AMAZON Fire Phone Review

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In this article, I give you my Amazon Fire Phone review with specs included. We have seen Amazon put out some tablets, a TV set-top box, or smart home devices on the market. This time they made a new phone that they named Amazon Fire phone.

There are plenty of reviews of this on the internet that you’re going to find so let’s get the salient things out of the way first (the things that are particularly unusual about this phone).

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The first thing is the 3D perspective for UI. Even on the lock screen, you have a picture that moves around as you change your view angle on the phone screen.

This is how that works. There are a bunch of front-facing little cameras (infrared cameras) that keep an eye on you. It’s going to look at where you are and try to keep the perspective relative to where you are in front of the phone.

So, if you’re in front of the phone and you look at the phone then it works. If you’re not in front of it it’s going to stop doing those animations.

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So, that’s a kind of interesting new thing. Is it a gimmick? Yeah, it is. Is it a fun gimmick? Sure it is. Do we need this in every phone from here on out? No, not really. But, there are a couple of games that take advantage of this technology.

The second new feature is called Firefly. It uses the rear camera to identify stuff. So, one of the things is if you’re watching a TV show, you can aim it at the TV show and get information about the show using IMDB, which Amazon owns.

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That’s the same thing they’ve been using on Kindle Fire and Fire HDX tablets to give you information about stuff you’re watching on Amazon Prime Video. You can also use it on movies. You can use it on products because this is a phone by Amazon that wants you to shop.

So, basically, they want the world to be your in-person shopping center and then you’re supposed to go to Amazon and buy cheaper there. That’s what they would like.

The Amazon Fire Phone offers unique features and functionalities that set it apart from other smartphones on the market. We’ll explore its key features, performance, and overall user experience.

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One notable feature of the Fire Phone is Firefly, a built-in function that allows users to identify and shop for products using the device’s camera. By pressing and holding the camera button, users can activate Firefly, which then analyzes the object in view and provides relevant information and purchasing options.

For example, scanning a product such as a book or a bag of chips prompts Firefly to recognize the item and display details about it, along with the option to purchase it directly from Amazon. While Firefly generally performs well in identifying products, occasional inaccuracies or misinterpretations may occur, as evidenced by instances where it misidentifies items or recommends unrelated products. Despite these occasional hiccups, Firefly remains a useful tool for quickly accessing product information and making purchases.

Another distinctive feature of the Fire Phone is its dynamic 3D perspective, which creates a sense of depth and dimensionality on the device’s home screen and throughout its interface. This feature, enabled by a combination of specialized hardware and software, adds visual interest and enhances the overall user experience. By incorporating depth effects into various elements of the interface, such as app icons and menus, the Fire Phone offers a unique and immersive user interface that distinguishes it from other smartphones.

In addition to its unique features, the Fire Phone runs on Fire OS, Amazon’s customized version of the Android operating system. While based on the Android platform, Fire OS features extensive modifications and optimizations tailored to Amazon’s ecosystem and services. Notably, the Fire Phone ships with Fire OS 3.5, which is based on Android Jelly Bean rather than the more recent KitKat version. Despite this older Android version, the impact on user experience is minimal, thanks to Amazon’s robust customization and feature enhancements. However, it’s worth noting that the absence of Google Play Store access may limit access to certain apps and content, as the Fire Phone relies primarily on Amazon’s own app ecosystem.

The Fire Phone’s user interface reflects Amazon’s ecosystem-centric approach, with a prominent focus on its own suite of apps and services. The device comes preloaded with a variety of Amazon-branded apps, including Kindle for e-books, Audible for audiobooks, and Amazon Music for streaming music.

Additionally, users have access to Amazon’s app store, which offers a wide selection of third-party apps and games. While the absence of Google Play Store access may initially raise concerns for some users, the availability of popular apps such as Skype and Instagram through Amazon’s app ecosystem helps alleviate these concerns to some extent. Overall, the Fire Phone provides a comprehensive selection of apps and services, catering to various user preferences and interests.

