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PlayStation Portal 2: 8 features we want in Sony’s next-gen handheld

After the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita, there wasn’t much hope that Sony would create another handheld system. Both consoles failed to establish themselves as meaningful parts of PlayStation’s ecosystems despite having passionate fan bases. That’s what made the initial reveal of the PlayStation Portal so surprising, at least until we knew exactly what it was. As an accessory, the PlayStation Portal is a decent device for some situations. It makes remote play easy and combines all the cool features of the DualSense controller with a great display. However, it does leave a lot to be desired for those hoping for a bit more from a new PlayStation device. Should Sony decide to iterate on this novel idea, there are a few features we think it needs to have to be a true success.

We’re not going to ask Sony to completely overhaul what it established with the PlayStation Portal.  For as much as we’d love for a fully dedicated handheld like a Vita 2, that’s just too far beyond what we can hope for.

Wi-Fi 6

Astro's Playroom booting up on the PlayStation Portal.
Sony

The main purpose of the PlayStation Portal is to enable remote play for your PlayStation 5. That means both it and your PlayStation Portal have to be connected to the internet, which makes sense. While your PS5 can be connected via Ethernet for the strongest possible connection, your Portal is wireless by design, but somehow lacking Wi-Fi 6. This is the latest and greatest in Wi-Fi connectivity, and it honestly should have been in the current model. If nothing else, the PlayStation Portal 2 needs to have as reliable and strong of a wireless connection as possible to make sense. If we’re still getting input lag and low resolution due to bad connections, the PlayStation Portal 2 will flop.

Bluetooth

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

There’s no excuse for no Bluetooth on a PlayStation Portal 2. We get that Sony wanted to push its own special headphones with the first one, but no one wants to invest in that weird PS Link thing or plug in wired headphones. We all have our preferred headsets, which can cost hundreds of dollars alone, so let us use them! We can use them on the PS5, so why should this be any different?

Cloud gaming

Cloud from Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.
Square Enix

Remote play and cloud streaming aren’t all that different, but the PlayStation Portal can only do the former. We get that streaming from the cloud to your console and then streaming to your Portal would probably be a nightmare, but why couldn’t the PlayStation Portal 2 cut out the middleman and let us directly stream from PS+? It wouldn’t require any dedicated hardware in the system since nothing is getting downloaded, and it would let us more easily use the Portal on the go. So long as we have a good enough signal, we would be able to pop open PS+ and stream any of the growing list of titles on the service.

OLED screen

PlayStation Portal and the switch on a table.
Giovanni Colantonio / Digital Trends

This is the gold standard for handheld screens now, and the PlayStation Portal 2 must at least have the option to go OLED. Sony was the first to show us the power of OLED on a handheld with the Vita, so it’s kind of cruel to hold it back from us now. OLED is an easy way to improve the visual quality of everything on the PlayStation Portal 2 without actually increasing resolution. We don’t know if the Nintendo Switch 2 is going to have OLED, but if it does, a PlayStation Portal 2 will look quite behind the times if even Nintendo is ahead of it in terms of tech.

Compatibility and control options

The PlayStation 5 Controller being used to play mobile games on an Apple TV 4K.
Zeke Jones/Digital Trends / Sony

It might be a little weird to want to use more accessories with our accessory, but the Portal just feels so constrained compared to what it could be. We already hit on headphones when talking about Bluetooth, but being able to more easily customize and accessorize a PlayStation Portal 2 would go a long way toward making it feel like a worthy upgrade. Even just letting us use other control inputs would be an amazing accessibility option.

Carrying case

The USA Gear PS5 case with the PlayStation 5 inside.
Sony

This seems like the biggest missed opportunity with the PlayStation Portal that third-party companies have swooped in on. Sony, if you are selling a portable device, give us a safe and secure way to store it! Even if we don’t take it out of our homes, a case is a natural place to keep the PlayStation Portal to make sure it doesn’t get damaged, dusty, or exposed to any other household dangers. If we get that Wi-Fi 6 we talked about, then using it on other networks might start to be more common and would make a safe way to take the Portal on the go more necessary.

Media apps

A PlayStation 5 connected to a TV, showing the Sony Pictures Core interface.
Sony

It isn’t just that the PlayStation Portal can’t run Netflix or any other streaming media app on it natively — it’s that you can’t even do it through your PS5. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to load up our favorite streaming app via remote play to watch something. After all, the entire point of the portal is to be a second screen for your PS5 while someone else is using the main screen (or you’re away from home). And a huge majority of people use their PS5s for streaming shows and movies just as often as they play games.

A web browser

PlayStation Portal bundle home screen while turned on.
Giovanni Colantonio / Digital Trends

I know this is asking too much since it invites all kinds of exploits, but the PlayStation Portal 2 actually has a good reason for needing a browser other than it being convenient and adding value. If you’re taking the Portal on the road and are using unfamiliar or public Wi-Fi, in a lot of cases, you need to accept some terms and conditions to connect and login. That’s impossible on the Portal. A web browser would resolve that issue and, yes, it would also give us access to plenty of other fun things Sony probably doesn’t want us having access to.

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