headphones that can be used for personal audio input. Your AirPods aren’t compatible here.

The most difficult part? The first-party headphones aren’t available yet. You’ll need a pair of Sony’s own “PlayStation Link” technology, and at present, it is available in the Pulse Explore headphones and the Pulse Elite headphones. The first is available on December 6 for $199, and the latter won’t be out until February 21 for $149. Boo!

What’s the ‘eh’ of PlayStation Portal

Perhaps the most important question I have regarding Portal is how its use will differ based on your individual situation.

Your mileage could be different

I was allowed to test it using my home network as well as at the Mashable offices, and as I stated earlier, I found that the former was superior in comparison to the latter.

The internet at my place is a huge pain. Speeds vary at best. There are good and bad days, and we are often slowed in the evenings during the week. Considering everything, it appears that the portal was rather effective! In fact, if you have better internet access than me I’m sure you’ll enjoy a better experience than I did.

However, if the internet is an issue in your day-to-day life, I’d worry about Portal.

PlayStation Portal Battery life

There’s some good news regarding Portal to wrap up However, there is a lot of good news about Portal.

The battery life of this device isn’t great by any means; however, you can expect about six to eight hours from a full charge. To me, this is adequate for the features Portal can offer. Since this device doesn’t have any actual horsepower on its own, there’s no snarling fan noise or obvious heating issues like those you’d see on a top-of-the-line handheld gaming device like the Lenovo Legion Go. Legion Go by Lenovo

It’s cool, peaceful, and has enough time to avoid becoming serious.

The Final Thoughts

PlayStation Portal has caused a real dilemma for me during the process of reviewing. It’s either a wonderful device, but it also stinks, or is a bad device that has rules. I have no idea what it is; maybe it isn’t that important.

It’s got plenty of small and big issues for me to advise you to put this beast into the Amazon cart and shell out $200 for it. The game’s moment-to-moment play can be (and generally is) amazing on Portal; however, frequent issues with connection and significant variance due to differences in network settings make it difficult to recommend it.

Despite everything, I find that I use it practically daily. I’ve even lost track of the PS5 at home in my room, choosing to play my small RPG games via Portal while watching television. Portal’s fantastic design as well as its excellent display and overall utility have overshadowed its many issues for me.

Perhaps they won’t be to your liking; however, I’m unable to simply declare “this thing sucks” and go on. It’s not always as simple.

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