What is Facebook Portal?

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Portal by Facebook is a collection of smart devices similar to Amazon's Echo but with screens and app capability.

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Similar to computer, tablet or phone screens, Portal devices range from hand-held to computer- and TV-sized screens; one device even lets customers connect their existing TVs to Portal.

Portal's devices use smart cameras that provide auto camera focus for video calling, sound focus, TV-sharing and augmented reality features.

Amazon's Alexa is also featured on Portal's devices so users can use a voice-command function while using their devices to watch the news, surf the web, play music, set a timer, check security cameras and more.

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Apps available on Portal devices include Spotify, Amazon Prime, Showtime, ABC News, Sling, CBS, Food Network and Words with Friends. Additionally, Portal offers its own app so users can connect their phones to their devices.

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Portal devices can also connect to Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp so those who do not have Portal can connect with Portal users.

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Portal TV costs $149 and allows users to connect from their TVs, providing a large screen for viewing and room for large parties to join a call. Portal's smart camera "automatically pans and zooms to keep up with the action, and widens to include everyone," according to Portal's website.

Facebook Portal (Facebook.com)

Portal mini, an 8-inch device, is $129 and comes in black or white. Portal, a 10-inch device, is $179 and comes in black and white. Protal+, a 15.6-inch device, is $179, comes in black and white, can be set up vertically or horizontally, and offers "an array of two-inch tweeters and a four-inch woofer for deep bass."

Right now, customers can save $50 if they buy two devices. Portal also offers free shipping and a 30-day return window.

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Some have expressed privacy concerns with using a device created by Facebook, which has faced consumer trust issues since the 2016 Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Facebook said in a 2019 blog post announcing Portal TV that Portal's smart technology is run on Portal, not Facebook.

"Portal has clear and simple settings for privacy and security. You can disable the camera and microphone with a single tap or a sliding switch. A red light next to the lens indicates the camera and microphone are off and there’s an integrated camera cover if you want to physically block the camera lens," the company said.

The company added that Portal's "Smart Camera and Smart Sound use AI technology that runs locally on Portal, not on Facebook servers."

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