For the first time ever, a social media platform has released its own piece of tech hardware. Facebook has recently released the ‘Portal from Facebook’, sparking huge debate and curiosity. The response to the ‘Portal’ being released hasn’t been the most positive, after Facebook have been facing months of scrutiny due to data privacy scandals, so you can understand why people aren’t jumping at the chance to get one. However, scandals aside, the ‘Portal’ is still an interesting piece of tech and the first of its kind to be released by a social media platform.
The ‘Portal’ is essentially a voice enabled hands-free video calling device. Although being similar in concept to the ‘Amazon Echo’ or ‘Google Home’, Facebook ‘Portal’ only has a singular focus of connecting friends and family through video chat. The ‘Portal’ uses Facebook Messenger to connect users, meaning all users must have a Facebook Messenger profile in order to use the device. You may wonder what the point is in buying a device that can only make video calls, but many people who have reviewed the device have stated that it is much better and faster at making video calls than your standard smartphone or tablet.
There are two sizes of the ‘Portal’, a 10.1inch and a 15.6inch which is called the ‘Portal Plus’. The ‘Portal Plus’ is substantially bigger than the standard ‘Portal’, and even poses an extra feature; being able to rotate 90 degrees on its stand so it can switch from landscape to portrait easily. Although the microphone is pretty similar to other devices released by Amazon or Google, the ‘Portal’ boasts a much better camera. The camera is technically fixed in place, however it has the ability to notice human shapes and focus on them, enabling the camera to follow them around the room (Facebook calls this their “Smart Camera”).
Obviously the ‘Portal’ is going to be constantly compared to the standard form of video calling that we’re used to, but the sound and video quality of the ‘Portal’ are supposed to be much better than those it would be compared to. The point behind these features the ‘Portal’ has to offer, is so that video calling feels more natural and less difficult.
The ‘Portal from Facebook’ and the ‘Portal Plus’ are both available to buy online now.