Amazon Echo 10 vs. Facebook Portal

Can’t decide between an Amazon Echo Show 10 or the Facebook Portal? Let this comparative review help you choose.
Amazon Echo 10 vs. Facebook Portal
Published: 9th Apr 2021
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By SHN Team

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With the growing popularity of video calls and the associated smart devices, two products have gained a lot of attention. The first is Amazon’s Echo 10, and the other, Facebook’s Portal. These gadgets offer the next step in video calling technology, along with other smart hub features. All in all, they’re sure to be a great addition to any smart home setup.

In this article, we’ll offer an in-depth feature comparison of both devices so you can decide which suits your needs.

Quick Brand Comparison

Below is a quick overview of the brands that produce these devices along with their pros, cons, and a brief history.

Amazon

In July 1994, Jeff Bezos founded Amazon with the intention of turning the company into the world’s largest online bookstore. Safe to say that he achieved this goal and more. Amazon is now the biggest online retailer on the planet and its founder the richest man in the world.

Established initially in Seattle because of the presence of Microsoft and available talent, it would go public in 1997. A year later, the company expanded its operations to selling videos and music online, and then various software, toys, and electronics, among others the year after that.

Amazon had comparatively slow growth compared to the rest of the tech startups at the time. However, the company did survive the tech crash of 2001 where many others didn’t, registering its first profit that year. It would continue its growth for years to come, becoming the online retail juggernaut that it is today.

The Amazon Echo Show is just one of the products in the Amazon Echo line of smart home devices, the Show being a smart display for its Alexa AI. First released in 2017, the latest model, the Amazon Echo Show 10, is the third generation of the device.

One of the biggest advantages of the Echo Show is that Alexa is made by the same company, thus fully integrated to the device. It also has the backing of a very large corporation for any future developments. But one must remember that Amazon is mainly an online retail company and not a dedicated device firm. Amazon Echo is a just a small branch of a larger group.

Pros:

  • Full Alexa integration
  • Support from established company
  • Years of development

Cons:

  • Lack of product specialization

SMARTHOME.News Average Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Average Ratings Around the Web: 4 of 5 Stars

Facebook

The founding of Facebook, one of the world’s largest social media sites, is a story that involves a good deal of controversy. It’s been the subject of books, and even a movie, although how accurate these depictions are might be questionable.

What is firmly established is that Facebook started as an online student directory for Harvard created by Mark Zuckerberg called FaceMash in 2003. After being shut down by university administration for alleged security and privacy concerns, Zuckerberg began programming a new website. In January 2004, he launched it under the name TheFacebook, based on the name of a student directory that features photos and basic information.

Membership was first limited to Harvard University students but would soon expand within months to the students at other nearby universities. They incorporated the company in 2004, dropping ‘the’ from its title and naming it just Facebook. By 2005, membership had expanded to about six million users from universities in the US, Canada, and the UK.

Facebook continued its expansion by opening membership to people over the age of 13 with a valid email address. By October of 2012, Facebook would get its one billionth user, and remains the largest social media network to this day. It introduced a messaging service called Facebook Chat in 2008, eventually becoming a standalone app, the Facebook Messenger in 2011.

Facebook Portal, a smart display that took advantage of the Messenger and WhatsApp applications, was launched in 2018 to expand the company’s portfolio. Although it met with favorable reviews, Facebook’s ongoing data privacy scandal at the time tempered the critical reception.

Pros:

  • Support from established company
  • Developed messaging software

Cons:

  • Relative newcomer to hardware market.
  • Company has history of privacy concerns.
  • Lack of product specialization

facebook

SMARTHOME.News Average Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Average Ratings Around the Web: 3.75 of 5 Stars

QUICK VERDICT

If you’re looking for a versatile smart display, the Amazon Echo 10 Show is the way to go. With its full Alexa integration, allowing it to interact with a lot of other smart devices, it isn’t just a video calling device. It may be a bit more expensive than the Facebook Portal, but the additional features that you get is well worth the price.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Quick Brand Comparison

2. Quick Verdict

3. Quick Comparison Table

4. Individual Device Overview

5. Step by Step Feature Comparison

6. Final Score

7. Verdict: Overall Winner

8. Quick FAQ

9. Hi-Tech Video Calling Technology

Quick Comparison Table

Features

Amazon Echo 10

Facebook Portal

Camera

13 Megapixels

12 Megapixels

Dimensions

9.9" x 9" x 6.7"

