Our team is dedicated to finding and telling you more about the products and deals we love. If you love them too and decide to purchase through the links below, we may receive a commission. Pricing and availability are subject to change, and customer reviews may be edited for grammar and clarity.
There are currently tons of “smart” devices available at our fingertips. From TVs to virtual assistants, some might say the market is oversaturated, which makes it even more difficult to find the item that not only suits your needs — but also fits within your budget.
With many of us living away from our extended families, there’s a common desire to remain in touch as often as possible, with little hassle or strain. While some have resorted to the popular Google Nest Hub to fill this gap in long-distance communication, the $230 price tag can be a bit daunting.
But Facebook has introduced its Portal Mini device that brings that seamless and hassle-free virtual interaction to life. The camera features similar functions at a much more affordable price — and an added discount.
Shop: Facebook Portal Mini, $79 (Orig. $129)
Described as providing “smart video calling that feels at home anywhere,” the Facebook Portal Mini is jam-packed with features that not only make your life easier but also continue to help you forge those social interactions with your loved ones when you can’t be there in person.
Housed in a sleek and compact package, the device boasts an 8-inch display and is said to allow its users to listen to music, check the front door, display their favorite photos, share stories with AR (augmented reality) effects and much more.
Among the camera’s most praised features is its video calling capability, which allows the device to, in conjunction with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, easily video call friends and family members on their smartphones and tablets — even if they don’t have a Portal of their own.
Making this immersive experience even more enjoyable and hands-free, the device boasts a smart camera that automatically adjusts to keep you in frame at all times. That means, whether you’re moving around in the kitchen or working out in the living room, there’s no more, “Wait … I can’t see you.” The camera will always find you.
For added convenience, Portal comes with virtual assistant Amazon Alexa built-in, allowing users to control their smart home devices, listen to their favorite music, watch the news and more without ever lifting a finger.
For those who may be a bit technologically deficient (or just prefer a minimalistic look), the device also features a simple switch that can both cover and disable the camera and microphone.
Shoppers have shared how the Facebook Portal Mini has allowed them to maintain their relationships with loved ones despite long distances.
“My parents are a great, great source of love for my kids,” one shopper wrote. “Portal allows them to create shared memories, despite the distance.”
Also available at Bed, Bath & Beyond, the device has an almost unanimous five-star customer rating. One shopper did note, though, that while the gadget is “very nice for video chat” and allows for a seamless no-phone experience, some more “on-screen guidance” in its controls could make things run even more smoothly. Ultimately, this wasn’t a deal-breaker for this shopper who went on to fully recommend the product while praising it for its quality and value.
As an added bonus, shoppers who purchase the Facebook Portal Mini at trusted electronics retailer B&H — where it’s available at the same discounted price — will receive free next-day shipping.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like to read about the best cases to get for your new iPhone SE.
More from In The Know: