Facebook announced a trio of new home video-calling devices today as part of its Portal line. The new models include the redesigned Portal, Portal Mini, and Portal TV. All three devices feature cameras and microphones that are activated when making calls via Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Facebook says all calls made on Portal through WhatsApp are encrypted end-to-end, which may put some worrying minds at ease.
The 10-inch Portal ($179) and 8-inch Portal Mini ($129) are pretty much identical, with the exception of their size and price. The picture-frame style devices can be oriented vertically or horizontally, and sit neatly on a kitchen counter or on a living room shelf. You’ll have to manually rotate the devices though since they don’t have a swivel like the Portal Plus, which was released last year.
Then there's the Portal TV—an entirely new concept for Facebook. The $149 device sits atop or just below a TV, similar to a Microsoft Kinect. Like the Portal and Portal Mini, the Portal TV is also meant for video calling, but unlike the other two devices, the Portal TV brings wide-angle video chats to the largest screen in the house. To get started, simply plug Portal into the HDMI port of your TV and sign into your Facebook account to begin making calls. Portal’s AI-powered Smart Camera will pan and move as you roam around the house while Smart Sound will focus and enhance the voice that is speaking and minimize background noise.