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 redesigned Portal has a 10" 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 Smart Video Calling 10" Display with Alexa
Number of Microphones
Amazon Alexa, Hue, Nest, SmartThings, Wink
Portal Smart Video Calling 10" Display with Alexa
Number of Microphones
Messenger and WhatsApp video calls
Wireless A, Wireless AC, Wireless B, Wireless G, Wireless N
Portal works great at connecting people. Video features make Portal easy to recommend, but some features don’t feel fully realized and some bugs keep Portal from currently realizing its potential.
I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the Facebook Portal. I knew it was a video conferencing device, but I just figured I could use my phone for video calls. But, having used the Portal for a week, I’ve come to appreciate what Portal is and what it could be a lot more than I thought I would. Somewhere between watching my parents laugh at my brother’s attempt to tell the story of the “Three Little Pigs” and my girlfriend’s ability to easily video conference with her family on the other side of the country, I realized how great the Portal is at bringing people together.
It works as described at making video calls convenient and simple. It’s incredibly freeing to have the ability to talk with someone hands free at a clarity that makes it sound like the other person is almost in the room with you. It’s nice to be able to say “hey portal, call ______” and then see and hear the person within seconds. Portal supports up to 8 people on a call, and, as I discovered, they don’t all have to be using a Portal. Any phone or tablet user with Facebook Messenger can video chat with you. However, only Portal users will have access to certain features and having non portal users on the chat can eliminate features such as music sharing.
During the call, the camera did a good job at panning out to show groups. And, with a screen click, you can tell Portal who you want to spotlight and follow with the camera. I had some difficulties with Portal wanting to crop off the top of heads from time to time, but usually walking around fixed the problem.
I can’t really talk about Portal without addressing the 800lb elephant in the room, namely privacy. The Portal has more security than I expected. It includes a physical toggle that can turn off just the camera or the camera and the mic. You can see a cover go over the camera lens if you flip the toggle. It’s nice knowing that no one can see or hear me if that toggle is moved in the right position. Facebook has provided tools for people to access, review, and delete all voice interactions with the device.
AR effects have been nice. The effects work well and map to the subject with ease. As a Bluetooth speaker, the Portal sounds great. I had some problems with the device appearing on my Samsung devices, but my iPad and Google phone had no difficulties. If you struggle with finding the speaker on your phone, I suggest pairing from the Portal itself as that was a pretty simple alternative.
Currently, there are 14 apps for the Portal and many other websites that the Portal doubles as an app. However, there is no native Facebook app. My brother and I thought that was a huge missed opportunity. Why can’t I have a custom feed of stories from Facebook that constantly scrolls across the device? As is, I can tell Facebook to show photos from my Facebook and Instagram profile along with some recent photos of my Facebook favorites, but I feel like the features here are a bit lacking. It could be so much better.
Also, the included apps feel like stripped down tablet apps. They don’t feel fully featured or like they were designed to specifically take advantage of the portal. Imagine how great it would be to have the food network walk you through a recipe step by step and, when ready, you could simply say “hey portal, next step”.
Along those lines, I wish there was a battery so you could easily pick portal up and move it to a different room. As is, Portal kind of feels like the old landlines. You are stuck using them wherever they are wired at the time. Everyone I know with a Portal has put them close to their kitchen.
Unfortunately, the Portal hasn’t been as headache free as I would like. I must restart my internet router every couple of days or the Portal doesn’t want to work right. I’m not sure if that is a problem with Portal or AT&T, but I only notice the problem on the Portal. I had a problem when trying to add another Facebook user to my portal that forced me to restart the Portal before that user’s contacts would appear.
I had to turn off Alexa features as the mic was too sensitive and seemed to assume I said “Alexa” more often than I had. It became annoying when I would be having a conversation and Portal would interrupt with a fact or answer to a question I hadn’t asked. I mentioned the weird Bluetooth bugs above. Most of these bugs have been relatively minor, but they were enough to make me feel like maybe this device isn’t quite finished.
I like and recommend Portal. I know plenty of friends and family who now want a Portal for Christmas, but I hope the above-mentioned bugs get fixed soon.
