Portal is smart video calling designed to fit your home, with Alexa Built-in. Smart Camera automatically pans and zooms to keep up with the action and widens to keep everyone in view, so it feels like you’re in the same room even if you’re miles apart. With a wireless internet connection and active Messenger or WhatsApp account you can easily video call with friends and family using Messenger and WhatsApp, even if they don’t have Portal. Story Time lets you share well-loved stories with music, animation and augmented reality effects. When you’re not on a call, Portal’s sleek new design is also a picture-perfect digital frame that feels at home anywhere. Superframe lets you display photos from Facebook, Instagram and your smartphone, and gives you birthday reminders and notifications when your contacts are available to connect. Portal has front porting stereo speakers and a rear woofer for rich hi-fi sound. With additional account activation you can enjoy music, videos, news, games, and more from Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, YouTube, CNN, and the Food Network. And with Alexa Built-in, you can ask a question, set a timer, control your smart home and more.
Easily video call with friends and family using Messenger and WhatsApp, even if they don’t have Portal
Smart Camera automatically pans and zooms to keep up with the action. Move and talk freely and always stay in frame
The new Portal has a 8" HD touch-screen display in a sleek new frame
See and do more with Alexa Built-in. Control your smart home, check who’s at the front door, listen to your favorite music, watch the news and more, hands-free
Bring your children's favorite stories to life with Story Time's music, animation and AR effects
Display photos from Facebook, Instagram and your smartphone’s camera roll with Superframe
Get birthday reminders and see when your contacts are available to connect
Smart Sound enhances your voice while minimizing unwanted background noise
Easily disable the camera and the microphone, or block the lens with the camera cover. And all Portal video calls are encrypted
Active Facebook account required for product use
Facebook Portal Mini Smart Video Calling 8" Display with Alexa
Number of Microphones
Amazon Alexa, Hue, Nest, SmartThings, Wink
Portal Mini Smart Video Calling 8" Display with Alexa
Number Of Woofers Included
Voice Assistant Built-in
Number of Microphones
Messenger and WhatsApp video calls
Wireless A, Wireless AC, Wireless B, Wireless G, Wireless N
All right, this thing is super fun! I love it!
To start off with, I’d like to say that this Facebook 8” Portal Mini was packaged and presented, really wonderfully. It was like opening up a Christmas present! Getting the Portal initially set up and ready to begin the process of pairing and customizing the device’s many features, took some time, but there’s a lot this thing can do, so that makes sense. Just be prepared to spend the time to personalize what you want and need the Portal to be able to do, then you’ll be good to go. Of course, if you quickly skip over most of the features and just choose a friend (or family member) to try this out with, you can do that too.
If you’re already familiar with using Facebook Messenger, you’ll get the gist of what this device is all about, and recognize some of the features it has. Though, there are definitely more fun, and useful, features available with this Facebook Portal Mini. The device can be set up in portrait or landscape mode, so you can decide which works best for you during your video calls.
I’m not a big fan of Alexa (or Siri), one reason being that even after getting the device you’re using all set up and customized for all those nifty voice-activated features, more often than it seems reasonable, you have to repeat yourself to the darn thing just to be understood, and the AI gets it wrong anyway. Totally frustrating! So yeah, I didn’t bother trying out Alexa with this device, but the Portal does have that option available to add via ‘Settings - Accounts’ for those people who do like using Alexa.
Although I don’t use Spotify or Pandora, they are available on this Portal Mini, both can be used while on or off a video call. I have been using iHeartRadio, which is another music streaming service the Portal offers. It’s super convenient being able to say, “Hey Portal. Play 80’s music,” and it does. During a call, you and another Portal user can listen to music together (as long as each user has these music apps set up on their device), with each person being able to adjust their own volume. Plus, by connecting the Portal as a Bluetooth speaker, you are able to play your favorite music straight from your phone.
Speaking of which, the audio quality is great! It really is like being in the same room with the other person (or people) you are on the video chat with. Background “noise” was somewhat minimized, yet still there, but not enough to disrupt the video call. We could hear and converse with each other just fine.
The Smart Camera ‘pan and zoom’ feature, which is meant to always be able to keep you “in frame,” sorta works as intended. I’ve had it do what I assume it’s supposed to, with more success in landscape mode, but less success while set up in portrait mode. Dunno why. Maybe cause there’s less viewable screen for you to move around in that the camera can see and follow? I really didn’t much care for the Spotlight feature though.
