(Pocket-lint) - Video calling is one of those things that, a few years ago, might have had a little bit of debate around it - is it really the way forward? Isn't it easier to just use your voice?
Well, fast-forward to today and the debate is over. Video is the here and now, an amazing way of connecting more personally in conversation with your friends and family, or with colleagues and connections. Whether you're using Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, a quick video chat goes a long way.
Some of the very best video calling experiences available today are offered, in fact, by Facebook's own hardware, in the form of the Portal line. They've been designed from the ground up to offer great, seamless systems for visual chats, and work really nicely for it. Best of all, right now you can grab a decent saving thanks to Amazon Prime Day.
We thought you might like to know just what you're choosing from, though, and what makes each device special.
The Facebook Portal Mini is the smallest of the Portal range and it looks more like a digital photo frame than a gargantuan bit of tech that sticks out like a sore thumb.
The Mini has a 13MP camera with a 114-degree field of view, a built-in privacy shutter and the ability to use it in either in portrait or landscape making it fit nicely wherever you put it.
It's now discounted for Prime Day with $34 off in the US.
If you've considered the Portal Mini because of its design, but fancy a bit more real estate, whether to get a better look at your callers or to show off your pictures more prominently, you're in luck - the standard Portal is really similar, but bigger.
It's also a little more powerful in the display department, with a 10-inch screen compared to the Portal Mini's 8-inch version. The speaker is, again, impressive for its size, and like the Mini you can have it in portrait or landscape mode depending on your taste. As with all Portal devices, it's also got some fabulous AR tricks for your calls, letting you wear costumes and filters for maximum fun.
If you're all about the display, though, the Portal+'s 15.6-inch screen is the best of the bunch, a 1080p beauty. Plus, its camera is the widest-angle of the range (though all of them get at least 113 degrees). Its speakers are also the most powerful, though the obvious trade-off is that it won't blend into your decor quite as easily as the smaller Portals.
We're happy to label the Portal+ pretty much the ultimate device for video calling - between its camera, display and features it'll have you feeling like you're in the room with each other when you make calls. That's quite the pedigree, we think you'll agree.
When it comes to displays for video calling in your home, though, chances are you've already got one big, HD screen in your living room already - your TV. Facebook's Portal TV is a genius way of harnessing that, and turning your TV into a video calling powerhouse. Its camera unit connects to your TV to display the calls, while using smart panning and zooming to keep you in shot even if you're moving around the room.
Plus, if you want to hide the camera when you're in private, you can just slide a block in front of it easily - privacy is a built-in assumption for the Portal range.