Amazon Fire Phone Review, A Dynamic Perspective

Introduction and Specifications

Bold. That’s the word that comes to mind when we consider Amazon’s Fire Phone. In a world where precious little has happened in the smartphone space over the past few years, at least in terms of groundbreaking innovation, Amazon’s entrance provides all the spark you need to sit up and pay attention. These days, a major OEM doesn’t just enter the smartphone space. Apple and Samsung have dominated market share and profits for years, squeezing BlackBerry out almost entirely and putting HTC on life support. Nokia, meanwhile, is stutter-stepping as Microsoft begins a massive series of layoffs that’ll no doubt impact the future of Lumia going forward.

So what’s Amazon, predominantly an online e-tailer, doing jumping into this Lion's den of a market space? The Fire Phone is the company’s first foray into the cutthroat world of handsets, but it’s far from its first rodeo in mobile hardware. The company has seen terrific success in the e-reader world with its famed Kindle line, and it has even garnered mainstream respect with its well-priced Kindle Fire tablets. Smartphones, however, are different. The lines in the sand have been drawn, and the new Fire Phone runs a forked version of Android that looks and feels almost nothing like the version you’d see on any other flagship Android phone. In fact, Amazon refers to it as Fire OS.


Before we dive into what makes the phone so different from a usage and software standpoint, let’s look at what’s inside the device with a quick spec rundown, as well as our hands-on video review...

Amazon Fire Phone
Specifications & Features
2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
32GB or 64GB

Size & Weight
5.5 (H) x 2.6 (W) x 0.35 (D) inches
5.64 ounces

4.7-inch LCD (1280 x 720)
Android-based "Fire OS" 3.5.1
SIM Card Type
GSM Frequencies: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, UMTS, WCDMA, HSDPA, HSUPA

LTE Bands: 1 [2100], 3 [1800], 4 [1700 / 2100], 5 [850], 7 [2600], 17 [700], 20 [800]
802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
Bluetooth 3.0
micro-USB 2.0

GPS (A-GPS), Compass, Cellular Location
Software Features
Firefly Product Recognition, Mayday Onboard Support, "Dynamic Perspective" UI
13 Megapixel Rear-Facing Autofocus Camera with five-element wide aperture f/2.0 lens
2.1 Megapixel Front-Facing Camera
Dynamic Perspective sensor system with invisible infrared illumination, gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, barometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor
2,400 mAh; Talk time: up to 22 hours; standby time: up to 285 hours. Video playback: up to 11 hours; audio playback: up to 65 hours.
$0 to $199 on contract, $649 unlocked (AT&T exclusive currently)

Clearly a mid-range Android phone dressed in a completely unique user experience is going to face headwinds in the market. Despite consumers barking for differentiation, the masses continue to buy new iPhones and Galaxy phones to replace older versions of the same families. Is Amazon’s Fire Phone different enough to break the cycle? Let’s find out in the pages ahead.

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