Superframe is one of the coolest features of this Facebook Portal Mini. Think of this as mimicking one of those digital picture frame devices which display photographs in a sort of slideshow. This feature works much the same way. With Superframe, you can add photos from your Facebook albums, and if you download the Portal App from the Apple or Google Play stores, you are able to add photos from your mobile device directly to the Portal, without them being added to your Facebook albums for all the world to see. In ‘Settings,’ you can adjust the length of time photos are displayed on screen as they scroll through.
Other ‘features’ worth noting:
- Make group video calls with up to 8 people, including yourself, through Messenger via Facebook Portal. (I will say that adding another, third, person to my video call, caused the audio and video to became glitchy; though I think it was more the quality of this other person’s internet connection, rather than something to do with the device itself.)
- Add friends and family from your Facebook Messenger contacts, to create a ‘Favorites’ list.
- You can have up to four separate person’s accounts on your Facebook Portal Mini.
- Hands-free voice control - say “Hey Portal” (just like you would with Alexa or Siri) and tell the Portal what you want it to do - make a video call, play music, or launch apps.
- StoryTime - “become” a character within the story and read to family members via Facebook Messenger.
- For selfie aficionados, Photo Booth will be right up your alley. I had a great time playing around with this! Create selfies ‘Off-Call’ using cool AR effects, and send them via Messenger.
- Shared ‘In-Call’ Effects with AR masks and fun ‘mini-games’ to play.
- ‘Off-Call’ FB Games are ad-free; a definite plus there. Games include: Draw Something, Words with Friends, and Battleship; a few of my personal favorites.
- There are 3rd Party Apps you can download, such as a variety of news outlets, Facebook Watch, the Food Network, and Portal’s browser for even more content.
And now, a few words about ‘Privacy.’
I really wanted to highlight this aspect. Trying to do all I can to preserve as much of my privacy as possible - of my personal information and in deciding what is shared, when, and how - is of utmost importance to me. Be aware, this Facebook Portal Mini uses AI technology. How exactly? Portal “listens” for the phrase ‘Hey Portal’ and when that is detected, the device sends a short audio recording and transcript of that voice interaction to Facebook, where a trained team reviews that recording. I do not like this! Though you do have the option to view, hear, and delete any of your ‘Hey Portal’ voice interactions found within your Facebook Activity Log. In addition, for further security, you can also turn this feature off in Portal’s ‘Settings,’ which means your voice interactions will not be stored or reviewed. I would encourage all Facebook Portal users to do this, during the initial set up process, before they really begin using their Portal device. I, myself, went into the Portal’s ‘Settings’ and made sure to deactivate the voice interaction stuff, just for my own peace of mind.
For further security, and privacy, you can also disable the camera and/or microphone on the Portal itself. By sliding the switch, you can turn off the microphone and cover the camera lens. A red light confirms they are both off.
Just a few suggestions, for future features, and to improve on the ones already available. Perhaps find a way to show ‘Off-Call’ FB Game notifications on the main screen? Maybe add more stories in StoryTime for other age groups/grade levels, up to 8-10 years old. And in the Effects feature, make it so that you could create a “mask” of your own face, and choose a hairstyle or customize your features. Sorta like what other devices and apps do.
I’ll say it again, this Facebook 8” Portal Mini is super fun! I really, really have been enjoying making use of it, and its many cool features. Even though you can just use Facebook Messenger to stay in touch with friends and family via video chat - either on your PC, phone or tablet - there is more to be found here on this handy device.
Worth the cost? Yes! Worth getting if you enjoy new tech? Yes! Worth getting, if you already use Facebook Messenger and that’s free? Yes! That is, if you buy new tech and will make use of this Portal Mini on even a semi-regular basis, and definitely can appreciate all the additional features this device has ... Yes! The holiday’s are upon us, and this Facebook 8” Portal Mini (with Alexa) would make a cool gift. :)
The setup of the Facebook Portal mini was quick and easy. It comes in a neatly packed box and includes a charger/stand combo that requires to be snapped on. After plugging it in, connect it to WiFi and you are good to go. It will start auto-updating and the screen will show you step by step how to connect it to your Facebook and Whatsapp accounts.
