Starting at 49,99 US Dollars, the Amazon Fire 7 2019 is one of the cheapest tablets you can buy. While we don’t get high-end hardware, the tablet offers basic features like a 7-inch IPS screen, at least 16GB of internal storage, two cameras, and Amazon’s own Fire OS which is based on Android. Well, can it be worth it to spend just 50 Dollars on a tablet? That’s what you’ll find out in this Amazon Fire 7 review.
Design & Build Quality
Let’s start this review with the design. As you might expect from a super-cheap tablet, the Amazon Fire 7 has a full plastic body. Even though it is not premium feeling at all, its build quality does seem to be solid. Nothing bends or creeks when you try to bend it. And according to Amazon, it is twice as robust as the iPad Mini (review) is. That might be true because, again, it does feel very solid.
With that being said, you will see scratches easily. Mine got a couple of scratches on the back already even though I’ve been very careful. That’s the case for the whole Fire lineup. My Fire HD 10 (review) shows tons of scratches too.
You can get the Fire 7 in black, plum, sage, and twilight blue. In some countries, you can get the black version only. The tablet is quite thick with 9.6mm and weighs 286g. On the top, we get volume controls, a power button, and a standard headphone jack. That’s where you’ll find a micro USB port to charge it too. Yes, no USB C here. On the right side, you can insert a microSD card.
Speakers & Cameras
The tablet has one single speaker that sits on one of its longer sides. And yes, the quality is not good at all especially when you compare it to an iPad or even the Samsung Galaxy Tab A series. However, some China tablets have worse speakers. Considering how cheap the Fire 7 is, it’s not too bad. It’s usable but you shouldn’t expect a great sound experience.
Unlike its predecessor, the new Fire 7 has a 2-megapixel camera on the back and on the front. Until now, the 7-inch Fire had a VGA webcam only. Both support 720p videos which, again, is not good at all. But if you’re looking for a very cheap tablet for video chats, the front-facing camera is usable for that.
I’ve brought the tablet to a trip to Athens and, well, let’s just say I won’t be printing the photos I took with it. But apps like Skype do work which means the Fire 7 is probably the cheapest device for video chats you can get.
The Amazon Fire 7 has a 7-inch screen with an aspect ratio of 16:10. Let’s start with something positive first: It is an IPS display. That means the viewing angles are wide and you will be able to see something when looking from the sides. This makes it much better than the similar priced Lenovo Tab E7 which does not have an IPS panel.
But like with many aspects, I can describe the rest of the screen as usable and okay for its price only. It has a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. That is very low and even if you’ve got a budget smartphone with an HD screen, that one will look much sharper. You will be able to see single pixels and if you’re used to much sharper screens, texts and icons can look a bit blurry.
The screen is not laminated which means there’s a small air gap between the touchscreen and the IPS layer below. That’s to be expected in this price range and even the standard iPad has the same issue. It mostly means that you’ll see reflections easier. And you certainly will see yourself if you’re in a bright environment. It’s very hard to read the screen in direct sunlight and it’s not perfect even when you’re outside on a cloudy day or sitting in a very bright room with lots of daylight. It’s usable, but the screen could be a bit brighter at times.
You should also note that the Fire 7 does not seem to have any coatings to prevent fingerprints and other dirt to stick on the screen. You will see fingerprints fast.
So, the screen is not great at all. But again, it is usable and better than other screens in this price range.
Hardware & Performance
The Amazon Fire 7 2019 ships with entry-level hardware. It features a quad-core processor that consists of four 1.3GHz Cortex-A53 cores and a Mali-T720 GPU. We also get 1GB of RAM and a 16GB or 32GB internal storage. If you get the 16GB version, you can use 9.53GB out of the box.
Now, if you look at benchmarks like Geekbench, the performance looks pretty bad. And it certainly is one of the slowest tablets you can buy. However, in real life, it actually is not the slowest tablet I’ve ever used. In fact, basic tasks run surprisingly well on the Fire 7.
When you get a super-cheap tablet, it should still work fine when surfing the web, watching YouTube, Netflix, and play simple games. And all of that works. You can surf the web using Amazon’s Silk browser or Google Chrome and you’ll be able to surf relatively well with it. Sure, if you open tons of taps, you will see stuttering. But it’s fine for basic web surfing like reading some news.
Other apps like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Video, and Gmail run fine too.
