Sony PlayStation Portal: Hilarious flaw

Sony PlayStation Portal
Sony PlayStation Portal | Image Credit:

This story is shared with Surge Insights by Antonio G. Di Benedetto – a tech writer, suggesting digital devices for gifting and purchasing, and also providing valuable reviews. 

It is effective at only one task, but there are undoubtedly better multipurpose gadgets out there—dammit, I am lazy sometimes.

When it comes to creating really comfortable earphones in the shape of doughnuts or a speaker and light combo that, for some reason, looks exactly like a bong, Sony is frequently at its finest when it is at its most bizarre. However, the peculiarity of the PlayStation Portal lies not just in its form but also in the fundamental question of “Why does this thing exist?”

PlayStation Remote Play is not a brand-new function; it can be used for free with multipurpose devices such as laptops, tablets, and phones. So why would you pay $200 for a specific piece of hardware only to have this one feature? I think I’ve finally worked out what the PlayStation Portal is—an air fryer—after spending a lot more time with it since my first hands-on.

Sony PlayStation Portal – Worth $199.99 | Image Credit:
Complete, complete PS5 Remote Play solutionOther remote play techniques are more affordable and/or feature-rich.
Excellent hardware and screenThe only wireless audio options are proprietary and quite expensive.
Extended battery lifeThe quality of Wi-Fi determines how much your $200 is worth.
Complete DualSense integration (motion, microphone, haptics)What the heck is Wi-Fi 5?
Just give up if your PS5 isn’t connected to an Ethernet.
Absence of autobrightness

“Wait, how is a gaming handheld a home cooking appliance?” one may wonder. Similar to an air fryer, the Portal is a relatively expensive gadget that only does one thing and does it one way (it streams games from your PS5 via Wi-Fi). However, other multipurpose gadgets can accomplish the same thing (PS5 Remote Play is compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, iPadOS, and even the PS4). Additionally, similar to an air fryer, you probably already own a gadget that performs the same function as the Portal (convection heating, which is how an air fryer cooks, is a feature of many home ovens).

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However, I challenge you to find a more convenient option than heating up some crispy chicken nuggets in ten minutes or having a fast game session while lying in bed.

Convenience is the main focus of the PlayStation Portal: you can move your games from your console around your home or even outside. But when you depend too much on Wi-Fi performance, your convenient world collapses the moment you have bad connectivity or one of the bizarre idiosyncrasies of the Portal appears.

I’ve mainly found that the Portal “just works” during my time with it, especially with a post-launch software upgrade that appeared to provide some minor speed improvements. After connecting it to my PlayStation 5, I can quickly move my games about my house and enjoy them on the Portal’s clear, colorful eight-inch LCD, which comes along with those handy DualSense haptics.

When I put it like that, it sounds infallible, but the only thing the Portal does when you turn it on is start up and connect. This is definitely a “your mileage may vary” situation. It may function well. It might not even try. You might need to adjust the settings for your home network. I’ve been poking around the r/PlayStationPortal subreddit to get a sense of the community’s tone, and in between the folks sharing their positive experiences about how well their Portal works even when they’re traveling and the troubleshooting advice, you sometimes see some very angry individuals.

I’m using my mesh Wi-Fi network with three Google Nest Wifi Pro routers to provide gigabit internet access and an Ethernet connection to my PS5 for my at-home testing. Despite this, there are still certain areas in my house where connectivity can be a little spotty. Games can freeze and stop for seemingly inexplicable reasons, causing whole gameplay segments to be skipped. I’m never really sure if it’s due of a bizarre anomaly, an additional device on my network using up bandwidth, or increased ISP congestion in the area.

You have to accept that occasionally your axe throws in God of War Ragnarök or your swings in Spider-Man 2 might not go as planned, even though you’ll never truly know why. It’s the trade-off of depending on Wi-Fi rather than using the family TV or moving your game into a separate room, and it could try your patience at times.

This is one of the major mistakes made by the PlayStation Portal, and it makes you question if things might be done better. Only Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), which has been available since 2014, is supported by the Portal. Its bandwidth exceeds both the suggested speed of 15Mbps and Sony’s stated minimum need of 5Mbps for both download and upload rates.

Read Also: Google Nest Mini – 10 Common Problems and Ways to Fix Them

However, why does a new device—one that depends on Wi-Fi—released in late 2023 not come with a Wi-Fi 6 or 6E radio? Although not every home has a Wi-Fi 6E router, those who have ought to be able to use the less crowded 6Ghz band to play their portals. One of the many perplexing omissions in the Portal, particularly in light of the impending release of Wi-Fi 7 devices.

Originally posted on The Verge.

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