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Facebook to launch Portal smart devices in the UK

The Facebook-designed smart display range is finally hopping across the pond

Facebook is launching its entire suite of Portal smart display devices in the UK. The tech giant originally announced this particular foray into the world of hardware late last year, with Portal products shipping in December to US customers. As of next month, however, you’ll be able to get your hands on one right here in Blighty.

So what’s the appeal? Facebook’s Portal devices stand as direct competition to the likes of the Amazon Echo Show and Google Nest Hub Max. The range comprises four devices: the Portal, Portal Plus, Portal Mini and Portal TV, of which the last two are new products. The Portal, Portal Plus and Portal Mini are all traditional smart displays, while the Portal TV is a TV-mounted camera. 

Specifications-wise, the standard Portal has a 10.1in 720p display and houses two 10W full-range speaker drivers. The Portal Plus, meanwhile, bumps those figures up to 15.6in at 1080p (Full HD) and has three audio drivers: two tweeters and one 4in bass unit. The Portal Mini is, as the name suggests, is a smaller 8in version of the Portal. All three products make use of a single 13-megapixel (12-megapixel on the Portal Plus) front-facing camera that can intelligently track a person around a room.

You’ll mostly be using the Portal as a means of video communication. The entire range of devices support hands-free operation courtesy of Alexa and will sync with your WhatsApp contacts should you so desire. With Amazon Prime Video and Spotify ready to install, however, the Portal also functions as a media streaming device, albeit a pretty small one. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the current online privacy furore, Facebook places heavy emphasis on keeping user data safe. The Portal’s microphone and camera can be deactivated with a single button press, and if that isn’t enough, the Portal also comes with a physical camera cover.

Facebook Portal and Portal Mini begin shipping in the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Australia and New Zealand on 15 October, and Portal TV, from 5 November. No word yet on when Portal Plus will reach these shores. Portal costs £169; Portal Mini, £129; and Portal TV, £149. According to Facebook, you can bundle any two Portal devices and save £50.

Preorder now from Facebook

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