9.84" x 8.2" x 3.68"

Weight

5.64 lbs. (2.56 kg)

2.68 lbs. (1.22 kg)

Display

10.1-inch touchscreen

10.1-inch touchscreen

Alexa Connectivity

Built-in, Fully Integrated

Built-in

Input

Touchscreen and voice activation

Touchscreen and voice activation

Speakers

2.1 System

2.1 System

Security Features

Mic and Camera off button, camera shutter

Mic and Camera off button, camera shutter

Bluetooth Connectivity

Bluetooth capable

Bluetooth capable

Price

$249.99

$199.00

Individual Device Overview

Below is a comprehensive review of each device, with pros, cons, and a list of what’s included in the package.

Amazon Echo Show 10

The Amazon Echo Show 10 is the latest in the line of Amazon’s high-tech smart displays. With improved cameras, speakers, and display resolution, it’s certainly the most advanced of its peers.

Amazon’s Echo Show 10 was developed with hands-off video calling and video streaming in mind. A built-in motor allows the device to swivel its camera to follow you as you move around a room. Though, admittedly, having a screen track your movement can be somewhat unnerving, it can be disabled if you really want to.

Amazon Echo Show 10

The advantage of the rotating motor is obvious. When you’re engaged in a video call, the camera will try to keep you in frame, making conversations feel more natural. This is also handy when you’re watching a streaming video as the screen will always be a tilt of the head away even if you move around a lot.

This auto-framing feature paired with its 13-megapixel camera gives users the next step in video calling technology. It’s sure to make connecting with your loved ones a more pleasurable experience.

Because the Amazon Echo Show 10 is made by the same company that created Alexa, it’s highly integrated with the device. You can control various other compatible smart home devices through Echo Show 10 without having a separate smart hub. All it takes is a voice command to interface with other gadgets like doorbell cameras, lights, and suchlike.

The Amazon Echo Show 10 can also be integrated into your home’s security system to allow you to look around the room remotely. It can, with the use of Alexa Guard, give you alerts whenever Echo Show detects the fire alarm, carbon monoxide alerts, or even breaking glass.

The device integrates well with Amazon Music, Apple Music, and Spotify. Additionally, the HD screen makes watching streaming video from Amazon Prime, Hulu, or Netflix enjoyable. The rotating screen also ensures that you can always see the action.

The Amazon Echo Show 10 is perfect for areas where you don’t always have both hands available to operate your smart devices. Alexa integration allows you to give voice commands for a lot of the Echo Show 10’s features. Whether you’re in the kitchen, the living room, or your den, all it takes is saying ‘Hey Alexa’ to operate the device.

People concerned with privacy may be wary of an online camera following them around, but the Amazon Echo Show has security features to address them. All it takes is a push of a button to disable the mic and camera. The device even comes with a physical camera shutter for your peace of mind. Motion tracking can either be limited or turned off completely if you don’t want the camera following you.

The device is relatively heavy at more than five and a half pounds, as the built-in motor gives it quite some heft. It’s also relatively expensive at a base price of $249.99, though sales and discounts can lower the price every so often.

Pros:

  • Built in rotating motor
  • Auto framing technology
  • Full Alexa integration
  • Great security features

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive
  • Rather heavy

What’s in the Box?

  • Amazon Echo Show 10 device
  • 30-watt power adapter
  • Instruction manual
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The Amazon Echo Show 10 is a great smart display that will integrate almost seamlessly with an Alexa home network. What holds it back is its rather bulky weight, owing to the built-in motor, and its higher price point compared to the Portal.

Facebook Portal

The Facebook Portal device offers a great hands-free way of connecting with people through Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp software. It’s a step up in video calling technology that makes communicating with loved ones a breeze.

One of the best features of the Facebook Portal is its Smart Camera technology. The camera itself tracks you as you move, and focuses on you when you talk. The device remains stationary, but the camera adapts to your movement. This technology also adjusts to keep everyone in frame whenever multiple people are in a room.

Facebook Portal

You can also program the Facebook Portal to track a specific voice and ignore background noise. This makes video calls very clear and avoids miscommunication whenever several people talk at once.

Facebook Portal comes with a built-in Storytime Feature, which enhances videos with music, animation, and other effects. This brings your stories to life and turns storytelling with your children into a whole new experience. This feature, however, is limited from only one Portal device to another.

