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Facebook Portal Go is a new smart display you can take around the house

Facebook Portal Go
(Image credit: Facebook)

Even as concerns mount over Facebook's presence on our daily lives, the company is moving forward with two new smart displays in the form of the new portable Portal Go and an updated Portal+. 

According to a press release by Facebook, as earlier reported by Engadget, the Portal Go is a 10-inch tablet priced at $199 with a built-in battery that can be unplugged and moved around the house. The next generation Portal+ will come with a 14-inch HD tilting display, priced at $349. Both units will ship on October 19 with pre-orders available on Facebook's Portal website

Facebook is touting the Portal Go's 12MP front-facing smart camera for video calls. Much like the iPhone's face tracking feature for FaceTime, Portal's camera can follow your face as you walk around the frame for more "immersive video calls." 

The Portal Go also acts as a portable speaker, although Facebook did not give any details on its quality. But the Portal Go does boast a solid 1280x800 screen resolution, and the whole unit comes wrapped in fabric. 

Facebook claims that the Portal Go can get five hours of one-on-one messenger calling, which is impressive, and 14 hours of music playback with the screen off. This is good news considering that we loved the video quality on the second-generation Facebook Portal

The updated Portal+ also features a 12MP smart camera with an ultrawide field of view. Facebook went out of its way to mention the unit's stereo speakers, which suggests the Portal Go is all mono. The Portal+ has a significantly sharper resolution over the Portal Go at 2140x1440. 

Privacy and security safeguards

Both Portal devices do have lens covers, which may assuage the fears of privacy-minded buyers. The smart camera's artificial intelligence is processed onboard the device so it doesn't need to link to an external server to process your face as it moves. 

Of course, WhatsApp calls are all end-to-end encrypted, with Messenger also seeing a roll-out of encrypted messaging right now. Granted, the Messenger end-to-end encryption has to be manually enabled on specific contacts or groups. 

The social media giant claims that both Portals work as excellent photo frames, in line with past evaluations of its devices. The current generation Portal sits at No. 5 on our best digital photo frames list.

What sets the Portal apart from other smart displays like the Google Home Hub or the Amazon Echo Show 5 is the large suite of messaging apps available. Facebook is continuing down that path. 

In December, Portal will support Microsoft Teams. Facebook is also introducing Portal for Business, which will help small and medium-sized businesses collaborate. Portal for Business is currently in closed beta, but those interested can sign up for it on Facebook's business site

Imad Khan

Imad Khan is news editor at Tom’s Guide, helping direct the day’s breaking coverage. Prior to working at the site, Imad was a full-time freelancer, with bylines at the New York Times, the Washington Post and ESPN. Outside of work, you can find him sitting blankly in front of a Word document trying desperately to write the first pages of a new book.