You may have heard about the Facebook Portal smart display that makes video calling through Facebook Messenger pretty easy. Here are some key features to help you decide if it is right for you.

About Facebook Portal

The Facebook Portal and the Portal Plus are two new smart display products on the market.  They are primarily focused on video calling through Facebook Messenger but they also have a few other features.  They come with Alexa voice assistant loaded and they also have Facebook’s “Hello Portal” voice service.

Key Features

The primary function is to video chat with your friends.  Note that this only works with the Facebook Messenger app (desktop or phone).  So as long as your friends have the Messenger app you can call them. 

The unit has a nice feature where the camera follows you as you walk in a 140-degree field of view. This lets you  talk to someone hands-free while you do other things. The camera can automatically pan and zoom to focus on you, even when you’re in a room full of people. It comes with a voice-enhancing microphone.

To place a call, all you do is select your friend’s icon (they will be pre-loaded as long as they have Messenger) and say “Hey Portal, call name” and the call will be placed. You can have a group call of up to seven people which is nice.  Your friends don’t need to have a Portal device, only Messenger to accept the call.

Cost

There are two devices, the smaller Portal is $199 and the Portal Plus is $349. 

The difference comes down to size. The Portal has 720p resolution and a 10.1-inch screen, while the Facebook Portal Plus has 1080p HD resolution and a 15.6-inch screen.

Screen orientation is also different. The Portal is always in landscape mode while you can switch between landscape and portrait view with the Portal Plus.  One thing to note is the Portal Plus is pretty big as far as taking up space.

Where to buy:

 You can buy the Portal at the Portal Store, on Amazon and Best Buy right now.

Overall Thoughts

The device is very straightforward to use.  The downside is it only works with people that have Messenger, the price is a tad high, and the device itself is big.  The upside is you can be doing other things while you are video chatting and it is an easy way to stay connected with people. If you and your loved ones use Messenger a lot, this might be a good device to get.

 

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