Warning: this is a sad review, but I feel it expresses how important this purchase was for me and my family.
My grandfather unexpectedly went into hospice and passed away while my region was locked down due to Covid19 at age 87. When he came home from the hospital, my wife and I were able to get he and my grandmother set up with this 10" Portal from Facebook. He had 5 daughters, 19 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren, many of whom were only able to see him a final time over this blessing of a device. My grandmother was able to work it with zero technical ability and the image and audio were clear and never gave her any issues. This product gave my family something you normally can't buy... time with your loved ones before they pass. I personally was able to spend time with him the day before he passed over this device with my family. I will be forever grateful.
My parents are constantly asking me to call them more and so I figured that the Facebook Portal would be a good way to keep in touch and act as a simple way for my 5 year old son to video chat with his grandparents. We were all excited to try out the Portal, but the moment we had the box in our hands we all had the same question - “Where the heck do we put this thing?” Where would you put a digital picture frame that you talk to? You want it to be out of the way, but also in a location where it can see multiple members of your family at one time. It has to be plugged into the wall - so it can’t sit in the middle of our Kitchen island - and most counters and shelves are too far out of the way. Even at 10 inches it is too small to have sitting all the way across the room - as you actually want to be able to see the person who you are talking to.
...My parents put the Portal on a shelf below their TV. I could see them sitting on their couch - but the shelf above the portal blocked the top half of the screen. And, because the frame was too far away from the couch for them to easily see their grandson, my parents ended up sitting on the floor in front of the Portal.
We put our Portal on a bar style table. But, because the Portal tips back (just like a picture frame leaning on its kickstand) the camera has a hard time seeing our son because he is too close and also too short when sitting on the bar stool. If the Portal was portable with a battery built in - this wouldn’t be nearly as much of a problem. If it were portable, the Portal could sit in a charging dock on a shelf while it is acting as a digital picture frame - then when the user receives a Facebook Messenger Call, they could simply pick up the frame and move it to a coffee table, the kitchen counter, a desk, or the dining room table - depending on what activity the user and their family happen to be doing at the time of the call.
The Portal works well for video calls, but it is not as convenient as it advertises. Both my parents and I were left wondering why the Portal exists when there are so many other ways to use Facebook Messenger. We can already make these video calls on our Smartphones, our Tablets, our Laptops, and our All-In-One PCs. The Portal feels like moving backwards from the technology of a Tablet (which is portable and can be used in any situation or location).
The Portal is easy to set up and easy to use - and the camera does a great job at zooming in or out and following you as you walk around the room, but the Portal just doesn’t need to exist. If you don’t have a Laptop, a Tablet, or a Smartphone - then you probably aren’t using Facebook Messenger anyways. And while you can add multiple Facebook Profiles into the Portal - it is not realistic to assume that you are going to switch back and forth when making calls. Basically I have had to tell all of my Facebook friends that my son has access to my account and that he may call them at any moment of any day (or night).
There are also other frustrations about the portal:
- It is easy to control which facebook photos appear on the portal, but there does not appear to be any way to control the videos that are displayed. Every video that you have viewed on Facebook shows up in the Watch app. ...Along with all of the videos from your profile.
- The Portal can recognize your voice, but voice commands cannot control Spotify. The Spotify app also has no search feature. You can only see your playlists or recently played songs/albums.
- The companion Portal app on your smartphone doesn’t allow you to control settings. All it can do is edit the photos that appear on the portal and can also call the portal.
- The virtual books don’t allow the person on the other end of your call to see the book. They only allow the person who is reading to see their environment added into the book. This means I cannot call my son from a different location and read the virtual book to him.
I appreciate that Facebook has acknowledged privacy concerns by providing a switch that physically covers the camera lense and also shuts off the internal microphone, but the technology simply feels as though it is lagging behind all of the other tech that is common in households today. The price is similar to a Digital Picture Frame - which makes it a decent value, but the Digital Picture Frame fad is long over.
