The holiday season will undoubtedly be difficult for many families. Many will not be able to see their grandparents or parents. Some may even spend the holidays alone.
The best video calling devices make it easier and more special to connect with loved ones from afar than a traditional telephone call.
If you can’t spend time with your loved ones this holiday season, consider giving them one of these gifts to let them know you care about them and wish you could be together.
7 Best Devices for Video Calling Reviews
1. Lovebox Messenger
Use this WiFi enabled wood box to send notes to loved ones. Each time a new message arrives, the heart on the box spins to let them know you’re thinking of them.
2. Amazon Echo Show
A rectangular screen with Alexa voice capabilities, it allows you to make video calls via Skype, the Alexa app, Echo Spot, or Echo Show to anyone. In addition to calling a loved one by saying “Alexa, call [name],” you can also “Drop In” on a loved one—a feature that lets you video call without picking up the phone. The feature must be enabled by both users.
3. Facebook Portal
In addition to Alexa, the Facebook Portal is also equipped with “smart video” calling features. In a nutshell, it pans and zooms automatically to keep up with your location, so it’s like you’re really in the same room! It also comes in several sizes. A Portal TV lets you do smart video calling on your TV, while Portal+ lets you make smart video calls on a 15.6” HD display.
4. Skylight Frame
This digital photo frame lets you add photos automatically via email, so you can surprise your family with photos from an event they couldn’t attend.
There is a $49/year or $66/month Grandpad.net plan that includes a tablet, apps, multi-party calling, data, and music, as well as customer support, a case, and a stylus.
In addition to connecting seniors with loved ones, GrandPad is a smart and simple way to stay in touch. With GrandPad, you can connect to the private family network via iPhone, Android, iPad, or desktop via GrandPad’s app, portal, or device. For GrandPad users, family members can adjust settings and upload photos.
A digital photo frame with video chat capabilities makes it easy to communicate with seniors without the need for Amazon, Facebook, or Google accounts.
7. Google Nest Hub + Duo
It’s also available in multiple screen sizes, and you can make video calls and leave video messages. The camera keeps you visible, too, as you move around the room, and you can display photos on the screen via Google Photos.
You can get a similar but cheaper option with the Lenovo Smart Display with Google Assistant, which costs $79.99 for a 7″ screen.
There are plenty of free video chat apps and services you can use to connect with your loved ones without spending any extra money this holiday season, including:
- Jitsi Meet (Open Source)
- Signal Messenger
- Google Hangouts
- Google Meet
- Google Duo
- Facebook Messenger