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The best smart displays for keeping in touch

Being able to host video calls with your friends and family is more important now than ever, but having people holding and crowding around a monitor, phone or tablet isn’t always the best solution. If you want a dedicated gadget and a fixed spot in your home for making and receiving video calls, your best bet is a smart display.

The most polished and accessible smart display for video calls is Facebook’s Portal. Starting at $199 it comes in a range of sizes — including a tiny one you attach to your TV — and is straightforward to set up and use; you just log in with your Facebook details and it becomes a terminal for video calls with your Facebook or WhatsApp contacts.

Facebook's Portal is a smart display designed almost exclusively for video calls.

Facebook’s Portal is a smart display designed almost exclusively for video calls.

I mailed one to my generally tech-averse parents in the bush and they got it sorted easily.

Video and audio fidelity is great, with the microphone limiting background noise and boosting your voice so you don’t have to sit close to it for your friends to hear. Meanwhile the wide angle camera lens automatically pans and zooms to fit in all the faces it can see.

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