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The Facebook Portal makes a great standalone station for Zoom calls, but also works with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. It's a full-featured smart display as well. Splendid deal at $79. (Photo: Facebook)

The Facebook Portal makes a great standalone station for Zoom calls, but also works with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. It’s a full-featured smart display as well. Splendid deal at $79. (Photo: Facebook)

If you’ve ever used your phone for a video call, you know that a small screen isn’t ideal. That’s especially true for Zoom and other multi-person calls, which can shrink everyone into even smaller windows.

Then there’s the issue of having to stay firmly planted in front of the camera — not ideal if you want to, say, move around the kitchen or office while on your call.

The Facebook Portal is a smart display designed with video calls in mind, though it can do a lot more. It originally sold for $179 (and more recently $149), but right now Amazon has the Facebook Portal for $79. That’s the lowest price on record.

$79 $149 at Amazon

Available in black or white, the Portal resembles a digital photo frame (and of course that’s one of its capabilities), one that can work in both portrait and landscape orientations. Needless to say, it requires a Facebook account.

If you have one, you can easily video-call others via Facebook Messenger. The Portal also supports the popular messaging tool Whatsapp, and it lets you participate in Zoom calls as well. Although it incorporates a fixed-frame camera, it uses digital panning and zooming to help you stay “in the frame” as you move around.

This is no single-purpose device, though; the Portal is a full-fledged smart display, one that incorporates Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant and can do nearly all the same things as an Amazon Echo Show. 

Speaking of which, you might be wondering if you’d be better off with Amazon’s Echo Show 10, which can actually rotate on its base to follow you all around a room. Perhaps: It offers much better sound quality (important if you plan to listen to a lot of music) and some home-security features courtesy of Alexa Guard Plus. However, it costs $250. As the holidays get closer, you might see it on sale for $200 or even $180, but probably no lower than that.

At $79, the Portal is a pretty sweet deal — provided you don’t have privacy– and/or politics-related objections to Facebook.

What do you think? Share your Portal opinions below.

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