One area where the Fire Phone excels is audio quality, thanks to its stereo speakers and Dolby Digital Plus audio enhancement. The device delivers clear and immersive sound, making it well-suited for activities such as listening to audiobooks or streaming music. Additionally, the included headphones offer a satisfactory audio experience, further enhancing the device’s multimedia capabilities. While audiophiles may prefer higher-end headphones, the included headphones provide decent sound quality for everyday use.

In terms of design and build quality, the Fire Phone features a sleek and modern aesthetic, with a compact form factor that fits comfortably in the hand. The device’s build quality feels sturdy and durable, with no creaks or flexing observed during use. The front-facing stereo speakers add visual interest to the device’s design, while also enhancing audio output for multimedia consumption. Overall, the Fire Phone’s design and build quality reflect Amazon’s commitment to delivering a premium user experience.

Despite its unique features and strengths, the Fire Phone is not without its drawbacks. One notable limitation is its reliance on Amazon’s ecosystem, which may limit access to certain apps and services available on other Android devices. Additionally, the absence of Google Play Store access may be a deterrent for users who rely heavily on Google’s ecosystem for apps and content. While Amazon’s app ecosystem offers a wide selection of apps and games, the lack of Google Play Store access may pose challenges for users accustomed to Google’s services.

Another potential drawback of the Fire Phone is its relatively older hardware specifications, particularly compared to contemporary smartphones. With its use of older hardware components and specifications, such as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM, the Fire Phone may struggle to keep up with newer smartphones in terms of performance and multitasking capabilities. While the device remains capable of handling day-to-day tasks and activities, users may notice occasional slowdowns or lag during more demanding use cases.

The Amazon Fire Phone offers a unique combination of features, including Firefly and dynamic 3D perspective, that set it apart from other smartphones on the market. With its robust ecosystem of apps and services, sleek design, and immersive audio experience, the Fire Phone provides a compelling option for users invested in Amazon’s ecosystem.

However, its reliance on Amazon’s ecosystem, older hardware specifications, and the absence of Google Play Store access may limit its appeal to a broader audience. Despite these limitations, the Fire Phone remains a capable and innovative device that showcases Amazon’s commitment to delivering a differentiated user experience.

I must emphasize that this device offers a delightful experience for gaming enthusiasts and audiobook aficionados alike. For those entrenched in Amazon’s ecosystem, particularly avid users of Audible, the Fire Phone presents a seamless gateway to a world of literary exploration. Whether delving into classic literature like “Lolita” or opting for any other title of choice, the Fire Phone offers access to Audible’s vast library of audiobooks.

Furthermore, the Fire Phone integrates seamlessly with other Amazon services, including Kindle. Familiar to many users, the Kindle app enables readers to carry their entire library in their pocket, eliminating the need for a dedicated Kindle device or tablet. While Kindle app availability extends to iPhones and Android devices, the Fire Phone streamlines the reading experience, facilitating effortless access to digital content. With a single sign-in using an Amazon Prime ID, users gain access to their entire library of purchased books and downloaded content, seamlessly syncing between device and cloud storage.

The device’s 720p display boasts impressive clarity and sharpness, making reading and multimedia consumption a visually pleasing experience. Despite reservations about its commercial focus, the Fire Phone earns merit for its high-quality display, characterized by vibrant colors and a slightly warm hue. With a brightness rating of up to 590 nits and a pixel density exceeding 300 pixels per inch (PPI), the display delivers crisp and detailed imagery, minimizing the visibility of individual pixels. Particularly appealing to Kindle enthusiasts, the Fire Phone provides an optimal platform for indulging in literary pursuits, ensuring a comfortable reading experience without compromising on visual quality.

In addition to audiobooks and e-books, the Fire Phone offers access to Amazon Prime Video and Prime Music, enriching the entertainment options available to users. With a widget conveniently located on the home screen, users can seamlessly transition between recently watched content, streamlining the multimedia experience. Prime Video provides access to a vast library of movies and TV shows, complemented by Prime Music’s collection of over a million tracks available for streaming. While the availability of free streaming tracks on Prime Music adds value to the offering, some users may find the selection limited compared to other music streaming services.

