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Fire 7 Tablet with Alexa, 7" Display, 8 GB, Black - with Special Offers
Digital Storage Capacity: 8|Offer Type: With Special Offers|Color: Black|Change
Price:$49.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


 Amazon has just updated their bargain priced Fire tablets. While these latest models are only slightly better than the preceding generation, I believe that they still represent the absolute best value tablet on the market. It’s still hard for me to adjust to the fact that a tablet device can now be purchased for just fifty bucks, and it’s such a good all-around performer (for the most part)!

I purchased both the 7" and 8" Fire models because I wanted to see how they compared, and I was curious how they performed. They are both shown in the video attached to this review. I will focus here on the 7" model, to try to help the potential buyer decide whether or not the more expensive 8" Fire tablet is worth the extra money (and if the 7" model is worth purchasing on its own merits).

I've given this 7" model a 4-star rating after further consideration and largely because of the very mediocre quality sound output (see detailed comments below). It is still a terrific bargain at the price, but I do want to be clear that it is not ideal for all uses.

SUMMARY

- These new models represent minimal changes compared to the previous generation Fire tablets:
--- Same display specs as before (Amazon says the 7” model has an improved display), same processors (1.3 GHz quad-core but a newer model that is probably slightly faster in operation), same standard and available storage (7” 8 or 16 GB; 8” 16 or 32 GB)
--- New colors
--- the 8” model is $10 cheaper
--- the 7” model now has dual band wi-fi (previously single band wi-fi) for better connectivity
--- Kids edition now available for both models (previously only the 7” model). Note that the Kids edition is only sold with the higher storage (7” – 16 GB; 8” – 32 GB)
--- both models can use up to 256 GB microSDXC expansion storage (previously max 128 GB for 7”)
--- both models offer Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant at the touch of a button
--- both models are physically the same size as previously but slightly lighter – the 8” has lost 1 oz of weight, the 7” is 0.6 oz lighter

- BOTH 7” and 8” MODELS are suitable for:
--- web surfing using Amazon’s Silk browser
--- watching streaming movies or TV shows **
--- listening to music **
--- reading Kindle books (the 7” is roughly the same size as a Kindle)
--- playing games and other apps (within the limitation of Amazon's own ecosystem)
--- Kid use – both offer the ability to set up child accounts with restricted access
--- ** note comments below regarding sound quality and volume, particularly for the 7" model

- IN ADDITION, THE 8” FIRE HAS:
--- slightly larger and higher quality display (but I found both displays to be essentially equivalent in quality)
--- larger standard storage (16 GB vs 8 GB)
--- better sound – Dolby audio, stereo (7” has mono speaker) **
--- larger battery / longer life between charges (Amazon states up to 12 hours, vs up to 8 hrs for the 7”)
--- ** note comments below regarding sound quality and volume, particularly for the 7" model

- WHAT DON’T THEY DO AND WHAT ARE THEIR LIMITATIONS?
--- Neither model will display 1080p video
--- camera specs are poor compared to most current phone and higher priced tablets, so don’t expect high resolution photos
--- Sound quality and volume ability is a limitation - see next paragraph
--- With limited built in storage, they both rely upon the expansion slot to store larger amounts of photos, videos, or music. Responsiveness using memory from the expansion slot is not quite the same as with a tablet that has greater hard wired storage built-in
--- All Fire models are limited to using Amazon’s own Silk web browser, which is less flexible than the regular Chrome or Firefox browsers that can be used on regular Android or Apple tablets