The key feature of this portal is that you can communicate with your friends and family even if they don’t have a portal. More features are discovered if both parties have a portal such as a smart camera that follows you as you move, co-op and competitive mini games, animated overlays and voice modifiers for comedic effect. Additionally, it has peace-of-mind features that allow you to turn off the camera and the mic that is always listening with a switch slider. It has integrated Alexa, so you can ask it to do things without having to touch the screen at all.
The performance of this portal was fast and intuitive. After connecting you Facebook account, you see notifications of people that are active and displays them on your screen. It will give you text prompts of things you can say such as, “Alexa, call Maria.” Both, my voice and touch commands were quickly understood. I use it to check the morning weather before leaving for work, to communicate with my sister who has another portal, and to listen to the news while tending to house chores. The speaker is large but not noticeable, since it will be behind the screen. As a result, you get a loud booming sound if you higher the volume a lot, which is nice if you’re listening to your family or music with the available music apps.
The product meets my expectations. The product is the kind that you think you don’t need it and tell yourself that you probably won’t use it but once you try it, you’ll want to show it to everyone and encourage them to buy it too. My sister, who isn’t a techie, was able to plug hers in and update it with ease. She loved hers so much that she now uses it to call me more often and we will play games by changing our voices. She lives in Texas and I live in Tennessee. Since this Thanksgiving we won’t be able to see each other, she is taking it to our parents home where she will set it up while they eat dinner in Texas and our family in Tennessee. The camera can easily fit 2-3 people but the mic easily picks up all conversations taking place while reducing unwanted background noise. When not in use, it serves as a digital frame with rotating pictures of your choice or from your Facebook account. It also adjusts to the lighting in the room to give you the best picture quality available as the light source changes.
The price for the Facebook Portal mini in terms of value is worth the purchase for all that it offers.
I highly recommend this product for people who have families that live far apart but need a more convenient way to stay in touch. You’d think that just using your phones would suffice, but this brings a new level of immersion with your family and friends that you will quickly prefer this over text or video chats.
Tl;dr: High-quality video and sound connect you easily with your Facebook favorites. Fun effects with shared music brighten up your conversations. Close enccounters can be easily had when backlighting is not around. Great for Grandparents!
Facebook’s portal provides a nice view into your friends and family’s living rooms. At its core, it’s a nicely packaged, application-specific android tablet. With touchscreen controls, set up is fairly straightforward. Because this is from Facebook, it primarily operates with Facebook messenger and WhatsApp. Set up is easiest if you have the Facebook app on your mobile device. Even without that, you can use the web to authenticate to your Facebook account. Set up is simple enough that most can manage it, even without a tech savvy grandson around. Once it’s set up, using it is a breeze for anyone. Just be care using the word ‘Portal’ as you would ‘Alexa’.
Video quality was noticeably better with Facebook messenger, but WhatsApp video was slightly more reliable. The video frame rate was surprisingly fast with very smooth motion. The picture quality and frame rate were both better when using the portal compared to connecting to a galaxy S8 on the other end. Connecting to an iPad had similar quality, but more dropouts.
The camera is designed to zoom in on your face and follow you around the room. However, it does not work well with bright backlighting. In my kitchen, we have recessed lights in the ceiling. With the portal sitting on the counter and pointing upwards, those lights are clearly in its field of vision and prevented it from doing its magic. It was still able to find my face most of the time when using the special effects messenger is famous for. However, panning and zooming were more limited. Using it in a different room without recessed lights yielded much more impressive results.
Sound quality was very impressive. The microphone easily picked up my wife’s comments from two rooms away, while I was in a call with my sister. We also accidentally activated each other’s Alexa devices via the frame. On the speaker side, sound quality is surprisingly rich considering the picture frame’s compact size. The portal can easily be configured for use with iHeartRadio and Spotify. Amazon music requires a couple of additional steps including links to Alexa.
When the portal is not in use as a videophone, it turns into an Internet connected picture frame. They can easily be set to cycle your favorite and your friend’s favorite photos. This is a nice way to keep folks in mind between chats! It also can connect to Amazon’s Alexa. Overall, it’s enjoyable to use and justifies its existence on my counter.
The Portal was super easy to set up. The charging cable only fits one way. There are 3 teeth on it and one is smaller than the other 2. Once the unit has power, you just follow the prompts to set it up. You need your WiFi and Facebook info and password to get through the set up. I don't use WhatsApp, but you can add your account during set up for that app also.
