Amazon Fireplace 7 evaluation: a finances pill for the fundamentals

After three years, Amazon’s lastly up to date its most inexpensive pill: the Fireplace 7. Beginning at $59.99 ($74.99 with out lockscreen advertisements), the brand new mannequin prices barely greater than its predecessor however comes with elevated RAM in addition to battery life that matches the bigger and significantly costlier Fireplace HD 10’s. It additionally will get USB-C, as much as 32GB of built-in storage, and a extra highly effective processor. 

However do these further options make it purchase? After spending a month testing the ad-free model of the Fireplace 7, I’d say sure. So long as you’re solely searching for an affordable leisure pill, this can be a first rate gadget, particularly if you happen to’re already embedded within the Amazon ecosystem. Certain, you’re going to should be comfy with some fairly large tradeoffs — like a significantly low-resolution, pixelated display screen — however at this value, no person’s anticipating perfection. 

Like all Fireplace tablets, the Fireplace 7 has a plastic physique. Its edges are extra curved than the 2019 mannequin’s, which makes it simpler to carry with one hand. It’s additionally half an oz. lighter than the 2019 mannequin — 9.9 ounces as a substitute of 10.4 — and is 7.11 inches tall, whereas the 2019 mannequin was 7.55 inches. Barely narrower bezels and a barely wider display screen make it simpler to learn and watch exhibits.

Sadly, the brand new Fireplace 7 nonetheless has a pixelated, grainy seven-inch show and solely presents a paltry 1024 x 600-pixel decision (171 ppi). It’s the factor I disliked probably the most in regards to the Fireplace 7. I don’t count on a $59.99 pill to have a high-resolution show just like the one on an iPad or perhaps a $149.99 Amazon Fireplace 10. However most individuals will purchase this pill for leisure, like watching motion pictures, studying, and (slowly) looking social media, and the show is a core characteristic Amazon ought to have elevated over, say, storage capability — particularly as a result of the Fireplace 7 comes with a microSD card slot. The show’s additionally not fingerprint-resistant, and it smudges simply. It’s each shiny and dim, which makes it difficult to make use of outside when it’s sunny.

A hand holding up the Amazon Fire 7 screen when it’s turned on.

All that stated, I nonetheless managed to take pleasure in studying ebooks and watching exhibits on the Fireplace 7. As soon as absorbed in what I used to be studying or watching, I rapidly forgot in regards to the grainy display screen, particularly at evening. That’s as a result of the Fireplace 7 runs on the brand new Fireplace OS 8, a modified model of Android 11. With that new OS comes a couple of useful person interface adjustments, like darkish mode and a setting that minimizes blue gentle. You may even customise the menu a bit.

I notably preferred utilizing the pill to learn. The show is barely sharper than the e-ink display screen on the bottom Kindle, which presents a really low 167ppi decision. That could possibly be a perk if you happen to use tablets as secondary e-readers, particularly because the Fireplace 7 is $30 cheaper than the Kindle.

Whereas the unhealthy speaker gave off a tinny sound that’s neither full nor clear, I rapidly forgot about them, too, due to the three.5mm audio jack. That is one thing newer tablets usually lack and, mixed with Bluetooth assist, means you’ll be able to join it to a variety of headphones and audio system. That improves sound high quality significantly, whether or not you’re listening to audiobooks by way of Audible, tuning out to music, or streaming a present.

A USB-C port and a headphone jack on the side of the Amazon Fire 7 tablet.

I used to be pleasantly stunned by the improved battery life. Amazon claims it takes about 4 hours to totally cost the slate with the included five-watt charging brick and USB-C charging cable, which I discovered correct. The corporate additionally claims as much as 10 hours of battery life, which matches my expertise. That places it on par with the costlier Amazon Fireplace HD 10. It was practically per week earlier than I wanted to recharge the pill, whereas its predecessor solely lasted us about two days. For example simply how significantly better the battery is, watching a 25-minute documentary lowered the battery by about 5 % (at 70 % brightness, I would add). As compared, my colleague Cameron Faulkner discovered watching a 23-minute episode dropped the battery on the final mannequin by 20 %.

Storage choices are additionally higher this time round. Whereas it nonetheless solely comes with 16GB or 32GB of built-in storage, the brand new mannequin can assist microSD playing cards as much as 1TB. Its predecessor maxed out at 512GB. 

A microSD slot on the side of the Amazon Fire 7.

