Amazon 7-inch Fire Tablet Review: Here's What $50 Delivers
Amazon’s current generation of Fire tablets run on Fire OS 5, codenamed Bellini. As we’ve seen with previous generation Fire tablets, Amazon’s Fire OS is a heavily modified version of Android that has direct ties into Amazon’s content ecosystem. Nearly everything you do on the tablet ties into Amazon in some way, including reading e-books, watching videos, saving photos to the cloud, or listening to music. If you’re an Amazon Prime user, you’ll be ready to take full advantage of these direct links between Fire OS and Amazon.
As we’ve seen on previous versions of Fire OS, Bellini offers a search bar at the top along with various category options which include Recent, Home, Books, Video, Games, Shop, Apps, Music, Audiobooks, and Newsstand. You can find all applications in the lower half of the Home screen. Some of the preinstalled apps include Shop Amazon, Silk Browser, Amazon’s Appstore, Amazon Video, Amazon FreeTime, Kindle Books, Goodreads, Email, Weather, and others.
When you swipe down from the top of the screen, you’ll see a quick settings option that lets you change the screen’s brightness or toggle Wi-Fi, Airplane Mode, Blue Shade, and Do Not Disturb options. There are also quick access icons for the Camera, Help, screen orientation, and the Settings menu.
If you share your Fire tablet with others, you’ll appreciate the Profiles option found in the Settings menu. With Profiles, each user can customize their home screen, email, social media accounts, and other options.
Since Fire OS 5 devices began shipping, Amazon has released an update which offers some new features including Blue Shade which is designed for people who read in bed. When enabled, Blue Shade uses special filters to limit blue light exposure which research shows limits the body’s production of melatonin and interferes with our ability to fall asleep. Instead, the Blue Shade feature uses warm color filters and ultra-low brightness settings.
Because the Fire tablets use Amazon’s App Store rather than Google Play, you won’t have access to all of the applications that have been developed for Android. Amazon’s App Store is sizeable, but it’s still missing some apps you may be accustomed to using such as Instagram, Dropbox, or Snapchat (there are third-party options for many of these apps, just not the official ones).
Given that this is a $50 tablet, we don’t expect to see any extras in the box. Still, Amazon does include the basics—a charging cable, power adapter, and a small piece of paper that helps show you a few features of the Fire tablet (such as the location of the headphone jack and how to connect the charging cable and power adapter).