Facebook Portal: A Closer Look

A Complete Guide About Facebook Portal and How it Benefits Families and Churches

Title
Portal from Facebook
Facebook Portal Mini
Portal Plus from Facebook
Portal TV
Preview
Portal from Facebook [Gen 1]. Smart, Hands-Free Video Calling with Alexa Built-in
Facebook Portal Mini - Smart Video Calling 8” Touch Screen Display with Alexa - Black
Portal Plus from Facebook bundle with Amazon Smart Plug - White
Facebook Portal TV - Smart Video Calling on Your TV with Alexa - Black
Requirements
Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp
Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp
Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp
Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp
Wifi
Smart Camera
13 MP 114-degree view
13 MP 114-degree view
12.5 MP 140-degree view
12.5 MP 120-degree view
Screen Size
10”
8”
15.6”
TV
Smart Sound
4 mic 10 watts Front speakers with rear woofer
4 mic 10 watts Front speakers with rear woofer
4 mic 15 watts (full range) 2” tweeters 4” woofer Deep bass
TV / Sound System
Title
Portal from Facebook
Preview
Portal from Facebook [Gen 1]. Smart, Hands-Free Video Calling with Alexa Built-in
Requirements
Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp
Wifi
Smart Camera
13 MP 114-degree view
Screen Size
10”
Smart Sound
4 mic 10 watts Front speakers with rear woofer
Check On Amazon
Title
Facebook Portal Mini
Preview
Facebook Portal Mini - Smart Video Calling 8” Touch Screen Display with Alexa - Black
Requirements
Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp
Wifi
Smart Camera
13 MP 114-degree view
Screen Size
8”
Smart Sound
4 mic 10 watts Front speakers with rear woofer
Check On Amazon
Title
Portal Plus from Facebook
Preview
Portal Plus from Facebook bundle with Amazon Smart Plug - White
Requirements
Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp
Wifi
Smart Camera
12.5 MP 140-degree view
Screen Size
15.6”
Smart Sound
4 mic 15 watts (full range) 2” tweeters 4” woofer Deep bass
Check On Amazon
Title
Portal TV
Preview
Facebook Portal TV - Smart Video Calling on Your TV with Alexa - Black
Requirements
Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp
Wifi
Smart Camera
12.5 MP 120-degree view
Screen Size
TV
Smart Sound
TV / Sound System
Check On Amazon

Just when you think you are all caught up with the latest trends in technological innovations, along comes yet another one! 

As believers and part of a church body, we tend to question whether technology helps or hinders our lives and ministries. How do you know what’s good and bad while preserving our walk with God?

We are going to get our magnifying glasses out and take a close look at Facebook Portal.

By the time you reach the end of this article, you will have enough information to be confident about whether this device is something you, your family, or church will benefit from or not.

facebook portal family

So, What Exactly is Facebook Portal?

The Facebook Portal is a nifty “social media smart device” that looks like a digital photo frame. To the unknowing, that’s precisely what it is; however, it comes to life with someone inside of it talking to you!

Facebook Portal was designed to keep Facebook users connected through video chat. This device also does a host of other things but does have its fair share of limitations. 

What does a Facebook Portal do?

Facebook Portal Plus - Smart Video Calling 15.6” Touch Screen Display with Alexa - Black

Video Chat

  • Up to 6 people can chat together at the same time.

Smart Camera and Speakers

  • You can roam around doing other things in the same room while you chat. This enables hands-free calling. 
  • As you move, the camera zooms in on you and tracks you. 
  • If your pet happens to wander in, the device knows not to acknowledge them. 
  • If there are a lot of people in the same room, the device adjusts to ensure everyone is in the picture.

Photos and Video

  • Capture photos and videos with augmented reality effects and photo booth templates.
  • Share photos and videos to Facebook.
  • Entertainment
  • Play your favorite genre of music, news, talk-radio through Spotify, Pandora, or iHeartRadio.
  • Enjoy videos through Facebook Watch. You can also watch Facebook Watch with someone else at the same time.
  • Play games with someone

Bluetooth Enabled

  • You can make or accept calls via any device that has Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.

Smart-Home Integration

  • Built-in Amazon Alexa
  • Control smart home devices
  • Make lists
  • Set timers
  • Much more!
  • Integrational with Amazon Echo
  • Voice Control, “Hey, Portal…”
  • Since Alexa is built-in, you can ask your Facebook Portal to check the weather, traffic, answer a question, and more!

Storytime App

  • Storytime is perhaps the best feature of this device! Using the app, you can tell a story to someone on the other end of the chat. Through augmented reality, you become a character within the story. Parents away from their children (military, on trips, etc.) can take advantage of filling the distance between them and children.

Facebook Photo Display

  • The device displays your Facebook photos, just like a digital frame would.

Privacy and Security

  • With just a touch of a button, the camera is turned off, and a cover is placed over the camera eye. 
  • End to end encryption.

Models of Facebook Portals

Now that you have an idea of what Facebook Portal is along with its features, now we are going in closer to break down each model. Currently, there are four different Facebook Portal models.

