The Irresistible Temptation: The One Must-Have Feature That Would Make Me Purchase a PlayStation Portal 2

A Pulse Elite, DualSense, and PlayStation Portal displayed on a table.

My relationship with the PlayStation Portal has been a mix of emotions since its debut. Initially, I felt let down by Sony’s cloud streaming gadget. While I admired its screen and valued its DualSense integration, its scaled-down features gave it a budget feel compared to the original concept. Over time, I’ve managed to find a purpose for my PlayStation Portal, making it an essential part of my gaming setup. It may have its flaws, but it remains a valuable tool.

Since its release, I’ve been anticipating an updated version, whether it’s a Pro model or a true successor like the PlayStation Portal 2. It might be premature to discuss this, considering the Portal only hit the market in November 2023, but its notable shortcomings make me eager for a swift follow-up. If Sony were to develop a PlayStation Portal 2, one feature is non-negotiable: Bluetooth connectivity.

If you’re not familiar with Sony’s handheld gaming device, you might be puzzled. Surely, a portable gaming console released in 2023 would support Bluetooth, right? Surprisingly, that’s not the case — and it’s the device’s primary drawback.

Sony's Pulse Explore earbuds placed beside a Nintendo Switch OLED.

Currently, there are only two audio choices for the PlayStation Portal. It offers a headphone jack at the back for wired headsets. You can connect any earbuds or headphones you prefer. However, for fans of wireless audio, there’s no option. The handheld lacks Bluetooth support, making it impossible to use most wireless headsets, a significant drawback for a gaming device.

There’s a rationale behind this decision, which can be quite frustrating. Instead of Bluetooth, the PlayStation Portal utilizes a new Sony audio technology known as PlayStation Link. Sony asserts that this proprietary connection technology delivers lower latency, superior audio quality, and faster connection speeds. While this sounds impressive on paper, there’s a major catch: only a select few devices are compatible with PlayStation Link technology. To use a wireless headset with your Portal, you essentially need to purchase the $150 Pulse Elite headphones. And for earbuds, you’d likely have to opt for the $200 Pulse Explore.

While these are indeed quality audio options, owning both, I find them to be solid (albeit pricey) choices that pair seamlessly with the Portal. However, I haven’t noticed a significant difference between PlayStation Link and Bluetooth. From a casual standpoint, the connection speed, latency, and quality don’t seem markedly different from what I experience with my usual devices. This has left me skeptical about PlayStation Link, which appears more like a marketing ploy compelling PlayStation 5 users to invest in expensive new headsets.

A man sporting a Pulse Elite headset.

While it may seem like a minor gripe, the absence of Bluetooth support is currently the Portal’s most significant drawback. A portable gaming device thrives on flexibility, with its appeal lying in the ability to play PS5 games anywhere, anytime. Severely limiting the audio devices players can use undermines this concept. PlayStation Link should complement Bluetooth, not replace it. If the technology is truly as exceptional as Sony claims, players should naturally opt for devices that support it by choice.

The lack of Bluetooth support isn’t the only feature I desire in a potential PlayStation Portal 2. I would appreciate it coming with its own carrying case or even an upgrade to an OLED screen. However, these are secondary wishes for now. My primary concern would be the compatibility with my preferred wireless headsets. If the next PlayStation Portal fails to address this, I can’t see myself upgrading anytime soon.

Evan Brooks

Evan is a seasoned reporter with an insatiable curiosity for the latest gadgets and breakthroughs in science and tech.

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