With the integration of Facebook’s highly functional Facebook Messenger App, connecting with others is simple and easy. Even if any of your contacts don’t have a Portal, if they have Facebook Messenger, whether on mobile or on a computer, the Portal can connect you with them.

Its sleek design makes the Facebook Portal a great addition to any smart home capable network. Its modern look fits well with most contemporary home styles. On portrait mode, it can even pass a digital picture frame whenever you aren’t using its video call features.

One of the big minuses of the Facebook Portal is its limited smart functionality. Sure, it can play music and stream videos, but the device is first and foremost, a video calling display. It has Alexa built-in, and can communicate with other smart devices, but it’s not the primary function of the Portal.

Music, for example, may sound a bit hollow when played on a Facebook Portal, as both the mic and speakers were meant to accommodate voice calls. You can play music by using Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, or using Alexa to find songs, but playback isn’t optimal. If you like listening to music, there are a lot of better devices to play it on.

Video streaming is also somewhat limited on the device. Netflix, Hulu, and a lot of other streaming services aren’t available. For that, you’ll have to get another gadget from the line, the Facebook Portal TV.

Using the Facebook Portal also requires that you have an active Facebook account. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to create one. Considering Facebook’s recent privacy history, this can be a bit concerning. It does have several security features to appease users though, like an off switch for the mic and camera, and a shutter for the video lens.

Pros:

  • Smart Camera Technology
  • Facebook Messenger connectivity
  • Story Time Feature
  • Lower price point
  • Sleek design

Cons:

  • Limited functionality
  • Voice call oriented speakers
  • Facebook account requirement

What’s in the Box?

  • Facebook Portal device
  • Camera cover
  • Power adapter
  • Instruction manual

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As far as video call devices go, the Facebook Portal is top of the line, but the fact that it is limited, feature-wise, is a big minus. If you want more with your smart display than a functional video phone, then you may want another device. Paying more for additional features is something to think about.

 

Step by Step Feature Comparison

Below is a step-by-step comparison of the features of both devices, along with a score on how each gadget performs for each category.

Camera: Amazon Echo Show 10 vs. Facebook Portal

 
 
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Winner: Amazon Echo Show 10

Although the first two generations of the Amazon Echo Show didn’t feature powerful cameras, the Echo Show 10 blows them, and its competition, away. The third generation of the Echo Show features a 13 Megapixel camera, as compared to Facebook Portal’s 12 Megapixel model.

This gives the Echo Show 10 clearer video calling capabilities and gives people you call a clearer picture during your conversation.

Granted, the Facebook Portal has Smart Camera technology that keeps you in frame whenever it’s in use, but this is answered by Amazon Echo Show’s built-in motor. The screen itself swivels with you when you move, allowing for more natural conversations even when walking around. In this category, the Amazon Echo Show 10 wins, if only by a slight margin.

Camera Amazon Echo Show 10 vs. Facebook Portal

Dimensions: Amazon Echo Show 10 vs. Facebook Portal

 
 
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Winner: Amazon Echo Show 10

The Echo Show 10 is a few inches larger, at least in dimension than the Facebook Portal. Although this doesn’t really count for much as they have the same screen width, the larger size does make the Amazon Echo Show 10 stand out more.

This category isn’t as overly important as the others, but it’s still a marginal win by the Amazon Echo Show 10.

Weight: Amazon Echo Show 10 vs. Facebook Portal

 
 
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Winner: Facebook Portal

This is a clear win for Facebook Portal, as the Amazon Echo Show 10 is a significantly heavier device. The built-in motor that allows the Echo Show 10 to follow you, also contributes a lot to its weight. Sure, both devices are usually placed in a particular area and remain stationary, weight can still factor in when deciding where to position the device.

At more than five pounds, the Echo Show 10 is almost twice the weight of the Facebook Portal. It may not be a mobile device, and both gadgets require being plugged in, but if you like moving devices around, that additional bulk can be cumbersome.

Display: Amazon Echo Show 10 vs. Facebook Portal

 
 
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Winner: Tie

Both the Amazon Echo Show 10 and the Facebook Portal have a 10.1-inch touchscreen display that provides clear pictures for its users. Both can show pictures and video at 1280 x 800 or 720p resolution. It may not be much, considering that a lot of devices display 4K resolutions nowadays, but for a smart display with video call functionality, it serves its purposes well.

