After we got a look at some of the earliest unboxings and impressions of the physical hardware, the embargo on the full PlayStation Portal experience has been lifted and the reviews have started pouring in with many outlets praising the quality of the handheld gameplay experience while also pointing out that it suits a very specific use case which means it won’t be for everyone.
While the PlayStation Portal isn’t launching in Australia this week along with other regions, it was just confirmed for a local launch on February 2nd, 2024 for $329.95 with pre-orders live right now – stock already looked to sell out locally in some retailers yesterday before bouncing back, so you can secure yours right here.
IGN was mostly positive on the Portal, scoring it an 8/10 and saying, “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, especially when the rest of my family was using the TV to (somewhat ironically) play the Switch.
“Bearing in mind that it’s in no way a stand-alone device and 100% requires a PlayStation 5 to function at all, 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. For now, it’s a great device that represents the best current solution for PlayStation Remote Play, and if it weren’t for those two baffling caveats, I’d call this a must-own device for every PS5 owner who enjoys playing games on handheld – or has to compete for the household TV.”
VGC was similarly impressed with the device within its specific use case, but likewise noted the lack of BlueTooth support, scoring it four out of five stars and saying, “[The] 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.”
TechRadar gave it a glowing review, and said, “The PlayStation Portal is a brilliant handheld gaming device. It excels in its niche, offering ergonomic design and form, a wonderfully bright screen, and a host of PS5 features as standard. The Portal is an essential PS5 accessory for Remote Play users and for those looking to get more out of their console, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.”
Kotaku called out some minor inconveniences that need ironing out, but was otherwise chuffed with the Portal and said, “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-$US200 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.”
Inverse was slightly less positive, saying that they experienced connectivity issues and questioning the necessity of the Portal, concluding that, “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.”