In this video we will cover everything you need to know about PlayStations latest accessory. Thank you to PlayStation Australia for early access to a PlayStation Portal Review Unit.
In Australia the Portal releases on February 2nd. This PlayStation 5 accessory gives the player access to games on their PS5 over a home Wi-Fi connection, without the need for a TV. It can also be used OUTSIDE the home which we will also test in this review.
First of all, the Portal features an 8” 1080P LCD display capable of 60fps. It harnesses the same immersive haptic feedback and adaptive triggers found in the Dual Sense controller, and can last on-average, around 6 hours on full brightness.
For audio you can use the built-in stereo speakers, or a PlayStation Link enabled device such as the latest PULSE Explore wireless earbuds. You also have the option to connect wired headphones via a 3.5mm jack.
Let’s kick this video off with 3 frequently asked questions about the PlayStation Portal.
1) Does the Portal have any limitations?
As this is a remote play device, some accessories & games aren’t supported, such as the PlayStation Camera, PSVR2 and VR games. Some PS5 functions also can’t be used such as Share Play and Movie playback.
2) Do you need a PlayStation Plus membership to use your Portal?
In short, NO, but if you are trying to access multiplayer games, then you would need to have an active membership.
3) What are the recommended connection requirements?
First of all, the PlayStation Portal and PS5 need to be logged into the same PlayStation user account. It’s also suggested that you enable ‘Turn on PS5 from Network when in Rest Mode’.
PlayStation recommends you connect your Portal via a 5Ghz Wi-fi connection within your home. They also recommend that your PS5 is connected via Ethernet directly to your modem/router. When using your Portal outside of your home network, an internet connection of at least 15Mbps should give you stable gameplay.
It’s now time to unbox and set up the PlayStation Portal.
Upon opening the PS Portal, the box has a premium feel and I like the use of grey with the accents on the tab for the PlayStation icons.
I really like the button placement with Power, PlayStation Link and Volume found across the top. On the front side we have the PS button, Share and Menu buttons. Triggers, D-Pad and Action buttons have the same placement as the DualSense but one thing to note is that the thumbsticks are smaller than the original design.
Either side of the thumbsticks you’ll also find on-screen placements for the Touchpad, and at any time you can swipe down from the top right hand corner to bring up your Portal settings menu.
Turning on for the first time you need to hold the Power button in for 5 seconds until the unit powers up.
It will then prompt a series of updates as you can see on screen. This process takes anywhere between 10-15 minutes.
Now it’s time to connect to your PS5. First you’ll need to head to your System settings on your PS5 and enable Remote Play. Then go to Power Saving > Features available in Rest Mode, and turn on ‘Stay Connected to the Internet’ and enable ‘Turning on PS5 from Network’.
Then back on your Portal, sign-in to your PlayStation account. We’ve found the quickest way is by scanning the QR code on-screen via the PS App on your phone.
So now that we’re connected, let’s jump into a game. For our initial tests we decided to play inside on our home network. Our PS5 is currently connected via the 5Ghz band to our Asus AC86U, and the Portal to the same 5Ghz SSID.
We should also mention here that it’s recommended you disable Smart Connect or ‘Band Steering’ on your router so your network has separate 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands. You always want your Portal connected to the 5Ghz band which supports the fastest transfer speeds.
To do this review justice, we tested several games we’re familiar with.
While playing single player games, input lag is noticeable but only because we were really looking for it. It is more apparent however in fast moving games but less-so in games with no combat such as Super Crazy Rhythm Castle.
We didn’t experience any drop outs, and the picture stayed sharp the entire time. Not once did the quality reduce due to bandwidth issues, however sometimes you can see the occasional stutter. With multiplayer games such as Call of Duty, input lag is much more perceptible and we did see the occasional artifact due to its fast motion, but it didn’t make it unplayable.
Next up was testing Remote Play outside of our home network. By hotspotting to our phone, we tested the Portal over both 4G and 5G mobile networks. Even on a slow 25Mbps connection, latency felt minimal, the picture quality remained clear and we were surprised to only have the one dropout.
While paying extremely close attention in Spider-Man 2, we did notice that textures loaded slightly slower, but it was hard to identify without swinging close to a building. We did again experience occasional stuttering but it was so minor it wasn’t enough to affect our gameplay. Overall though we are extremely impressed with the Portal and its Remote Play capabilities both within a home network and offsite.
Now for more on the audio side of things. The built-in stereo speakers are located on the top side of the screen and are much louder than we expected, particularly when using the device at home.
For those playing in a public space or wanting more privacy then you can sync your Portal up with PlayStation’s latest Link-enabled devices. The PULSE Explore wireless earbuds are a fantastic choice here. While offering ultra-low latency & lossless audio, they also match the Portal’s sleek design.
Something to keep in mind though, the Portal doesn’t feature Bluetooth connectivity.. So PlayStation Link enabled devices are the only way to experience truly wireless audio. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack however so you can connect your existing gaming headsets.
So, our final thoughts after 3 days of testing the Portal.
Overall it’s a very exciting, but risky release for PlayStation. The majority of people with an uncongested Wi-Fi network won’t have any issues and will experience fun and immersive gameplay, just as they would if using their PS5 on a regular TV.
Remote Play outside of your normal home network is also very achievable as long as you have a steady Wi-Fi or Mobile connection that meets PlayStation’s recommended requirements.
The crisp, bright display and full-featured Dual Sense controller is an absolute standout on the Portal and gives it that premium feel right from the get-go. Battery life was ample and we managed to squeeze out around 5 hours with full brightness and haptic settings.
We fell in love with this accessory more than we thought we would and at the price point think it’s the ideal companion not only for PlayStation fanboys, but also for those living in a share house or gamers with a family who have limited TV time.
Lover of all things gaming, film and technology from 80’s to now. My background in Marketing & Operations Management has provided me with a strong work ethic and ability to think outside the box.