If you want to make smoothies but don’t want to spend an inordinate amount of money, then we’ve tested two of our top performers next to each other to find out whether you need to spend more to get a great, grit-free drink.
Over half of us enjoyed a smoothie last year (and that number is set to increase in the near future), so the best blenders are becoming something many are looking to buy, and smoothie makers, also known as portable blenders, are one of the most affordable styles of blender on the market right now, with easy assembly and ready-to-go cups that mean you can blitz ingredients and run out of the door.
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, and data showing blenders were one of the top three most-searched-for appliances over Black Friday weekend last year, we’re helping you make your choice.
We pitted the budget-but-no-frills Nutri Ninja QB3001 against the top-of-the-range Ninja Blender with Auto-IQ BN495 to see if spending nearly double the amount is worth it, so you can pick through the best Black Friday Ninja blender with supreme confidence.
Best Nutri Ninja QB3001 and Nutri Ninja Auto-iQ BL480D deals
Read on to find out just how these personal blenders compare – or, if you know which Ninja appliance you want, check out the best prices right now for both products below:
Let’s set the scene again: the Nutri Ninja QB3001 is the brand’s most affordable personal blender, setting you back $69.99 / £59.99, while the Nutri Ninja Auto-iQ BL480D is the brand’s top-of-range personal smoothie maker and is priced at $89.99 / £99.99 (although is seeing some good early Black Friday deals). Neither model is available in Australia, unfortunately.
As personal blenders go, the Ninja models are slightly more affordable than designs from rival Nutribullet, where that brand’s entry-level smoothie maker is priced at $79.99 / £69.99 / AU$89.95, while the Nutribullet Pro 900 will set you back $109.99 / £99.99 /AU$99.95.
While the Facebook Portal Go and the Facebook Portal both have 10in displays, you can easily differentiate between them due to their slightly different looks.
The Facebook Portal Go has a wedge-shaped design, wrapped in grey mesh fabric with the screen on the front. Measuring 6.84 x 10.1 x 3.1 inches, it’s slightly smaller than the Facebook Portal and is powered by a rechargeable battery, which along with an integrated handle makes it easy to move between rooms.
The Facebook Portal looks more like a picture frame with it’s rectangular design, while the stand located on the back, means it can be positioned in both portrait or landscape orientations. It measures 7.03 x 10.2 x 5.6 inches, making it slightly larger than the Portal Go and it comes in both black and white finishes. It’s also mains-powered.
Both smart displays have the same HD screen with a 1200 x 800 resolution and an adaptive lighting feature that automatically tweaks the brightness so it suits your surroundings. However, when it comes to audio, the two devices differ slightly.
The Facebook Portal Go has two 5W tweeters and one 20-W tweeter, which is not surprising given Facebook also pitches the device as a portable speaker for the home.
Meanwhile, the Facebook Portal has just one 10W speaker, and can’t match the room-filling sound and sense of bass the Facebook Portal Go offers.
However, the original Portal does trump the Facebook Portal Go when it comes to camera quality. It boasts a 13 megapixel camera compared to the 12 megapixel lens on the Portal Go. That said, on test we didn’t feel there was a significant difference in the quality of the picture when video calling using both devices.
The Portal Go has a wider 125 degree field of view compared to the 103 degrees the Portal offers. While more is visible in the picture, we did find the fisheye effect created by this wider lens did detract from the image slightly.
When it comes to basic smart display features, the Facebook Portal Go and the Facebook Portal are evenly matched. Both allow you to make video calls using Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp as well as conferencing apps such as Zoom, WebEx, and GoTo Meeting.
While the megapixels of the camera may differ, both have the ability to automatically pan and zoom to ensure you’re always in the center of the frame during a video call, even if you get up and move about the room.
On test, we found both were extremely smooth when panning and zooming, and we were impressed the camera didn’t pan for small movements, such as if we shifted in our seat.
There’s also a built-in web browser in both smart displays, which as well as finding information on the web, also doubles as a way to watch some video streaming services such as Prime Video and YouTube on the smart display. However, some such as Netflix can’t be viewed at all. We’ve asked Facebook why this is, but they have yet to respond.
Amazon’s Alexa is also built into both smart displays, so you can set timers, control your smart home devices and even find out the latest headlines or sports scores. However, there’s also the option to use “Hey Portal” – Facebook’s own basic voice control. We found this effective at starting video calls, adjusting the brightness, and setting timers, but it lacked deeper control such as the ability to adjust music playback. Those that are concerned about privacy may not be impressed to discover that Facebook records and transcribes whatever it hears after the wake word i used. This information is stored on Facebook’s servers for up to three years before it’s deleted, however.
However, as we’ve already mentioned the Facebook Portal’s ability to be positioned in both portrait and landscape orientation means it’s more effective when it comes to being used as a digital photo frame.
But with more powerful speakers, the Facebook Portal Go offers a better audio experience when listening to music and watching video streaming services
When it comes to choosing between the Facebook Portal Go and the Facbook Portal, how you plan to use the smart display will affect which model you choose.
If you plan on regularly moving the device between rooms, even when on video calls, or want a device that can double as a portable speaker for your home, you should opt for the Facebook Portal Go.
However, those that are less worried about a portable smart display, and instead want a device that can be used as an effective digital photo frame, or are on a budget, the Facebook Portal will be a better choice.