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7 things you need to know about the Facebook portal

Facebook has partnered with Google's Facebook portal and Portal Plus in the world of smart displays . These two displays are primarily designed for video calling and have Amazon's Alexa voice assistant on board, as well as Facebook's own "Hey, Portal" speech service.

Would you like to get one? You should know the following.

What is the Facebook portal doing?

The portal is a new way to have a video chat with your Facebook friends. Think about how many times you've sent a video message to someone on your phone and the arm of your arm is cramping when you're holding the camera right. This is not a problem with the portal.

The device sits on a desk or table and the camera follows you as you walk in a 1

40-degree field of view so you can talk to someone completely freehand while you do other things. The camera can automatically pan and zoom to focus on you even when you are in a room full of people. It also has a voice enhancing microphone.

For whom is this?

The people most likely to buy a portal will, in my opinion, be those who already use Messenger to communicate regularly with their friends and family. I know that my teen loves it because she mainly uses messenger to contact everyone. She hates sending text messages and making regular phone calls. So the portal is a great fit.

I can also see that Portal is a great success for anyone planning a video stream of an event (such as a wedding or birthday party) to friends and family.

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What is the difference between a Portal and Portal Plus?

The difference between the two devices really depends on the size. The portal has a resolution of 720p and a 10.1-inch screen, while the Facebook Portal Plus (349 euros on Facebook) has a HD resolution of 1080p and a 15.6-inch screen offers.

The screen orientation is also different. The portal always hangs in landscape orientation, while you can switch between landscape and landscape with the Portal Plus.

How much is it?

There is a significant price jump between the two devices. Portal costs $ 199 and Portal Plus $ 349. If you buy two, you can get a special offer.

Facebook offers $ 100 for two gantry devices, which means that a bundle of two portals costs $ 298. One portal and one portal plus cost $ 448, and two portal plus speakers are $ 598.

Where can I buy one?

Since November 8, Facebook Portal and Portal Plus in the US can be purchased in the online shop of the portal "Facebook", Amazon and Best Buy.

How do the video calls work?

My first concern with Portal was phoning with my friends. Do not you need a portal? If they find that they have the Facebook messenger app or use the Messenger web interface, they can connect to you through your portal.

To make a call, select your friend's icon (all your friends in Messenger will be listed as soon as you set up the device) and say "Hey Portal, call [contact]." In a group discussion you can speak with up to seven people.

You can talk more than just your contact. While you're on the phone, you can try out AR masks or share music through Spotify and Pandora. There is also a special story mode so parents or grandparents can read a story with on-screen graphics, AR effects and music.

What does it matter if you are not on the phone?

There are some features that make the portal useful when you are not on the phone. You can set the display to show pictures from your Facebook photo albums, or display your birthday settings and weather with a feature called Superframe.

You can also use the speakers to play music from Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio or Bluetooth compatible devices.

Is the portal safe?

You have every reason to worry about security and privacy on Facebook . The track record of the company is not great.

That is, Facebook says it does not hear your video calls, does not see or keep them, and does not use them for promotional purposes. For added security, portal video calls are encrypted, and the camera and microphone AI technology runs locally on the portal – not on Facebook servers.

Also, Facebook says the portal's camera does not identify who you are. All of this means that your calls should be secure, though Facebook has to admit that they collect some data such as. For example, how often you make calls, how long those calls are, and how to keep logs of the voice commands that you use to speak the portal.

Still worried? You can learn more about the portal's security and privacy settings here .

All I Need to Know

There is one big thing that makes the portal not ideal: You need to be a Facebook user member to use it. So if you're planning to send a grandma at Christmas and she refuses to join Facebook (like my mother), you're out of luck.

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