So what's great about it. I tried out story time, both in the house without a connection and while connected to my sister. It's pretty cute and works really well. You're able to read the story lines at the top of the screen and the animations come and go along with the story and your movement. I did Itsy Bitsy Spider and the hat and glasses seemed like it would be very entertaining to children. I added Pandora, Iheartradio, Spotify during set up and all the other available apps afterwards. There's not very many and most are web based like Food Network and news channels like CNN. The music audio is pretty good when turned up almost all the way. It isn't as loud as the Harmon Kardon Invoke, but it still sounds good throughout the house.
Now what needs some fine tuning. The apps. One there just isn't enough of them available. I'm used to Roku throughout my home, I have 5 and they just have tons of choices. I'm not saying the Portal needs 1000s of apps, but if you're going to add music apps, what about tunedin. I use it to gain access to stations that aren't available on iheartradio. I grew up listening to 96.7 KCAL FM and they stream on tunedin. There's also an oldies station, KOLA 99.9 that I like sometimes. Adding a hundred or so apps would probably get a 5 star from me. My next gripe about the apps is they are limited in their ability to do everything. On Pandora and iheartradio, I couldn't find a way to save my favorites or add a new channel. Pandora has all the channels I've created either through Roku, on my Mac Mini or my PC, but I couldn't find a way to create a new channel or search for an artist through the Portal app. Same with iheartradio, no way to save a favorite station. Worse, on iheartradio, it didn't let me sign in and use my favorites from my account. I couldn't even find a station I've saved through the listed stations. The only way I could listen to my daily station was to ask Alexa to play KGB-FM and iheartradio would fire up KGB out of San Diego. The screen would show the station and the current song, but no way to save the station and it wouldn't show up anywhere the next time I wanted to listen to it. Only through voice command could I hear the station. I haven't tried it through "hey portal". I'm just used to the 3 in my house, Cortana in the living room, Alexa in the kitchen and now living room and Google in the nook and master bedroom. I guess what I'm hoping is that these apps are new to the platform and as suggestions come in, the Portal group will update the apps to perform better.
So the next thing was to make a call. It works just as one would like it to. During set up, I was able to add contacts from my Facebook Messenger account. I pressed on my sister's face (icon) and she said she got a message on her Android phone that she had a video call coming in. She hit her Portal and we were face to face. She was sitting and got up, move around and the camera had no issues following her. I could see my brother in law in the background and was even able to converse with him albeit at a lower volume. My sister's voice was kept front and center since she was closest to the Portal. We then wondered how it would work with friends that don't have a Portal and asked my brother in law to turn on messenger in his phone. The Portal is able to do group calls of up to 8 people, so 3 should work. My sister pressed his picture icon and my screen split in 2. He was on one side and my sister was on the other. There is a tiny bit of lag, almost a hiccup or stutter, but it's way better than a smart phone. None of us seemed to step on the other while talking like you might on a cellphone. The only issue my sister had was there was an echo because the two of them were in the same room and fairly close to each other. In my opinion, the group talk and one on one works very well and it's easier to converse as your hands are free (my sister's observation...she talks with her hands) and it's like you're there. All the facial expressions and nuances are present and talking is comfortable....like normal.
I didn't try the photo app, but my sister did and she said it works. Most of my photos are in Raw so I'll need to convert a few to jpeg and add them to the Portal.
Lastly, privacy settings. First there is a slide on top to turn off audio and video. The slide covers the corner lens and a red light appears. It seems to work as the screen goes dark, but if you're like me, you'll turn the face towards a wall so it doesn't have some poor soul watch you walk by the screen in your birthday suit. One never knows if these gadgets are truly off. I just hope there isn't a hidden back cam, lol! Also I followed the instructions included with my Portal and went to Facebook's privacy settings on my PC and turned off voice storage. Every time you use "hey Portal", Facebook saves a short recording to your activity log. I didn't want that and you may not either.
So my overall opinion. It's a great communications device, a good entertainment device and I can see using it quite a bit if my friends will use FB messenger. Some of my friends have turned off messenger or deleted it because they keep getting spammed and they get tired of their phones having ads and issues. It can be a great entertainment platform if more apps are added and current apps are improved. If these types of devices become mainstream, a person will need a make up team just to call in sick to work! Make me look like I'm dying, lol. I can't wait to see what they add to the home screen and app store.
