New PlayStation Portal update will make it very slightly better

PS Portal review header

Sony has released a new system software update for the PlayStation Portal – the Remote Play specific companion device for PlayStation 5 – adding a handful of relatively small features.

The headline new feature is the ability to connect to your home console from external, public networks – networks in hotels, cafes, train stations and airports that often require you to pass through a sign-in screen, as opposed to a network password. Presumably wary of exposing a web browser to users on device, as these are often avenues used for jailbreaking a device, you’ll have to scan a QR code and then use your phone’s web browser to complete the log-in steps.

You will still need to find a Wi-Fi network with a decent connection. At minimum you need to have 5Mbps down, but 15Mbps is recommended.

Honestly, given that I saw connection stability issues while on my home network, and with the device featuring just a 1×1 antenna arrangement, when 2×2 would provide greater speed and stability, I would go into this use case with low expectations and hope to be surprised.

Next up is a tweak to the on-screen touchpad regions, giving visual feedback with a highlight pulse and leaving a trail if you drag your thumb around. It’s a positive step to make this feel more intuitive to use, though could still be further enhanced with a haptic tap, perhaps.

And lastly, you can display the battery percentage by navigating to [Settings] > [System] > [Battery], and then turn on [Show Battery Percentage].

The PlayStation Portal has been a rather popular device, it seems, and has often been out of stock as Sony fail to meet demand. Over 60% of PS Portal buyers use the feature for the first time, with the average PS Portal gamer playing more PS5 games in the first two months of owning one… then again, this window does line up quite nicely with the heights of the Helldivers 2 boom.

Unfortunately, this update doesn’t answer some of the key weaknesses or realise the full potential of the PS Portal. There’s no latency reducing direct connection mode to cut out your home network and shave off another few milliseconds of responsiveness, there’s no support for generic Bluetooth headphones – not even Sony’s own non-gaming bluetooth headphones – and the PS Portal also doesn’t have support for Sony’s PlayStation Plus cloud gaming platform. It remains absolutely baffling.

Source: PS Blog

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