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Amazon Fire 7 review

Andrew Williams

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Summary

Our Score:

7

Pros

  • Terrific value
  • Enough power to handle any Android game
  • Decent battery life

Cons

  • Feels slow
  • Basic build
  • Low-resolution screen

Key Features

  • 7-inch 1,024 x 600-pixel IPS screen
  • 8GB storage with microSD
  • Android 5.1 with Fire OS 5
  • Manufacturer: Amazon
  • Review Price: £49.99

Amazon's new FIre 7 (2017) is here, and this is what's new

Sitting at the bottom of Amazon’s Fire tablet line is the Fire 7 – and it also happens to be its most appealing model. This is a tablet that costs less than a PS4 game, or a few pints in London, and is definitely in impulse-buy territory.

While the pricier, but still good-value, HD8 has seen minor improvements for a 2017 release, the Fire 7 picks up a handful of features that make it even better value.

While the display remains at 7 inches, Amazon says the new IPS panel benefits from improved clarity and contrast. Even though I wasn’t able to view the devices side by side, the new Fire 7’s display certainly seems rather good for the price.

Related: Best budget tablets

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The body remains plastic, but it’s thinner and lighter than before – and just as durable. If you want a tablet that you’re happy to sling in your bag for watching some downloaded Prime shows on the bus, this will do the job. Like the HD8 (2017), this new version of the Fire 7 is available in red, yellow, white, blue and black.

The tablet is also capable of new software tricks, including support for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. This lets you control your smart home, play songs from Spotify and books from Audible, all with your voice.

Dual-band Wi-Fi support should provide a more stable connection when streaming, and the battery can now last an extra hour over the previous model at eight hours. The rest of the internals remain the same, though, so don’t expect this version of the Fire 7 to be any snappier. The tablet is available in 8GB and 16GB options, and both support up to 128GB microSD cards.

Amazon is also releasing a Kids version of the tablet, which will come with a rugged bumper along with an extended warranty and access to the Prime Kids service. That will be available in a 16GB option for £99.99/$99.99.

The Fire 7 (2017) will go on sale on June 7 for £49.99/$49.99; the 16GB option will cost £59.99/$59.99.

Continue reading for our full review of the previous Fire 7 and stay tuned for an updated review of the new model.

The Amazon Fire is a 7-inch tablet that, even though a year old, remains one of Amazon's latest devices. While I wasn't overly impressed by the Fire HD 10 or Fire HD 8, the Amazon Fire is a different matter.

And that's because even though it doesn't feel that different to the others its price is incredibly low. It costs just £50 – less than some of us spend on a takeway and a bottle of plonk. That's incredible value, although cheap tablets can often be totally rubbish.

If you’re a really into your tech you might think the Amazon Fire tablet is one of those. It’s sluggish; the screen resolution is fairly low, and it feels cheap. On the other hand, it's much better than many of the no-brand tablets we’ve used over the past few years and costs less than a lot of them too.

The Amazon Fire is the sort of tablet that would make a perfect gift for a little one who won't be too perturbed by the lowly specs or a good first tablet for someone who's not the most techy. The Amazon Fire has its flaws, but also does enough to make it worthwhile for anyone who doesn't want to spend more, or who wants to keep their kids' grubby mitts off an expensive iPad.

Amazon Fire 29

Amazon Fire – Design

The Amazon Fire has a bulky, textured plastic body that would feel a bit of a con in any tablet above £100.

It actually feels a lot more like a Kindle e-reader. The entry-level plastic that does its job – which is to keep the insides, well, inside – and nothing more. If you’re after sophistication or elegance, you're not going to find it here.

Amazon Fire 19

That’s not what the Amazon Fire is about. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that it’s poorly made. Amazon claims the Fire is 1.8 times more durable than the iPad Air 2. As a general rule I don't drop tablets down mineshafts for testing purposes – but it does seem to have that simple-but-sturdy vibe.

