PlayStation shows its hand in the handheld gaming space

Along with exciting tech in the audio space.

Seamus Madden

There’s a new handheld gaming device, the PlayStation Portal, coming to town. While it isn’t a stand-alone device, the Sony PlayStation Portal will allow users to play games remotely from their PlayStation 5 through a Wi-Fi connection. Additionally, along with this announcement comes a new wireless headset and new wireless earbuds.

The PlayStation Portal, set to launch Q4 2023. (Source: Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc.)

What do we think? While the new Sony Pulse Elite headset and Pulse Explore earbuds look quite promising, along with the PlayStation Link, the Portal seems to be largely lacking when compared to its competitors. The decision to make the device reliant on the PlayStation 5 and its installed games means the user will need a constant Wi-Fi connection, obviously along with a PS5. This removes much of the portability, as the device is only playable from home. Additionally, games from the PS3 and PS4 available through PlayStation Plus Premium’s cloud streaming are not supported, either. Perhaps with further software updates down the line, this could be possible. We will have to wait and see, but for now, excitement is not at a high point.

PlayStation once again enters the handheld scene

The Sony PlayStation Portal is designed to bring the PS5 into a mobile experience. Unlike many of the handheld gaming devices currently entering the market, the Portal is not a stand-alone device. It connects remotely to a user’s PlayStation 5 over Wi-Fi and plays supported games already installed on the PS5. This is much more limiting than something like cloud play, which allows gameplay on third-party servers and hardware.

The device’s features include an 8-inch LCD screen capable of 1080p resolution at 60 FPS and a 3.5mm audio jack. Additionally, the Portal will have the major features of the DualSense wireless controller, such as the adaptive triggers and haptic feedback that it is known for.

The PlayStation Portal will launch later this year for $199.99.

PS Portal
The two new audio devices: the Pulse Elite and Pulse Explore. (Source: Sony)

Along with the announcement of the PlayStation Portal comes the Pulse Elite wireless headset and the Pulse Explore wireless earbuds. Both products will include AI-enhanced noise rejection, allowing background noise to be filtered. These audio devices will use custom-designed planar magnetic drivers for “an audiophile-level listening experience.” Sony states it is one of the first companies to provide wireless earbuds to the market with this technology.

PlayStation Link, Sony’s new wireless audio technology, will deliver low latency, lossless audio, and easy switching between multiple PlayStation Link hosts such as the PS5 with the USB adapter and PlayStation Portal, Sony says. Additionally, the new audio devices can simultaneously link between a PS Link-supported device and a Bluetooth-supported device. This means a user could, for example, connect their Pulse Explore earbuds to both their PS5 and phone at the same time, and thus receive calls and chat while still listening to their games.

The Pulse Elite will come with a retractable boom mic and a charging hangar. It will retail for $149.99.

The Pulse Explore will feature dual microphones and a charging case and will retail for $199.99.