Wow is all I can say! Our family is a HUGE fan of the new Facebook Portal and Portal +. My boys and I haven’t stopped using it since we plugged it in! I’ll be honest, I don’t use Facebook a ton, I mostly use Instagram to push all my posts to Facebook, and I will login a couple times a week to see what’s going on…but now, I feel like Facebook has completely changed the game with the Portal and Portal +. It definitely allows you to experience more, together!
I decided to give the Portal + to my Mom because she’s on Facebook (all the time), and we usually FaceTime her everyday from my phone with the boys. But now that we’ve had a couple of weeks to play with it, I have to say now I’m seriously considering getting these for everyone in my family for Christmas so we can all keep via video chat. It’s actually funny because last year I gave everyone in my family (and Wes’s) an Amazon Echo Show, which don’t get me wrong is great, but the Facebook Portal video quality and camera capabilities is the best I’ve seen to date.
Here’s a look at what you get in the box:
So first, the set up was super simple. You basically plug it in, connect to your WIFI, sign into your Facebook account (yes, you will need a Facebook account to use the Portal), and then you start adding your friend’s to your favorites screen and voila, you are ready for your first call. My Mom also said setup was a breeze so for someone who is a little less tech savvy, that is good to hear.
I let Rhett make the first call to my Mom (because Nash was at school), and it’s super cool because you can use your voice to make the call. I just said “Portal, call my Mom!” My first impression is how big the screen is. Having made video calls previously from my iPhone and from me Echo Show, this was a HUGE improvement. The screen gives you a crystal clear picture and the sound makes you feel like you are in the room with the person on the other end. Also you can note that on the Facebook Portal (the big one) the screen can rotate between landscape and vertical just by flipping the screening (it also tells you which screen is more optimal for viewing during calls).
Another thing I think is important to note is you don’t have to have a Facebook Portal to be able to video chat. You can call anyone that has a Facebook Account. We tried this out by calling one of my besties, Rachel and she said she got a notification through Facebook Messenger that we were calling and she was able to connect just by pressing a button!
My favorite feature has to be the smart camera which literally follows you around as you move through the room! Now if you are anything like our family, getting two boys under 4 to sit still and talk for any given period of time is basically impossible, so this feature is incredible! I also love that the camera can get super wide if there are multiple people in frame, or focus in, if it’s just a one-on-one conversation.
Now the boys favorite feature are the effects which allows them to transform into a werewolf or put an airplane on their head…I feel like they could play with this feature alone for hours. My Mom even had fun playing with it too!
Some other amazing features are that it has Amazon Alex Built-in, it can display photos as well as show you videos from your Facebook friends, you can also listen to your favorite music through apps like Pandora, Spotify and iHeart Radio. I have to say the number of options, outside of calling people and watching videos on Facebook, is a bit limited for now but I have to assume they will be adding more and more apps as time goes one. One thing I also love is you can bring up to six other people into a group call, hence why I think this maybe my go to Christmas Present this year.
Alright, let’s talk security really quick…now I’m not going to lie, I’ve been doing some reading up on certain popular apps and how they like to listen in on our conversations to market to us. I’m not a fan of that AT ALL. I’ve turned off the microphone feature on most apps unless I’m using them for this reason alone (I’m going to do a post on this later, but google it for now if you don’t know what I’m talking about). So security with the portal is very important to me. I love that right out of the box, the portal came with a camera cover which you can put over the camera lens when you are not using it. It also allows you to disable the camera and microphone with a single tap on the screen so for now I feel comfortable with keeping it up in our kitchen.
BUT…I will say that if I start talking about how much I’m craving a Dodger dog and then all of a sudden I see an add pop up for season tickets to the Dodger games…this thing is getting unplugged when I’m not using it.
If you are interested in getting your hands on a Facebook Portal or Portal +, Best Buy has a special going on right now (while supplies last) which gives you $100 off when you buy two which is an incredible deal! Head over to your local Best Buy, or click here for more info!
The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.