Hands-on report – PlayStation Portal remote player, Pulse Explore wireless earbuds, and Pulse Elite wireless headset (2023)

Today PlayStation players received big updates on a trio of exciting upcoming devices: the PlayStation Portal remote player, the PlayStation Pulse Explore wireless earbuds, and the newly revealed PlayStation Pulse Elite wireless headset. In addition to a PS Blog article detailing the products, pricing, and more, I also had the opportunity to get my hands on the in-development devices and test-drive them. Read on for details on new upcoming ways to experience your favorite PlayStation 5 games*.

Hands-on report – PlayStation Portal remote player, Pulse Explore wireless earbuds, and Pulse Elite wireless headset (1)

PlayStation Portal remote player

Formerly codenamed Project Q, this is PlayStation’s new option for fans who want more ways to play their PS5 library. Imagine a DualSense wireless controller split down the middle with a high-definition LCD display inserted in the middle, and you’re halfway there.

DualSense controller experience

The PlayStation Portal remote player spares no expense delivering the true DualSense controller experience**. Everything from the grippy texture of the sticks to the throw of the triggers felt like home. I trotted through Cooling Springs in Astro Bot’s Playroom, feeling the familiar crunchy grit of a sandy beach with the haptics and adaptive trigger tension of a spring-fired jumping suit. Your hours of muscle memory playing with the DualSense controller will translate one-to-one with PlayStation Portal.

High-definition display

The device boasts a sizable 8-inch LCD 1080p display running at 60hz for up to 60fps gaming. During my hands-on session, PS5 hits like Astro Bot’s Playroom, God of War Ragnarök, and Returnal looked crystal clear on the screen. No detail was lost, from the dark alien ruins of Returnal to the bubblegum-bright, cheerful tech-platforming stages of Astro’s Playroom. The generous size of the screen also made in-game UI and menu text legible at a comfortable arm’s length distance.

Hands-on report – PlayStation Portal remote player, Pulse Explore wireless earbuds, and Pulse Elite wireless headset (2)

Touchscreen touchpad

PlayStation Portal has a screen where the DualSense controller’s touchpad usually lives, but the device still supports similar functionality thanks to touch-responsive areas of the screen. Extending your thumbs towards the bottom corners of the display brings up two transluscent rectangles onscreen, representing a virtual touchpad. One moment in Astro Bot’s Playroom requires players to “zip” up a suit with a swipe up on the touchpad – the new virtual version makes this feel like second nature.

(Video) PULSE Explore & PULSE Elite Teaser | PS5

Impressive performance

During my demo with the PlayStation Portal remote player, I was impressed by the responsive and smooth gameplay from the very first seconds. Precision platforming felt tight and responsive in Astro’s Playroom, as did landing critical shots and dodging enemy projectiles in Returnal. Tapping the PlayStation button and navigating to the PS5’s home menu provided the exact same intuitive experience we’ve come to know and love, and it looked clean and clear on the 8-inch display.

(Additional context: PlayStation Portal was connected to the same local Wi-Fi*** network on the 5GHz band channel, but other Wi-Fi channels work too. A wired ethernet connection from the PS5 to your wireless router is recommended.)

Button setup

Your fingers will naturally find most of the DualSense controller buttons in the places you’d expect (e.g. face buttons, shoulder buttons, triggers, Options, Create button, etc. A couple of notable changes include the PS button found on the left side of the device and the mute microphone button on the right.

PlayStation Portal boasts extra functions, so some additional buttons are in the mix. Volume buttons are located at the top right, and the power button on the top left. The PlayStation Link button, used to connect the device to a Pulse Elite or Pulse Explore is on the left.

3.5MM audio output/input

Have a different pair of wired headphones you want to use? If they’ve got a 3.5MM jack you can plug it into the bottom of PlayStation Portal.

Hands-on report – PlayStation Portal remote player, Pulse Explore wireless earbuds, and Pulse Elite wireless headset (3)

Pulse Explore wireless earbuds & Pulse Elite wireless headset

Good news today for audiophiles, as we have the first details and hands-on (ears-on?) report for a duo of new wireless audio devices. Before diving into the robust features that make each unique, let’s dig into their shared functions.

(Video) NEW Playstation Portal Handheld - First Hands On!

Immersive audio quality

Both the Pulse Explore wireless earbuds and Pulse Elite headset take PlayStation audio quality up a big notch. Both devices sport planar magnetic drivers, which are more commonly found in the high-quality headsets game audio engineers use. Put simply, unlike typical cone-shaped drivers, these flat (planar) drivers convey a wider range of nuanced sounds. Combine this with PlayStation’s potent 3D audio and players are in for a crisp, immersive experience.

