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There seem to be more and more options for staying in touch when apart. The epidemic drove us to find innovative ways to perform almost all tasks from home, but the influx of new technology makes it a little difficult to find one ideal, multipurpose video calling device. With its Portal, a less expensive competitor to the Amazon Echo line, and some discounted iPads, Facebook has entered the competition.
Facebook Portal and Portal+ have been around for a while, despite undergoing a redesign to address some of the visual and functional issues. Despite appearing to be the newest kid on the block (more on that later). You may find some information on the Portal, including its cost, available sizes, and user reviews, below.
Facebook Portal: What Is It?
A deeper user experience “intended to make you feel closer” to family and friends is what Facebook Portal intends to offer. However, you may also use Portal for business, as well as to watch videos, listen to music, and more.
AI technology and other helpful features are included in Portal, like the Portal Smart Camera, which automatically pans and zooms to keep you in focus even while you’re moving about.
Additionally, Portal has Smart Sound technology, which reduces background noise for a more comfortable, hands-free video calling experience. And using AR, you can do fun things like telling a child a bedtime tale, which is a fantastic feature for parents and grandparents to stay in touch with their grandchildren.
Portal has built-in security protections that users may manage. For instance, calls are encrypted for further security, and the camera and microphone may both be turned off with a simple tap. Additionally, Portal enables you to configure a camera cover to conceal the lens and a digital password to keep the screen locked.
What Is the Price?
Facebook Portal now comes in a number of different shapes and sizes. The cost is between $130 and $280, but if you buy two from the Portal website at once, you’ll save $100.
The 10″ display screen flagship Portal device sells for $179 on the Portal website and $129.99 on Amazon and Walmart.
You may connect to numerous services using Facebook Portal, including WhatsApp, Spotify, Netflix, Paramount+, Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Prime Video, Pandora, iHeart Radio, Showtime, Food Network, Newsy, and more.
Zoom and other video conferencing programs like GoToMeeting, Workplace, BlueJeans, and WebEx are all compatible with Portal. You can start Messenger rooms through Portal for group calls with up to 50 participants.
In addition to Alexa, Portal has a built-in voice assistant that allows you to use voice commands to play music, create reminders, watch the news, check the weather, and control smart home devices. While using Messenger, Portal also enables you to share photographs from your phone via the Portal mobile app.
Facebook Portal Plus 15.6″
The Portal+, which costs an additional $279 and has a 15.6″ screen, goes up a little. Both portrait and landscape modes are supported by touchscreen devices. A 12.5MP camera with a 140-degree field of view is included with both Portal and Portal+.
In addition to having four microphones, four 2″ tweeters, and four 4″ woofers for immersive bass, Portal+ has WiFi at 2.4GHz and 5GHz. When you purchase Portal+ on Amazon during this short-term sale, you can save up to 25%.
Looking for a more compact item? The Portal Mini has the same functionality as the Portal and Portal+ and an 8″ HD display. The Portal Mini costs $129 and is presently out of stock on the Portal website, but you can still get one via Amazon or Target.
The last option is smart video calling on an even bigger screen with Portal TV. You will be able to access all of the Portal’s features, not only video calls, right on your TV. Use Netflix, Disney+, and other services to stream your favorite shows and music, photographs, and movies. On the website, Amazon, and Best Buy, the price of the Portal TV is listed at $149.
Does It Merit Purchase?
When comparing pricing, features, and usefulness, Facebook Portal isn’t really all that different from some of the other video calling gadgets. The new generation of Portal overcame many of the challenges from earlier iterations, particularly in the apps that were available on the device, despite the 12.5 MP camera being significantly less than what you would receive with an Amazon Echo Show 8 (13 MP).
Customers of Amazon, Best Buy, and Portal awarded it high grades for being simple to use, as well as for the clarity of its music and video and the huge display provided by the Portal+.
Some design elements, such as the hard wiring, left some people unimpressed. It limits your mobility to have to keep your Portal plugged in, but if you don’t move around often or use it in an office environment, this may not be a big deal.
Despite the fact that Facebook advertises Portal as a partially independent entity, consumers may still have trust difficulties, regardless of how portable or functional the Portal is. The company claims that Portal technology is run on a dedicated server.
Facebook doesn’t record your content or listen to your calls. However, after you say “Hey Portal” to activate the device, like other speech-enabled devices, it will send voice commands to Facebook servers (you can delete the history in your Facebook Activity Log).
The worries about privacy are reasonable. The more than 500 million users of Facebook still don’t totally trust it. Users’ concerns about information sharing aren’t limited to the Portal, either. That being said, if you do want to buy a Portal, we’ve hopefully educated you on some of the key features and pricing alternatives so you can decide which option best suits your needs in terms of technology and your budget.