Portal from Facebook
Facebook made its first foray into the world of hardware through two smart touch-screen speakers called Portal and Portal Plus. They’ve also subsequently released Portal TV, which is an OTT device that turns your entire TV into a Portal display, and the Portal Mini, which is the smaller version of Portal. With the new Facebook Portal, which bears some resemblance to the Amazon Echo Show, they have made a hybrid that has more to do with a smart tablet than with a smart speaker. Especially the Portal plus, which from what we determined, seems as if an iPad mini is mounted on a Bose speaker.
Continue reading this article and we will reveal all the necessary information so you can get to know more about the new version of Facebook’s smart speaker known as the Portal.
Facebook Portal Functionality
It is obvious to say that the Facebook Portal is focused almost entirely on making video calls only through the contacts we have in the Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. At the moment, it does not allow us to be able to use YouTube or Netflix videos, nor can we have a conversation with our Instagram contacts even though Instagram is owned by Facebook.
In the absence of all these main Apps, in exchange it allows you to associate the Smart Portal Speaker to Facebook Watch which is Facebook’s competitive service to YouTube.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, Facebook Portal is really geared towards video calling and video interaction with your network on Facebook and WhatsApp. Portal makes video easy with your Facebook and WhatsApp friends. To activate video calls simply say “Hey Portal” and then name the contact you want to video call. It also allows you the option to make group calls of up to seven contacts at the same time.
Facebook Portal Features
Video calls made easy:
As stated earlier, Facebook Portal makes it simple to video call with anyone in your network on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Regardless of if your friends have a Portal or not, you can call them on any video-enabled device they’re on, like their desktop or smartphone.
Camera, Mic, and Privacy:
All devices come with a high-resolution camera that offers a wide field of view ranging from 12.5 – 13 MP and 114 – 140-degree field of view. Additionally, the wide-angle camera allows Portal to recognize the person who is talking and realizes when there is more than one person in view, which will widen its angle so that everyone enters the frame. Another awesome feature of the Facebook Portal is the incorporation with the Spark platform adding AR capabilities to video calls making them even more interactive.
Digital Photo frame:
When the Facebook Portal is idle it’s transformed into a digital photo frame that pulls from Facebook and Instagram pictures. It will also give you notifications, like birthday reminders, show when friends are online, and more.
AR, Storytime, and Mic Drop:
With Storytime, you can use digital masks and effects to become part of the story as you read story tales. Additionally, on the Portal TV, you can play AR games, try on multiple AR marks, and sing your favorite songs on an AR stage!
Portal comes built-in with Amazon Alexa and can use all of the voice commands you’ve come to know and love. This includes reading you the news, checking the weather, and playing your favorite song. Additionally, you can use this to control other smart devices that are compatible with Amazon Alexa.
The Facebook Portal is second to none for video calling with your Facebook and WhatsApp friends. It also has some really neat integrations that enable AR. While Portal is great at video calls to one of the largest networks out there and provides video/AR features not available on other smart displays, it doesn’t outweigh the numerous privacy scandals and data leaks by the company.
I’m not able to look past Facebook’s recent privacy concerns yet, but if you are and want to easily video call your Facebook and WhatsApp friends, this is the device for you.
Buying the Portal
- The Portal at Amazon – $175.77
- Facebook Portal (Gen 1) at Amazon – $129.99
- Portal Plus by Facebook at Best Buy – $279.99
- The Facebook Portal TV Smart Video Calling at Best Buy – $149.99
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