Moreover, the Fire Phone includes a one-year Amazon Prime membership, effectively subsidizing the device’s cost for consumers. Priced comparably to flagship smartphones, the Fire Phone offers a 32GB model at $199 on contract and a 64GB model at $399 on contract. For those opting for an unlocked device, the 32GB variant retails at $650, with a $100 premium for the 64GB model. While the device’s specifications may not rival those of flagship smartphones, its pricing reflects a strategic balance between affordability and functionality, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious consumers seeking access to Amazon’s ecosystem.

Despite its commercial focus and pricing strategy, the Fire Phone delivers on its promise of delivering a cohesive and immersive user experience. With its vibrant display, robust integration with Amazon services, and competitive pricing, the Fire Phone presents a viable option for consumers seeking an all-encompassing entertainment solution within Amazon’s ecosystem.

The Amazon Fire Phone presents a unique challenge in the highly competitive smartphone market, where it competes directly with established giants like the Samsung Galaxy S5, iPhone 5S, and LG G3. Amazon, known for offering innovative products at affordable prices, faces the task of convincing consumers to invest in its hardware while simultaneously facilitating seamless access to its wide range of services.

Traditionally, Amazon has subsidized the cost of its hardware to attract users into its ecosystem, banking on the revenue generated from subsequent purchases. However, the Fire Phone deviates from this strategy, as it comes with a price tag comparable to that of its high-end competitors. While the device undoubtedly simplifies access to Amazon’s services, it fails to offer a significant cost advantage to consumers.

The success of the Fire Phone hinges on its ability to strike a balance between affordability and functionality. At its current price point, it may struggle to gain traction in the market, but a strategic price drop could potentially propel its adoption among consumers. A price reduction to $299 or even offering the device for free on contract could significantly enhance its appeal, making it a more compelling option for prospective buyers.

Despite its pricing challenges, the Fire Phone offers a compelling user experience characterized by a fast and fluid user interface (UI) and innovative gesture controls. The device introduces intuitive gestures that allow users to navigate seamlessly through menus and applications. While these gestures enhance user interaction, their reliability remains inconsistent, posing a minor drawback to an otherwise smooth user experience.

One noteworthy feature of the Fire Phone is its motion scrolling functionality, which enables users to scroll through content by tilting the device. This feature is particularly useful for reading e-books or browsing webpages, providing a novel and intuitive way to navigate through digital content. Unlike similar features on other devices, the Fire Phone’s motion scrolling is remarkably precise and responsive, adding to its appeal among users.

Furthermore, the Fire Phone integrates seamlessly with Amazon’s ecosystem, offering access to a diverse range of services, including Kindle, Audible, and Amazon Prime Video. Users can effortlessly access their digital content, including e-books, audiobooks, and streaming media, directly from the device’s interface. This seamless integration enhances the overall user experience, allowing users to enjoy their favorite content with ease.

Despite its strengths, the Fire Phone faces stiff competition from rival devices in its price range. While it offers a compelling set of features and seamless integration with Amazon’s services, its pricing may deter some potential buyers who are unwilling to pay a premium for a device that offers comparable functionality to its competitors. However, a strategic price adjustment could make the Fire Phone a more attractive option for budget-conscious consumers seeking access to Amazon’s ecosystem.

The Amazon Fire Phone presents a promising proposition for users invested in Amazon’s ecosystem, offering a seamless and intuitive user experience. While its pricing may pose a challenge to widespread adoption, its innovative features and seamless integration with Amazon’s services position it as a compelling option for consumers seeking a comprehensive entertainment solution. With the right pricing strategy, the Fire Phone has the potential to carve out a niche in the competitive smartphone market and establish itself as a viable alternative to its high-end counterparts.

The Amazon Fire Phone offers a plethora of intuitive features designed to enhance user experience, including the innovative X-Ray feature, which provides information about the content of the current book. These thoughtful touches contribute to the device’s usability and make it easy for users to navigate through various functions. Learning to use features such as swiping in from either side or performing a wrist twitch gesture is straightforward and intuitive, adding to the device’s appeal.