Both devices are built with adaptive screens that take ambient light into account when displaying images. Colors and contrast adjust accordingly depending on the brightness of the room. This feature is most evident when each device is on photo display mode, making it seem more like a picture frame rather than a digital display.

The devices are tied in this category.

Alexa Connectivity: Amazon Echo Show 10 vs. Facebook Portal

 
 
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Winner: Amazon Echo Show 10

This is an obvious win for the Amazon Echo Show 10. Although both devices have Alexa built in, the Echo Show 10 fully uses this functionality to connect with other Alexa capable devices. This is pretty much because Alexa itself was developed by Amazon, the same company that created the Echo Show 10.

Sure, Facebook Portal can also connect to Alexa, and does have the capability to integrate with other smart devices, but the Portal operates mainly using Facebook’s software. The Amazon Echo Show 10 was developed around Alexa, while the Facebook Portal has it as an add-on. Many Alexa integrated devices can communicate seamlessly with the Echo Show 10, while it may take a bit of tweaking with the Facebook Portal.

Alexa Connectivity Amazon Echo Show 10 vs. Facebook Portal

 

Input: Amazon Echo Show 10 vs. Facebook Portal

 
 
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Winner: Tie

Both the Amazon Show 10, and Facebook Portal can be used either through the touchscreen, or via voice commands. They’re the perfect accompaniment in rooms where you don’t always have your hands free to operate them. The devices are tied in this category.

 

Speakers: Amazon Echo Show 10 vs. Facebook Portal

 
 
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Winner: Amazon Echo Show 10

Although both devices operate on a 2.1 speaker system, meaning two smaller tweeters and one large subwoofer, the Echo Show 10’s speakers have better playback quality.

Facebook Portal was obviously created with video calling in mind, offering a sharper mic, and better voice playback. Therefore, the music sounds a bit off when played on a Facebook Portal. There’s a bit of a hollow vibe whenever you stream on the Portal, and it isn’t ideal for viewing or listening to media. The Amazon Echo Show 10 wins this category easily.

Security Features: Amazon Echo Show 10 vs. Facebook Portal

 
 
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Winner: Tie

Both devices offer ways to disable the mic and speakers at the push of a button. There are also physical shutters that cover the camera lenses for added protection. Considering that Facebook had been embroiled in privacy controversies only recently, these features are essential. As they are present in both devices, they are tied in this category.

Bluetooth Connectivity: Amazon Echo Show 10 vs. Facebook Portal

 
 
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Winner: Tie

Both the Amazon Echo Show 10 and Facebook Portal have Bluetooth connectivity. This is convenient if you want to connect other peripherals to the devices, like extra speakers for the Facebook Portal, for example. To turn Bluetooth on, both in your smart display and the device you wish to connect to, simply wait for the device to be discovered. After which, all it takes is a tap to allow it to sync with your device.

Bluetooth Connectivity Amazon Echo Show 10 vs. Facebook Portal

Price: Amazon Echo Show 10 vs. Facebook Portal

 
 
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Winner: Facebook Portal

If there’s one thing that Facebook Portal has going for it when compared with the Amazon Echo Show 10 is its price point. The Portal is comparatively cheaper than the Amazon Echo Show 10, if not by that much. Note that both devices can sometimes be bought on sale or at discounted prices.

The number of features that the Echo Show 10 offers however, makes up for that price gap somewhat, but it’s still a win for the Portal. If you’re looking for a smart display on a budget though, Portal is a great choice.

Final Score

Features

Amazon Echo Show 10

Facebook Portal

Camera

Win

Lose

Dimensions

Win

Lose

Weight

Lose

Win

Display

Tie

Tie

Alexa Connectivity

Win

Lose

Input

Tie

Tie

Speakers

Win

Lose

Security Features

Tie

Tie

Bluetooth Connectivity

Tie

Tie

Price

Lose

Win

Verdict: Overall Winner

With more features, better cameras, and sharper audio playback, the Amazon Echo Show 10 is the overall winner in this comparative review. Granted, the Facebook Portal is cheaper, but you’re looking for something more than a high-end video phone then the Echo Show 10 is worth the extra price.
WINNER: AMAZON ECHO SHOW 10!

Quick FAQ

Below are some common questions regarding the Amazon Echo Show 10 and the Facebook Portal:

  1. Do I need to have a Facebook Account to use Portal?
    Yes. A Facebook account is unfortunately a requirement to use the Facebook Portal. Portal’s communication features rely heavily on Facebook Messenger which requires a Facebook account. There are no workarounds regarding this.

