Product: Amazon’s New Fire 7 Tablet
Where to Buy: Amazon.com
Weight: 0.65 pounds
Warranty: Comes with a 90 day limited warranty
The New Amazon Fire 7 Tablet
The new edition 2017 Fire 7 Tablet is affordable with a more sturdy design than its predecessors. At 7.6 x 4.5 x 0.4 inches and weighing 0.65 pounds, the Fire 7 fits in one hand. The power button and volume control are conveniently placed on the top edge, along with a headphone jack, mic and a USB charging port. The tablet allows eBooks/eMagazines, movies and TV shows download. The Fire 7 also comes with two cameras (one front centered and the other rear mounted), a single speaker on the back right corner, and swivel-out microSD card slot on the right edge. The tablet comes in four colors: Black, Marine Blue, Punch Red and Canary Yellow. Alexa is an added feature to that is fast to setup and activate. However, the Fire 7 does have a lower performance, screen resolution, and a shorter battery life than more expensive tablets, such as Amazon’s Fire HD 8 Tablet.
Across the Board Performance
The Fire 7 has a 1.3-GHz quad-core processor, but only 1GB of RAM. For those use to 4, 6 or more GBs of computer RAM, you will notice good response scrolling through screens and already opened applications (Apps), but slower operation when opening or switching between some apps. Although advertised with 8GB ($49.99) or 16GB ($69.99) of storage, usable storage is really 4.5GB and 11.6GB for these two Fire 7’s versions. However, the tablet comes with a microSD card slot that provides increased storage up to 256GB. Therefore, if you download eBooks/eMagazines, movies and TV shows, the 16GB storage size with an external memory card is recommended. In the settings app a storage section allows external storage drive management and archives content to the cloud if needed. The Fire 7’s screen brightness is acceptable if kept on full bright, but it is not as colorful as the Fire HD 8. In addition, although the Fire 7 tablet has two cameras, a front camera with VGA resolution and a 2-MP rear camera, the colors are not as bright as the Fire HD 8 ($79.99). The camera software does produce HD pictures, changes photo ratio and allows panoramas.
The Fire 7 tablet runs on Amazon’s Fire 5.4.0 operating system (OS) with a vertically scrollable home screen Apps page. Product categories that connect directly to Amazon’s Prime services such as Kindle eBooks, videos, games and music are placed on the right of the home screen. On the left screen are listed recently opened apps. From here merely scroll down to notifications, a pending alerts counter and basic settings. The OS is missing advanced features such as split-screen multi-tasking and swipe typing on the keyboard. However, if you plan only to read eBooks/eMagazines, watch videos, or play a single game you may not miss these capabilities. The Fire 7 also features the Advanced Streaming and Prediction service that anticipates movies and TV shows you like, and an On Deck service that loads popular content onto your device in the sleep mode. Amazon maintains that the Fire 7 battery life is eight hours, but seven hours is more realistic. In contrast, the Amazon Fire HD 8 is better at 12 hours.
All Fire 7s are loaded with Amazon’s Silk browser, email, calendar, contacts organizer and map service. From Amazon’s App Store Netflix, Facebook, Spotify, HBO, Kindle reading apps, popular games and educational resources are also available. The Alexa App is introduced to pass weather forecast, movie times and open up Apps on voice command. However, the voice prompt feature, “Hey, Alexa” isn’t present, requiring unlocking the Fire 7 before commands are given. It may even take a little practice to learn the exact commands to get Alexa to respond correctly. Other free and paid Apps are also available. For YouTube users, however, no official Amazon YouTube App exist, so watching YouTube may be problematic. On last note about Apps, if you want the Fire 7 without the adds App enabled, it will cost $15 to disenable them, otherwise adds will always pop-up on your unlock screen.
The Kid’s Edition
Amazon has gone out of its way to produce the Fire 7 Kids Editions at $79.99. The Kids Edition offers the same specifications as outlined above in the standard Fire 7 Tablet plus some extras. The Kids Edition comes with a child-proof tough outer case and two-year damage protection warranty for total replacement. Furthermore, it includes and a free year of Amazon’s Free Play Unlimited service that includes numerous free kid-friendly books, Apps and games. The Fire HD 8 Tablet version at $99.99 is available, too. The free programs offered by Amazon alone are well worth the extra price for these two tablets. However, if the extra cost is a concern, then parents can still get great parental controls with the standard Fire 7 that allows creating a number of kid profiles. For instance, parents can set daily reading time goals, homework time, block access by age group, and limit a kid(s) screen time.
In summation, if you are looking for a cost effective, sturdy built and easy to use tablet at just under $50, I recommend the Fire 7. I do not recommend choosing an off brand tablet over the Fire 7’s advantage of quick access to Amazon services such as watching movies, games, and reading books or magazines. However, as mentioned above there is a drawback to Fire 7’s processor performance that affects screen and audio quality. Also, the battery life is not as long as the more expensive tablets. On the other hand at $79.99, just $30 more, the Amazon Fire HD 8 base model with 16GB storage offers a larger and higher-resolution screen, longer battery life, and better speaker.