However, the web browsing experience on the Fire Phone may not be as seamless as on other devices, particularly when compared to Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX tablets. As the Fire Phone is a relatively new addition to the market, developers are still optimizing apps to ensure compatibility with its smaller screen size. Access to a variety of file managers is essential for users who wish to sideload apps onto the device, a feature that is reminiscent of Android phones. While this functionality may appeal to more advanced users, it may not be the primary focus of the device’s target market.

In terms of performance, the Fire Phone impresses with its fast and fluid user interface, which is a significant improvement over Amazon’s previous Kindle Fire HD and HDX tablets. The device is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.2 GHz, coupled with Adreno 330 graphics, offering comparable performance to other flagship Android smartphones on the market. Although it may lag slightly behind devices equipped with more recent Snapdragon 801 processors, the difference in performance is negligible for most users.

The Fire Phone is available with either 32 or 64 gigabytes of storage, but unlike some competing devices, it does not support expandable storage via an SD card slot. Despite this limitation, the device offers a seamless user experience, with a standard app drawer for easy access to applications and a comprehensive set of settings accessible through the notification panel. The keyboard is user-friendly, with haptic feedback and easy toggling between letters and numbers, making typing a breeze for users.

One standout feature of the Fire Phone is its dynamic 3D perspective, enabled by the device’s four front-facing cameras. While this feature adds a unique visual element to the user interface, its practicality may be questioned by some users. Fortunately, the 3D effect can be disabled for those who prefer a more traditional viewing experience or experience motion sickness.

Preloaded games that take advantage of the 3D perspective, such as Monkey Buddy, showcase the device’s capabilities and provide users with an immersive gaming experience. However, the utility of this feature may vary depending on individual preferences and usage patterns.

While it may not offer expandable storage or the latest processor technology, its intuitive user interface and thoughtful touches make it a competitive choice in the smartphone market. With further optimization and refinement, the Fire Phone has the potential to attract a broader audience and establish itself as a prominent player in the mobile industry.

Certainly, Monkey Buddy is a game geared more towards children, featuring dynamic changes in perspective as the user manipulates the device. By adjusting the perspective, the scene alters, allowing interaction with elements such as bongos and a competitive monkey character. While the game offers some entertainment value, it primarily serves as a novelty feature rather than a substantial gaming experience.

Moving on to the calling functionality, the Fire Phone presents a standard calling screen with access to contacts, voicemail, and call history. In terms of call quality, incoming voice calls are notably loud and clear, surpassing the average volume level. However, outgoing call quality may exhibit some shortcomings, characterized by a perceived lack of dynamic range and a somewhat flat sound profile. While still intelligible, the outgoing call quality may not match the excellence of incoming voice calls.

Examining the fundamental applications such as calendar and contacts, the calendar app provides convenient access to daily tasks, facilitating the creation of new events and seamless synchronization with Google accounts. By inputting Amazon email credentials, users can also integrate other accounts, including Gmail, to consolidate email, contacts, and calendar data. The calendar app offers standard views such as month, day, and list, ensuring familiarity and ease of use.

Similarly, the contacts app adopts a straightforward approach, organizing contacts alphabetically by first and last initials. Users have the option to designate VIP contacts and assign individual ringtones, enabling personalized call notifications. However, the absence of a scheduled quiet time feature may be perceived as a limitation, particularly for users accustomed to such functionality on other platforms.

Despite this minor drawback, the Fire Phone boasts a comprehensive operating system, comparable to other smartphone platforms upon initial release. The user interface exhibits similarities to Android, evident in features such as the app drawer, notification system, and settings menu. While Amazon introduces additional features like parental controls, individuals deeply entrenched in the Android ecosystem may find the Fire Phone lacking in the pure Android experience.

For Android enthusiasts seeking full customization and access to the Google Play Store, the Fire Phone may not fully meet their expectations. Although users have the option to root the device and sideload apps from Google Play, this process may entail additional effort and may not replicate the seamless integration offered by native Android devices. Therefore, while the Fire Phone offers a robust and feature-rich experience, individuals with a strong affinity for the Android platform may prefer alternative options that provide greater flexibility and familiarity.

