Portal TV review: Facebook invades the living room

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Facebook’s Portal video chat displays have faced quite a bit of scrutiny over the past year due to the company’s terrible record when it comes to privacy, security and lack of transparency. Perhaps as a result, reports have surfaced that Portal products are not selling very well. But that hasn’t stopped Facebook from moving forward with the idea.

Gallery: Facebook Portal TV | 25 Photos

Engadget Score

Poor

Uninspiring

Good

Excellent

Key

Pros
  • Immersive video chat experience
  • Supports Messenger and WhatsApp
  • Smart camera tracking
  • Ability to watch videos together
Cons
  • Can’t share songs together
  • Doesn’t have a browser
  • Takes up an HDMI port
  • Facebook’s sketchy reputation

Summary

Facebook’s Portal TV is a camera that turns your television into a giant video chat display. It’s compatible with both Messenger and WhatsApp, and features an AI-powered camera that automatically pans and zooms to keep you in frame. The large TV screen and wide field-of-view make for a great video chat experience. If both parties have a Portal TV, they can watch videos together, though it only works with Facebook Watch for now. But you can’t share songs like you can on the standalone Portals, it lacks a few core apps and it takes up an HDMI port. Facebook’s poor reputation with privacy and security isn’t encouraging either.

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