- THE SOUND QUALITY AND MAXIMUM VOLUME CAPABILITY IS A WEAK POINT
--- Accepting the fact that these are very low cost tablets, they do offer the ability to listen to videos and music and so the built-in speakers will be relied upon by many users. In my opinion the most significant difference between these two Fire models, aside from the screen size, is the difference in sound quality. But I first want to say that neither model has the ability to provide much volume of sound, even at the very highest setting. This is a disappointment.
--- The 7" Fire has a single speaker located on the rear of the device, near the bottom. It is weak and produces a very low quality sound. Also, depending on how you are holding the tablet, or if you're using a case to hold it in landscape or portrait mode, the speaker could be covered and even further muffled.
--- The 8" HD Fire has better quality sound - two stereo speakers located on the side, positioned so that they will be at the top when the tablet is supported in landscape mode. It also has better sound processing ('Dolby Atmos'), and the sound quality is noticeably better than the 7". Still, the maximum volume capability is modest.
--- Bottom line - if you plan to use either model for listening to music or videos, then ear pods or headphones or an external speaker is probably going to be necessary in order to get satisfactory sound. Sound quality is not going to be something owners of these small Fire tablets will be bragging about.

- MY IMPRESSIONS OF BOTH MODELS AND HOW THEY COMPARE
I purchased both models and illustrate them side by side in my video. They’re obviously very similar in feel and appearance, and the quality is excellent. I also like the matching Amazon cases that protect the screen when not in use and prop the tablet in either landscape or portrait orientation to make it easy to set it on a table to read or watch videos. The cases work exactly the same for both sizes.

The display is the most obvious difference – not only size, but the slightly greater display content and resolution. At least that is what the Amazon specs suggest, but to my eyes they are both pretty much the same. I did find that the 7" model seemed to have a slightly brighter display, and the 'whiteness' of the display also seemed to be better.

The other difference I wanted to evaluate was the sound quality, since the 7" model has only a single speaker and the 8" model has two (stereo) speakers with Dolby sound processing. For anyone using this tablet for watching videos or listening to music, I thought that would be an important difference.

What I found, as also mentioned elsewhere in this review and with respect to the sound quality, was that the limited volume ability of the built-in speakers makes ear pods or headphones or the use of an external speaker almost mandatory. If those considerations are acceptable, then the higher price of the 8" model is probably well worthwhile for users who will use the table very much to listen to music or videos.

For reading Kindle books or those who prefer the smaller and lighter size, the 7” model is just great (either model is fine, really).

By comparison, the latest small iPad mini has a 7.0” display and is roughly between the 7” and 8” Fire tablets in size (width and height), quite a bit thinner, and about the same weight as the 7” Fire. It’s considerably more powerful and has 128 GB storage standard, but think about it – you can purchase eight 7” Fire tablets for the price of a single iPad mini today! That is really a striking difference.

FURTHER THOUGHTS

These two models are the 7th generation Amazon Fire tablet – the first generation was introduced in November, 2011 as the Kindle Fire, offering the same screen size and resolution but a considerably less powerful processor, and selling for $199. Along the way they’ve offered models of various sizes and specifications, and for a short time (generations 3 and 4) their Fire models included the more sophisticated (and expensive) Fire HDX model that may have been intended to be a more direct competitor to Apple’s iPad.

Then, in September 2015, Amazon introduced the $49.99 Fire 7, and since that time it seems that they’ve been happy to offer these bargain priced tablets that do everything that most people really need on a day-to-day basis. They make great Kids tablets, too, particularly the ‘Kids Edition’ models that come with the more protective case and 2-year replacement guarantee, just in case your kid drops it in the, ah, swimming pool or some such!

WARRANTY

The standard warranty for both Fire models is a short 90-days. Longer warranties - 1, 2 or 3 years - are available at extra cost ($10.99, $14.99, $16.99 respectively). Compared to most devices this is a very short standard warranty.

CAMERA QUALITY

Both Fire models have a 2 MP rear-facing 'HD' camera, and a 'VGA' front-facing 0.3 MP camera. These are very mediocre cameras compared to just about any smart phone or tablet currently available and anyone wanting to take photos or videos with their tablet is not going to be satisfied with the quality that can be obtained from these Fire models, but they do suffice if all you want is to take a photo to make a visual note of something for future reference.

INCLUDED ACCESSORIES

Both fire models include a 5W wall charger and a VERY SHORT USB cable (just over 3 ft long).

