Hardware Review: PlayStation Portal (2024)
Sony’s new handheld Remote Play device allows PlayStation 5 owners to play their existing games without a TV. Is it worth the $200 asking price? To find out, we are collecting reviews from a variety of game and hardware critics.
by Jason Dietz — November 14, 2023 at 12:34 PM PST
What is it?
Available from November 15, 2023 at
It’s not exactly a Switch or Steam Deck rival or a successor to the PS Vita but a way to extend the range of your existing PlayStation 5. Looking a bit like a DualSense controller that has been split in half and then glued to a large smartphone—or, in other words, a longer, bulkier Switch—the PlayStation Portal is Sony’s new handheld Remote Play device that allows you to play PlayStation games already installed on your PS5 console without a TV. Instead, you connect to your console over Wi-Fi—from inside your home or anywhere else you have a connection—and use the Portal’s 8-inch LCD screen and built-in controls.
That screen—technically a touchscreen, though few PlayStation titles provide touch controls yet—supports 1080p video at up to 60 frames per second, while audio is delivered via built-in speakers while also supporting wired headsets (via a built-in 3.5mm audio jack) or wireless audio, though the latter comes only via PlayStation Link-compatible devices, including Sony’s new Pulse Elite wireless headset or Pulse Explore wireless earbuds, each available as a separate purchase. (In other words: There’s no bluetooth support.) Sony recommends a Wi-Fi connection speed of at least 5Mbps for best results, and not every PS5 and PS4 game is compatible with the device. Among those that won’t work on the Portal are VR games as well as all PS Plus streaming titles, a major omission.
What are critics saying about the PlayStation Portal?
Below are reviews of the Portal from a variety of professional sources. (Click on any publication name to read the full review.) Scores (converted to our 0-100 scale) are listed ONLY if one has been assigned by the publication itself; otherwise, we have grouped the reviews into rough categories, from most to least positive, based on the conclusions of each reviewer (and not necessarily their exact scores). Addtional reviews added Nov. 16.
“Offering superb ergonomics as well as excellent design and build quality with all those exquisite DualSense controller features on top, this Remote Play beaut and its bright and sharp 8-inch LCD screen present a wonderful portable PS5 experience. … The Portal is not pretending to be anything else apart from a quality remote-play device for your PS5, and it absolutely nails its brief. As long as you come to it knowing what it does and what it can offer you, then it wholeheartedly, unabashedly, spectacularly succeeds. [Grade: 5/5 stars]”
“Between its 8-inch LCD screen and split DualSense controllers, the Portal is of a very high quality and is quite comfortable to hold for prolonged spans of time. … It also cannot be understated just how nice it is to have DualSense controllers available to use in an on-the-go device of this manner. … As you’d surely expect, though, the biggest drawback of the PlayStation Portal is that the further away you are from your PS5, the more difficult it’s going to be to stream games.”
“If you already have a robust library of PS5 games, but it’s sometimes been hard to sit down in front of the TV for a play session, the Portal should have a lot to offer. That appeal might be especially high for busy parents, people in a home with only one TV, or those who prefer playing on a smaller portable screen. If that’s not you, I’d encourage holding off on a purchase of the Portal.”
“The PlayStation Portal is the most surprising device I’ve ever come away from loving after going in loaded with skepticism. It’s such a better experience than using your phone with a slap-on controller, and it works so much better than I was anticipating. I really love the freedom it gives me to play my PS5 from anywhere with decent WiFi coverage … The biggest things keeping the Portal from being a truly amazing device are its current lack of a way to access WiFi that requires a web browser to log in, and its lack of Bluetooth support for audio. [Grade: 8/10]”
“While there are tweaks I’d like to see in the weeks and months ahead, I’ve been quite impressed with the time I’ve spent with Portal so far. I’ve played for about six hours on a single charge and still have a bar of battery life left to go. It’s a solid sub-$200 gift option for the gamer in your life who’s always hogging the TV when you’re trying to watch Vanderpump Rules or Monday Night Football.”
“The issues with this device begin to crop up when you consider the games you want to play on it, where you want to play them, and its overall price. … [W]here the PS Portal excels is in its casual play around the house. If the Portal’s sole objective is to improve the Remote Play experience, that’s exactly what it does. It feels fantastic in the hand, the LCD screen looks brilliant, and with a stable connection, Remote Play is no longer the lesser experience that it used to be. Is the PS Portal for everyone? No. But for some, it’ll be the perfect companion to the PS5.”
80 Video Games Chronicle:
“PlayStation Portal is a solution to a problem that not everyone has. The hardware is excellent, and it does exactly what it advertises, but the use cases for PlayStation Portal aren’t plentiful. There will be people for whom this machine is a godsend and others who equally couldn’t find a reason to use it if they tried. The Bluetooth situation is the only real black mark against the machine, but it’s a significant one. [Grade: 4/5 stars]”
“The PlayStation Portal isn’t quite the portable successor that players have been asking for from Sony since the decline of the PlayStation Vita. That being said, the PlayStation Portal does one job and does it exceedingly well. It might not reinvent the remote play experience, but for those relying on controller clips to mount a phone to the top of a DualSense controller or third-party controllers that use a mobile device as the display, an official Sony product just makes sense for a unified solution. [Grade: 8/10]”
“The most strenuous bottleneck for the PlayStation Portal is its bandwidth needs. I feel pretty comfortable saying that Sony’s recommendation of a 5 Mbps minimum is too low for anything but the most simple games. You’ll want to clear that 15 Mbps threshold minimum. … The $200 price of the Portal may be it’s saving grace. It’s still priced like a luxury item, but it’s just convenient enough to be worth the investment if you have the specific set of needs it fills. [Grade: 7/10]”
CNET [review in progress]:
“The controls show promise, but the streaming functions make this feel more throttled, at least on my older home network, than a dedicated game handheld like a Steam Deck or even a Switch. For a PS5 owner who craves a great portable for remote play, and has the budget, this may not be a weird buy at all. Still, it feels like an experimental product versus a truly optimized one.”
