It serves as a digital photo frame and lets you place video calls over Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to phones and other Facebook Portal devices. Facebook isn't well known for building great hardware yet, but it's getting more aggressive with a new round of these Portal devices and its Oculus virtual reality business. But these devices make sense for a company that prides itself on connecting people, and the Portal does a good job at that. While the Portal I tested is a marked improvement over the model I tested last year, and the best video chat device of its kind, Google and Amazon 's devices are still better for most people since they can do more. The Portal is great for video calls, so long as the people you're calling use Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. Most of my family is on WhatsApp, but the Portal only lets you call up to 4 in a video chat, far from the 32 people that you can call with Apple 's FaceTime. Most of my family doesn't actively use Facebook anymore, but folks with Facebook Messenger can call up to 8 people at once. I liked it for simple video calls with my brother and his wife in Santa Monica, who had an identical loaner unit from Facebook. The video was really clear and has a nice wide angle lens so I was able to see my brother, his wife and my niece.
What’s so good about Facebook Portal?
When I was little, I communicated with my grandparents on the other side of the globe through awkward, truncated phone calls, letters sprinkled with foreign languages, and care packages full of dried mangos and underwear. FaceTime has been an immeasurable improvement, but it's not perfect. I can convince my 2-year-old and 4-year-old children to sit in front of an iPad Mini for only a few minutes at a time. They stare blankly at my parents, who sit on a couch thousands of miles away and stare right back at them.
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These are essentially video-calling devices that use Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to call or message friends, family and colleagues. Facebook Portal is a video communication device from Facebook. These are devices that are styled to look like digital photo frames and to sit nicely in your home as a beautiful and intelligent display until the time comes to place or receive a call. The focus of these devices is very much on video calling and "putting people at the centre". Facebook hopes the Portal range of smart displays will help connect more people in your life more easily. They each have different designs aesthetics, but they're both focused on video chatting and meant to make it feel like you're in the same room with the person on the other end of the call. As we mentioned, calls can also be placed via Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, so end-to-end encryption is an option.