Amazon is offering $50 off both the Facebook Portal and the Portal Plus devices. Both were released just a short while ago, and our friend Russell over at Android Central called it his "new favorite way to video chat." Head there if you want a nice in-depth review, which resulted in 3.5 out of 5 stars. Note that an active Facebook account is required to use either device.
Facebook's foray into the smart home market focuses on video calling. Pop the portal device on your nightstand, countertop, dining room table, or anywhere else you'd like, and you can give friends and family a call with your face attached. The Smart Camera tracks you and adjusts to follow you around, meaning you could, for instance, chat with your sister while cooking dinner, or hang out with long-distance relatives while everyone opens up their Christmas gifts. It'll automatically expand the angle as more people gather. The device has Alexa built right in, too.
Okay, so let's address the tall, skinny elephant in the room. Facebook's PR hasn't exactly been on fire these days, unless that fire happens to live in a trash can. If you have concerns, note that Facebook doesn't listen to, view, or keep the contents of your Portal video calls. Every call is encrypted, and you can easily block the camera with the included cover or disable the camera and microphone with a single tap.
Your friends don't have to have a Portal device to talk with you, either. The Messenger app is seamlessly incorporated, so anyone with Messenger can get tele-Portaled into your new gadget. It can handle up to six people in a group call, too. When you're not on a call, use the Superframe features to display photos, videos, and birthday reminders.
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