The first question that came to mind with the PlayStation Portal was: Who is this for? It’s one that’s been tirelessly posed in discussions about the device given its limited capabilities, because the Portal serves one purpose: remote play. If the PS5 is your primary gaming platform, and if you have a strong internet connection throughout your home, and if you’re in situations where you’re eager to play PS5 games without access to the TV the console is connected to, then you’ll get plenty of use out of the Portal.

Even then, the inconsistencies I’ve experienced in a full week using the Portal have hampered the idea of incorporating the Portal as a piece of tech to complement my PS5. But when it works, it’s kind of a revelation. It’s not necessarily the remote play aspect–that’s a capability you can get on your smartphone, tablet, or even Steam Deck. It’s that the Portal offers the best possible controls and an impressive screen for remote play. More so than any other device, your mileage may vary since factors outside of the Portal itself are going to dictate your gaming experience. As a result, $200 USD for a dedicated remote play device, among the sea of other robust handhelds, is a tough sell.

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The Pros and Woes of Remote Play

For the uninitiated, remote play works by using a capable device to remotely control your PS5 while receiving a streamed feed of the system. After linking the two through the same local connection (and enabling your PS5 to boot via remote play), remote play is possible from any location as long as your PS5 is connected to the internet and your device of choice is as well. As for the quality of the experience, that depends on the connections of both the remote play device and your PS5.

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