Even with efforts to integrate Google services onto the Amazon Fire Phone, users may encounter hindrances such as error messages related to Google Play services, which could potentially impede the device’s performance. Therefore, for individuals seeking a pure Android experience, the Fire Phone may not suffice. However, for those desiring a straightforward and user-friendly device with a trusted ecosystem akin to the iPhone, albeit without being enthusiasts of Apple products, the Fire Phone could be a viable option.

Furthermore, for casual Android users who are content with the platform’s functionality without necessarily being fervent admirers, the Fire Phone may present an appealing choice. Regarding its internal features, the Fire Phone offers standard specifications including dual-band Wi-Fi 802, Bluetooth 3.0 (with a possibility of an upgrade to 4.0 through a firmware update), and GPS with GLONASS support. The device features a 720p screen with notable brightness, contributing to a satisfactory visual experience.

In terms of design, the Fire Phone sports a glass back, a characteristic shared with other smartphones such as certain iterations of the iPhone and the Nexus 5. Encased in Gorilla Glass, the device boasts a sleek appearance and ease of maintenance, although opinions on its aesthetics may vary subjectively.

Additionally, the inclusion of rubbery sides enhances grip, striking a balance between functionality and design. The device is equipped with a single button for navigation, facilitating seamless transitions between the widget UI and the app drawer. Furthermore, it features a USB 2.0 port for data transfer and charging purposes, flanked by stereo speakers for enhanced audio output.

For data transfer, connecting the Fire Phone to a computer allows it to function as a standard Android device, appearing as a mass storage device on Windows systems. Mac users can utilize Android File Transfer for similar functionality. Positioned at the top of the device are the headphone jack and the power button, while the volume controls are located on the side.

Despite the unconventional placement of the volume controls, their positioning is unlikely to significantly impact user experience. The device also includes a dedicated camera button, which, when pressed and held, activates the Firefly feature, enabling seamless scanning and identification of various objects.

Furthermore, the Fire Phone accommodates a nano SIM card, similar to devices such as the iPhone and select models of Nokia Lumia phones, reflecting compatibility with the industry’s smallest SIM card format. In terms of camera capabilities, the Fire Phone features a standard 2.1-megapixel front camera, which surprisingly captures better-than-average images for its resolution. Notably, the camera delivers satisfactory color reproduction and detail retention, resulting in comparatively improved selfie quality despite the inherent limitations of a 2.1-megapixel sensor.

The primary camera on the Amazon Fire Phone boasts impressive specifications, featuring a 13-megapixel sensor coupled with HDR (High Dynamic Range) and optical image stabilization, along with a fast f/2.0 lens. The resulting images are of notably high quality, as demonstrated by a sample photo taken under challenging backlight conditions.

In the initial capture, the yogurt cups are somewhat obscured, but upon activating HDR mode, the image exhibits a remarkable transformation, imbued with a vibrant and almost surreal color palette. This enhancement is attributed to the device’s advanced image processing capabilities, reminiscent of the performance often associated with iPhone cameras.

While the camera may lack an extensive array of supplementary features, it excels in its primary function, consistently producing images that strike a balance between sharpness and naturalness without succumbing to excessive sharpening or artificial saturation.

Notably, the camera adeptly captures the subtleties of color and texture, as evidenced by a particularly striking image showcasing rich orange hues juxtaposed against deep, inky blacks—an outcome that borders on artistic interpretation. Thus, in the realm of mobile photography, the Amazon Fire Phone emerges as a commendable contender, offering users a reliable tool for capturing moments with fidelity and vibrancy.

Moreover, the Fire Phone streamlines the process of integrating captured images into communication channels, facilitating effortless inclusion of photos within email messages. Through a simple swipe gesture within the messaging interface, users gain access to a curated selection of images, simplifying the task of incorporating visual content into their correspondence. While the device’s email client may be considered basic in functionality, Amazon has implemented thoughtful enhancements to streamline the user experience, exemplifying their commitment to optimizing everyday tasks.

