The Facebook Portal digital picture frame has a big brand name behind it – but is it any good? While the Facebook Portal isn’t designed to be a dedicated digital picture frame, it does offer a decent amount of utility as such, though the are several limitations on what you can do.
The main feature the Facebook Portal offers is to connect directly to your Facebook account and display your photos on the frame. While this seems like a great idea, it’s not very novel. Frames like the Pix-Star can do this, and connect to up to a dozen other social media and photo-sharing platforms.
You can send photos to your Facebook portal through the mobile app. It creates a new album on the home screen that lets you display its contents – but you can only send 20 photos at a time.
Facebook Portal frames have very limited offline capabilities. You need to be connected to an active Wi-Fi network to use the slideshow and send/receive feature for photos. You can’t connect a USB/SD card to the frame to load pictures while you’re offline. It’s all handled through the cloud, which means these frames can’t do very much without an active internet connection.
The 16:9 aspect ratio is another serious drawback as most of your photos will be cropped to match that aspect ratio. This leaves you with zoomed-in photos if you set the frame to fit the photo to the screen – otherwise, most photos are boxed in by black pillars. This makes the already small display appear even smaller.
When you consider the price, your money is better spent on a premium digital picture frame. If you desperately need all the other functions, the Facebook portal isn’t a bad option (video calling, linking with Alexa, etc.) – but if you want a digital picture frame, this isn’t the best choice out there.
The Pix-Star digital picture frame is one of the best on the market. The combination of feature richness with an easy-to-use interface brings you a great frame for the family. It connects well into a multi-frame setup, can be controlled remotely, and offers elderly users an easy way to get involved and share special moments with the rest of the family.
While the Facebook Portal is quite capable in other areas, it’s not very effective as a digital picture frame. It struggles to match the features and functionality you get with frames like the Pix-Star. Pix-Star’s frame has extensive offline use and slideshows offer far more customizations and control. You can adjust the play order and even set newer photos to be displayed more easily.
You can remotely control the frame via the web interface. Here you can manage cloud storage (free for life and unlimited), control and manage up to 25 connected frames, and link photo albums to connected frames from social media and photo-sharing sites. They’re automatically synced to your frames and saved to internal storage for offline use.
You still a fully functional mobile app called the Pix-Star Snap. It lets you record photos, videos, and audio to send to your frame (or any connected frame) – or you select media to send directly from your phone’s gallery. You can send up to 250 photos at the same time, as well as video and audio clips.
When you combine all these features with Pix-Star’s ease of use and elderly-friendly designed, you get a highly functional frame built for the family. You get tons of value for money and versatility that the Facebook Portal struggles to compete with (as a digital picture frame).
The most common way is to link your Facebook Portal frame to your Facebook account. Once this connection is complete, it syncs the photos and albums to your Facebook Portal where you can view them in slideshows.
The other way to send photos to a Facebook Portal digital picture frame is through the Facebook Portal mobile app. This lets you capture and send up to 20 photos to your Facebook Portal at a time. This is done via the home screen and requires you to create a new album where the pictures will be saved. If you have more than 25 photos to send, you have to keep repeating this process.
There is no option to insert a USB/SD card into the frame and unlike most dedicated digital picture frames – you can’t send photos via email or through importing external web albums (though you can load photos from Instagram as well as Facebook).
If you look at the Facebook Portal on Amazon, you might have seen that it promises 5-hours of battery life. This isn’t correct. You need to plug the Facebook Portal into your home’s power supply as these frames are not battery powered – nor can they run off battery power. You can’t use the Facebook Portal without connecting it to a power source via the frame’s power supply inlet.
Facebook Portal frames need to be connected to Wi-Fi to work properly. You can’t send or receive any photos without an active Wi-Fi connection. Setting up the Wi-Fi connection is done the first time you turn the frame on – but don’t worry, you’ll be guided through the process by the setup wizard.
Yes, the Facebook Portal frame uses a touchscreen interface. This isn’t the best choice for a digital picture frame as they are fingerprint magnets, which in turn can ruin the viewing experience. You’ll find yourself needing to wipe and clean the display after every use, or you’ll struggle to see the display clearly (especially from an angle).
Touchscreens are less durable and more expensive, so cost is often recuperated through compromising on certain functions and features. They’re more prone to scratching and being damaged by being accidentally knocked over.