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Facebook Portal Go review: Ring ring ring ring ring ring ring … video calling

In a stay-at-home world, a self-contained display-and-webcam combo device made specifically for sending and receiving video calls—videophones, if you will—feels like both an extravagance and a necessity. On the one hand, you probably already have a computer with a webcam lying around for work and/or school. Your phone probably has similar capabilities. On the other, you don’t want to sit in your workspace all day, and using a phone isn’t great for long, leisurely conversations with friends and family. Suddenly, a flexible camera-enabled screen made for kitchens and living rooms seems a lot more appealing.

A Portal Go, the more casual of the company’s two new video-calling devices, fills the flex screen role nicely. With an extra-wide 10-inch display, a 12MP webcam with a 120-degree field-of-view, and strong stereo sound, it has everything you need for a very comfortable, easy-going video-call setup. It offers access to a limited app library, facilitating some secondary uses, including a portable smart speaker, digital photo frame, and web-enabled cookbook. (There’s a web browser, too, opening the doors to a much wider range of tools.) Though there’s certainly room for growth, the Facebook Portal Go certainly makes a strong case for a whole world of devices that I’d mostly written off.

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