That does not mean that the performance is amazing, not at all. Sometimes you might have to wait for a second if you close an app. And it’s not great for multitasking either. If you switch between Chrome, Gmail, and YouTube, chances are at least one of those apps has to be reloaded. The Fire 7 has just 1GB of RAM and that is too little for decent multitasking. It’s fine for doing one thing at a time, but if you’re chatting with a friend while surfing the web and you’re constantly switching apps, the tablet will get slow and you will get frustrated.
Amazon Fire 7 Gaming Test
I did try several games on the Amazon Fire 7 2019 and the results are mixed. The performance is certainly good enough for very simple games like Dr. Mario World and the platformer YeahBunny. It’s a perfect tablet for simple games. And a little bit more demanding ones like Trials Frontier do run well too.
But this is most certainly not a perfect gaming tablet. I played Asphalt 8 on here and it actually does run. However, the top of the tablet can get pretty hot and, in this case, you will notice that the tablet slows down and frames get dropped. And no, Fortnite is not supported either.
Software: Fire OS
The Amazon Fire 7 is running Fire OS in version 220.127.116.11. While that is based on Android 7 Nougat, it does not have any significant meaning anymore. In fact, Amazon is pushing regular updates to all their Fire tablets. They just don’t have anything to do with what Google is doing. And it does not look like Google’s Android anyways.
Fire OS is heavily customized. You’ve got direct and fast access to all of Amazons services. That can be great if you’re a Prime member. You can easily read your Kindle ebooks, watch Prime Video, listen to Amazon Music and Audible audiobooks or use Amazon Photo.
All of Google’s apps are missing. Instead, you can browse the web using Amazon’s Silk Browser. They’ve got their own Email app, their own Maps, and their own Amazon App Store. There are some popular apps in that App Store like Netflix, OneDrive, Spotify and many games like Asphalt 8. However, it’s much smaller than the Google Play Store.
I like Google’s apps. I like to use Gmail, Chrome, and especially YouTube. Well, there’s a solution for that. It’s pretty easy to install the Play Store yourself. You might be voiding your warranty though. Still, for me, it’s worth it, especially for YouTube. Fire OS is still based on Android. And that means you can install most Android apps. Either by installing the APK directly or by installing the Google Play Store.
One highlight of the Fire 7 is Alexa. That’s the voice assistant from Amazon that you might know from their Echo devices. Well, the tablet supports Alexa Hands-Free which basically means you can use Alexa just like you would with an Echo speaker. You can even use it while the tablet is in standby when the screen is turned off.
When you use Alexa, the screen is used to display further information as you would see on an Echo Show. For instance, you can see more information about the weather or recipes.
In my standard battery test, the Amazon Fire 7 got a runtime of 9 hours. For this, I’m always looping an HD video locally at medium brightness and turned on WiFi. While that seems to be pretty good, you should note that the screen is not the brightest. Most of the time you’ll watch something with maximum brightness.
And I did test it when watching YouTube and Netflix with maximum brightness. In this case, the Fire 7 lasted 5 hours. Again, that’s not amazing, but decent for a 50 Dollar tablet. It could keep your kids entertained on a road trip or a short to medium distance flight.
Amazon Fire 7 Review: Final Verdict
This is the end of my Amazon Fire 7 review. I’ve mentioned several times that I think an aspect of the tablet is not amazing but usable. And that’s my final verdict too. Especially when you consider how cheap this tablet is, it is surprisingly usable for 50 dollars.
We’re getting a plastic body, but it’s well built. The screen has a low resolution and could be brighter, but at least it’s an IPS panel and good enough. I would prefer Google’s Android, but Amazon’s Android runs fine, and you can install the Google Play Store yourself. The performance is too slow for lots of multitasking, but fine if you do basic things. And you certainly can watch some Amazon Video, Netflix, or YouTube. Simple games run fine as well.
If you want a super-cheap tablet, you can’t do much wrong with the Amazon Fire 7. Just don’t expect a high-end tablet. It’s usable, but that’s it.
Let’s check out some alternatives.
A direct competitor is the Lenovo Tab E7 (review). Depending on where you’re from, prices might be very similar. I like that we’re getting Google’s Android here. However, the screen is not laminated and in real life, the performance feels slower. The Fire 7 is a bit snappier in my experience.
You should definitely check out the Amazon Fire HD 8 (review) too. While that one is a bit bigger with 8-inches and a bit pricier too, it offers a nicer screen, a better performance, and a longer battery life. It’s pricier but an excellent value.
- 7-inch IPS screen
- Robust plastic body
- Software good for Prime members
- Alexa hands-free
- Very cheap
- Low display resolution
- Performance okay for simple tasks only
- No Google Play Store
- Bad cameras
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