PortalPortal MiniPortal PlusPortal TV
Designed to resemble a digital photo frame.
Designed to resemble a digital photo frame.
Designed to resemble a digital photo frame.
Designed to be mounted on top of TV.
Landscape PositionLandscape PositionPortrait PositionLandscape or Portrait Position (can be rotated)
Requirements
Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp
Requirements
Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp
Requirements
Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp
Requirements
Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp
Wifi
2.4 GHz / 5 GHz
Wifi
2.4 GHz / 5 GHz
Wifi
2.4 GHz / 5 GHz
Wifi
2.4 GHz / 5 GHz
Built-In AlexaBuilt-In AlexaBuilt-In AlexaBuilt-In Alexa
End-to-End EncryptionEnd-to-End EncryptionEnd-to-End EncryptionEnd-to-End Encryption
Smart Camera
13 MP
114-degree view
Smart Camera
13 MP
114-degree view
Smart Camera
12.5 MP
140-degree view
Smart Camera
12.5 MP
120-degree view
Smart Sound
4 mic
10 watts
Front speakers with rear woofer
Smart Sound
4 mic
10 watts
Front speakers with rear woofer
Smart Sound
4 mic
15 watts (full range)
2” tweeters
4” woofer
Deep bass
Smart Sound
TV / Sound System
Screen Size: 10”Screen Size: 8”Screen Size: 15.6”
Adaptive lighting  and room color display
HD
Screen Size: TV
Input
Touch Screen
Input
Touch Screen
Input
Touch Screen
Input
Remote
Colors
Black or White
Colors
Black or White
Colors
Black or White
Colors
Black
Privacy
Disable button for microphone and camera
Camera cover
Privacy
Disable button for microphone and camera
Camera cover
Privacy
Disable button for microphone and camera
Camera cover
Privacy
Disable button for microphone and camera
Camera cover
Apps Included
Newsy
Great Big Story
Spotify
ABC News Live
Facebook Watch
iHeartRadio
Food Network
CNN
Pandora
Browser
Apps Included
Newsy
Great Big Story
Spotify
ABC News Live
Facebook Watch
iHeartRadio
Food Network
CNN
Pandora
Browser
Apps Included
Newsy
Great Big Story
Spotify
ABC News Live
Facebook Watch
iHeartRadio
Food Network
CNN
Pandora
Browser
Apps Included
Newsy
Great Big Story
Spotify
ABC News Live
Facebook Watch
iHeartRadio
Food Network
CNN
Pandora
Browser

Pros and Cons of Facebook Portal

So now that we have looked at all the angles of the Facebook Portal, we give you a few tidbits on the virtues and pitfalls of this device. 

Pros

  • Provides a face-to-face interaction between people enabling a sense of being right there together in one room.
  • You have four different models to choose from to meet your specific needs.
  • Includes a one-year warranty
  • The hands-free calling makes it super convenient if you are moving about the room, doing dishes, cooking, etc.
  • The device only recognizes humans, so if a pet walks into the room, no need to worry about the camera tracking the pet.
  • You can enjoy a display of all of your Facebook photos when the device is not engaged.
  • The device allows up to six people to be connected at one time — a nice option to have if you want to include other family members or friends.
  • A one-button feature disables the camera and microphone. An added feature is the cover for the camera lens for further security.

Cons

  • Facebook continues to have issues regarding privacy and data breaches.
  • Basically functions the same as a smart device (phone, iPad, Apple watch, tablet, etc.)
  • To be able to use the device, you must have either Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.
  • Some may use this device to replace visiting someone in person.
  • Does not support Facebook browsing.

Should I be concerned about privacy with a Facebook Portal?

Growing concerns over Facebook privacy problems continues to linger.

Facebook has been under fire since 2011 for mishandling of user data as well as a significant data breach last year. Facebook users’ data was compromised, allowing attacks over their accounts.

There is legitimate concern over whether or not Facebook Portal is safe to have in the privacy of your home.

But then, with any smart home device you allow in your home or work, there will always be a risk of a privacy breach. It comes down to how comfortable you are with that potential risk.

For many, convenience and quality of life that technology provides is a priority over privacy risks.

Facebook Portal features end-to-end encryption along with the technology to maintain both camera and microphone which operates via the device and not through a server.

They have added the disable microphone/camera button and camera cover to provide peace of mind as well. 

Facebook does gather data on frequency and length of video chats on their devices such as Facebook Portal. Voice commands used with Facebook Portal are also collected for quality assurance.

Additionally, they also track users outside of the Facebook platform.

How can a Facebook Portal Benefit You, your family, and your church?

Facebook Portal - Smart Video Calling 10” Touch Screen Display with Alexa - Black

Facebook Portal has numerous advantages that are beneficial in keeping people connected. Those who use this device have a sense of being in the same room with the person on the screen. 

Let’s see how this smart device can specifically benefit family life as well as the church community.

