Facebook Portal VS Google Home Hub
Let's see how the Facebook Portal smart display stacks up against Google's Home hub.Affiliate Disclosure: CNET may get a commission from retail offers.
The cameras in Facebook's $349 Portal Plus and $199 smart displays skillfully track people around a room, making you feel like you're actually there with them.
They're expensive and don't have any standout features beyond their autotracking cameras. You can't use a Portal if you aren't a Facebook user -- or don't use the Facebook Messenger service. Facebook could target the ads you see based on the length and frequency of your Portal video calls.
Facebook's Portal Plus and Portal displays make video calling much more immersive, but high prices, a slightly awkward design (for the Plus version specifically) and some lingering privacy questions make them a tough sell for most.
The Google Home Hub's touchscreen is responsive and works well in combination with Google Assistant, whether you ask for help on a recipe or to check what's on your calendar. Pictures and videos look particularly crisp thanks to an ambient light sensor that adapts the screen brightness and warmth to match the room. A control panel screen makes it easy to organize and control your smart home devices.
The sound quality is fine for background music, but nowhere near the level of other smart displays like the Amazon Echo Show or the JBL Link View. It's more on par with the diminutive Google Home Mini. The integration with the Nest Hello Video Doorbell needs work.
The cameraless, petite Google Home Hub will blend into any room in your home. It's affordable, and quite useful as a digital assistant (especially in the kitchen), a photo frame and a smart home control panel.