Skip to main content

I would buy a PlayStation Portal 2 if it had this one feature

A Pulse Elite, DualSense, and PlayStation Portal sit on a table.
Giovanni Colantonio / Digital Trends

I’ve had a bit of a love-hate relationship with the PlayStation Portal since it launched. Initially, I was disappointed by Sony’s cloud streaming device. I was impressed with its screen and appreciated its DualSense integration, but its slimmeddown features made it feel like a cheap version of a good idea. I’ve since learned to find a use case for my PlayStation Portal that turned it into an integral part of my gaming setup. It’s very imperfect, but that doesn’t mean it’s not useful.

Ever since its launch, I’ve been hoping for a refreshed follow-up, whether that be a Pro model or a true PlayStation Portal 2. It may be way too early to start discussing that considering that the Portal just launched in November 2023, but the promising device has enough glaring flaws that I’d welcome a fast-tracked successor. If Sony were to make a PlayStation Portal 2, though, there’s one feature that’s nonnegotiable: Bluetooth.

If you’re unfamiliar with Sony’s remote playing handheld, you might be a little confused. Surely, a portable gaming consoled released in 2023 has Bluetooth support, right? Weirdly, that’s not the case — and it’s the system’s biggest problem.

Sony's Pulse Explore earbuds sit next to a Nintendo Switch OLED.
Giovanni Colantonio / Digital Trends

Currently, you only have two audio options on the PlayStation Portal. There’s a headphone jack on the back of the system that allows users to hook up wired headsets. You can plug in any earbuds or devices you want. However, wireless audio enthusiasts are out of luck. The handheld doesn’t feature Bluetooth support. At the moment, you simply can’t use most wireless headsets with it, which is a major problem for a gaming handheld.

There’s a reason for that … and it’s a little infuriating. The PlayStation Portal instead uses a new Sony audio tech called PlayStation Link. Sony claims that its proprietary connection technology allows for lower latency and better audio quality, alongside faster connection speeds. That all sounds great on paper, but there’s a big catch: only a few specific devices actually use PlayStation Link tech. If you want to use a wireless headset with your Portal, you essentially need to buy a $150 pair of Pulse Elite cans. And if you want earbuds, you’ll likely need to grab the $200 Pulse Explore.

It’s not that these aren’t solid audio options. I own both of these devices and they’re perfectly solid (though expensive) audio options that easily pair with the Portal. I can’t say that I’ve noticed a difference between PlayStation Link and Bluetooth, though. From a casual perspective, the connection speed, latency, and quality dsn’t feel very different from what I get with the devices I normally use. That’s left me skeptical about PlayStation Link, which feels more like a marketing gimmick that’s forcing players in the PlayStation 5 ecosystem to buy pricey new headsets.

A man wears a Pulse Elite headset.
Giovanni Colantonio / Digital Trends

It may sound like a small complaint, but PlayStation Link is currently the Portal’s biggest weak point. A portable gaming device is built around the concept of flexibility. Its power hinges on the idea that you can play PS5 wherever, whenever. To so heavily restrict what audio devices players can bring along with them is to sell the entire idea short. PlayStation Link needs to live alongside Bluetooth, not replace it. If the tech is really as good as Sony says it is, players should naturally want to invest in devices that support it by choice.

Missing Bluetooth support isn’t the only feature I’d want in a PlayStation Portal 2. I’d love for a follow-up to come with its own carrying case or perhaps an upgrade to an OLED screen. But for the moment, those are secondary wishes. The first thing I’ll be looking for is whether or not I can use my favorite wireless headsets with it. If the next PlayStation Portal still won’t let me do that, I can’t imagine I’ll be upgrading anytime soon.

Editors' Recommendations

Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
You’ll finally be able to play Half-Life: Alyx on PlayStation VR2 this summer
Half-Life Alyx being played with a PlayStation VR2 headset.

Sony has finally unveiled its PC adapter for PlayStation VR2, which will be released this August and finally enable players to try games like Half-Life: Alyx with the headset.

PSVR2 sports some impressive tech, but it's no secret that Sony has failed to support it with compelling games for the PS5. Earlier this year, it was teased that Sony was working on PC compatibility for the headset; now, we've learned that this will come in the form of a PC adapter that people can use with a DisplayPort 1.4 cable in order to play VR games through Steam. These are the minimum specs your PC will need in order to get the PSVR2 up and running, straight from the PlayStation Blog.

Read more
Sony just put one final nail in the PlayStation VR2’s coffin
The PlayStation VR2 sits on a table next to Sense controllers.

PlayStation VR2 has been murdered. The culprit: Astro Bot.

My favorite announcement of Sony's May 30 State of Play was Astro Bot, a new 3D platformer from Team Asobi that celebrates PlayStation history. It looks incredibly charming and stands out from the typical narrative-action games like Stellar Blade that Sony tends to release these days. That said, my excitement also comes with disappointment as it does not appear that the game will support PlayStation VR2. (Digital Trends reached out to Sony to confirm that was the case but has not gotten a response at the time of publishing this story.)

Read more
Astro Bot will reference one of PlayStation’s oldest memes
Astro Bot and its PlayStation character cameos, which include Aloy and Nathan Drake on the right.

The Astro Bot series is known for showcasing PlayStation history, with some incredible deep cuts and cameos. For the upcoming Astro Bot, which was officially announced during Sony's latest State of Play this week, that apparently comes in the form of a nearly 20-year-old meme.

In an interview with EW, Team Asobi head Nicolas Doucet mentioned some of the characters that players will encounter spread throughout the game's 80 planets. This includes some obvious inclusions, like Nathan Drake from the Uncharted franchise and Aloy from the Horizon games, but snuck into one of the paragraphs is mention of an island in the shape of a giant crab.

Read more