We Review A PS2 Portable So You Don’t Have To

Have you ever dreamt of having a PS2 Portable for your commute to work? Have you ever dreamt of taking your PS2 on holiday? If your answer is yes to either of these questions, then you may want to take a look at this PS2 portable we found on Etsy.

We’ve reviewed many of the best retro handhelds on the market, from $60 affordable emulators like the Pocket Go S30 all the way up to this $800 monstrosity that they called the PS2 Portable.

This PS2 Portable is simply an original PS2 motherboard that has been cut and slimmed down into a portable form factor. There’s no emulation, no need to have discs nor the need to have 5m AV cables sticking out of your TV.

Phoenix Retro Mods, the two guys behind this product have turned their passion into a business, by slimming down old consoles and fitting them into portable systems that play games flawlessly.

We also have our hands on their Portable Wii which we’ll feature on our YouTube channel in the coming weeks, so they not only stick to Sony’s consoles, they do others including a Portable Dreamcast.

Let’s take a look at the build quality, but before we do we need to mention this is not created by a huge team of people with factories available for parts. These guys are using high end 3D printers, the internals of old PS2’s and even the buttons from PS Vita’s and Nintendo Switch’s in order to create this PS2 Portable.

It’s rough around the edges, the soft plastic of the shell attracts scratches and PS Vita DPAD buttons are very loose, making it easy to move them a cm or two when playing fast paced games.

The screen is a 4.3″ IPS 480p 16:9 display that fits the handheld perfectly, the only downfall we had is that our unit had this green, fuzzy look to it which the Phoenix Retro Mods team wasn’t sure why it was happening, perhaps this was just our unit? Perhaps not.

ps2 portable burnout

The screen itself apart from the green tint is really nice, the perfect size, and the perfect resolution. Viewing angles were above average and it was crisp enough to show the pixelation while we played our best PS2 games non stop, and by best games we mean Burnout 3 Takedown.

One of the coolest features about the PS2 Portable, and the only feature we didn’t get to test is the fact that it can connect PS2/PS3 controllers via Bluetooth. So you can set this up on the train, pull out your controllers and play games wirelessly.

It can be done, but remember, the screen is only 4.3″ so you need to be fairly close to the device. On the back of the PS2 portable you will find a lot of air vents in order to keep the device cool, a custom Playsation logo vent and your shoulder buttons.

How Does It Feel?

ps2 portable buttons

The PS2 portable itself, isn’t very comfortable, it’s very boxy, square and the shoulder buttons are awkwardly placed making it uncomfortable to play on for anything over 30 minutes.

Again, the team are very new to this and I can see them coming up with a lot of new versions in the future if things go to plan. Hopefully better shoulder buttons, a more comfortable form factor and slightly better battery life.

While we’re on the subject of battery life the PS2 Portable can play for up to 2.5 hours on one single charge, the large brick like charging cable comes with the device and plugs in via the top. You can play while it charges, but it’s a little awkward.

The device when in the hand is fairly heavy, because… well, there’s a PS2 console inside, including a screen. When you turn on the device you will hear the fans come into action, just like the old console, so expect to get funny looks on the bus when you power up this thing. It sounds like a small harrier jet preparing for take off, but that just adds to the wow factor.

What Games Can The PS2 Portable Play?

ps2 portable OPL

The PS2 Portable can play every single PS2 game flawlessly, including 90% of your best PS1 games collection due to the backwards compatibility.

How, if there’s no disk drive we hear you ask? Put simply it uses an operating system called OPL that is installed via USB that allows you to install the ISO files of PS2 games and organise them on a pretty old looking user interface.

Obviously downloading ROMs that you do not own is illegal, so the best way is to use your ISO files directly from your PS1 games. Once downloaded on the SD card, chuck it into the PS2 portable, press play and you’re ready to experience flawless PS2 gameplay on the go.

We did have a few problems with using OPL with our Mac as it fragmented the games, so we advise only using a PC when using OPL and installing ROMs, it’s just far easier.

What Does This Mean For Portable Consoles?

ps2 portable top

The PS2 Portable excites us, it really does, as much as it’s not perfect, and the build quality is simply OK, it’s the first step into custom consoles that brings a handheld form factor into consideration.

Nobody has really done this before to this standard. We purchased a Portable Gamecube a few months ago that almost caught fire, you can witness it here on our channel. So to see the build quality step its game up and become playable flawlessly without any hiccups is impressive!

If there’s a future demand for these products we will start to see the build quality getting better and better all while (hopefully) the price slowly gets smaller and smaller due to the mass quantity they can make.

Overall Opinion Of The PS2 Portable

PS2 portable gameplay

Look, the PS2 Portable is the first draft of a new wave of custom consoles, and yes, shortcuts have been made, but this is simply due to the budget they have per unit, and the time it takes to make these products by hand.

The build quality could be better, the battery life could be better and so on, but they’ve obviously tried to keep it under the $1000 and have had to sacrrifice those features in order to do so.

The PS2 Portable is aimed at someone who has dreamed of wanting this for a long time, has some spare cash and are big fans of portable handhelds. For the average consumer all we can do is sit back and watch these get more affordable over the years.

It’s an incredible achievement, and it still blows our mind playing Grand Theft Auto Vice City on the bus, or in a coffee shop. This is the start of something great, and we can’t wait to see it evolve, it’s just a tad too expensive right now.

How Much Is A PS2 Portable?

As of now a typical custom PS2 Portable costs between $600 – $800.

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