Kids will enjoy the portal, but once they grow tired of using AR Masks on video calls, they will stop caring about the system and it will end up being used as an Amazon Alexa Device. Hopefully Facebook will simply sell the camera tracking technology to laptop companies and move on to other more interesting and innovative products.
The Facebook Portal provided me with an excellent experience while video chatting. The set-up was easy and tutorials guided me through. Once I had it set-up I was making and receiving video calls with ease. I talked to my sister who also owned a Facebook Portal and the quality was amazing! We even shared documents and notes and it was a crystal clear picture. I even was able to tap what i wanted the camera to focus on which follows that person as they move. I got to video chat with friends that i haven't seen in a long time because they live in other countries. I used both WhatsApp and Messenger flawlessly. For privacy, there is a switch that closes the camera and turns off the microphone. I was obsessed and so was everyone else in the household. It became a hub for everyone in the house because of all the features packed in. Alexa allows you to do a number of different actions and my favorite is getting my news briefings for the day. There is different types of apps and there is also a browser for browsing websites. The kids really loved the story-time and playing their Spotify through the speaker because it automatically detects it through the Spotify app. This is a great gift for an entire family and really does keep everybody connected. This is the new home phone of the future!!!
Out of the box Facebook Portal is a sleek and modern looking design. It has sharp corners and a matte finish which is nice because it allows it to go well no matter what my decor in my home looks like.
I thought that the Facebook Portal would be a great alternative to my outdated 1st generation Alexa since Alexa is featured. I also thought the screen would allow me more options, however it is no replacement for Alexa. The Alexa feature is limited to say the least. For instance many skills don’t work correctly and multi lingual mode is not able to be used.
The video quality is really the only redeeming quality that really makes the portal worth while. The camera has technology that follows you and allows you to walk free around while on a video call. The call quality is beyond excellent. I couldn’t believe how clear the video was, and the sound just as crisp.
There are some fun filters that you can use on video calls and they have surprisingly excellent tracking as well.
In summary, I wouldn’t suggest this if you are considering a replacement or upgrade to Alexa but if you make frequent video calls or someone who doesn’t have a home assistant this is a great option.
My wife worked with our daughter to test this.
Setup was exceptionally easy to do, just join your wireless network, enter your facebook logon info, do a few other optional things (like adding your WhatsApp logon, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon logon for Alexa). and start calling!
Picture quality is fantastic and audio is crystal clear. It's nice how the camera follows you as you move within frame to keep you centered. We also tested calling a few friends on their Facebook Messenger.
An absolute pleasure to use and to listen to for music. A great product to have!
My 95 year old dad has computer and cell phone but was not doing so well to do video calls due to so many options. Tried the Portal and now he loves to call people all the time.
Strongly recommend for elderly people. Just to be clear, only your parent needs the Portal, the other people can communicate with mobile device or computer as long as they have Facebook MESSENGER app.
A:AnswerHi, you don’t need to have 2 portals. You will be able to video call his portal using Facebook messenger on your phone and he will be able to do the same thru the portal. Once you turn it on you just put in his Facebook name and password and he will see a slide show of all his pics as well as any he gets tagged in and he will be able to video call anyone of his Facebook friends by just saying “portal call ...”
A:AnswerWifi yes.. and also they need a Facebook account to receive a Facebook video call. If they have facebook .. u can do a "shared" picture album where u invite them to a closed group and u both can upload pics from your phone and then it gets shown on yout portal..its pretty neat to display all those pics u taken on your phone and now u can see them on this device
A:AnswerYes there has to be a facebook account. We created an email and then a FB account and then sent friend requests to family only. Then added them on the portal. When it is in sleep mode one touch to bring up contacts, one touch on the person they want to call and one touch on the video icon to start the call. We have had pretty good success with it. He loves it because he can see his great grandchildren and his son.
A:Answeryes..... you do have to have a Facebook account.... but to my understanding, if you have both parties have the "Whats app" account you should chat and videos chat... i guess it is like the MSN messenger idea... i have not tested this to know for sure.... give it a try, it could be a lot less hassle in doing with a Facebook account in setting up... I hope this helped.. OH ya it does say this on the box of the Portal box that it will work with Whats app.