Facebook Portal Is Finally Here: How to Buy One

Senior Editor, Tom's Guide
Updated

Facebook's answer to the Amazon Echo Show is now available.

The Portal and the Portal+ are now shipping, and can be purchased through Amazon, Best Buy, and portal.facebook.com. The Portal costs $199 and the Portal+ is $349, but if you purchase two such devices, Facebook is offering a discount of $100.

Credit: FacebookCredit: Facebook

Similar to the Echo Show, the Portal has a touchscreen display with a camera that allows users to chat with each other.

The Portal has a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 display, while the Portal+ has a larger 15.6-inch 1080p screen. In addition, the Plus' display will be able to rotate between landscape and portrait modes. Both devices will have a 12-MP camera and, using a new AI, will detect subjects in front of it, and automatically pan and zoom to best fit them in the frame.

For those concerned about privacy, both Portals have a button that mutes their mics and turns off the camera, as well as a physical cover for the camera for those times when you want to use voice control, but don't want the camera to see anything. There's also no way to record video from the camera.

Facebook confirmed to Recode that the Portal could collect the same types of information that it collects on Messenger, including metadata like the length and frequency of your conversations. However, Facebook noted that it does not record the content of your calls and that calls are encrypted. The company notes that its AI runs locally on the Portal, and the Portal only sends commands to Facebook's servers when you say "Hey Portal."

The Portal will also have Alexa built in, so you can use it to check the weather, news, and more, as well as stream audio from Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio—and share it with others on their call—as well as watch videos on the device.