“What you see is what you get with PlayStation Portal. And it’s not much. … For those who just want a dedicated way to use Remote Play with ease and retain DualSense features, the PlayStation Portal is an easy recommendation at $200. … It’s just surprising to see how many corners could be cut with such a simple device. You really get what you pay for here, but you might wish you could have ponied up for a bit more.”
GLHF on Sports Illustrated:
“PlayStation Portal is a device you buy exclusively if you want access to convenient, quality remote play. Chances are you don’t need it because it serves no other purpose. And if you look into it, you probably have alternatives at home that might be just as good.”
“Awkward is the resounding word of the day when it comes to my Portal experience, from the design to the setup process to the actual gaming experience. … In its current form, the PS Portal feels like a party trick. You might buy one as a novelty to see what it’s like, but given all of the connection issues, it’s very hard to have a smooth time gaming on the Portal. It definitely feels like an unnecessary accessory: nice to have but one you can feel free to skip for now.”
50 The Loadout:
“My overall time with the PlayStation Portal was both more enjoyable and disappointing than I expected. It’s certainly the best way to use Remote Play currently, by a long shot, and I’m sure I’ll be using it frequently in the future. But the washed-out screen, lack of cloud gaming support, and so-so battery life make me wish for a better, but unlikely, PlayStation Portal 2. [Grade: 5/10]”
“It’s just got too many big and little problems for me to tell you to shove this bad boy in your Amazon cart and spend $200 on it. Moment-to-moment gameplay can be (and usually is) awesome on Portal, but frequent connection issues and high variance due to network differences make it hard to recommend. Having said all of that, though, I find myself using it every day. [Grade: 3/5]”
“To put it very succinctly, PlayStation Portal does only and exclusively what it was designed for: remote gaming, whether at home or around the world, with all the games available on the PlayStation 5 set up at home. This is exactly what can be done with a tablet, smartphone, or computer using Sony’s official Remote Play app. The substantial difference is that with Portal, you have hardware dedicated exclusively to this purpose with an overall acceptable screen and a perfectly integrated DualSense. Therefore, it is not useful to dwell on the usefulness of this accessory, because this pertains to personal needs, but rather on the concrete realization of the machine which, unfortunately, betrays a certain laziness on the part of PlayStation’s parent company that has done much less than the bare minimum to exploit the hardware, primarily the touch screen. [Grade: 7/10; English translation provided by the publication]”
“It is, in fact, just a device for playing games over Sony’s Remote Play feature. Exclusively. That’s it. That’s all it does. And it’s pretty good at doing that one thing. But so are a lot of devices, at this point! So we’re kinda left wondering why the PlayStation Portal even exists. … I suppose I can imagine a person who uses Remote Play so much that the luxury of having it all baked into the same device would be nice. But that person also needs to be willing to accept that they’re paying $200 to not have to sync a controller to their phone.”
70 The Sixth Axis:
“It’s a niche within a niche. … The PlayStation Portal sets out to do one thing and does it well, letting you play your PS5 separately from whatever screens it’s connected to, and bringing the DualSense haptics, triggers and design along for the ride. The thing is that this could and really should do more, not just hooking up not just to your PS5, but to the PS Plus cloud as well. [Grade: 7/10]”
“[W]hy does this exist? … My first impression is that this device is primarily for PlayStation diehards who want a simple, dedicated tool for streaming games around their homes. It may be for when the main TV is in use or to take games to other rooms like the bedroom or the bathroom (if you’re okay with flagged devices), but $200 is a little pricey for such a single-use accessory to a $400–$500 game console — especially when there are many other options available that you may already own.”
“Its downsides are so immediately apparent that it’s unclear why anyone should get one. You could, for example, spend $100 for a Backbone controller to stream games from your phone. Or you could use any existing gamepad to access the PS Remote app on a phone, table, Mac or Windows PC. There are so many better ways to access games on the go, the PlayStation Portal already feels obsolete before it launches. … I can’t abide hardware I can’t trust, and the PlayStation Portal is among the most fickle devices I’ve encountered. Even if you have an excellent home networking setup, it’s hard to predict just how well it will perform.”
50 PC Magazine:
“The screen works as intended, but the 1080p resolution looks fuzzier than most modern mobile devices. … The most baffling aspect of the Portal is its fundamental limitation. … I can’t see a reasonable use case for the Portal that wouldn’t be served more economically, and with a better screen, with many other devices. Ultimately, the Portal is just a screen sandwiched between a controller, and for $200, it should be more than that. [Grade: 2.5/5]”
40 Tom’s Guide:
“Between latency issues, selective Bluetooth support, and the inability to stream content from services like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube due to DRM rules, the Portal just couldn’t deliver an enjoyable experience or one I’d feel comfortable recommending. [Grade: 2/5 stars]”