As with pretty much all Amazon Fire and Kindle models these days, you can purchase either of these tablets either with or without ‘special offers’. The $15 difference in price eliminates the ads that show when the screen is locked (but disappear when unlocked).

For anyone who wants a smaller and lighter weight tablet, these Fire models have become the logical choice. The prices are now so low that they can be a casual purchase for many people, not quite disposable but something easy to pass on when the next new model comes out.

I will continue to add more details here as I use these tablets more and have thoughts and comments to share.
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on July 19, 2017
Okay so I ordered two of these on prime day at $30 a piece. One for myself in the color yellow, and one for my husband in the color red. I depend on reviews when I buy everything so I did read all the reviews before purchasing, which is why I'm pleasantly surprised. I'll start off with the fact that neither of us plan on using our tablet as our main and constant source of entertainment. My husband works in a vape store where he has a lot of downtime throughout the day so his is most often used for watching Twitch gamers stream. I use mine for shopping Amazon, and playing puzzle type games. Some of the reviews I read, stated that the speaker quality was bad in these tablets. My husband and I beg to differ. We don't expect amazing noise cancelling audio out of these $30 tablets. The speakers provide plenty of sound to watch and hear videos in good quality and that's not even on the loudest setting. I also read that the battery life isn't the greatest but to be honest I don't agree with that either. As I said before, my husband uses his mainly for watching videos constantly. One hour of video only drops the battery percentage by about 7% which I think is great. My iPhone 6s Plus battery goes quicker than that. If I had to chose cons to these devices, I would definitely say minimum customization. For example, I wish I could change the screen saver. But as for most kindle devices, the screen saver cannot be changed and it will be ads and offers. The device comes with about 5gb of storage that is open for you to use because the operating systems do use some of your 8gb making it not a true 8gb available. But to me that isn't a huge deal because I have other devices such as laptops and cellphones. Not to mention that it does come with the option to expand storage via sd card. You also have unlimited photo storage which I think is neat. The ability to use Alexa is cool as well. We have Siri, Kortana, google home and Alexa in our house hold and I love them each individually. For the $30 I paid, I don't expect this device to be my holy grail. I don't expect the best sound quality or photo quality (although I'm really not upset with the quality at all). Normally you pay for what you get. To me and my husband these were definitely a bargain and a great deal. For $30 a piece I couldn't pass it up. They're great to have around. I'll update my review if anything happens, but as of now these are super solid for the price and I have no legitimate complaints for either of them :)
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on September 13, 2017
I bought this tablet 7/11/17 and it became incapable of charging late-August. Amazon says that since it was past the 1-month return window it is not eligible for a return, and I feel that if they can't stand by their product for more than a month then they know they are selling inferior products.
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on February 5, 2018
This tablet will, probably in less than a year stop being able to hold a charge. I have had two so far. The warranty will not help because they will not honor it. I spent hours online dealing with them. The said my warranty was attracted to someone named Nancy told I had to buy another warranty and promised me when I did they would send me a replacement. Hours later I was told again that they could not help me but they had given me a credit that could only be used in the kindle store. So now I have a tablet that is garbage because I can't charge it two warranties they will not honor I could deal with then again but I will not. My sanity isn't worth the $40 dollars I would save.

If you buy this know that it is inexpensive for a reason. Do not expect it to last a year. Do not expect Amazon to honor the warranty. Even if you are an excellent customer. I would recommend getting your electronic items anyplace else.
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on June 10, 2017
This is my first kindle since the 1st generation. That tablet went away after a couple years. Kindle Fire 7th gen is a great tablet for the money. Honestly, I don't use it for reading. I use it for browsing websites, social media, and listen to podcasts. I use my Bluetooth headphones to listen to the podcasts. The couple times I've used the speaker on the tablet, I haven't been disappointed, but I wasn't impressed. It works just fine for watching videos in bed. Had no problems hearing. Search Google for some tips and tricks to get apps from the google play store. Silk browser is terrible. I reccomend installing Opera. I reccomend this tablet for people like me, who want to just lay in bed or on the couch and doing simple tasks on the tablet. Don't need a $300 or $400 tablet to do what I'm doing.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon June 12, 2017
Much improved screen!

