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PlayStation Portal finally gets major feature it somehow launched without

Your PlayStation Portal can now be used to be play games outside your home, thanks to the latest update.

Sony’s $200 PlayStation Portal has never been a device that fully made sense. The handheld is specifically designed so players can stream games from their PS5 consoles to it. It doesn’t function without a console, and only really helps you take your games to bed while leaving the TV off - or for someone else to watch something on it.

As much of a limited use as that is, PS Portal was even more limited by its own software than people initially realised. The big omission was the handheld’s lack of any ability to deal with public Wi-Fi networks, such as those found at hotels and cafes.

PS Portal simply couldn’t work with the sign-in portals that require you to enter a room number and so on, so anyone who took it out of their home needed to connect it to a hotspot from their phone or laptop. This all changes today.

A big update was just released for Sony’s dedicated Remote Play device. It introduces sing-in screen support, specifically to allow PlayStation Portal users to be able to connect to public Wi-Fi networks.

The feature is not as seamless as you might hope, however. It requires another device to do the authentication - such as your phone or tablet. Once you install the update, the PS Portal will now display a QR code that you need to scan with your phone, which then allows you to go through the log-in process. It’s quite surprising that the PS Portal still doesn’t offer a basic web browser to navigate the log-in screens of those networks, but the update at least offers a solution.

Not the most elegant solution, eh? | Image credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment

The update also brings a couple of new and welcome features. The emulated touchpad on the PS Portal’s screen now shows where you’re touching it. There are new effects that will be displayed when using touchpad areas.

Finally, there’s now an option to display battery level percentage on the status bar. The feature can be turned on through the quick menu, and you’ll find it under Settings > System > Battery.

Alongside the new update, Sony also revealed a couple of interesting statistics about the handheld. According to the platform holder, over 60% of Portal owners used Remote Play for the first time, and it has (unsurprisingly) increased the average owner’s engagement with their PS5 console.

Some of the most played games in the Portal’s first three months of launch have been Spider-Man 2, God of War Ragnarok, as well as multiplayer games like Fortnite, EA Sports FC24 and Rocket League.

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