Clearly it isn't as well made as the other Fire HD tablets, though. Part of the back plastic by the logo "clicks" when pressed, and the screen covering doesn’t appear to be Gorilla Glass, judging by the pressure required to make it flex. However, it's still some form of toughened material.

Amazon Fire 21

As such, the Amazon Fire should fulfil the most obvious purpose of a tablet such as this: It should suit young-ish kids pretty well. Note that if you’re buying for very young children who might fling the thing at a wall at a moment’s notice, however, you might want to consider a Kids Fire tablet. It comes with a chunky case and a 2-year no-quibble guarantee should it break.

You get 8GB internal memory with the Amazon Fire tablet, plus a microSD slot should you want to add more. For storing numerous games and video, this may become necessary. That said, with around 5-6GB memory free from the off, you can install a fistful of high-end games without one.

Amazon Fire – Screen

It's here that we hit the point where those with more money to spend on a tablet will want to bail out. The Amazon Fire's screen is very basic.

A 1,024 x 600-pixel display, it appears blocky even when stretched across only seven inches. It's far more pixellated than your phone – unless you have a very low-cost handset.

Amazon Fire

This is something of which you should take note if you’re planning to use the Amazon Fire as an e-reader. The resolution is far too low to make text appear smooth, even though a book displayed on a Kindle e-reader of a similar resolution might actually look quite good. There’s a reason why Kindle e-readers still exist, after all. Browsing highlights the poor 171ppi density too.

I can’t fully condemn the Amazon Fire here, though, since it still delivers the most important basic factors I expect from a tablet. For example, it uses an IPS display, which results in decent viewing angles and fair colour. In the dark old days of ultra-budget tablets, £50 would buy you a screen that was barely visible from some angles. The Amazon Fire's panel would allow for a few people to gather around to view it without it looking a shadowy mess to anyone.

Amazon Fire 7

Colour fidelity is relatively poor compared with tablets four times the price, though. But with none of the respected brands offering a tablet at £50 – bar Archos – the question becomes: What do you expect for the price?

That said, the pixellation is actually better than on the Amazon Fire HD 10, which costs several times the Fire. Games and video still look fairly good, with the resolution being less than, but ultimately not a million miles away from, 720p. Note that most Xbox 360 and PS3 games are actually rendered at 720p.

As with its Fire HD siblings, the Amazon Fire doesn’t have an auto-brightness setting, which means you'll need to alter the brightness level manually. The screen isn’t nova-bright, but we found that using about 50-60% brightness indoors was around "normal". There’s no need to max it out unless you’re outdoors.

mungojerry

October 27, 2015, 8:50 pm

Unfortunately the hudl2 isn't for sale anymore :(

kirk

December 21, 2015, 2:11 am

RCA 7 inch is a very nice little thing, take a look.

gill

February 12, 2016, 11:04 pm

Can you get welsh language apps for this device?

jojo

December 2, 2016, 7:36 am

Please save your money on this shit , I regret buying this fire,l can't download any apps , it needs your payment details for apps you can get free, it won't allow you to even install chromecast to be able to stream on TV , you have only amazon stuff on it , ads keep popping up everything you see is amazon l don't know why they want my payment details if l am not buying anything from them just want to download an app which is free, ?????you will be better off with expensive ones cheap not good.

Markas Alan

December 8, 2016, 8:57 am

Root the device and install SlimRom Android and you now have a tablet that competes well with $150 competitors. With the Amazon OS and the limitations of the Amazon ecosystem, I agree this tablet is a dog, but slimmed down and with access to Google Playstore it totally rocks for the $

Tony Veilleux

December 8, 2016, 6:08 pm

How is this install done. Not very techy.

Ethan Middle Last

January 6, 2017, 1:05 am

But what is the best app to root it so far every app i tried either failed or had malware?!?

Apis Bull

May 18, 2017, 8:20 am

Horrible screen. I know its cheap but what a horrible screen. Argos sell one around the £80-90 that has a 1920 x 1080, I'd except at least a 1280 x 800 on a fire.

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