PlayStation Portal Review – A New Challenger Approaches… Kinda

PlayStation Portal Review

One of the biggest questions I get asked about the PlayStation Portal is, is it any good? After 2 weeks of playing on the Portal and assessing it to the ‘limits’, I can confidently say it is good. But the question you need to ask yourself is, do you need it? If there ever was a product that tested my internal monologue of ‘should I?’ or ‘shouldn’t I?’, the PlayStation Portal is it. This debate raged on in my mind over the past fortnight. So, to keep things dramatic, let me try and explain this product so you can decide comfortably by the end, if this portal is worth going through.

As you play with the Portal, you are immediately drawn to the screen, so this seems like a good place to start. The Portal has an imposing 8-inch LCD touchscreen, attached by half DualSense controllers on either side.

The stunning glass screen sets its output resolution to 1920 x 1080 with a refresh rate of 60Hz. The screen, for what it is, is beautiful. I played many games on this, including Spiderman 2, Silent Hill: The Short Message and numerous PS4 games. All the games looked amazing when it was working well, Spiderman 2 was my most visually impressive title.

Everything looked bright and vibrant. Colours displayed vividly with only some issues with black tones, it was not dark enough at times. But then it would correct itself somehow. It could have been a streaming issue. There were times when I had to stop myself and really think about how amazing it felt to finally play some PlayStation titles on a handheld. Memories of PS Vita and PSP came flooding back. The graphics never felt compromised. It did not look like it hindered the visual fidelity unless I had streaming issues. Put simply it looked amazing, it looked exactly as it would on the big screen.

On either side of the beautiful LCD screen are the DualSense controllers that act exactly like your regular DualSense controller. Consider that all they did was stretch out your PS5 controller and add the screen smack in the middle. The features are all here from the controller, there are minor adjustments which includes integrating the touch screen. It’s comfortable, familiar, ergonomic, and balanced with the screen. It works so well to bring the Portal to that PlayStation ‘feel’.

Sound plays through the speakers found at the top of the Portal. They are clear, clean, and very loud. Which was unexpectedly impressive. It may sound a bit tinny at times, but let’s be real: it’s effective for what it is. If you can, I would strongly suggest that you use headphones to really immerse yourself into the game world. But be warned, there is no Bluetooth connectivity. It is a glaring omission if it only serves the purpose of ensuring that you buy Sony’s own products as part of the PlayStation link service. The PlayStation Pulse Elite or the PlayStation Pulse Explore are the perfect accompaniment to the Portal.

But how does it play? It depends on one major factor. Your internet connection. It lives and dies on your connectivity. Referring to PlayStation’s website, it is advised that you use a 5GHz Wi-Fi connection to connect your PS Portal to the internet. I had mine set exactly as it was described, and I had some moments where it ran flawlessly. Then there were some days where I had severe lag that made the core concept of the Portal, completely unplayable.

In different rooms, I would have different issues, but they were inconsistent issues, such as not being able to connect to the PS5 even if I was in the same room and it was on rest mode. Other times, it wouldn’t even turn on, which was worrying.  I also tested the Portal and took it to work, using my phone as a hotspot, and I managed to connect, which was awesome. After a moment of clean smooth gaming I was surprised how well it held up, however at the end of my gaming time it started to lag, and it wouldn’t stop. No restarts would correct it back to where it needed to be.

The inconsistency is what can be the hardest pill to swallow. Let’s keep it simple: all the Portal does is stream your PS5 onto a small screen attached to the controller, all this for $329. For that price and only having one key defining feature. You would hope that it would work out of the box with little to no interruption to your gaming experience. If it fails at its one core mechanic, then what are we doing here? The battery life of the Portal lasted around 6 hours or so. It’s easy to charge via the USB at the bottom of the Portal, and I never really encountered any issues; if anything, I had to charge it up a lot because I used it as my primary way of playing the PlayStation over the past 2 weeks.

At the beginning I asked you to consider, do you need it? For the first time as long as I can remember, the answer is genuinely up to you. If you wanted it, you would’ve already bought it. In certain scenarios, I can see why I tend to love this product. My personal example is that you have a family with a toddler using the TV, and you want a few hours to grind out your favourite game with little interruption to the family. Then this is perfect. You live alone, you have your gaming set up with a great tv and surround sound system, also perfect but not as necessary when you think about. You’re on the road for work, love your gaming time, but always travelling, a not-so-perfect scenario.

To me, the Portal is a great product. I touched on the issues at hand, but overall, I love it. Your experience may differ based on your circumstances, but I can’t deny that when it runs smoothly, and the PS5 experience is in the palm of your hands, it’s undeniable how impressive it is. To grind characters in RPGs as you are watching something in the background or just gaming with a slight change of scenery is awesome.

My biggest gripe is that it can, and it should’ve been so much more, especially for the price point. This feels like a small step into the world of a ‘handheld’ market again.  I think Sony should’ve taken a larger leap into it. But maybe they’re testing the waters before they make that dive one more time.


The PlayStation Portal is a fantastic product that streams the best-looking games directly to your hands without compromising graphic quality.  While the overall design of the Portal is beautiful and ergonomic, the price point and lack of inconsistency in the connection may be a dealbreaker for some users. If Sony is testing the waters for a new handheld, this is a promising start. 


  • PS5 in your hands!

  • Looks amazing, beautiful screen.

  • Impressive sound

  • DualSense controller is great

  • When it runs smoothly, it is amazing!


  • The price is very steep for what it is

  • Terribly marketed, needs to be clear

  • No Bluetooth connectivity at all

  • Laggy and connectivity issues persist at times.

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