What is a Facebook portal?
The Facebook Portal Go is a smart display that makes video calling in one home easier. The product is an excellent way to keep in touch with friends on Facebook.
The Portal Go comes at a price tag of $199 and can be bought from Facebook. It is a battery-powered version of the Facebook 10 inches portal and has some new tricks as it joins the Facebook lineup of other devices such as Portal Mini, the Porta Tv, and the new 15-inch Portal plus.
How does the Facebook portal work?
The wide-angle camera moves the frames automatically as one moves around. The microphones give accurate voices to whoever is speaking. It also has fun and interactive Augmented Reality features that can keep kids engaged with their grandparents or teenagers having fun with their friends on a Facebook video device.
As a video calling device, it is an improvement over the earlier generations. The three main features that make this device useful for video calls are
- The battery goes for the whole day as one moves around
- Bluetooth enabled Headset and Keyboard for privacy and productivity
- Calendar integration for video calling on a tap and go mode
The portal Go is accompanied by a charging stand powered by a small USB-C. This allows the Facebook portal device to remain charged as one moves from room to room. The Portal Go weighs three pounds with an integrated handle; it is easy to move around with, much more comfortable than an iPad, and less awkward than a laptop.
The battery of Portal Go has a 40 Wh capacity closer to what one would find in a slim, light laptop. The battery life of about 14 hours ensures music playback and five hours of video calling.
The new softer design replaces the photo frame types of the second generation. Now it comes in fabric wrap and a more triangular shape for better stability.
The new base also has an improved audio system. The two full-ranging speakers and woofer make it better. The downside is that it supports a limited number of music services. One can get only Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, and iHeartRadio for streaming.
The other hardware includes a separate and new physical camera shutter similar to the original Portal Camera cap but integrated better. The mute button allows the microphone and the camera to be turned off. It also gives one an option just to have audio on a call.
The video quality of Facebook portal Go is excellent and superior to a laptop’s camera. The 12-inch megapixel camera gives decent HDR capabilities. The microphones and speakers face no issues when in outdoor space.
The camera does well in multi-person calls, keeping everyone in the frame. One can also hear the voices from the other side even if they are moving on the other end.
The network is the only built-in Facebook portal apps, and if one wants to access YouTube, Netflix, and Sling TV, then it has to be accessed from the web browser. Unfortunately, one cannot use Prime Video, Hulu, or HBO Max on the Facebook Portal Go.
The Portal also does not do anything, which is smart. The built-in Alexa will do what Alexa is supposed to do with no support for any devices outside the Alexa Ecosystem. The Alexa touch screen interface is not of much use. As a smart display, it has limited use. Though most people will put the Facebook Portal Go as the first battery-powered in the Smart display category, it is not a smart display with full features because of limited video streaming services.
Summary of Facebook portal review
- Smart Display backed by battery
- Automatic Camera Tracking
- Bluetooth enabled – for keyboards and headphones
- Multi-user support
- Built-in Alexa from Amazon
- Requires Facebook or WhatsApp account to operate
- Few videos content and app choices
- No multiroom audio features with Alexa
- Limited Smart Home support
Finally, after the portal review, the question is whether you want a device in your home from Facebook, or you prefer a dedicated video phone for personal or work calls? If you are comfortable with both options, then the Facebook portal device is a good choice.