Amazon 7-inch Fire Tablet Review: Here's What $50 Delivers
7" Fire Tablet Design
The low cost of the 2015 7-inch Amazon Fire tablet is a key factor that obviously influences its specifications. Recognizing this is a low-cost model, our expectations for performance are also scaled back from what you’d see with a more expensive tablet.
You’ll find a 7-inch IPS touchscreen display with a resolution of 1024x600 on this tablet. Although we’d like to see a higher-resolution display with this tablet, we also realize it’s not very likely given the price. Overall, the display does its job well and provides decent viewing angles and adequate brightness.
It’s easy to adjust the screen’s brightness by pulling down from the top of the tablet to access a quick settings menu. The 7-inch Fire tablet doesn’t offer automatic brightness adjustment, however.
The top edge of the 2015 7-inch Fire tablet contains most of the controls and ports. Here, you’ll find a headphone jack, volume rocker, microphone, microUSB port, and Power button. The tablet’s microSD expansion slot is located on the right spine of the tablet.
Centered above the display, you’ll find a VGA camera. When you turn the tablet over, you’ll see the rear-facing 2-megapixel camera in the upper-left corner. A slightly recessed Amazon logo is centered a few inches below the camera. The speaker grill is located in the lower left corner.
Another area where Amazon made a cutback on the 7-inch Fire tablet is by including a single mono speaker instead of dual-stereo speakers. As a result, you’ll notice the audio quality difference when watching movies or listening to music—the sound just isn’t as full as you’d get with better speakers. Still, the mono speaker can get quite loud and is adequate for system notifications and basic games.
You won’t find any physical buttons on the front of the 2015 7-inch Fire tablet. Instead, Amazon provides the standard Back, Home, Application, and occasional Menu keys on the bottom or right edge of the display when needed.
We weren’t surprised to see the plastic casing of the 7-inch Fire tablet. The tablet does have slightly rounded edges and corners to help soften its appearance. There’s enough bezel around the edge of the display to make holding this tablet in one hand comfortable. This tablet measures 0.4-inches thick, which is noticeably thicker than the iPad Mini 4 which measures 0.24 inches thick. Here again though, price is a factor to keep in mind. All around, the 7-inch Fire tablet feels like a budget model.
Amazon included their current cover for the 7-inch Fire tablet which retails for $24.99. Given the price of the tablet, it’s hard to justify spending half the value of the tablet on a cover. Keep in mind this is one of many options available if you’re looking for a way to protect the tablet. Amazon’s case is available in five color options. This magnetic polyurethane enclosure features a microfiber interior to protect the device. Amazon’s case also functions as a stand and can hold the 7-inch Fire tablet in portrait or landscape mode.
Amazon's case has cutouts for the rear-facing camera and speaker grill. Unfortunately, the camera cutout is covered up by the front flap of the case when you fold it behind the tablet. If you use the microSD card slot often, be prepared to remove the tablet from the case since the case covers access to this expansion port. Although the 7-inch Fire tablet has a microSD expansion slot, you won’t find a file viewer pre-installed on the tablet, so you'll have to install one should you need to browse individual files that aren't catalogued in another app.