Amazon and Best Buy slash the price of Facebook Portals for Mother’s Day

Leading up to Mother’s Day, both AmazonBest Buy the prices for the Facebook Portal and larger Portal+ smart display by $100. This sale lasts until Mother’s Day, May 12.

Facebook optimized the Portals for video calls to mom (and anyone else) with A.I.-powered Smart Camera features. Smart Camera follows you as you move around the room during conversations so Mom can see you, unless you physically leave the room. The Smart Camera lens also widens automatically when more people are on a call in one location — the lens even accommodates more people joining after the call starts without required intervention.

Facebook addresses privacy concerns by encrypting all calls on the Portal. You can disable both the camera and the integrated microphone with a single finger tap, and an included physical camera cover prevents accidental or intrusive viewing. When Facebook launched the Portal and the larger Portal+ model, the social media company promised that Facebook does not listen to, view, or save Portal video call content.

You aren’t limited to calling others who own a Facebook Portal because the device also supports Facebook’s Messenger app for calls with two to six people.

The Portal has Amazon Alexa built in so you can use the smart display in conjunction with other Alexa smart speakers and displays. If the Portal is your only Alexa device, it can serve as a smart home control center to manage Alexa-compatible lights, cameras, smart plugs, security systems, and more. You can also address Alexa on the Portal to ask questions, shop, check your schedule, listen to music, and run any of the hundreds of thousands of available Alexa Skills.

If the only use you or mom have for the Portal is video calls, the rest of the time the SuperFrame photo feature can serve as a digital display for your Facebook photos and video clips.

Facebook Portal — $100 off

Facebook’s Portal and Portal+ share the same functions but differ in size and hardware features. The Portal has a 10.1-inch diagonal display with 720p HD (1200×800) resolution video. The Portal’s display is landscape (wider than tall). The Portal+ has a larger display with higher resolution and it can swivel between landscape and portrait (taller than wide) modes.

The Portal and Portal+ have identical 12-megapixel cameras with a 140-degree horizontal field of view, but the audio setups differ as much as the Portal and Portal+ displays. The Portal puts out a total of 10 watts of sound, with two full-range speakers. The Portal+ doubles the audio output power and uses a different speaker configuration.

Overall, the Portal is more compact and less costly than the Portal+ but the Portal+ has a better display and sound. At full price or at the sale prices that take $100 off each model, the Portal+ costs $150 more than the Portal.

Amazon and Best Buy both reduced the price of the Facebook Portal by $100. Amazon lists the regular price at $199, and the sale price is $99 with free one-day shipping for Prime members. Best Buy’s regular Portal price is $200, and the sale price is $100, with free two-day shipping. If you’ve been considering buying a Facebook portal for yourself or your mom or anyone else, this half-price sale is an excellent opportunity.

Facebook Portal+ — $100 off

The Facebook Portal+ works like the Portal, but it looks and sounds better. The Portal+ has a 15.6-inch diagonal, 1080p (1,980 x 1,080) full HD display, the same size screen as used by many notebook computers. The Portal+ display rotates between portrait and landscape mode, so you can switch it to suit what’s on the screen. On the sound side, the Portal+ has two tweeters and a single 4-inch bass with a combined 20-watt audio output. You might not fill a large room with music, but the audio is a significant step up from the Portal.

Usually $349 on Amazon and $350 at Best Buy, the Portal+ is on sale for $250 by both merchants through May 12. If you like the Portal concept and want the best features, this is a chance to buy the Portal+ at a significant discount.

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