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The 7 Best Video Chat Devices for Connecting with Loved Ones

The 7 Best Video Chat Devices for Connecting with Loved Ones

These easy-to-use video chat devices make it simple to connect with loved ones from afar and make it feel like you're really together this holiday (or at any time!).


The holiday season will undoubtedly be difficult for many families. Due to the pandemic, some won’t be able to see their grandparents, some won’t be able to see their parents, and some may even be spending the holidays alone. We’ve compiled a list of the best video chat devices that make connecting with loved ones from afar a little easier and a little more special than a traditional phone call. Consider buying one of these gifts for the people in your life you won’t be able to spend time with this holiday season to let them know you care about them and wish you could be together.

RELATED: Vote for your favorite holiday character to win $250!

Lovebox Messenger

Urban Outfitters, $100

Send notes to your loved ones via smartphone app with this WiFi enabled wood box. Whenever a new message comes in, the heart on the box begins to spin and your loved one will know you’re thinking of them!

Image: Urban Outfitters

Amazon Echo Show

Amazon.com, $149.99

Also an Alexa device with voice capabilities, this rectangular screen allows you to make video calls to anyone with Skype, the Alexa app, an Echo Spot, or an Echo Show. You can call someone by saying “Alexa, call [name]” and you can even “Drop In” on someone—a feature that allows you to video call a loved one without the need to pick up. Don’t worry, both users have to enable this feature for it to work.

devices for video calling

Image: Amazon

Facebook Portal

Portal.facebook.com, $129-$149

The Facebook Portal also has Alexa built in, but the exciting part is it allows for “smart video” calling. What’s that, you ask? The Smart Camera pans and zooms automatically to keep up with where you are, so it's like you’re really in the same room! It also comes in a variety of sizes. For example, the Portal TV allows you to do smart video calling on your TV and the Portal+ allows for smart video calling on a 15.6” HD display.

video chat devices

Image: Facebook Portal

RELATED: Online and In-Person Thanksgiving Activities and Events for Kids

Skylight Frame

Skylightframe.com, $159



You’ve seen a digital photo frame before, but this one allows you to add photos automatically via email. So, you can surprise your family with pictures of you from an event they weren’t able to attend on their digital photo frame in a matter of seconds.


Image: Skylight Frame

GrandPad

Grandpad.net, plan including tablet, apps, multi-party calling, data, music, damage and theft insurance, customer support, case, and stylus is $49/year or $66/month

GrandPad is a smart and simple way for seniors to connect with loved ones. All you need is the GrandPad app, portal, or device and you can connect to GrandPad’s private family network via iPhone, Android, iPad, or desktop. Family members can adjust settings and upload photos for the GrandPad user.


video chat for seniors

Image: GrandPad

ViewClix

Viewclix.com, $199-$299

ViewClix is a digital photo frame with video chat capabilities that makes it easy to connect with seniors. There is no Amazon, Facebook, or Google account needed for seniors and they won’t need to learn new technology.

 

video chat for seniors

Image: ViewClix

Google Nest Hub + Duo

Best Buy, $229

The Google Nest Hub, which also comes in multiple screen sizes, allows you to make video calls and leave video messages. The camera keeps you in view as you move around the room, too. Photos can be displayed on the screen, similarly to a digital picture frame, via Google Photos.

video chat devices

Image: Google Nest Hub

For a similar but cheaper option, consider the Lenovo Smart Display with Google Assistant, which is $79.99 for a 7” screen.

If spending the extra money this holiday season is out of the question for your family, don't worry! There are plenty of free video chat apps and services you can use to connect with your loved ones easily, including:
  • Jitsi Meet (Open Source)
  • Signal Messenger
  • Skype
  • Google Hangouts
  • Google Meet
  • Google Duo
  • Discord
  • Zoom
  • FaceTime
  • Facebook Messenger
  • WhatsApp

 

 

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Melissa Wickes

Author: Melissa Wickes is a graduate of Binghamton University and the NYU Summer Publishing Institute. She's written hundreds of articles to help New York parents make better decisions for their families. When she's not writing, you can find her eating pasta, playing guitar, or watching reality TV. See More

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