In terms of web browsing, the Fire Phone leverages the Amazon Silk browser, a familiar component utilized in Kindle Fire tablets. Offering both portrait and landscape viewing modes, the browser delivers a satisfactory browsing experience, albeit with occasional delays in loading JavaScript elements.

However, users seeking alternative browsing solutions have the flexibility to sideload alternative web browsers, thereby tailoring their browsing experience to personal preferences. Notably, Amazon Silk incorporates caching technology at the server level, enhancing the loading speed of frequently accessed web pages—a feature likely to appeal to users prioritizing efficiency and convenience in their browsing activities.

While the Fire Phone may not cater to the demands of enthusiasts seeking flagship-level performance, it is well-suited to the needs of everyday consumers transitioning from basic feature phones or outdated smartphone models. The device’s appeal lies in its accessibility and user-friendly interface, designed to accommodate a broad spectrum of users without overwhelming them with unnecessary complexity. As such, the Fire Phone represents a compelling option for individuals seeking a reliable and straightforward mobile experience, with an emphasis on intuitive functionality rather than cutting-edge specifications.

Lastly, the device’s battery life warrants consideration, with a sealed 2400 milliamp-hour battery housed within its unibody construction. While the battery capacity appears adequate for supporting the device’s modest hardware specifications, actual performance may vary. Factors such as the continuous operation of front-facing cameras for motion detection purposes may contribute to fluctuations in battery life, potentially impacting overall longevity.

However, with modern lithium-ion batteries typically exhibiting a lifespan of several years before significant degradation occurs, concerns regarding battery replacement may be mitigated by Amazon’s potential provision of replacement services in the future, ensuring continued usability over an extended period.

The display of the Amazon Fire Phone shines with remarkable brightness, even when set to auto-brightness mode. However, it tends to maintain a consistently high level of luminosity, potentially impacting battery life. Reports suggest that Amazon may address this issue through firmware optimizations aimed at enhancing battery performance.

Nevertheless, compared to devices like the Galaxy S5 and iPhone 5s, which typically endure a full day of use on a single charge under average usage conditions, the Fire Phone falls short, often requiring recharging by early evening. Additionally, the device exhibits a tendency to generate noticeable warmth, particularly in the vicinity of the Amazon logo, with prolonged use exacerbating this phenomenon, potentially causing discomfort to users’ hands.

Despite these drawbacks, the Fire Phone offers a distinct user experience that may appeal to certain demographics. Notably, individuals who prioritize seamless integration with Amazon’s ecosystem—be it for purchasing goods, accessing Prime Video content, or utilizing Kindle apps—may find the device well-suited to their needs.

Conversely, for enthusiasts of pure Android functionality or loyalists of Google’s services, such as Google Play Books and the Google Play Store, the Fire Phone may fall short of expectations, given its default reliance on Bing as the primary search engine. Additionally, users accustomed to the iOS ecosystem may find the Fire Phone a compelling alternative, particularly if they seek a departure from the Apple ecosystem without sacrificing the convenience of a robust content ecosystem.

In essence, the target audience for the Fire Phone comprises individuals seeking a user-friendly smartphone experience tightly integrated with Amazon’s suite of services. For those who prioritize convenience and familiarity with Amazon’s offerings, such as Kindle e-books and Audible audiobooks, the device may represent an attractive option. However, users seeking the flexibility and breadth of Google’s services or the streamlined experience of Apple’s ecosystem may find the Fire Phone less appealing.

Available exclusively through AT&T in the United States, the Fire Phone is priced competitively in line with flagship smartphones, starting at $199 on contract or $299 for higher storage configurations. While the device boasts a user-friendly interface reminiscent of Kindle Fire tablets and delivers satisfactory performance in terms of display quality and camera capabilities, its overt emphasis on promoting Amazon’s services may deter users seeking a more neutral or platform-agnostic smartphone experience. Ultimately, whether the Fire Phone aligns with one’s preferences hinges on their affinity for the Amazon ecosystem and their willingness to embrace its inherent ties to the retail giant’s offerings.

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Amazon Fire Phone
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    Performance - 94%
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    Price - 93%
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    Value - 94%