Advantages and Benefits for Families

  • Hands-free calling and conversation from anywhere within the room. This is a big bonus when you are cooking, helping the kids, folding laundry, etc. 
  • Use built-in Alexa (check on the weather, turn on/off smart home devices, reminders, etc.)
  • Home-bound loved ones can experience engaging face-to-face conversations. Grandparents and the elderly especially benefit from this device because it helps to reduce loneliness.
  • Parents (deployed military, traveling on business, out of town, etc.) can connect with their children and have Storytime
  • The fun-side of Facebook Portal lets you interact with those on the other end of the video chat in playing games, watching Facebook Watch, and capturing fun photos. Kids especially enjoy these features.

Advantages and Benefits for the Church Community

Pastor, church members, and ministry leaders are surprised to find that Facebook Portal is more than a phone in a frame! To keep up with the direction our culture is moving with technology, churches must keep themselves aligned with technological trends. 

Unfortunately, we live in a virtual online world now, and to stay connected, church leaders are seeking ways to bridge the church and its members. Church pastors and leaders can leverage Facebook Portal to minister and reach those who are homebound, unable to attend church, or prefer to attend church online. 

Please note that you will need to advise those you interact with through Facebook Portal that they will need to have Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. As long as they have either of these, they can video chat with you through any smart device (phone, iPad, etc.) They do not have to have a Facebook Portal.

The key to effectively ministering virtually is to foster interaction between everyone on video chat through Facebook Portal. So, how does this happen?

Sermons, Bible Studies, and Group Events

Using Facebook Live, a pastor or church leader can do a sermon, bible study, group meeting, host an event, etc. on Facebook Portal. Those viewing the Facebook Live can participate in the Facebook Live through real-time comments.

Discipleship and Ministry for New Believers

Discipleship and small groups just beginning their journey as a new believer can significantly benefit from Facebook Portal. A pastor or church leader can host the event on a Facebook Portal with up to six people on the video chat at the same time. 

Fostering Relationships with Guests, New Members, and Prospective Members

An excellent opportunity for pastors and leaders to interact with guests and new members is using a Facebook Portal to do a Facebook Live Questions and Answers. Guests, prospective, and new members, and existing members can participate by posing questions in the comments. The pastor or leader hosting Facebook Live can answer those questions. 

Praying with Someone

Pray with the pastor through Facebook Portal. If your church handles prayer requests, how amazing and loving would it be to have the capability to pray with someone face-to-face through video chat? It’s similar to visiting a virtual doctor, but you offer a virtual ministry of prayer!

Title
Portal from Facebook
Facebook Portal Mini
Portal Plus from Facebook
Portal TV
Preview
Portal from Facebook [Gen 1]. Smart, Hands-Free Video Calling with Alexa Built-in
Facebook Portal Mini - Smart Video Calling 8” Touch Screen Display with Alexa - Black
Portal Plus from Facebook bundle with Amazon Smart Plug - White
Facebook Portal TV - Smart Video Calling on Your TV with Alexa - Black
Requirements
Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp
Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp
Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp
Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp
Wifi
Smart Camera
13 MP 114-degree view
13 MP 114-degree view
12.5 MP 140-degree view
12.5 MP 120-degree view
Screen Size
10”
8”
15.6”
TV
Smart Sound
4 mic 10 watts Front speakers with rear woofer
4 mic 10 watts Front speakers with rear woofer
4 mic 15 watts (full range) 2” tweeters 4” woofer Deep bass
TV / Sound System
Title
Portal from Facebook
Preview
Portal from Facebook [Gen 1]. Smart, Hands-Free Video Calling with Alexa Built-in
Requirements
Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp
Wifi
Smart Camera
13 MP 114-degree view
Screen Size
10”
Smart Sound
4 mic 10 watts Front speakers with rear woofer
Check On Amazon
Title
Facebook Portal Mini
Preview
Facebook Portal Mini - Smart Video Calling 8” Touch Screen Display with Alexa - Black
Requirements
Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp
Wifi
Smart Camera
13 MP 114-degree view
Screen Size
8”
Smart Sound
4 mic 10 watts Front speakers with rear woofer
Check On Amazon
Title
Portal Plus from Facebook
Preview
Portal Plus from Facebook bundle with Amazon Smart Plug - White
Requirements
Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp
Wifi
Smart Camera
12.5 MP 140-degree view
Screen Size
15.6”
Smart Sound
4 mic 15 watts (full range) 2” tweeters 4” woofer Deep bass
Check On Amazon
Title
Portal TV
Preview
Facebook Portal TV - Smart Video Calling on Your TV with Alexa - Black
Requirements
Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp
Wifi
Smart Camera
12.5 MP 120-degree view
Screen Size
TV
Smart Sound
TV / Sound System
Check On Amazon

The Final Thought

All of the Facebook Portal information is now wrapped up into a neat and tidy box of info. Hopefully, this helps you to better understand what this device does and how it will benefit you, your family, or your church community. Our concluding thoughts on the Facebook Portal ends with the fact that this device does offer a fun and creative way to talk to others. Connection is what it’s all about.

Is Facebook Portal something that you or your church should invest in? It all comes down to what your expectations are in how you want this device to perform.

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