The PlayStation Portal signals the return of PlayStation handhelds. Originally announced as Project Q during March 2023’s PlayStation Showcase, this new device will allow you to stream the best PS5 games anywhere with a strong Wi-Fi signal.
While the PlayStation Portal might not be the glorious return of Sony handhelds like the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Go, the ability to play PS5 games — even if they’re streamed — seems enticing. Here’s what we know about the PlayStation Portal, based on details provided on the PlayStation Blog and a hands-on preview IGN posted.
PlayStation Portal: Price and availability
The PlayStation Portal will cost $199 when it launches on November 15. Right now, it seems there is only one available configuration of the remote player. We also don’t know what, if any, peripherals will be available for this device.
PlayStation Portal: Design
PlayStation Portal’s design is both strange and familiar. It’s effectively the two halves of a PlayStation DualSense controller with an 8-inch LCD display in the middle. That’s a bit odd to see, but the overall design isn’t radically different from the best gaming handhelds out there in terms of button layouts and grips.
The PlayStation Portable has a single USB-C port for charging and a 3.5mm headphone jack on its bottom. Its top has a pair of speakers and a volume rocker. The button layout and grips are exactly the same as the DualSense controller — which makes sense given that this is a PlayStation device.
PlayStation Portal: Display
Sony revealed that the PlayStation Portal has an 8-inch 1080p LDC display with a 60Hz refresh rate. While today’s announcement doesn’t explicitly state this, the display appears to have a 16:9 aspect ratio, which would conform to the aspect ratio of almost all PlayStation games.
We’d need to put the PlayStation Portal’s display through our lab tests to gauge its brightness and color accuracy. The 1080p display and 60Hz refresh rate should deliver sharp, detailed images that run smoothly. We should note that its 8-inch display is bigger than the 7-inch panels featured on the Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck.
PlayStation Portal: Specs
As a pure streaming device, the PlayStation Portal doesn't require as powerful a CPU or GPU as something that would play games locally, but given how DualSense controllers typically last between 6 to 12 hours (depending on use), battery life might not be that great. Still, even 6 hours of battery life would be longer than the Steam Deck and Asus ROG Ally, which typically last less than 2 hours when gaming (though to be fair, both handhelds run games locally).
Speaking about the DualSense controller portion of the PlayStation Portal, it has all the same features as the genuine article. This includes haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, and touchpad functionality. For the latter, the screen has two touch areas to simulate touchpad functionality.
PlayStation Portal: Connectivity and features
The PlayStation Portal utilizes the existing Remote Play app you can install on your PS5 or even the best gaming PCs and best gaming laptops. The new device supports Wi-Fi and the new PlayStation Link wireless technology. Video is streamed from your PS5 instead of running locally on your device. You don't need to be in the same room or use the same network to stream PS5 games. All that's needed is a strong connection at home and where you're playing.
Even if you’re thousands of miles away from your PS5, you can play your games on the PlayStation Portal. However, that means you need to own a PS5 to use the handheld since it doesn’t run anything locally, not even basic apps. If your Wi-Fi is down or someone else is using your PS5, the handheld won’t work either.
Because the PlayStation Portal has no Bluetooth connectivity, you can’t connect to the best wireless headsets. However, PlayStation Link, which is Sony’s new connectivity standard for PlayStation devices, will let you use devices like the newly announced Pulse Elite headset and Pulse Explore wireless earbuds. Right now, these are the only headsets using the new standard but Sony says PlayStation Link will be available for third parties to use in their products sometime in the future.
PlayStation Portal: Outlook
PlayStation Remote Play has been around since the PS3 days. While the feature certainly lets you stream your PlayStation games to devices like the best computers, best laptops, best tablets and best smartphones, the experience isn’t always seamless. The PlayStation Portal, which is expressly built to utilize Remote Play to play your PlayStation games, should make the feature work as advertised.
Be sure to come back to this post as we'll be updating it with the latest details as we approach the PlayStation Portal's launch. Also, stay tuned for our impressions and full review as we hope to go hands-on with the device in the weeks ahead.