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5 things we love about Facebook Portal

If you can’t be there, feel like you’re there…


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Facebook Portal is a piece of tech designed to help you connect with far-off friends and family in exciting new ways. It’s a smart camera, smart speaker and HD display all rolled into one – and it’s packed with fun and innovative features. Here are five of our favourites…

Smart camera keeps up with the action

If you’ve ever tried having a family video chat with a laptop placed on the table, or with a smartphone in your hand, you’ll know how difficult it is to get other people in on the action. Especially kids that won’t stay still.

That’s why the best thing about Portal has to be the smart camera. It automatically pans and zooms to keep up with what’s going on around the room. It’ll follow you when you move about, so you can continue your chat while you grab a drink, rather than putting everyone on hold. And if someone else walks in, the camera automatically widens to get them in view.

We’ve seen it in action, and it looks really impressive. Facebook says it worked with professional cinematographers to make sure that the tracking is smooth, and never too fast or jarring.

Oh, and it’s also been trained to not focus on pets. So your call won’t be ruined by the cat or dog wandering into shot.

Smart sound lets you be heard

When you’re making a call with Portal, there’s no need to turn the TV down and tell the kids to ‘shush!’ Because as soon as you speak, Smart Sound enhances your voice and turns down all the background noise. You’ll always be heard clearly, even in the middle of a busy home.

When it comes to the sound that you’re going to be listening to, Portal’s stereo speakers and built-in woofer do a great job of pumping rich hi-fi sound into the room. You can share your favourite tunes on Spotify and easily control the volume – even when it's turned right up, there's no distortion. If you’ve got Portal in the room, you won’t need another smart speaker to listen to your favourite tunes or have a home disco with the kids.

Get some privacy

A lot of us are becoming more aware and concerned by our privacy these days, and the thought of an ‘always on’ mic and camera can be a bit of a worry. That’s not really an issue with Portal, because you can easily turn it off. All it takes is a single tap or slide of the switch. You’ll then see a red light on your display telling you the camera and mic is switched off, so you’ll always know exactly where you’re at.

Do it all with your voice

Alexa is built into Portal, so you’ve got complete voice control. You’ll be able to manage your smart home, plan your day, ask questions and keep yourself entertained. Just ask!

From the comfort of your couch you can stream your favourite music, listen to the latest true-crime podcast, set diary reminders, control your heating, see who’s at the front door, find recipes, ask trivia questions…anything you can think of. Alexa makes it easy.

Say goodnight with a bed-time story

Sitting comfortably? It’s Story Time. This is a fun feature that lets grandparents become part of their grandkids’ bed-time stories, even if they can't be in the same room together.

As grandad or grandma read the story on-camera, special effects will transform them into characters, and music and other animation bring the story to life even more.

But why should grandparents have all the fun? If you’re in the same room as the kids, you can read Story Time stories and feel the magic while you're sitting together.

There’s a library of free stories, and more are being added time. From classics like Little Red Riding Hood to brand new tales, you’ve got enough choice to keep the kids entertained night after night.

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