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Playing your PlayStation 4 games remotely on your Sony phone is really cool

Sony Xperia Z5 With DualShock 4 Controller
Sony Xperia Z5 With DualShock 4 Controller (Image credit: Android Central)

If you're a gamer, you probably already have a preferred way to enjoy your games. Whether that means that you're fiercely loyal to your platform, or that you've spent the money and gotten yourself a sweet setup. Games, and the way that we access them are changing, and it seems like Sony is trying t be on the forefront of that change. They've already announced PlayStation VR, but now they've also given gamers the ability to play their PlayStation 4 from compatible Sony phones.

PS4 Remote play streams gameplay from your PS4 console direct to your phone or tablet. This app is built so that you can pair a Dualshock 4 controller, and play your PS4 from your phone — so long as you are connected over Wi-Fi. There's no need to learn new controls, since you'll be playing with a normal controller and for the most part this app and its features work beautifully. For anybody who has lost control over the TV (or fallen asleep in the living room while playing on the PS4), this is a pretty awesome deal. So if you've got a Sony Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 compact, or Xperia Z4 tablet, then you're good to go.

PS4 Remote Play setup

Setting up Remote Play is really easy, and the app will walk you step-by-step through the process. You'll need to pair your Xperia device to a controller, and then connect your device to the PS4 system you plan on using, and make sure that you are connected to the internet via Wi-Fi. The actual setup takes five minutes at most before you have access to your console.

After you've gotten set up and paired, it's time to play some games on your phone. I mean, you can watch Netflix from anywhere, but when was the last time you had the opportunity to sit outside and play video games if you wanted? Playing a game here is almost the exact same experience as you would get from your television. Considering that your TV is typically significantly larger than your phone or tablet, we were pretty pleased with the experience.

PlayStation Remote Play can chew through 15 percent of your battery in just an hour.

You also have the choice to bypass using a controller entirely and just use your phone. The controls will show up on the lower half of your screen, with less than half of the screen being taken up by the game that you are playing. Unless you are using a tablet we really don't recommend this. It didn't work as well as using a controller, but the bigger problem was how small the gameplay area was using this method. Holding your phone vertically will give you bigger controls but a tiny screen to play in, while rotating to landscape gives you controls that are literally superimposed over the game.

Unlike some mobile games you may have played, where the writing is illegible, or it's hard to navigate, you get a gorgeous experience when using a controller. The entire screen of your phone becomes a TV, and the quality is on par as well. Your console is streaming over Wi-Fi to your phone, which means your phone isn't doing the heavy lifting. The Xperia Z5 has some slight problems with heating up when you try playing heavy mobile games, but that doesn't seem to be a problem when using remote play. Keeping an eye on your battery is a good call though, because this app can chew through 15 percent of your battery in an hour.

Last of us on Remote Play

The biggest problem, I'm sad to say, was lag. Since you are connecting to your PlayStation 4 console over your home Wi-Fi, you may not always get a solid connection. If you're the only person using the internet at home, you should be safe, but you'll start to see issues if there are multiple people all using that same Wi-Fi. While we were only actually disconnected once, the warning popped up pretty regularly when there were multiple devices online. The lag can be especially frustrating for anyone playing a multiplayer game.

We ran into severe pixelation, characters moving counter to our commands, frozen screens, and the pain of catching back up to where the game was when it got over the lag. None of these issues lasted for too long, usually it was a 5-15 second aggravation that quickly fixed itself. However, when you're in the middle of inflicting a massive bloodbath and you suddenly can't move your character at all ... it's a problem. In fact, it's enough of a problem that after a serious lag in Destiny we switched games.

Lag can be an issue, but it's usually brief enough that you can wait it out and keep playing.

While there were connectivity issues on both Destiny and Last of Us, they were less of a serious problem in the latter, a single-player game that doesn't depend on reactions with other players over the internet. When you're playing a single-player game, you can just wait out the lag and then keep playing uninterrupted. While that's obviously not an ideal situation, it still works quite well, and is a serious win for anyone that's had to surrender control of the TV to somebody that doesn't appreciate console gaming as much as you do.

To really get the most of Sony Remote Play though, you'll probably want to order a Game Control Mount (opens in new tab). This will let you mount your phone right above your controller and by far gives you best Remote Play experience. It turns remotely playing the PS4 into an experience similar to a handheld game system with the controls and your screen right next to one another. The mount isn't a necessary accessory to enjoy PS4 Remote Play, but it does make things far less awkward.