PlayStation Link wireless technology

A fourth announcement was PlayStation Link wireless technology. This new tech allows the PS5 console, PlayStation Portal, Pulse Explore wireless earbuds, and Pulse Elite headset to achieve low-latency, lossless audio. The vision is to enable players to bounce between devices at home, freely swapping between their PS5 and PlayStation Portal to play games and bringing their audio devices along for the jump.

Both the Pulse Explore wireless earbuds and Pulse Elite headset come with a PlayStation Link USB adapter, which plugs into your PS5 or PC for low latency, lossless audio.

Bluetooth compatibility

Both the Pulse Explore and Pulse Elite also support Bluetooth audio, allowing users to enjoy a rich audio experience with a wide range of devices.

Pairing and using multiple devices

One unexpected benefit of this new function will allow players to pair and listen to multiple devices in a single session. For example, I experienced a demonstration that involved receiving a phone call while playing God of War Ragnarök on the PS5 console. The Pulse Elite headset was paired to the PS5 console through the PlayStation Link USB adapter, while the phone was paired through Bluetooth – so I heard the phone ringing through my Pulse Elite headset. After answering the call, the call audio seamlessly mixed with the game audio, allowing me to continue playing uninterrupted while chatting. This is great news for anybody who loves to use alternative voice chat platforms or multitask by watching their favorite show or content creator on another device.

AI-enhanced microphone noise reduction

Ever been “that person” toggling the mute button in party chat as you munch your favorite snack? Or worse, been on the receiving end of a friend chewing their food with abandon? Thankfully Pulse Explore and Pulse Elite come equipped with AI-enhanced microphone noise reduction to smooth away repetitive background noise like loud munching, noisy traffic, vacuum cleaners, and the like. The example I experienced involved my caller loudly crumpling a piece of paper near their phone’s mic, which the AI-enhanced noise reduction quickly muffled.

Hands-on report – PlayStation Portal remote player, Pulse Explore wireless earbuds, and Pulse Elite wireless headset (4)
(Video) PlayStation Portal: Hands On With Sony's New Remote Play Handheld

Pulse Explore earbuds hands-on

Charging case

The black and white charging case sports a similar futuristic aesthetic to the PS5 itself. When closed, the compact curved design features a USB-C port on one side, allowing you to charge the earbuds. The white cover can be slid back to reveal the earbuds themselves. Notably, the magnetic sliding action of the cover has a satisfying click to it when opening and closing – I couldn’t stop playing with it. The earbuds are magnetically attracted to small contacts within the case, ready to be popped off for use.

Equipping the wireless earbuds

The uniquely designed earbuds come with four ear tip sizes to help users find the right size for their ears. From there, the Pulse Explore earbuds are inserted into each ear with a slight twist motion, resting with the PlayStation logo upright. The Pulse Explore wireless earbuds feel secure and light, allowing you to stay focused on the game as the crisp audio immerses you in the game.

Volume and Link buttons

Players can adjust the volume with up / down buttons on each earbud. Each also has a Link button, which can be used to reconnect and switch to paired devices. Finding the buttons by feel and adjusting the volume is an intuitive and quick experience.

Hands-on report – PlayStation Portal remote player, Pulse Explore wireless earbuds, and Pulse Elite wireless headset (5)
(Video) Playstation Portal is Official and Confusing

Pulse Elite wireless headset hands-on

Premium over-ear form factor

The new wireless headset sports a comfortable fit with a flexible band that stretches across the top of the head. The earpads cup the ears with a perfect balance between luxurious softness and secure firmness. The headset has a lightweight feel and any awareness of them being atop the head melts away after diving into gameplay.

Clever microphone storage

The Pulse Elite wireless headset has a microphone built into it, which can be extended with a simple pull of the mic’s tip. This allows for more precise mic placement with a simple motion. Muting the mic is as simple as pressing its button, which activates an orange indicator light visible in the periphery.

Storage with built-in charging

The Pulse Elite wireless headset comes with a charging hanger to hang your headset in a convenient location of your choosing. A power cable can be routed into the hanger which charges the headset through contacts located inside the headband.

