Facebook’s new Portal video chat device now has a built-in battery, meaning Zuck goes where you go
Have video calls become part of your life? Facebook wants in on the action.
Fall is always considered “new device release season,” with new tech intermingling with pumpkin spice in the air. This time it’s Facebook’s turn, with two new additions to the Portal video calling device family.
The $199 Portal Go is the first battery-powered device in the Portal range, so it’s possibly more useful than the rest. It also has a 12MP Smart Camera, with a 10-inch screen and speakers that aren’t quite as powerful as the larger device. It has support for Spotify and Pandora, so maybe it’s a replacement for your smart speaker that’s also decent for video calling.
The larger of the two, the $349 Portal Plus, is an upgraded version of the 14-inch Portal that was released three years ago. It’s got a 12MP Smart Camera with an ultra-wide field-of-view, stereo speakers, and can fit up to 25 people in gallery mode in Zoom calls. The 14-inch screen is tiltable for ease of use, but it’s dropped the rotation that the previous device had, so it’s landscape-only now.
Both devices have Smart Camera, which automatically follows whoever is talking, keeping them in focus while panning and zooming. If someone else enters the room, it widens up the view to get everyone included. Both also have Alexa built-in, as well as Facebook Assistant for hands-free control of your Portal device and any Alexa-enabled devices in your home.
All Portal devices support Messenger and WhatsApp for video calling, as well as Zoom, Cisco’s Webex, BlueJeans, and GoToMeeting.
In December, Portal devices will get support for Microsoft Teams, probably to tempt more businesses to buy them once the business bulk-buying program starts next year. That will also let businesses manage them through their own IT departments, without needing Facebook accounts to run the Portal devices.
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