You may’t count on a $59.99 pill to be as quick as an iPad, and it definitely just isn’t. Nonetheless, whereas the Fireplace 7 is gradual, no less than it’s slightly sooner than its predecessor. That’s as a result of it comes outfitted with a virtually twice as highly effective quad-core 2.0 GHz processor in addition to 2GB of RAM as a substitute of the 1GB discovered within the 2019 mannequin. That’s the identical processor and reminiscence because the $89.99 Fireplace HD 8’s. That also doesn’t make it nice for gaming, however it is possible for you to to open a number of internet pages on the similar time with out, say, the pill slowing down significantly — which is what would occur typically utilizing the 2019 mannequin. I additionally seen some enhancements in video playback, too, which made rewatching Stranger Issues for the hundredth time fulfilling. Typing, opening up apps, and looking the net are nonetheless comparatively gradual for any individual like me used to the pace of iPads, nevertheless it simply means you’ll should be affected person for a couple of further seconds — not an enormous deal. 

Nevertheless, that was till I added my Gmail account to the built-in e-mail app. After that, software program navigation and app startup slowed down considerably and by no means returned to their sooner efficiency, particularly after I’d downloaded about seven apps — together with Netflix. At the least video playback remained good.

Video name high quality, although, is one other story. Even earlier than I related my Gmail account to the e-mail app, video name high quality was poor — calls lagged and typically even froze, so I usually needed to flip off my video. Plus, it didn’t assist that Fireplace HD 7’s cameras are nonetheless unhealthy. Amazon didn’t replace the 2MP front-and rear-facing cameras, so photographs, selfies, and video chats by way of Zoom look grainy, colour saturation is low, and I may barely see myself in indoor low-light settings.

The back of the Amazon Fire 7 sports Amazon’s logo.

If you happen to’re deeply embedded within the Amazon ecosystem and, say, are a Prime member or personal Alexa good audio system, the Fireplace 7 (like different Amazon tablets) provide quite a lot of worth on your cash. It could possibly run Alexa — I used to be in a position to make use of it to show my good lights on and off utilizing simply my voice with no drawback. I, like many, additionally pay $139 per yr for an Amazon Prime membership, which grants me free entry to TV exhibits like The Boys, motion pictures, books for my Kindle by means of Prime Reads, and Amazon’s ad-free Prime Music service. The collection of free books and music choice is admittedly fairly restricted, however I used to be nonetheless capable of finding some stuff I preferred. 

The Fireplace 7 can also be an honest gadget if you wish to maintain your children occupied on a protracted automobile experience or an airplane journey. It’s cheap and, if you create a child’s profile, comes with parental management choices. You may filter what your youngster can see and set deadlines by way of Amazon’s Father or mother Dashboard, which you’ll be able to entry by way of the pill, your smartphone, or PC. 

Amazon additionally sells a $109.99 Fireplace 7 Children Version pill, which comes with a sturdy case that includes a built-in stand, a two-year harm safety plan, and a yr of Amazon Children Plus — a kind of a child model of Amazon Prime with a curated collection of books, video games, and movies. Children Plus is $4.99 a month for Prime members, so if you happen to’re contemplating the Fireplace 7 for a younger youngster who may break it or you’re within the Children Plus service, the Children Version — though I haven’t examined it — would be the higher choice.

Whereas the Fireplace 7 is nice for consuming Amazon content material, I used to be upset in Amazon’s app retailer choices. The choice nonetheless leaves quite a bit to be desired — you’ll be able to obtain a number of in style apps and video games like Netflix, Hulu, Instagram, Spotify, and Amazon’s Luna subscription gaming service. Nevertheless, you continue to can’t obtain Google apps like YouTube, Google Drive, or the Play Retailer. You may sideload Google apps, true, however that’s a comparatively difficult course of with safety implications. Plus, when you can obtain Microsoft Workplace functions, many in style work and productiveness apps like Slack, Airtable, and Asana are nowhere to be discovered — and really utilizing, say, Microsoft Phrase to kind out a doc is frustratingly gradual. Don’t purchase this anticipating something however an leisure machine. 

A mono speaker on the side of the Fire 7.

If you happen to’re searching for a small, low cost pill for studying, watching movies, or listening to audiobooks, the Fireplace 7 is first rate — and at this value, first rate is appropriate. I’d notably advocate it as an alternative choice to the $89.99 Kindle. The Fireplace 7 presents a higher-density 171ppi show, extra storage choices, and entry to the identical Kindle ecosystem — and it performs movies. Plus, based mostly on my experiences with its predecessor, it ought to final you a comparatively very long time. Whereas my outdated Fireplace 7 is frustratingly gradual, it hasn’t truly gotten worse over time. I count on this model will likely be technically usable for no less than three years, too. 

Alternatively, if you happen to’re, say, a film buff in the marketplace for a cheap pill, think about shopping for Amazon’s $89.99 Fireplace 8 or $149.99 Fireplace 10. They boast greater and better decision screens, twin, not mono, audio system that sound higher, and bigger built-in storage choices. And if you happen to want a pill primarily for work or demanding duties like cellular gaming or artistic work like graphic design, you need to think about costlier choices — this low cost pill, like the remainder of the Fireplace lineup, merely lacks the processor energy and apps.

Pictures by Sheena Vasani

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