Facebook Portal Review

During the recent pandemic and lockdowns we’ve recently become used to video conferencing, mostly through Zoom for free.

Unfortunately the free options of Zoom have been reversed back to the restrictions prior to the pandemic, now there’s a look for other methods of free video conferencing, one of these I have been asked to check out is the Facebook Portal.

Facebook, or more correctly Meta (October 2021), has not been known for its hardware, it’s known better for the Facebook social media platform and associated areas such as Messenger, the buy out of Instagram (April 2012), WhatsApp (February 2014), Oculus VR (March 2014), Onavo (October 2013) and Beluga (March 2011).

The portal is basically a dedicated video conferencing device using Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, which can easily be done on a phone, tablet or computer. There is a small selection of other apps, such as Instagram, YouTube and Twitch, plus a built-in web browser. Control is achieved using the 10.1in touchscreen or by barking commands at the integrated Facebook Assistant – Facebook’s answer to Alexa. Speaking of which, the Portal also has basic Alexa integration.

Not having direct access to a Portal device This review is based on trawling through many reviews online.

Tom’s Guide summarises the portal simply in terms of it’s pros and cons:-


  • Excellent at video calls through Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp
  • Innovative camera-tracking feature
  • Nice design
  • Works with Alexa


  • Facebook voice assistant not as good as Alexa
  • Ongoing privacy issues with Facebook

Expert Reviews provides a similar scenario and pretty much the same thoughts on the device:-


  • Premium-feeling design
  • Clear, vibrant display
  • Good audio quality


  • Weak app support
  • Basic smart assistant
  • Occasionally unresponsive

Other reviews were also researched and repeated the reviews identified above.

Finally, Meta made the decision to end Portal production in June (2022). With the production process stopped only outstanding stock will be available, however support will continue. (https://www.androidauthority.com/facebook-portal-discontinued-h3175013/)

Conclusion: unless you are a hardened Facebook fan then it’s not to be recommended. There’s nothing in this device that many others can do, and be more flexible at the same time.

Update 31 March 2023

Our son gave us one of these devices at Christmas (must have read how fantastic – or not – this device is). So now had a chance to see it in action.

  • Setup easy, simply login with Facebook and WhatsApp account.
  • Remains permanently logged in, a personal security risk here in a shared property. There is a way to get round this in settings, but the documentation is so poor you need to look for it.
  • Not portable, must be plugged in to power.
  • Excellent modern design
  • Great quality Video through WhatsApp
  • Great quality Audio
  • Does very little else, a few apps included of little or no interest

The device now sits there looking good permanently using power and is totally inactive 99% of the time.

Given the fact that this was discontinues 10 months ago, my recommendation is, don’t waste your money. This does nothing that a decent tablet can do, with a lot more available.

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