Review: Amazon Fire 7 (2017)

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Review: Amazon Fire 7 (2017)

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The Amazon Fire 7 is a tablet you can buy for $50. Think on that for a minute—for one Ulysses S. Grant, you can get a whiff of what it’s like to own a tablet. Unfortunately, once you dig in, you’ll find the Fire 7 is more of a toy than the real deal.

Like its siblings, the 8-inch Fire HD 8 and 10-inch Fire HD 10, the Fire 7 is an almost suspiciously affordable device meant to give you a window into all of Amazon’s digital services. From books to movies to games, this serves it all up on a bigger screen than your smartphone.

Amazon has so much content to sell and share that it redesigned Google’s Android operating system to do it, adding a page on the Fire 7’s home screen for every type of media it offers. If you join Amazon’s $100-per-year Prime service, your Fire will come stuffed with plenty of perks to enjoy, including gritty original TV shows like The Man in the High Castle.

But, stuffed is exactly how the Fire 7 will feel, almost immediately. There is simply too much Amazon goodness to fit on a device this limited. At 7 inches and 1024 x 600 pixels, the screen is as small and low-res as the first Kindle Fire in 2011—barely bigger than a Plus-sized iPhone, which is too tiny to really immerse you in media.

The tablet’s petit frame likely pushed Amazon to shed stereo speakers in favor of a mono rear-facing speaker, which sounds tinny as all get-out. It instantly reminded me of the General Electric FM clock radio I had when I was a kid, and not in a good way. The speaker is also never loud enough, and far too easily blocked no matter how you hold the Fire 7.

Amazon Fire 7 (2017)

5/10

Wired

At $50, it’s more affordable than any other major tablet. The design is functional. You can access all of Amazon’s digital services and media with ease. Alexa is standard equipment.

Tired

The screen is too small and its tinny mono sound is retro in the wrong way. The 8GB starting storage is paltry, so you’ll want to upgrade. The processing power, camera, and battery life disappoint.