After three years, Amazon lastly up to date its most inexpensive pill: the Fireplace 7. Beginning at $59.99 ($74.99 with out lockscreen adverts), the brand new mannequin prices a bit greater than its predecessor, however with elevated RAM. In addition to battery life that matches the bigger and considerably dearer Fireplace HD 10. 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 an excellent purchase? After spending a month testing the ad-free model of the Fireplace 7, I would say sure. Except you are simply on the lookout for an inexpensive leisure pill, it is a nice machine, particularly in case you’re already embedded within the Amazon ecosystem. Positive, you will need to be comfy with some fairly massive tradeoffs—like a significantly low-resolution, pixelated display screen—however at this worth, do not anticipate perfection from anybody.
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Like all Fireplace tablets, the Fireplace 7 has a plastic physique. Its sides are extra curved than these of the 2019 mannequin, making it simpler to carry with one hand. It is half an oz. lighter than the 2019 mannequin — 9.9 ounces as an alternative of 10.4 — and is 7.11 inches taller, whereas the 2019 mannequin was 7.55 inches. The marginally narrower bezels and barely wider display screen make the present simpler to learn and watch.
Sadly, the brand new Fireplace 7 nonetheless has a pixelated, grainy seven-inch show and solely affords a 1024 x 600-pixel decision (171 ppi). That is the factor that I disliked essentially the most in regards to the Fireplace 7. I do not anticipate a $59.99 pill to have a high-resolution show just like the iPad and even the $149.99 Amazon Fireplace 10. However most individuals will purchase this pill for leisure. As with watching motion pictures, studying, and (slowly) shopping social media, and the show is a core characteristic, Amazon ought to have elevated greater than the storage capability — particularly as a result of the Fireplace 7 comes with a microSD card slot. The show can also be not fingerprint-resistant, and it blurs simply. It is each vivid and dim, making it difficult to make use of outdoors within the solar.
All that stated, I nonetheless managed to take pleasure in studying eBooks and watching reveals on the Fireplace 7. As soon as what I used to be studying or watching, I rapidly forgot in regards to the grainy display screen, particularly at evening. That is as a result of the Fireplace 7 runs on the brand new Fireplace OS 8, which is a modified model of Android 11. With that new OS comes some helpful person interface adjustments, like darkish mode and a setting that reduces blue mild. You too can customise the menu a bit.
I particularly preferred utilizing the pill for studying. The show is barely sharper than the e-ink display screen on the bottom Kindle, which affords a a lot decrease 167ppi decision. If you happen to use the pill as a secondary e-reader, that may be a perk, particularly because the Fireplace 7 is $30 cheaper than the Kindle.
Whereas the unhealthy speaker delivered a crackling sound that is neither full nor clear, I rapidly forgot about them, due to the three.5mm audio jack. That is one thing that newer tablets typically lack and, together with Bluetooth assist, means you possibly can pair it with a variety of headphones and audio system. This drastically improves sound high quality, whether or not you are listening to audiobooks, tuning in to music, or streaming a present via Audible.
I used to be pleasantly shocked by the improved battery life. Amazon claims it takes about 4 hours to completely cost the Slate with the included five-watt charging brick and USB-C charging cable, which I discovered to be correct. The corporate additionally claims as much as 10 hours of battery life, which matches my expertise. This places it on a par with the dearer Amazon Fireplace HD 10. It was a couple of week earlier than I wanted to recharge the pill, whereas its predecessor solely lasted two days. To sum up how a lot better the battery is, watching a 25-minute documentary noticed the battery drop by about 5 p.c (at 70 p.c brightness, I’d add). Compared, my colleague Cameron Faulkner noticed the earlier mannequin’s battery drop by 20 p.c when watching a 23-minute episode.
Storage choices are additionally higher this time. Whereas it nonetheless solely comes with 16GB or 32GB of built-in storage, the brand new mannequin can assist microSD playing cards of as much as 1TB. Its predecessor maxed out at 512GB.
You’ll be able to’t anticipate a $59.99 pill to be as quick because the iPad, and it actually is not. Nonetheless, whereas the Fireplace 7 is gradual, a minimum of it is a bit quicker than its predecessor. It’s because it’s outfitted with a virtually twice as highly effective quad-core 2.0 GHz processor in addition to 2GB of RAM, as an alternative of the 1GB discovered within the 2019 mannequin. It is the identical processor and reminiscence because the $89.99 Fireplace HD 8. That also would not make it nice for gaming, however you’ll open a number of net pages on the similar time with out, say, the pill being fairly gradual – which is usually the case utilizing the 2019 mannequin. I additionally observed some enhancements in video playback, making it attainable to look at once more unusual issues Blissful hundredth time. Typing, opening apps, and shopping the online are nonetheless comparatively gradual for somebody like me who’s used to the velocity of the iPad, but it surely means you will need to be affected person for a number of further seconds—no massive deal. .