Just from Facebook’s adds you can tell who this is designed for. This things screams Grandma. If you are looking for a way to see kids or grand kids this is exactly what you need. It couldn’t be easier to video call someone than with the portal.
What I Like:
Facebook hit the nail on the head with the main feature of this device. Video calling works great and is super easy. Just connect Facebook or WhatsApp and you’re good to go. You can even put favorites on your home screen and start calling instantly.
The camera looks great and the face tracking feature is really cool, it will follow you around the room to keep you center frame during a call. Apparently Facebook isn’t saving your face or anything, just following you on the call but, I’ll let you be the judge there.
You can also setup a digital picture frame to use Facebook or instragram photos. I didn’t think I’d like this as much as I did but, given that the Portal looks like a picture frame it actually works well.
The speaker is also nice to listen to music, though the music services supported are sparse.
Alexa is there. This is my first Alexa device and while it supports all the voice features, I find it less accurate and useful than some of the other voice assists.
There are apps, though I’m not really sure who would be using apps on a big bulky picture frame. This definitely seems more like a voice controlled device.
What I don’t like
The stand for the device is very weird. It works most of the time but, if you use the portal in portrait mode, it is less than stable if you’re tapping near the top of the screen. I actually knocked mine off the table the first day and chipped the bezel of the Portal.
No YouTube or YouTube Music support. This was a big one for me given This device seems perfect for YouTube and I use YouTube music almost exclusively.
There is a shutter that physically obstructs the camera, which is great for privacy. But, it also keeps the Portal from picking up movement so once the screen times out and goes to sleep, the only way to get it back on is to tap the screen. Which makes the digital picture frame less appealing. And since there isn’t an option to turn off sleep mode (max is 1 hour on) your only option is to leave the camera uncovered, which is not ideal.
Overall it’s a niche product. If you have a need for video calling and use Facebook Messenger this is a good product for you. I wouldn’t recommend for Alexa or the apps though as you’ll have much better options for that.
Overall, I ended up liking this product way more than I expected. I had read various reviews on the internet of other Portal products and most were lackluster. After playing with this for a few days with an out of state relative who has an identical product, I have realized this could be a game changer for me! Read below for a detailed review.
The package for this 8” version comes in a box that is barely bigger than the product. Inside there is the Portal, a kickstand, the cord and AC adapter. Other than that, there is not much to it! The packaging is good quality and explains most of the features.
It was easier than expected. I was dreading typing in my Facebook password, Pandora password, Spotify password which is always annoying on touch screens. Instead, you will be directed to a Facebook page which just asks you to enter the code displayed on screen which links it to your account. This also works for Spotify if you have Facebook login enabled. Pandora did require me to type in my password, but it was minimally intrusive.
Wi-Fi set up was straight forward and connected properly the first time followed by a day one update which took around 10 minutes to apply.
Upon setup, I called a family member who set his up earlier in the day. A simple command such as “Hey Portal, call xxxxx” will dial the person for a video chat. As soon as they answer, the video looks flawless so far as I can tell. Both of us have internet that is high speed but, on most services,, we usually see artifacts, lighting issues and more… on the Portal, there was zero issues I could see, video and audio were crystal clear and loud in both bright back light and dark settings.
A great feature of the video calling is that the video will zoom and pan around the room within the camera’s field of view if the caller moves. Keep in mind the camera is fixed in place, but it is wide enough that there is room to move when utilizing this feature. If the person on the other end does not answer, you can leave a quick video message which they can see on their portal or on their phone with Messenger.
After playing with the device a little more and messing with settings, I discovered many more ways this device can easily integrate in my life. I am used to smart speakers and have various brands around the house, but this one is different… in a good way.
First, there is a great story time app. It shows an interactive video of a story using the camera to place your child in the story book while you read to them. Next, audio is mainly featured through Pandora and Spotify, audio quality is loud and clear with plenty of range on all ends. It is by no means a large speaker so there will be limits but I have found it better quality overall compared to similar devices.
Second, there is full Amazon Alexa support if you enable it, this greatly increases the usefulness of this device to the full range of Amazon skills. The built-in app store in the device has a small selection but most of the ones available are very useful, it appears Facebook put more effort on quality instead of quantity.