Sony Game Control Mount

Overall PS4 Remote Play is a great app for anyone who happens to own both an Xperia phone, and a PS4 console. It would be nice to see more phones with the ability to use this, but it isn't surprising that Sony is keeping it exclusive to their own devices. The app functions well for the most part, but you'll probably want to go ahead and steer away from multiplayer games if you've got roommates using the Wi-Fi. While lag and battery use were somewhat problematic, it didn't end up being a large enough issue to make the experience enjoyable.

Are you going to give PS4 Remote Play a shot? Do you think that Remote Play should be available for more phones and tablets? Let us know what you think about it in the comments!

Jen is a staff writer who spends her time researching the products you didn't know you needed. She's also a fantasy novelist and has a serious Civ VI addiction. You can follow her on Twitter.

28 Comments
  • I like that mount thing. I doubt it would work well on a phone with a plastic, soft touch back though.
  • I used it on my S5 and Nexus 6P (well, button placement with the 6P make it awkward.) It's not bad though. A bit cheap feeling, bit over all not bad. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You could use the $10 Nyko one instead. That is what I use on my Z3
  • The problem with most clips is they hold the phone right where the volume rocker on the new nexus phones are located. That's why I like this one. The phone would be way off center if i tried to use the Nyko one.
  • Head over to XDA to find out how to get this app working on every device that has the power to run it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Say whaaaaa?! Thx! Posted via the Android Central App
  • If only this were available for the PS VITA!! or is it? I really need to find my VIta charging cord!! I have enough activities draining my battery as it is!!!!
  • It's on vita, use the ps4 link app Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah man I play TLOU on it works great Posted via the Android Central App
  • Been using this on my Z3 Tablet for a year. Great solution when my wife wants to watch her shows.
  • I thankfully have a dedicated media room for this. She can watch shows all she wants, I and my 3 kiddos can play whatever in there. Funnest thing ever is to watch my boys playing the PS4, I'm up on the PC or Xbox One, and my daughter playing on the Wii U tablet, all in harmony. We don't always get the urge to all play at the same time, but when it happens its nice to know I can give 5 people their sanity in playing whatever, whenever.
  • Do Xperia phones have native PS4 controller support for Android games? I haven't tried yet, but I figured I'd ask anyway. Posted via Xperia Z5
  • Yes, as long as the game has controller support. You can't map the controls if not. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Of course, pair up controller and you are xgood to go. The lag issue mentioned only affects WiFi, and the ps4 has a WiFi direct mode that is lag free. Check the settings on the pa4
  • Awesome. I'm totally buying a controller mount now Posted via Xperia Z5
  • 15% off battery in 1 hour? I'd say thats decent actually Posted via the Android Central App
  • My thought as well. I'll sometimes exceed that playing Riptide or Fast Racing, but that's with the sound cranked up, linked to a subwoofer, and the phone powering the hardwired controller. 15% per hour is pretty good.
  • I do the same thing with my laptop and my Xbox One - actually probably a much better solution since the laptop screen is much larger and I can plug the Xbox controller into the USB port. But it's good to see this streaming functionality becoming more and more widespread.
  • Playstation will be doing this soon too. They're going to support Windows and Mac.
  • This also works on all Z3 models since you didn't list them. I've connected to my PS4 from work before to make sure it was downloading an update lol.
  • The Z3 Tablet Compact (or Compact Tablet) is also compatible and I'm pretty sure much of the Z3 series (or Z3+) is as well. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It goes right back to the Xperia Z2. Blackberry Priv
    Nvidia Shield "Portable"
    Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
  • I have a terrible router at home and my playstation just happens to be in the opposite corner of the house, making remote play veeeeery laggy. It is good for keeping an eye any downloads I'm doing from another room though. Blackberry Priv
    Nvidia Shield "Portable"
    Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
  • Any word if this will work "across town"? I know remote play on the PS3 to the psp was supposed to work anywhere (in the world) as long as you had wifi but I never could make it work... I'd read stories of some people getting certain games to work, but who knows. That would be pretty killer being able to take your ps4 wherever you go though.
  • Other reviews have said that you need to be on the same wifi network, so that would rule out "across town" if that's the case.
  • Yes it works across town, just use the Playstation TV, set it up, and voila. Been playing GTA5 with my son at he's grandma's house.
  • 1. I stand corrected.
    2. It's cool that you can do that :)
  • Man, I'd pay for the ability to do this on a non-Sony branded phone. Unfortunately, since Sony phones are poorly marketed here, I doubt this feature moves the needle for their phone sales very much. Additionally, since Sony doesn't really manufacture phones compatible with cdma, they are already cutting out potential users on Verizon and Sprint.