I’ve been using Facebook’s new portable video phone, Portal Go, has been around for more than a week. My 4 year old son and 6 year old daughter use it to talk to my parents all over the country. It’s going pretty well. It’s an entertaining, immersive experience, though it’s honestly not very different from previous iterations, including portal TV.
But last night a one-year-old of mine threw an indescribable tantrum while making a call. Before I could say or do anything, my daughter impatiently grabbed Portal Go and walked out of the living room. When my son calmed down, I went to look for him. She was upstairs, comfortably reading books on the device with her grandparents in her bed.
If you’re not a parent, it’s really hard to explain how much your kids have lost in the last two years – even if your kids, like me, are still too young to fully understand it. A lot I couldn’t give them, but I could give it to them. By far, Portal Go is the best way I’ve been able to bring family members from far and wide together.
All over the world
When Facebook went dark earlier this year, I quickly learned that people I know have friends and family abroad and none. More than 1.5 billion people worldwide use Facebook and its apps, especially in countries like the Philippines, where my family and Nobel laureate Maria Resa are battling misinformation on Facebook.
At the moment, arguing about whether to use Facebook is like arguing about whether you have access to the grid. A company can have highly questionable business practices and still provide important infrastructure. Facebook in many places Is Internet. All of this goes a long way to saying that I use Facebook as carefully as possible, but I use it, and it has helped portal Go to integrate seamlessly into my life.
It looks and feels like a slim, tall Amazon Echo show, with a gray, cloth-colored body that hides two 5-watt speakers and a 20-watt UFO. It has a rechargeable battery with a small, annoying charging port. The battery is arguably the most frustrating part of this device. An hour-long portal call, including interactive stories and some YouTube, wastes about 20 percent of the battery. Playing music at my desk one day, attending multiple zoom meetings, and checking out various apps eliminates it completely. It really doesn’t last that long, and even worse, it takes some time to recharge (it takes about two hours to be fully charged from about 40 hours).