Third, the screen is limited to 1280x900 resolution, but you would never know. You can prop it up in landscape or horizontal display which will stream photos from Facebook and Instagram (if linked) when idle. It looks amazing.
The Portal supports integration from Messenger (best option), Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, Pandora, Spotify to name a few. I did not test Whatsapp.
For those concerned with privacy, there is a toggle on the top of the device to turn off the audio and video.
Families will love this thing to stay connected to other family members, I recommend buy a pair and send one to Grandma and Grandpa or anyone out of state!
During my testing I had zero issues with the device hearing me from across the room and accurately doing the proper command.
I really can’t think of anything I would knock this device for. I didn’t want to love it, but it ended up as my favorite smart device in the house. Mainly due to its amazing call/video quality to stay in touch with loved ones, the great speaker and the integration of Alexa.
If I had to knock it for anything, I would only say that the Pandora login is a little difficult since the text on screen seems small and not adjusted for the resolution of the screen, but this was only with that one app. Everything else worked like a charm!
This muti-faceted device does so much more than simply making video calls. It also acts as an electronic slide show picture frame, showing pics you upload, plays music and recorded TV shows, has news channels, includes apps and even has Playtime stories for the kids. And, when you add Alexa, you can use her to respond to your various commands. So, there are really quiet a lot of features packed into this 8” unit.
When you first plug it in (it only works when plugged in), it walks you through the setup and various options, including selecting the language, choosing a name for the unit and connecting to wifi. Once connected, it downloads and installs the latest version of the software. A neat feature of the unit is that part of the power cable is strengthened so that it acts as a kick stand for the Portal.
You can obviously call someone else who has a Portal device, but you can also call friends using Facebook Messenger or Spotify. And you can tell Portal to make the call for you by simply saying “Hey Portal, call . . .”
I’m not sure exactly how it works, but the AI-powered Smart Camera follows you around the room during your video sessions, so you don’t walk out of the frame as you do with most other devices. And you can use the unit in either the portrait or landscape mode, whichever you prefer.
You’ll want to make sure that the friends you’ll be doing visual calls with have the latest version of Messenger and that they have the Camera Enabled in their settings.
After making numerous calls to both Portal and non-Portal owners, I was very impressed. The visual quality was consistently good and the sound quality was excellent The same goes for the sound quality when you’re playing music on this device. There’s nothing tinny about the sound coming from this versatile device.
When you get more than you bargained for, what’s not to like? Highly recommended.
Let me open with, “I LOVE IT!” This is a super user-friendly gadget that is perfect for communicating with Facebook friends. I have a friend, who recently located to Michigan and I truly miss him, as such I chose him to receive this device in order for us to video conference. We video conferenced on Monday night as the unit arrived for me late evening and our experience was great as the video was clear in clarity, audio, and overall communications. I did not experience any drop communications, black outs, or bad audio. I truly enjoyed seeing him and communicating with him via video.
Setup of the unit was user-friendly as the device firstly did a firmware update that took approximately 15 minutes. Thereafter, I did not experience any problems when logging into my Facebook account and from there the device uploaded all of my pictures and contacts successfully.
There isn’t a lot of variety as the device has Pandora, Spotify and IHeart Radio, all of which I have accounts, despite such, I am pleased with the limited choices. The only app that is not working properly is the “Story Time” for children, for some odd reason, it sets up as if it’s going to play, but it just buffers and will not play. I am hoping a future firmware update will correct this. Also, I am hoping that some more fun apps will be added in the near future.
All in all, I am pleased with this device as it is doing what it’s supposed to do and that is video conference with Facebook friends impressively well!
A:AnswerNo, not for simple video calling. You basically call from one Facebook account to another (or in my case, since my wife has no FB presence, call yourself) Alexa adds what Alexa does, but isn't integral to the Portal features.
A:AnswerHi, Picture brightness and volume are good, so it may be OK for your mom. There is a rudimentary web browser that would allow her to visit websites, etc. but I have not found any evidence of apps that can be added to the system, at least not yet. But you can link a Spotify account, visit YouTube, and do a lot more than just video chatting. Keep in mind the browser on screen will be comparatively small, so visual acuity (and touch accuracy) may mean you have to bookmark a few key pages and just let here access them from big icons. Also, if you have Alexa, enabled you can do all the usual things an Echo dot can do, including setting reminders, etc. Hope that helps!