Amazon Fire (2015)

New Budget Tablet From Amazon Sets New Budget Tablet Benchmark

Amazon Fire (2015) 7-inch Budget Tablet
Amazon
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The Bottom Line

Amazon's latest Fire Tablet sets a new level of affordability for tablets that it pretty much unheard of. Sure, the $50 price comes with compromises to the display, performance and features but it still offers a decent overall package that makes having a tablet pretty much for anyone.

Pros

  • Very Affordable
  • MicroSD Card for Storage Expansion
  • Decent Construction

Cons

  • Low Resolution Display
  • Poor Audio Quality
  • Heavier and Larger Than Similar Screen Size Tablets

Description

  • 1.3Ghz MediaTek MT8127 (Cortex-A7) Quad Core Mobile Processor
  • 1GB Memory
  • 8GB Storage
  • 7" WSVGA (1024x600) Multitouch Display
  • VGA Front and 2.0 Megapixel Rear Cameras
  • ARM Mail Graphics
  • 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
  • MicroUSB 2.0, MicroSD Card Slot, 3.5mm Audio
  • 7.5" x 4.5" x .4" @ 0.69 lbs.
  • Fire OS 5

Review - Amazon Fire Tablet (2015)

Oct 28 2015 - Amazon has been no stranger to low cost tablets with the Fire HD 6 released last year for a very low $100. It become the model for a low cost tablet. The new Fire Tablet looks to make it even more affordable by charging just half the price. It is larger and heavier than most other 7-inch tablets coming in at .4-inches thick and weighing 11-ounces but this is not a big issue for most people willing to spend so little. It does use a glass coating for the display and features a black plastic body on the rear that is slightly textured and offers a nice feel especially considering the price.

Powering the Fire Tablet is a lower 1.3GHz MediaTek processor similar to those found in previous Fire HD tablets. This is a quad core processor but it certainly does not offer the same level of performance as many higher priced tablets. All four cores use the same Cortex-A7 unlike the more expensive Fire HD 6 that uses a quad core which splits them between two Cortex-A15 and two A7 cores for variable processing.

The interface for the most part works smoothly but it tends to manifest itself when you are loading and switching between applications. It does not feel excessively slow but it certainly is not that near instantaneous feel either. A good example is the autorotation of the display when you change the orientation of the tablet.

Storage space on the Fire Tablet is of course heavily limited with just 8GB available and only roughly 5 being usable. Amazon of course would like buyers to use all of the Amazon supported cloud and streaming services associated with Amazon Prime so you would not need to store internal applications. Thankfully the company decided to include a microSD card slot so consumers can add up to 128GB of storage to the device through the common flash media cards. This is something that it absent on their Fire HD 6.

The big compromise for the Fire Tablet is the display. It does not receive the HD classification as other Fire tablets because it only reaches a 1024x600 native resolution. This puts it lower than most of the other tablets and even 720p high definition video. It does make a difference as the text is not as sharp and video not as defined. Pixels are very visible but then again most people probably will not care much.

Color also suffers against other tablets but the IPS display does offer some nice blacks and whites which may be useful for readers. Brightness is decent but the screen suffers a large amount of glare which is an issue for those that might use it outdoors a lot.

For those intending to use this to listen to audio or watch video, you probably want to invest it a decent pair of headphones. The mono speaker on the tablet lacks much volume and definition. You certainly will not want to listen to music on this and audio in movies will lack definition making it hard to distinguish subtle audio queues.

One area that many people would expect Amazon to compromise would be removing the cameras on the Fire Tablet similar to what the company's early tablets had. Thankfully they did not but the camera performance will leave much to be desired. For instance, it only features a VGA camera on the front which is acceptable for video chat and little else. The two megapixel rear camera can be used for stills and video but don't expect much either in terms of clarity or color of the images or video you get from it. Fun to play with but certainly not going to replace a real camera or smartphone.

Amazon packs in a 2980 mAh battery pack into the body of the Fire Tablet. They claim that this should provide up to seven hours of battery life in mixed use. In my digital video playback tests, the tablet was able to run just under nine hours before requiring it be plugged into charge. This is quite good considering the small size and low cost. It certainly is not going to match the upwards of twelve hours of Apple iPad Mini 4.

Of course the big draw is the $50 price tag of the Fire Tablet which can't compare to pretty much another other tablet. You can find a few for around $100 including the Amazon Fire HD 6 which is actually smaller, faster and has a better display. There is also the fact that there are ads to help support the low cost. You can pay the extra $20 fee to display this but the price is still less than most of the others on the market.