Note: BuzzFeed News may charge affiliate fees for Amazon links here. However, this is a product that we have truly tried other recommended several times without affiliate links in the past, and we mean it when we say: this is a good deal.
Look, we’re not proud that two ethically dubious tech giants are giving us the Eiffel Tower when we make this recommendation, but as journalists, we’re willing to demean ourselves to bring you the facts. The hard truth is that the Meta Portal is a huge consumer device, and right now it’s on sale for Amazon Prime Day for just $35, the lowest price in history. And you should buy one.
The $35 price is for the previous iPad-sized 10-inch Portal model, marked down from $179 (although it’s had sales prices of around 50% in the past). Other models are also available for Prime Day, but not as cheap. the Portal Go, which is the only model you can use without plugging into the wall, is 35% off, and the Portal TV that uses your TV as a screen is also $57 off. Both have their advantages, but in our opinion, go for the cheaper one at $35.
If you think Meta is evil and doesn’t want to give you your money, we don’t really have an answer for that. Fair enough, go with God, live your truth. However, if you’re open to the idea that, well, you use Instagram enough that the ad dollars spent on your account personally earned Mark Zuckerberg a few bottles of reef-safe zinc sunscreen anyway, and that sometimes life under capitalism means making decisions occasionally. where you’re like, “Aaah, fuck it, I just want this cool thing that makes my life 5% better,” then let us talk you into it.
The big selling point with the portal is its smart camera, which can follow you as you move around the room and can zoom in and out and reframe when more than one person is in the frame. This might sound creepy, but it’s really cool. It completely solves the problem of two people sitting next to each other, trying to smash their faces into the view of a laptop or phone camera, and it’s great for a toddler on the go. (And no, Facebook isn’t looking at you through the camera.)
For a bunch of obvious reasons, the Portal didn’t exactly explode as the most popular consumer device. (In our opinion, price was a big factor: it was too expensive for people to pay for a dedicated video calling device! But at $35? Why not?)
In June, Meta announced that it is portal phase out line marketed to consumers and refocus on sales to companies. The newer Portal Plus is more like a dedicated Zoom device for remote workers, not fun family chats. Presumably, the $35 Amazon deal is Meta trying to use up the last of its inventory.