PlayStation Portal Vs. Backbone One Compared - Which is Better

PlayStation Portal Vs. Backbone One: Which is Better?

With November’s release of the PlayStation Portal, we decided to look at how it faired against an existing and well-loved product, the Backbone One.

The PlayStation Portal is PlayStation’s latest handheld device that gives you access to your PS5 games over your home Wi-Fi, so you can play without a TV. This is similar to the Backbone One, which also allows you to play video games through the use of your mobile device. With both products being suitable for PlayStation 5 remote play, we wanted to look at the pros and cons of each device and who both products are suited best for through a series of factors: Design, Features, and Pricing.

PlayStation Portal vs. Backbone One Sizing
PlayStation Portal vs. Backbone One Sizing – (Image Credit Games Radar)


The PlayStation Portal boasts a larger frame with ergonomic grips similar to the DualSense controller, featuring a spacious 8-inch 1080p screen, making it ideal for those valuing comfort and screen size. It offers full-size buttons and joysticks akin to the PS5’s DualSense, catering to various gaming genres with its familiar layout. Another feature of PS5 DualSense is the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, which help make the gameplay of the Portal as close as possible to your standard controller.

The Backbone One, in contrast, is more compact and portable, at just 3.70 inches tall and 6.94 inches wide, allowing it to fit comfortably in my pocket. Its compact design does not come with a screen but expands to fit a phone through a spring-loaded frame that works well. It features small, tactile buttons and compact thumb sticks that are decently sized for playing any game but still smaller than the PlayStation Portal. With a much flatter design structure, the backbone does not feel as comfortable in the hands as the portal, and this can be more noticeable the longer you play on the device. You can choose a white Backbone, which looks like a PlayStation device and PlayStation button icons, or a black Backbone with an Xbox button icon structure.

PlayStation Portal playing Astro's Playroom
PlayStation Portal – Image Credit Sony


The PlayStation Portal is not a gaming console but a streaming device. This means you must own a PS5 and have the games you wish to play installed on the device. You must also have an active internet connection to the device to stream from and no offline support. From a battery perspective, the device is reported to last between 5 and 7 hours, providing a very reasonable amount of game time. However, one major negative is that it lacks Bluetooth support, which means no wireless headphones beyond Sony’s own Pulse Explore and Pulse Elite; a big negative. You can still use wired headphones with a 3.5mm headphone jack available.

The Backbone One has much more platform support than the PlayStation Portal as it can be used to play mobile games through a connected phone and supports Steam, Xbox Gaming Cloud, and PlayStation 5 remote play. However, like the PlayStation Portal, you must have a PlayStation 5 and the downloaded games to use the remote play functionality. It comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack. Also, it supports wireless Bluetooth headphones through the phone’s capabilities, which is a key difference from the PlayStation Portal and allows for a range of audio support.


The PlayStation Portal comes for AU$329, which is about 3 times the price of a standard controller for the PlayStation 5. For something that can only stream games for the PlayStation 5, this is not a feature-rich device for its price tag. The Backbone One comes at AU$189, which is just over half the price of the PlayStation Portal, and while it doesn’t come with the same hardware or physical build quality, has a lot more compatibility, making it a cost-effective solution if you already have a capable mobile phone device.

Backbone One still of the device
Backbone One – Image Credit Backbone

If you are looking for the most optimum support for playing games on your PlayStation 5 through remote play, then the PlayStation portal is the best device for you, with its comfort and large screen. If you are a player who wants cross-platform support and the option to play games on a range of platforms and prioritize the compact size, then you should consider Backbone. I personally prefer the Backbone as I can play mobile games, Xbox Cloud Gaming, and emulators while accessing my PlayStation remote play – all at a lower price.


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