Nevertheless, it was not till I added my Gmail account to the built-in e mail app. After that, software program navigation and app startup slowed down significantly and by no means returned to their quick efficiency, particularly after I downloaded about seven apps, together with Netflix. At the least the video playback was good.
Video name high quality, nevertheless, is one other story. Earlier than I linked my Gmail account to the e-mail app, video name high quality was poor – calls would lag and typically freeze, so I typically needed to flip off my video. Additionally, it did not assist that the Fireplace HD 7’s cameras had been nonetheless unhealthy. Amazon did not replace the 2MP front- and rear-facing cameras, so images, selfies, and video chats look grainy via the Zoom, coloration saturation is low, and I might barely see myself in indoor low-light settings .
If you happen to’re deeply embedded within the Amazon ecosystem and have, say, a Prime member or have an Alexa good speaker, the Fireplace 7 (like different Amazon tablets) affords numerous worth in your cash. It will possibly run Alexa – I used to be ready to make use of it to show my good lights on and off utilizing my voice with none issues. I, like many individuals, additionally pay $139 per yr for an Amazon Prime membership, which supplies me free entry to TV reveals like boys, motion pictures, books for My Kindle via Prime Reads, and Amazon’s ad-free Prime Music service. The number of free books and music choice is actually restricted, however I used to be nonetheless capable of finding some issues I preferred.
The Fireplace 7 can also be an incredible machine to have if you wish to preserve your children busy on lengthy automobile rides or airplane journeys. It is low cost and, if you create a toddler’s profile, comes with parental management choices. You’ll be able to filter what your youngster sees and set closing dates via Amazon’s Mother or father Dashboard, which you’ll be able to entry by way of pill, your smartphone, or PC.
Amazon additionally sells a $109.99 Fireplace 7 Children Version pill, which comes with a sturdy case with a built-in stand, a two-year injury safety plan, and a yr of Amazon Children Plus — a pawn of Amazon Prime. Version. Curated number of books, video games and movies. Children Plus is $4.99 per thirty days for Prime members, so in case you’re contemplating the Fireplace 7 for a younger youngster which may break it otherwise you’re within the Children Plus service, Children Version – though I did not check it Sure – there could be a greater possibility.
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 loads to be desired — you possibly can obtain many fashionable apps and video games like Netflix, Hulu, Instagram, Spotify, and Amazon’s Luna subscription gaming service. Nevertheless, you continue to cannot obtain Google apps like YouTube, Google Drive or Play Retailer. You’ll be able to sideload Google apps, that is true, but it surely’s a comparatively sophisticated course of with safety implications. Plus, when you can obtain Microsoft Workplace functions, many fashionable work and productiveness apps like Slack, Airtable, and Asana are nowhere to be discovered — and really utilizing Microsoft Phrase to kind paperwork is frustratingly gradual. Do not buy something apart from an amusement machine on this hope.
If you happen to’re on the lookout for a small, cheap pill for studying, watching movies or listening to audiobooks, the Fireplace 7 is first rate — and at this worth, first rate is appropriate. I would particularly suggest it as a substitute for the $89.99 Kindle. The Fireplace 7 affords a higher-density 171ppi show, extra storage choices, and entry to the identical Kindle ecosystem — and it performs video. Additionally, primarily based on my experiences with its predecessor, it ought to final you comparatively lengthy. Whereas my outdated Fireplace 7 is frustratingly gradual, it actually hasn’t gotten any worse through the years. I anticipate this model to be technically usable for a minimum of three years as properly.
Alternatively, in case you’re, say, a film buff out there for an inexpensive pill, think about shopping for Amazon’s $89.99 Fireplace 8 or $149.99 Fireplace 10. They boast bigger and better decision screens, twin, not mono, audio system that sound higher, and bigger built-in storage choices. And in case you want a pill primarily for work or duties like cell gaming or artistic work like graphic design, you must think about the dearer choices — this cheaper pill, like the remainder of the Fireplace lineup, is only a processor. Lack of energy and apps.
Images by Sheena Vasani