Hands-on report – PlayStation Portal remote player, Pulse Explore wireless earbuds, and Pulse Elite wireless headset (6)


I walked into my hands-on time unsure of what to expect from this new selection of liberating PlayStation products, and stepped away excited to fit the devices into my daily gaming experience. The Pulse Elite wireless headset and Pulse Explore wireless earbuds deliver new levels of immersive 3D audio and user-friendly functions that make them worthy additions for PlayStation fans. My mind continues to race with possible new applications for the PlayStation Portal remote player around the home, enabling me to play my favorite PS5 games off the couch.

Stay tuned for more info on pre-order details and availability for the PlayStation Portal remote player and Pulse Elite wireless headset and Pulse Explore wireless earbuds.

*Games that require a VR headset (PlayStation VR or PlayStation VR2) or additional peripherals (other than a DUALSHOCK 4, DualSense, or DualSense Edge wireless controller) are not compatible. Games that must be streamed on PS5 using a PS Plus Premium membership are not compatible.

(Video) PlayStation Portal - Does ANYONE Really Want This?

**Haptic feedback and adaptive trigger features are only available when those features are supported by the game being played.

***Requires broadband internet Wi-Fi with at least 5Mbps for use. For a better play experience, a high-speed connection of at least 15Mbps is recommended.


What does the PlayStation Portal do? ›

The PlayStation Portal is designed to enable portable gaming experiences for PlayStation 5 owners. It comes equipped with an eight-inch, 1080p LCD display, with remote play able to stream games at up to 60fps.

Do you need PS5 for PS Portal? ›

Streaming handhelds are a definite trend now, with Android devices like Logitech's G Cloud and the Razer Edge, and PC gaming-related devices like the Steam Deck and Asus' ROG Ally. But the Portal is specifically made as a second screen and a local play option for the PS5, not as a cloud-streaming or standalone device.

Are the pulse 3D headphones worth it? ›

Pretty much everything the PULSE 3D does is done better by many other headsets. The microphone is improved, but it's still not all that good. The battery life is totally unimpressive—it offers a fraction of what wireless gaming headsets like the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless or SteelSeries Arctis 7+ can reach.

Should I let my kid play Portal? ›

This is one of my favorite games most kids around ten and up should be able to play it it just has some dark themes and blood. However there is a command where you can get real guns and shoot them so you just might want to tell your kids to not use it but other than that it is fine.

How much is the PlayStation Portal? ›

The portal will set you back $199.99. The device should deliver similar performance to playing on an actual PS5 console. It has adaptive triggers and haptic feedback, like PlayStation's DualSense controllers, and features an 8-inch LCD screen that can deliver 1080p resolution at 60fps.

Is Portal a PlayStation game? ›

Release. Portal was first released as part of The Orange Box for Windows and Xbox 360 on October 10, 2007, and for the PlayStation 3 on December 11, 2007.

Can you play Portal 2 on PS? ›

In the cooperative campaign, two players can use the same console with a split screen, or can use a separate computer or console; Windows, Mac OS X, and PlayStation 3 users can play with each other regardless of platform.

Why isn t my PlayStation headset working? ›

Make sure the headset is turned on and paired with the wireless adaptor. More than one audio source might be connected to your PS4 console. Try disconnecting the other audio source. The Headset Companion app might need updating.

How long does it take to fully charge the pulse 3d headset? ›

Charging is completed in about 2.5 hours* and the indicator (red) goes off automatically. Use the micro-USB cable supplied.

How long does pulse headset last? ›

Enjoy up to 12 hours of wireless play thanks to the built-in rechargeable battery. Connect to PS5 and PS4™ consoles as well as compatible Windows and macOS® computers using the included adaptor.

How long do pulse headphones last? ›

The PULSE 3D wireless headset is estimated to last for up to 12 hours using wireless play using its built-in rechargeable battery.

Does pulse 3D have bass? ›

The Sony Pulse 3D's sound and mic quality

As with many mid-tier headsets, it leans a bit heavily on bass, even without the bass boost feature turned on. Turning it on, which you can do through the PlayStation 5 audio settings, the low end is almost overpowering.

Does PlayStation have Portal? ›

Portal 2 is a 2011 puzzle-platform video game developed by Valve for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.

How does PlayStation Authenticator work? ›

You'll receive a verification code in the authenticator app. Enter a mobile number or select an existing one. You'll receive a verification code via SMS. Enter the verification code.

Why are the Portal games so good? ›

Portal is a puzzle game. Normally puzzle games have a reputation of being boring due to the lack of action, but Portal makes the effort of keeping the thrill with a whole bunch of aspects. It's a thing Valve is good at. Making fun games full of action that also actually require you to use your head.


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