Earlier this week Facebook announced something called Facebook Portal. So, for this weeks Appy Friday, we’re giving you the rundown of exactly what this is.

Facebook recently announced their latest creation, which they have named the Portal. This device is set to be the new way to video call with your Facebook friends. However, it isn’t an app, it is its own stand-alone device. The device has a 12-megapixel camera and a HD screen so that you can clearly see the person you are talking to. The aim of the device is to make you feel like you’re with the person you are talking to, just like they’re in the room with you. You can call any one of your Facebook contacts even if they don’t have to have a Portal.

This is the first piece of Facebook branded hardware, branching out from the Facebook app itself, and puts them up against massive companies like Google and Amazon who both have similar in-home devices.

The release of this device has opened up a lot of criticism with the controversy of the smart speakers supposedly listening to all your conversations. However, this device even comes with a camera cover and various other privacy features if that’s something you are worried about.

The device comes in two sizes, the Portal, and the Portal+. The Portal+ has a 1080p, 15.6-inch screen that can rotate to either be portrait or landscape. The smaller version is slightly cheaper retailing for £159. However, the smaller device does have a lower quality screen at 720p and the 10.5-inch screen cannot be rotated.#

The Portal+ also allows you to play music through Spotify, Facebook Watch and this device doubles up as a photo frame when you’re using it. The two Portals are controlled via voice commands just like its competitors Alexa and Siri. To start using the device you just have to say ‘Hey Portal’.

Not only is this device for video calling you can also query the internet like many other smart speakers. What makes this piece of tech so clever is its camera. The camera in the Portal has a 140-degree view which is as wide as a GoPro and can roughly fit your entire room into the view. However, the best part of this camera is that it can track when a person comes into the room and can zoom into them and crop the frame so they fit perfectly. Even if you are walking around, the camera can follow you whilst staying zoomed in. If there are a group of people in the room, the camera will resize and crop the shot to fit everyone in. There is also a feature called Spotlight mode which allows you to lock onto one person, and keep that person centred in the frame even when there are lots of other people in the room.

So, that was this weeks Appy Friday. Let us know what you think to the new release from Facebook and whether or not you’ll be buying one when they are released?