The age of handheld computers and gaming devices is brewing up nicely with the advent of promising contenders like the Steam Deck and the Asus ROG Ally. Now, it seems Sony is gearing up once again for this market not with the PlayStation Portable (PSP), but with the Sony PlayStation Portal, its new handheld gaming device.
This is quite the revival for Sony since its PSP lineup, namely the PS Vita has more or less failed in its attempt to wrestle handheld console market share from Nintendo. We’re here to explain what the Sony PlayStation Portal is and how it might be worth your time and money.
What Is the Sony PlayStation Portal?
Before you get too excited, the Sony PlayStation Portal is not going to be a separate console from the PlayStation 5 console.
Rather, it’s going to be a remote player for the PS5. It’s going to work more like a tablet with an attached controller to its sides, practically allowing you to sort of stream from your PS5, similar to Cloud Gaming.
So it’s not quite the revival that Sony needs to compete with the Nintendo Switch. Still, you can count the Sony PlayStation Portal as a handheld gaming device– only, you need to have a PS5 in order to make this work since you’ll be streaming from your PS5.
That’s something we needed to clarify, by the way, in case some of you thought that the Sony PlayStation Portal was going to be another independent gaming device poised to compete against the Switch, the Steam Deck, and the Asus ROG Ally.
Again, you need to own a PS5 first for this to work. Take note of that, parents.
What Are Its Specs?
The Sony PlayStation Portal comes with the following hardware components for your viewing and gaming pleasure:
- 8-inch LCD screen
- 1080p resolution
- 60 FPS-capable
- DualSense controller
- Touch controls
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- Unspecified battery life
That screen size is quite a step up from the typical 7-inch display from the Switch, the Steam Deck, and the Asus ROG Ally.
How Does the Sony PlayStation Portal Work?
Think of the Sony PlayStation Portal as another wireless handheld TV for your PS5, but with controllers attached.
Instead of using your large and bulky TV, you can just go to your bedroom or the bathroom and bring the Sony PlayStation Portal to access your PS5 game library.
The Sony PlayStation Portal thus works optimally by connecting to your home Wi-Fi which is the same Wi-Fi where your PS5 is connected to. Once paired with your PS5, you can then play your games using the PlayStation Portal.
You also don’t need to be exclusively connected to the same Wi-Fi where your PS5 is connected. You can take the Sony PlayStation Portal outside and remotely play your PS5 games on it as long as you have a stable internet connection of 5 to 15Mbps.
There’s no promise of this kind of cloud gaming’s quality under such conditions, of course. That’s why the ideal use remains being connected to the same network as your PS5.
The idea for this device is to let other people use the TV while still allowing you to play with your PS5 and perhaps also letting you sort of play with your PS5 on the go as long as you have stable internet.
Like all cloud gaming and streaming platforms, the Sony PlayStation Portal is subject to its most glaring drawback, which is latency. This latency is further compounded by the quality of your internet. The difference between regular cloud gaming is that you’re streaming the gameplay from your PS5 instead of a random computer from a faraway place.
It’s thus an ideal device to buy if you don’t have money for a good smart TV for your PS5.
Price, Release Date, and Comparisons
There’s no release date at the moment though that’s about to change without prior notice.
As for the price, the Sony PlayStation Portal sits at a tentative $200 price tag which might be a bit too steep considering the Nintendo Switch Lite is cheaper than that at $190 and you also don’t need a separate $500 console to run it.
If you’re buying from scratch, that’s a total price of $700 for both the PS5 and its PlayStation Portal handheld– that’s the same price as an Asus ROG Ally.
So whether the Sony PlayStation Portal is a worthy deal for you depends on what you currently have right now. If you have a PS5 then it might be handy to go portable. If not, then you might be better off with more independent handheld gaming consoles that don’t rely on cloud or streaming.