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The PlayStation Portal is a handheld gaming device with an 8 inch full HD display squeezed between two halves of a Sony DualSense controller with haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, and stereo speakers. Available now for $200, the PlayStation Portal is designed for one thing only: streaming games from a PlayStation 5 console.

You can’t officially use it for anything else, like streaming games from the internet, loading games onto the device for local playback, or emulation. And that may limit its appeal, which accounts for the mixed reviews the Portal has gotten since it hit the streets earlier this month. Wondering how feasible it would be to hack the system to do anything else? Nobody’s found a good way to do that yet, but we are getting a better sense of what makes the PlayStation Portal tick, which could be the first step.

YouTuber Jacob R has posted a 10-minute teardown video of the PlayStation Portal, which reveals a few key things about the handheld:

  • It’s really not designed to be user repairable.
  • The main processor is a Qualcomm SG4150P chip.
  • It has Samsung LPDDR4x memory.
  • The PlayStation Portal has a 16.6 Wh battery.

There’s not much information on the internet about the SG4150P processor, and while there’s been some speculation that it’s a Snapdragon 662 chip from 2019, the model number shows up in security bulletins starting in early 2023. I can’t find any mention of it before then, suggesting it’s a newer processor… possibly one of Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon G1 or G2 series processors designed for handheld gaming devices.

I’ve also seen some reports indicating that the Portal features Qualcomm Adreno 610 graphics.

All of which is to say, that this is most likely a budget chip that doesn’t pack a lot of horsepower, because it doesn’t really need much. Since the Portal is designed to stream games from a PlayStation 5 using Sony’s Remote Play service, it’s actually the PS5 that does all the heavy lifting. All the Portal needs are chips that are sufficient to handle the data connection, controller input, and audio and video output.

Early reports had indicated that the Portal’s operating system is Android-based, and now that it’s shipping, there seems to be some evidence that Android platform tools like fastboot work with the device. That could provide a pathway for hackers to find ways to load third-party apps or games, root the device, or even install custom ROMs. But it’s unclear how well the SG4150P processor will be able to handle anything other than the default Sony software.

That said, if you’re not looking to hack the device, it seems to work exactly as promised. Not only can you use it to stream games from your own PS5 over a local network connection, but users have found that you can stream games over the internet while traveling (or connecting to a friend’s PS5 all the way across the country).

And if you’re just curious to know how hard it would be to open up the case and replace or repair components, Jacob R’s video shows that the analog sticks should be fairly easy to replace. Everything else? Not so much.

In order to access the battery, mainboard, or just about anything else, he had to apply a heat gun to the display to melt the adhesive holding it in place. And since the battery is directly behind the display, this needs to be done gently so that you don’t damage the battery. Once that’s done, you’ll still need some fresh adhesive for the screen if you want to put everything back together again.

via @rwan007, @T_decoy, @_akatama_, and NotebookCheck

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  1. Even if someone hacks it, it won’t be worth buying for the purpose of running games or emulators on it.

    If the chip ends up being related to the Snapdragon 662, that would make it less powerful than the already low-end T618 chip that powers several handhelds like the Retroid Pocket 3+, or the RG405M.

    The portal would need to be priced around $99 to make it even slightly interesting for that purpose.

    Having said that, I’m sure a hack would make lots of Xbox cloud streaming users happy. The controls and screen on the Portal are probably better than many other options.

    1. To be honest, the PS Portal is actually a $99 device. Sony is just being cheeky and testing the waters with this absurd price. It’s likely to get a flash sales price, then it’ll become frequent sales, then it will be a permanent price drop.

      …unless people keep buying this at $200. Because at $99 this device as it stands currently, is a great addition to the PS5 Platform. Even at that price, it would be making Sony some profits, and at $200 it’s a no-brainer money for them.

      Ideally, they SHOULD have stuck with the $200 price tag, but made the device much better/compelling. It should’ve had an eSIM to do Game Streaming from Sony’s Cloud servers when outdoors. Much more recent internals, Bluetooth, and Wifi modules for at-home use. And the screen is good, but it should’ve been a 60Hz VRR OLED that is happy in the sun. The sticks should’ve been Hall-based sensors. And the battery should be very easy to access/replace.

      If they wanted it to be “more”. Well they could make it, but it will mean having to render the games natively on top of all that. Which means beefy chipset: processor, memory, storage. All things that are expensive. They would barely break even at $300, and in this economy, would likely price it around $500 with specifications nearing the Apple M3 chipset. I don’t know how it will sell, tablets don’t sell that well if you observe the market, except the iPad. However, the Nintendo Switch is the exception. The original Sony PSP was a smashing success, but all that effort/energy seems to have died down with the fall of the PS Vita. So I doubt Sony could do something good, they seem to lack the leadership.

      I just hope they do decide to make a PS5 Pro. This console generation is going to be a long one, so the extra performance will definitely be put to good use. Their many peripherals (the PS VR2 !!) is definitely wanting more performance. And the Gaming PC market seems to have hit an all-time low from the RTX-20 to the RTX-50 era.

  2. To be fair, if you want to replace the battery you don’t have to work that much about the heat damaging it. You definitely don’t want to make it blow or damage the screen in the process though