It turns out that the $49.95 Fire 7 version released two years ago didn't have an IPS screen.

Now it does.

Technically, both the old one and this new one are just 171 ppi (pixels per inch) but this one seems much "crisper" than the first generation "$49-er".

My eyes don't lie. IPS makes the screen a lot crisper!

There's also a stunning improvement in color quality with the new screen. Now it holds its own with the 62% color gamut original iPad Mini; before, it wasn't anywhere near.

Mind you it's not current Apple screen quality, or current high-end Samsung screen quality - but what is? It's only $49.95, and it's good enough. Heck, at $49.95, its MORE than "good enough", it's great. It blows away just about any entry level consumer laptop screen, that's for sure.

I pulled out my 2015 first-gen, $49.95 Fire 7 - the one this replaces - and placed it side by side with this new one. The colors (including a horrific green tint on white backgrounds) on the old one weren't video-worthy - ok for casual videos on Facebook and YouTube, maybe, but not good enough for Netflixing and Amazon Prime.

This new one, though? It's movie-worthy, especially with earphones (ok, ONLY with earphones). I'd prefer 720p over the Fire 7's 600p (600p is better than 480p DVD's, but not ask good as even entry-level - 720p - HDTV quality), but overall even at 600p it's eminently watchable.

By the way, for me streaming video content on Amazon Prime Instant Video has been noticeably sharper than streaming YouTube. I think Amazon Prime adapts to 600p (max for this tablet) while YouTube is is probably delivering only 480p (remember YouTube's defaults are 360p/480p/720p and up).

So the short-and-sweet advice is try this out on your favorite video sources when you get it, and make sure you are getting the video quality you want; also, use Netflix's Fast dot com web site to check your internet download speeds. If they aren't high, even Amazon Prime won't be able to deliver sharp video.

Tip: due to the limited 1gb of onboard RAM, try not to multi-task for zippy performance. After my Fire OS updates were completed (which slows down everything while they are downloading), there was no lag in ANY app, so long as I wasn't background running another app (like music).

Tip: there's only one really usable brightness setting, and that's all the way up. This is not a screen with "extra" brightness in reserve. The best tablet experience with this is setting the brightness level to "11."

Tip: if you don't have a spare lying around, order this with at least a 16gb Class 10/UH1 micro SD card (I like Samsung Evo Select currently under $15 for 32gb). Go into Settings (or follow the alert that pops up) and have apps and content default store to the micro SD card - Amazon now allows downloaded videos and books to go there, making the 8gb model very usable. At just $49.95 and with the ability to download both Netflix and Amazon Prime movies and TV, you shouldn't fly without this.

Tip: there's only $10 difference between the 16gb version of this new Fire 7, and the entry level of the brand new 2017 Fire HD 8 - which already comes with 16gb, PLUS 1.5 gb RAM vs. 1gb on the Fire 7, PLUS actual HD video quality (720p). So for a mere $10 more you get a whole lot more.

Of course if you can live with 8gb storage - I have my tricks! - nothing beats $49.95.

Tip: GREAT for kids since Amazon says it survives drops better than even an iPad Mini, AND Amazon has the best kid control settings in the business. $49.95 vs. a couple hundred dollars counts for a LOT too. BUT Apple continues to rule the roost in terms of maximum number of education and game apps for kids.

Tip: the speaker IS adequate especially if you cup your hands behind it to reflect the sound forward. BUT you are better served by a budget AmazonBasics Bluetooth speaker, or by earphones. The AmazonBasics won't sound THAT much better, but it WILL be easier to hear and easier to hold the tablet; with earphones, you'll think the tablet cost several hundred dollars! (That's thanks to the magic earphones work vs. tiny built in speakers on ANY tablet.)

Tip: screen resolution is about the same as the entry-level Amazon Kindle E-reader, so apart from the E-reader's unparalleled ability to deal with bright sunlight without washing out the screen, you are probably better off with this more versatile $49.95 Fire 7 table than the $59.95 (current sale price) E-reader.

