Pimax Portal Is a 4K QLED Switch

Specs, features, and find out why the Pimax Portal is one of the most exciting handhelds prospects out there.
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It’s not often I’m impressed when I see a new console. This last half of the year has very much been full of samey handhelds. Has anyone thought to copy the Miyoo Mini? Yes, everyone has, and it’s tiresome.

That’s why when I saw the Pimax Portal in action I audibly gasped. Here is a console that’s not afraid to go bold. It’s different, it’s powerful, and iterates on the tried-and-tested Nintendo Switch design. It’s certainly one to watch.

What Is the Pimax Portal?

Comparison image of the Switch and Pimax Portal. Credit: Taki Udon

Comparison image of the Switch (top) and Pimax Portal (bottom). Credit: Taki Udon

This is where things get interesting. The Pimax Portal is several devices in one. It’s an Android gaming console, a VR device, and it comes with the option to stream PC games.

The virtual reality side of things will need the Primax VR headset, though as the console itself handles the VR, it’s possible a generic plastic headset could be used in theory.

What makes this device such an interesting prospect is its stunning 4K QLED screen. The OLED Switch looks gorgeous, but the console is locked at 720p in handheld mode and 1080p when docked. The Pimax Portal, meanwhile, can output at up to 4K, which is going to make a massive difference in terms of visuals. Even more so when you think about emulation. If it can output something like GameCube or PS2, or hell, even Switch games, at 4K we could be in for something revolutionary.

Not only that, the Switch-like joy-con controllers are smart. Rather than opting for slots on the sides of the console, the Pimax Portal instead went with high-powered magnets to snap everything into place. That’s a smart move. It means the joy-con won’t get mangled if young kids play on it (speaking from experience here, sadly).

Pimax Port Specifications

Pimax Portal VR headset and controllers.

Credit: Pimax

The inclusion of the Snapdragon XR2 chipset here is a smart one. It’s the same chip that powers the Meta Quest 2 VR headset. Admittedly it’s not the most powerful chip on the market, but if it’s high-quality at a relatively budget price you’re after, that chip can’t be beat.

As UploadVR points out, the chipset – which combines the CPU and GPU – is roughly double the power of the Nintendo Switch. For emulation, that opens up a lot of possibilities, and for VR it’s more than enough. Especially when you factor the Meta Quest 2 ships with just 6GB of RAM. It may not seem like much, but that extra 2GB has the potential to help speed things up if implemented correctly.

Pimax Portal Specs

  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2, 8 Cores at 2.84GHz
  • GPU: Qualcomm Adreno 650
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB/256GB
  • Screen: LCD
  • Resolution: 3840 by 2160 (4K)
  • Screen Size: 5.5 inch
  • Refresh Rate: 144Hz
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi 6E, 2.4G, 5G, 6G
  • Battery: 4000mAH

Pimax Portal QLED Specs

  • CPU: Qualcomm XR2, 8 Cores at 2.84GHz
  • GPU: Qualcomm Adreno 650
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Screen: QLED+Mini LCD
  • Resolution: 3840 by 2160 (4K)
  • Screen Size: 5.5 inch
  • Refresh Rate: 144Hz
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi 6E, 2.4G, 5G, 6G
  • Battery: 4000mAH

Pimax Portal Price and Availability

Prices for the Pimax Portal start from $299 for the basic, non-QLED version. The choices potential owners have here boils down to three things: Hard drive size, screen type, and if they want a VR headset included.

For comparison, the Meta Quest 2 costs $400.

You can order the Pimax Portal over on the Kickstarter page. Delivery is aiming for January 2023, though I’ve got my concerns about how realistic that is. We’ll see, though.

  • Pimax Portal 8GB/256GB – $299
  • Pimax Portal 8GB/256GB – $399
  • Pimax Portal View 8GB/128GB with VR Headset – $449
  • Pimax Portal View 8GB/256GB with VR Headset – $499
  • Pimax Port QLED 8GB/256GB – $549
  • Pimax Portal QLED View 8GB/256GB – $599

What Can the Pimax Portal Emulate?

The Pimax Portal has a lot of power behind it. PS2 and GameCube-era titles should, in theory, run without too many issues. Likewise, Wii and Wii U should be playable on this device, though 4K may be pushing it.

I’d also wager Switch could work on this system, but compatibility is sure to be low. That’s in part due to the state of Switch emulation, which is hit-and-miss, and the fact the Pimax Portal isn’t quite as powerful as something like the Steam Deck.

  • Sega:¬†Genesis/Mega Drive, Master System, Game Gear, SegaCD, Sega32x, Dreamcast
  • Nintendo: NES, SNES, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, DS, 3DS, N64, GameCube, Wii, Wii U, Nintendo Switch*
  • Sony: PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable
  • Microsoft: Xbox*
  • Misc: PC Engine, WonderSwan, Mame, FBNeo, Neo Geo

*Indicates consoles that will run but may suffer problems.

Conclusion

There’s always a level of concern that comes with any company promising something this good on Kickstarter, so I’d be remiss not to recommend holding off until it hits retail, or at the very least more people have tried it out.

As it stands, the operating system is still a while off from completion. It works, but there are still a ton of features to implement. That’s why the shipping date of January 2023 doesn’t seem too realistic to me. But hey, we’ll see.

All that aside, the Pimax Portal looks to be the breath of fresh air the retro handheld community needs. It’s inventive, powerful, and attempts to move into new areas. That’s exciting! When every other release is a Miyoo Mini clone, it’s good to see some companies are looking to Nintendo for inspiration.

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Wesley Copeland

Wesley Copeland is a gaming, tech, and toys journalist with over 10 years of experience writing online. Originally starting in video games before specializing in tech and toys, you can find his bylines at IGN, VG24/7, Kotaku, Tech Radar, Games Radar, PC Gamer, Heavy, and many more. He's also highly passionate about how tech can be used to better our day-to-day lives.