    The plus side to this is that you can easily communicate with anyone as long as they have Facebook Messenger. You don’t need an additional Portal device in order to contact someone via video calls.

    People that are concerned with private data collection that comes with creating a Facebook account may want to skip the Portal. If that doesn’t worry you, then creating a Facebook account is both simple and free.
  2. Do I need an Amazon Account to use the Echo Show 10?
    Yes. In order to use the Amazon Echo Show 10 you’ll have to get the Alexa app for either Android or iOS. This means that you’ll have to sign in with an Amazon Account to activate Alexa.

    In comparison to getting a Facebook account, this equates to reduced privacy concerns. Facebook has a history of selling private data, and Amazon doesn’t. At least none that has been revealed to the public.
  3. Do both parties need Facebook Portal to communicate?
    No. Facebook Portal uses its Messenger app in order to connect with other users. As long as they have Facebook Messenger, you can connect to them using the Portal device.

    This isn’t for the case with the Story Time feature however, as this requires both sides to have the device in order to use and see music and visual effects. If only the receiving side has a Portal, the sender can’t activate Story Time, and if only the sender has it, the effects won’t be shown to the recipient.
  4. Do you need two Amazon Echo Shows to make calls?
    No. The Amazon Echo Show 10 is fully capable of making video calls to others with mobile devices that are capable of video calling. This means that if you have an iPhone that has at least iOS 9.0 or an Android phone with Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher, Echo Show 10 can contact you.

    Echo to Echo calls do have a feature called ‘Drop In’ that operates like an intercom device both within and outside your household. As long as you have the proper contact information connecting to another Echo Show 10 device is easy. Having two devices isn’t a requirement to communicate though.
  5. Is there a monthly fee to use Facebook Portal?
    No. Facebook Portal doesn’t involve a fee. Nor does its required software, Facebook Messenger. What is needed is a constant Wi-Fi connection, which will require a subscription.

Is there a monthly fee to use Facebook Portal

  1. Is there a monthly fee for Amazon Echo Show 10?
    No. Amazon Echo Show 10, and the Alexa app don’t require a subscription fee. Be careful though, when listening to music or trying to watch videos Alexa will sometimes suggest some of Amazon’s paid services like Amazon Prime or Amazon Music. Agreeing to these services will result in you being billed a monthly subscription fee.
  2. Do you leave Echo Show 10 on all the time?
    These devices were designed to be constantly plugged in and hardly use any electricity when not actively in use. Turning it off also reduces the convenience of having a ‘smart assistant’ on call whenever you say, ‘Hey Alexa’. Turning it off means you’ll have to plug it in every time you want Alexa to listen to you.

    Yes. The Amazon Echo Show 10 requires being plugged in and being connected to Wi-Fi in order to work. Sure, you can turn it off if you want to, but there really isn’t a reason to do so.
  3. How secure is my data on Facebook Portal?
    The Facebook Portal device encrypts all video calls made using the device, so point to point data transmission is secure. If you’re concerned about what data the Portal actually sends to Facebook, then that’s another matter.

    Facebook claims that the Portal device doesn’t record any video or audio, but Alexa integration means that it is always listening for activation. As a bit of consolation, there’s a button that turns both the mic and speakers off, and you can physically obstruct the camera with a lens toggle.

How secure is my data on Facebook Portal

  1. Can I watch Netflix on the Amazon Echo Show 10?
    Yes. If you wish to use Netflix on your Amazon Echo Show 10, all you need to do is either swipe the screen, tap on the Video tab and choose Netflix, or use Alexa and say, ‘Open Netflix’. Do remember that you’ll need to have an active Netflix account in order to watch any videos on the site.

Can I watch Netflix on the Amazon Echo Show 10

  1. Can I watch Netflix on the Facebook Portal?
    No. Unfortunately, Facebook Portal doesn’t support Netflix streaming. In order to watch Netflix on a Facebook device you’ll need Facebook Portal TV, another model in the Portal line.

Hi-Tech Video Calling Technology

Both the Amazon Echo Show 10 and the Facebook Portal are amongst the best in hi-tech video calling technology. These devices help a lot in keeping us connected during such troubling times, when face-to-face meetings aren’t the best option. As the technology further develops, we become a lot closer, no matter the distance.

Do you have a preference between the Amazon Echo Show 10 and Facebook Portal? Do you know of any features on either device that weren’t featured here? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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