Facebook Portal Review: Trust fails

Facebook Portal Review: Trust fails

It's not often that a new gadget is announced and I do not want to get it straight into my hands. I am an extreme beginner, both professional and curious. When Facebook's new portal and Portal Plus were announced a month ago, my answer was a firm "No thanks". And I'm not alone: ​​after a year of data privacy scandals, many people's first responses to the portal were a smart display. A device that has a constantly-listening microphone and a growing camera landed somewhere between hesitation and disgust.

The $ 199 portal and the larger $ 349 Portal Plus are not the first smart displays of its kind. Both Amazon and Google already have similar products on the market. While the Amazon Echo Show and Google Assistant-driven smart displays can perform a whole range of tasks, from controlling smart home gadgets to playing videos, the portal has an almost singular focus: video calling with Facebook Messenger to others to set up Facebook Messenger users.

For this purpose, the portal works very well. I used both models in the past week to make calls throughout the office – and across the country. The portal offered a better experience than any other smart display I've ever used. It also worked better than a smartphone or tablet for video calls, which I can not say for the Echo Show or the Lenovo Smart Display. However, as a general smart display, the portal lags far behind the competition.

While the portal is in its intended role as a videophone for the modern age, the idea of ​​a camera connected to Facebook in my home remains deeply unpleasant to me.

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