Tip: "blue light control" saves your sleeping if you Kindle read a lot; just select the option from the swipe-down menu on the home screen.

KUDOS: really compact, useful, and safe charger (it's Amazon, not mystery-sourced). It only puts out 5 watts (some phone chargers on low-end phones actually put out less!) but it's plenty for the modest battery in this $49.95 tablet. It seems very well built, works with the other phones and tablets I have (both Apple and Android), and the cable (detachable) that comes with it feels really solid and sturdy. Nothing flimsy or fly by night here.

CAVEAT: You do know this won't run classic Google apps or Apple apps (like Music), right? (Yeah some users "hack" it do do so, but I'm talking about the rest of us.) This limitation is just Amazon going it's own way. Fire OS is a legal "clone" of Android 5.1.1, a solid Android release, with Amazon "skinning" (putting its own book cover on) the usual Android home screen etc.. Amazon has been very good about security and version updates with Fire OS, BUT I and many others long for the day, hopefully not too far in the future, when Amazon bites the bullet and releases regular Android on an Amazon tablet. And, btw, when that day comes, I hope it's still $49.95, but gets a bump to 720p. What a sales success that would be! (And by all accounts Amazon ALREADY has huge sales success with Fire tablets.)

KUDOS: Alexa! You have to hold the button though, it's not always listening like a standalone Alexa speaker.

This is 5 star if you don't care about Google and are a big Amazon fan, 3 star if you love Google apps and think Amazon turns the Fire line into "all Amazon shopping, all the time" sales tool, and for me about 4.5 star based on its price, build quality, and durability. A good $49.95 tablet is now great thanks to the IPS addition to the screen!
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on July 30, 2017
Perfect gift for my husband who has Alzheimer's.
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on January 19, 2018
Updating this due to constant frustration.
This is probably the slowest device in my house. I'm sure it's fine for reading books or something but for quick web browsing, I don't know if it is the device or not. TERRIBLE load speeds. Will not buy or reccomend. Sorry Amazon. I'm usually all in on your stuff. 0 for 2 lately. My echo dot is not connecting to internet like it used to, extremely frustrating yet again. Story for another day though.

I originally like the idea of this for my coffee table for casual browsing. Great size for ease of use and portability.
I am glad this wasn't more than $29 bucks because it is PAINFULLY SLOW. I had bought it with the thought I would use it for quick browsing or looking things up on a larger screen instead of my phone all the time. I still give it a shot once in a while but I grab my phone 90% of the time because I know it is faster. Apps take forever to load, I constantly get network error messages when every other device works fine on my network. It is frustrating to say the least. I had high hopes for this item for some reason and now I'm trying to think of other uses for it so it's not a waste of $. Would return if I could based on performance alone.
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on December 13, 2017
Buy it at your own risk! Purchased on August 30, 2017...on December 11, 2017 (only a couple of weeks after the warranty ran out) a mechanical problem occurred. The USB port went bad, not allowing the battery to be charged without pressing the plug to one side or the other. Obviously, one can't sit holding the tablet and putting pressure on the plug for 4 or 5 hours just to get the battery charged, do it is now useless for me. Amazon's solution - buy another Fire 7. Now that I've been bit once with a piece of trash (no matter how good it works before the USB port went bad), I am not about to be taken a second time. You know the saying - "Fool me once shame on you...fool me twice shame on me."
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on June 19, 2017
The hardware is...decent. For 50$, its pretty good. But, I bought this for my 3y/o and wanted to use Amazon FreeTime to keep him out of the other apps. This application is barely functional, and 2 hrs into a 10 hour trip we find out that the Freetime app sometimes wont load if you are offline. That, combined with the glitch in the tablet where i cant access the settings from the dropdown makes it even worse because I cant exit many apps without rebooting. Lastly, amazon goes out of their way to lock you into their own "android", but that excludes you from customizing ANYTHING, like an alternate launcher.
Horrible software on a decent tablet.
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