I talk quite a bit in my articles about the Amazon Alexa Echo Show product because I love all that it can do, especially for seniors and family caregivers. But of course, it’s not the only product on the market that uses voice commands to help out families.
What I mean is that there are other smart devices on the market as well. In this article I’ll be comparing one of these devices, the Facebook’s Portal to the Echo Show.
So, let’s go over what each one of these two smart home devices does and how they can make life easier and safer for older adults and their loving families.
What Is The Echo Show?
The Echo Show is a smart speaker product by Amazon that works with the Alexa app on your smartphone. It’s one of the Alexa devices but the difference is that the Echo Show is not only a voice command speaker it also has a screen that can be used to view videos, make phone calls, video chat through a video camera with family and friends who also have an Echo Show and/or a Skype account. But it can also do much more.
All the Alexa devices can access any of the over 100,000 skills that they can provide. To read about the top 28 skills that we recommend – click here.
You’ll love the ease of use and how simple it is to set up.
There is no monthly fee for using any of the Alexa devices, including the Echo Show.
What Is The Facebook Portal?
The Facebook Portal device is a product by Facebook which looks similar to the Echo Show. It’s also a smart speaker with a screen. So users can use it to conduct video calls to others using the Facebook Messenger’s service or the WhatsApp service.
No need for mobile phones to set up the Portal.
The Portal also has built in Alexa features which means that not only does it give you access to the Facebook Messenger service, but it also gives you access to most of Alexa’s skills.
The Portal also has a very simple setup process.
There is no monthly fee for using the Facebook Portal device.
What Is The Difference Between Echo Show and Facebook Portal?
The biggest difference between the Echo Show and the Facebook Portal is the fact (as I mentioned above) that with the Portal, the user can video chat with their Facebook friends via the Facebook Messenger service. The Echo Show cannot connect to your Facebook account.
As of right now, the Echo Show is less expensive than the Portal, so that is certainly a difference.
You can watch Youtube and Netflix videos on Amazon’s Echo Show but it seems that watching Youtube on the Portal is problematic and you won’t be able to watch Netflix at all.
What both of these devices can do are…
- Make phone calls
- Video calling
- Listen to music
- Both have high quality resolution
- Watch videos (Echo show has Amazon Prime Video and Portal has Facebook Portal TV)
- Large screen (Echo show is 10.1 inches and Portal is 10.2 inches)
- Can access the food network
- Equipped with a smart camera
- Each has it’s own web browser
- Can be used as a digital photo frame
- Connect with smartplugs and smart devices
For seniors and families who stay in touch often and want to spend as much time as possible “seeing” each other, the ease of use of video chats with these two devices is a great benefit.
Is Facebook Portal Easy For Elderly Adults?
The Facebook Portal is fairly easy to set up. Just as the Echo Show is.
Here are the step by step instructions on how to set up Facebook Portal:
- You need to have Wifi and a Facebook account or a WhatsApp account to set it up.
- Place your Portal device on a flat surface away from any heat or water source (i.e. sinks, stovetops, etc.) For the best reception, keep it at least 2 feet away from a wall.
- Plug in the power cord.
- Once it’s powered up, follow the on-screen instructions.
The instructions for the Echo Show are very similar except that you need an Amazon account to use it.
If you’re interested in the Facebook Portal and are wondering what commands you can use with it, check out this article on Facebook Portal Voice Commands.
Is Amazon Echo Good For Elderly?
I certainly believe that the Echo device is the best option for older adults and for their families and caregivers as well. But of course, as usual, it all depends on the individual person.
There may be limitations for someone who has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive impairment. But that does not mean that it would be entirely useless. Again, it simply depends on the individual person.
Some of the skills that make the Amazon Echo Show such a great device for elderly are…
- The Drop in Skill – This skill is a great way to keep an eye on elderly parents from afar. All you have to do in order for this skill be enabled and activated, if needed can also cancel it at any time. Once you turn it on it will show you the area the camera is pointed to. Could be the living room, the kitchen, etc.
- The Show and Tell Skill – For anyone who may have low vision, this is a great skill to use. Simply hold up a product (like a can of soup or box of cereal, etc.) to the screen and ask “Alexa, what am I holding?” She will tell you.
- Alert A Buddy Skill – One of the best features Alexa offers for seniors is that she can set up someone as your “buddy” which will allow her to alert them immediately in case you need help. This program allows several other people who have been assigned through Ask My Buddy, so they come right away and give support where it’s needed!
- Brain exercises – By saying “Alexa, open Brain Training – Odd One Out” you’ll be given multiple challenges, each one a bit harder than the last one.
- The game Jeopardy – Most everyone loves the gameshow Jeopardy! Well, you can play it on your Echo Show. Simply say, “Alexa, play Jeopardy” and you’ll be on your way to exercising your mental skills and maybe become just a little bit smarter.
There are so many more skills that seniors and family members can use with Alexa devices. Here are some of our articles on the topic.
- Can Alexa Call 911?
- What Seniors Can Ask Alexa
- How Alexa Can Help Caregivers of Alzheimer’s Patients
- Alexa Products For The Home
- Alexa For Blind Seniors
In the end, it is up to you and your loved ones to decide which device will be best for them and the family. Both devices have their pros and cons but in the end, one of these two might just win out over the other. It’s a tough decision!
My personal recommendation for the best smart display is the Echo Show with the 10-inch screen. I believe it’s just much easier for most seniors to view on a larger screen than a small screen.
It’s been on the market for several years, has a long track record of very good service and is constantly being updated with new skills! It’s a great addition in the homes of elderly people who want to make their lives just a little bit safer and easier.
The ability to make video calls and phone calls via voice control is a wonderful asset to have in a home with seniors. Although neither are yet equipped to send and/or receive text messages easily, I can certainly imagine that this will be an added feature in the future.