One of the popular items on Amazon during the holiday season—and year round, actually—is the company’s own Fire Tablet 7”. Prior to using it, I either used my smartphone for my entertainment needs or a budget Android tablet that did what I needed done. The tablet’s selling point is that offers a powerful user experience for a low price. Well that’s pretty accurate.
This Fire Tablet came out late last year and as its name indicates it has a 7” 1024×600 display. HD video on YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix look good on the tablet. Any videos you bring in—depending on the quality—will vary, but video from major streaming sites that offer HD should be good. It works pretty well with Twitch as well.
You also have a rear facing and front facing camera. I used the front camera for Skype and got good video from it while pictures were decent. Sound on the Fire Tablet 7” can be loud, not exactly clear, but better than functional. Battery life on the Fire Tablet 7” is a big selling point of the device. It stays charged for a long time so you can get a lot of streaming and reading done.
Fire OS gives the Fire Tablet 7” an interesting interface—if “interesting” meant annoying half the time. If you’re use to a mobile phone or really any other tablet experience, Fire Tablet 7” will come off as a bit hard to deal with in that page space is generally taken up by apps on the under that page’s category.
The exceptions lie with Prime Video and Kindle where the pages are taken up by TV programming and films to watch for Prime Video and for your books and suggested books under Kindle. This is where the interface works effectively.
Fire Tablet’s Silk browser is pretty much the same as other tablet browsers. I would suggest getting a replacement browser such as Chrome or Opera. It’s not a terrible browser and you can use it to do general surfing and the like, but there are better alternatives out there.
This brings us to the last major thing: the App Store. I don’t know, but the app market place for the Fire Tablet 7” just comes off as bad. Either it puts all the apps you have to pay for in full in front of you and sink the free versions of those same apps or it just has most of the pay versions of the app and a lot alternatives you probably wouldn’t want to use. It’s not a hard to navigate store, it’s just an ugly one.
Speaking of alternative apps you wouldn’t want to use, the YouTube apps all have alternatives not called “YouTube” such as “Game Tube” instead of “YouTube Gaming.” Also there’s no support for some popular apps such as Marvel Unlimited.
The work around to this is going into “Settings” then “Storage” and activating the option that allows you to install apps from unknown sources. From there you’ll want to find an .apk file somewhere. You’ll have to use this method because Google Play apps won’t download and install from Google Play to your Fire device. As a matter of fact, Fire Tablet 7” doesn’t even show up under your devices on Play.
This is a very useful, good tablet to have. It’s bargain priced at $49.99—often $39.99 around the holidays—but this isn’t a bargain quality product. While there are some nagging flaws with the interface, unbranded apps that lead to the branded service, having to use .apk files to get apps you want and the App Store’s design, it’s great for viewing and reading content as well as browsing online.
The display is great for social media navigation and if you’re a heavy user for games, streaming, and so on the battery’s got you covered. You’ll definitely want a micro SD for the 8GB version and while 16GB should be just about enough—unless you power install apps—it wouldn’t hurt to get another. Also the Fire Tablet 7” connection to Wi-Fi is very good even when you’re almost out of range.
In short, the Fire Tablet 7” is a great holiday gift worth the $39.99 during shopping season and when sales pop up. RATING: 4/5