Meta’s Portal finds new life as a productivity tool

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As the corporate world embraces its work-from-home future, Meta is doubling down on turning its line of smart displays into ultimate video calling devices. This week, the company announced its $349 Portal Plus (second-gen) and $199 Portal Go can now do extra work as a second display for your Mac or PC thanks to new support for the Duet Display app.

Meta is also launching the Meta Portal Companion app for Mac so you can share your computer screen while on a video call and more easily access controls to raise your hand, mute yourself, and adjust the volume.

The 10-inch Portal Go and the 15-inch Portal Plus are the newest — and likely last — additions to the company’s foray into consumer smart displays. Meta has reportedly decided it won’t be making any more for consumers and is shifting its focus to using Portals in the business world, which, in today’s landscape, translates to support for work from home as well.

Duet Display is a third-party app that turns an Android tablet or iPad into a second display for a PC or Mac for a more modest-sized alternative to adding an extra monitor to your desk. Now, it will work with Meta’s Portal Go and Portal Plus, allowing you to drag open windows to your Portal and multitask to your heart’s content.

The new macOS Meta Portal Companion app connects the Portal to your Mac, showing video calling controls on the computer as well as the smart display and making it easy to share your computer screen during a call.

New app support turns a Portal into a second screen.
Image: Meta

Both the Go and the Plus are still available to buy (and are currently $50 off at Amazon), and Meta has said it will continue to support them. I tested the Go, which is the smaller and more portable of the two thanks to a built-in battery, and found it to be an excellent dedicated video calling gadget — if a lackluster smart display. This added functionality could make it a good second or third (or, okay, fourth) screen in your home office, especially if you do a lot of video calling.

Both Portals work with almost every video calling system available — Zoom, Cisco’s Webex, BlueJeans, GoTo Meeting, Workplace, and Microsoft Teams — and, of course, Facebook’s own Messenger calling. They also sync with Outlook or Google calendars for quick access to meetings and support Bluetooth for adding a keyboard and headset.

Duet Display is available now in the Meta app store for the Portal Plus and Go in the US, the UK, Canada, France, Spain, and Italy (and only for the Plus in Australia and New Zealand). You also need to download the app to the computer you want to link with the Portal by visiting duetdisplay.com. The Meta Portal Companion app is a free download at portal.facebook.com/companion for the US and UK only.

https://www.theverge.com/2022/8/10/23299937/meta-portal-duet-display-companion-app-second-screen-mac-pc