Sony’s PlayStation Portal has just launched, so to help answer the question, "Is the PlayStation handheld worth it?” we’ve got our PS Portal reviews round-up to see how the nascent device has fared with the critics.
The PlayStation Earbuds have also launched alongside the PS Portal, and will play nice with them – something not guaranteed for other Bluetooth audio devices, as we’ll see below.
Without spoiling too much, the PS Portal has been met with a very mixed reaction, with some loving the device and others questioning the need for it.
It’s worth noting that the PS Portal can only work when your PS5 is in the same Wi-FI network, which limits it to being used at home.
If you need something that will play games anywhere, you could pick up a Steam Deck OLED or, seeing as there’s a next-gen Switch 2 on the horizon, you can find some great Nintendo Switch deals if you believe the device is still worth it.
But that’s quite enough from us, on to the reviews!
PS Portal reviews round-up
The reviews are in, and given the niche case for a streaming device that can only be used at home, many critics are quite baffled as to why it exists.
That said, the Sony quality seems to be there – save for the LCD screen, which seems to be the device's biggest letdown other than only being able to use it at home.
Will Greenwald for PCMag gave it 2.5/5 stars, saying: "It's just too limited for the price, especially when there are more economical options that perform just as well."
Jen Glennon of Kotaku had a much better experience with the Portal, as they got a lot of use out of it when they wanted to game in bed - but did note that there are teething issues: "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."
IGN’s Seth G Macy was also quite enamoured by the device – something they were genuinely shocked about – and gave the PS Portal 8/10.
They really felt that the device got its legs when used to diffuse any television-tension, saying, "I really love the freedom it gives me to play my PS5 from anywhere with decent WiFi coverage, especially when the rest of my family was using the TV."
They did highlight the issues surrounding connecting to certain Wi-Fi networks and wireless headphones, however: "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."
Writing for Engadget, Devindra Hardawar was less than impressed, giving the Portal 68/100, as they felt the PS Portal "already feels obsolete before it launches" as "its downsides are so immediately apparent that it's unclear why anyone should get one".
They did note that the DualSense controller feels as excellent as ever, though: "On the bright side, the Portal includes the DualSense's satisfying haptics."
VGC’s Jordan Middler felt the PS Portal was less middling than other outlets make it out to be, stating that "for a select audience, the PlayStation Portal is a game-changing device" as you can "build Squad Building Challenges in EA FC from the comfort of your bed (or toilet)".
High praise indeed, then, other than also highlighting that "the biggest downside to the PlayStation portal is the lack of Bluetooth support".
Is the PS Portal worth it?
That depends. If you are an ardent PS5 gamer and want to play games from your bed (or the toilet, as Jordan Middler does) or have to compete to use the household television, then the PS Portal could be a great companion piece.
If, however, you have a TV of your own, don’t need to be democratic about its usage, want to play games on the go or simply can’t go back from OLED displays, you probably won’t get much mileage out of the PS Portal, and something like the Steam Deck or Nintendo Switch is more up your alley.
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We’ll no doubt see the device go on sale eventually, so it could very well become a good-value proposition down the road if you are humming and hawing over it in the here and now.
If you do want to pick one up ASAP, though, you can try our handy-dandy selection of links just below.
Buy PlayStation Portal
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