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Facebook refreshes its Portal family, introduces a TV-connected model

A little under a year ago, Facebook entered the smart display market with the Portal family of devices, which was released amidst major concerns regarding the company's respect for privacy. Today, the firm is back at it with a few new devices, including a new Mini model, and the Portal TV, which doesn't have its own screen.

The Portal and Portal Mini are the most similar to last year's model. The second-generation Portal has a 10-inch HD display just like last year, and the Portal Mini has an 8-inch HD screen. The 15-inch model from last year doesn't seem to have a true successor, but in its place, there's the new Portal TV, which uses a TV screen rather than having its own, so you can have a screen as big as you want.

In terms of features, the new Portal devices are pretty similar to last year's. They're also smart assistants powered by Alexa, and they support voice activation by saying "Hey Portal" in the United States and Canada. The smart video calling feature, which allows the camera to zoom in and track the user while they're on a call, is still here, and it's now possible to make calls using WhatsApp in addition to Facebook Messenger.

Facebook has kept privacy concerns in mind when it comes to calling, so the camera and microphone can be disabled with a single tap, and there's a physical shutter to cover the camera if you really don't trust Facebook. The smart camera feature also works completely on-device, so facial recognition data won't be shared with Facebook.

When not in use, Portal devices serve as digital frames through a feature called Superframe, which can display photos, videos, and birthday reminders. The devices also offer stories for children, using AR to make the experience more immersive. Facebook Watch integration also lets users watch videos together with other people even when they're not physically together. Finally, there's an Amazon Prime Video app so you can watch movies and TV shows using Portal.

The new Portal family is now available to pre-order in the U.S., Canada, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Australia, and New Zealand. Aside from the U.S. and Canada, all of these countries are new markets for Portal.

The Portal Mini will cost $129, while the Portal will cost $179, and both will begin shipping on October 15. The Portal TV costs $149, and will begin shipping on November 5. Last year's Portal+ is still available for $279, and you can get $50 off by buying any two Portal devices in a bundle, including the Portal+.

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