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Amazon Fire Phone Review

Posted: , by John V.

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Amazon Fire Phone Review

Amazon Fire Phone Review
Amazon Fire Phone Review
Amazon Fire Phone Review
Amazon Fire Phone Review
Amazon Fire Phone Review
Amazon Fire Phone Review
Amazon Fire Phone Review
Amazon Fire Phone Review
Amazon Fire Phone Review
Introduction


Amazon isn’t just an online retailer anymore selling goods and products, that’s perfectly obvious. Oh no. As we’ve seen in the last several years, they’ve conquered their industry so intelligently – to the point that it was only logical to branch out to other areas that would move the company forward in being more profitable. Now, they have their hand in various places, like online music and video streaming, as well as in consumer electronics with the Kindle line of tablets and eReaders.

Not long ago, back during the holiday season of 2011 to be exact, Amazon entered the just-then bubbling tablet market. As history has shown, their gamble to enter the space proved fruitful, seeing that the Kindle tablets offered consumers a versatile working tablet that competed well with its aggressive low cost. After sitting quiet for a long time, they made the decision to enter the smartphone market.

Even though Amazon’s presence in the smartphone arena has been limited to just mobile apps prior to the announcement of its new Amazon Fire Phone, these apps helped established this new movement of showrooming – where its apps have been used to do some virtual shopping at rival retail brick and mortars. No longer are they sitting still, letting the competition reap all the benefits! Instead, Amazon is betting that its hot smartphone will become the ultimate shopping tool, as well as a top-tiered smartphone, that consumers can learn to love over the competition. Will it be hot? Is it ready for prime time? Or will they have to reevaluate things?

The package contains:

  • microUSB cable
  • Wall charger
  • Stereo headphones
  • Quick start guide

Design

The conventional look is complemented by its sturdy construction and subtle premium finish.

So, what can we say about its design? Well, it’s quite obvious that it bears nearly the same design language of Amazon’s tablets, but overall, it looks awfully like any ordinary phone. You know what we mean, it’s that common looking black slab design. In fact, we’re able to draw comparisons to the Google Nexus 4 right from the get-go, as it shares similar aesthetics.

What stands out from a cursory look is the glass finish with its rear, which adds a premium element to the phone, but it makes it prone to smudges and fingerprints. It’s like a two-handed sword, where on one hand, the addition of the glass supplements its sturdy construction, but on the other, its initially polished looks may get obscured after a short time handling it.

In helping out in its in-the-hand feel, the rubbery coated bezel is a nice contrast that gives it a grippy feel – something that helps when there’s a fair amount of weight to the phone. Despite being on the heavier side (160 grams), we don’t mind it at all because it merely contributes in giving it a solid foundation. And better yet, the Fire Phone is pretty manageable to use one-handed.

Ultimately, we can say that they’ve gone with the safe approach with its design. Generally speaking, today’s flagships are super skinny, extremely lightweight, and try to sport designs beyond the typical slate. Are we surprised by Amazon’s execution? Not really.

Looking around the phone, there’s only one branding that stands out – the Amazon logo in the rear. For being an AT&T exclusive, it’s rather surprising to not find the carrier’s presence anywhere on the exterior of the phone. There’s a single, elongated shaped home button placed beneath the display. It’s raised slightly and has the same responsiveness as the other buttons on the phone, but it functions to get back to the homescreen with a single press, launch the “quick switch” menu with a double press, and jump into the phone’s very basic speech recognition service by long pressing the button.

Along the left side, there’s the SIM slot, volume control, and camera button. With the latter, a quick press launches the camera interface when the phone is locked/off – whereas a long press launches Firefly, which we’ll talk more about later. Unfortunately, the placement of this camera button is in an annoying spot, since we’re constantly pressing it instead of the volume down button.

On the top edge, we have the power key and 3.5mm headset jack – while the bottom is home to its microUSB port and microphone. Interestingly, it features two speakers, which are positioned along the top and bottom edges, so that it delivers a stereo effect when it’s held in landscape.


Amazon Fire Phone
5.5 x 2.6 x 0.35 inches
140 x 66 x 9 mm
5.64 oz (160 g)

Amazon Fire Phone

Samsung Galaxy S5
5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches
142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm
5.11 oz (145 g)

Samsung Galaxy S5

LG G3
5.76 x 2.94 x 0.35 inches
146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm
5.26 oz (149 g)

LG G3

Sony Xperia Z2
5.78 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches
146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm
5.75 oz (163 g)

Sony Xperia Z2

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.


Display

The resolution is rather underwhelming in light of other phones, but it’s a high quality display for sure with its accurate color reproduction, potent brightness, and exceptional viewing angles.

From far away, the Amazon Fire Phone’s façade sports a very clean finish, but upon closer inspection, we begin to realize something very different and strange. Most phones have a front-facing camera, however, this one tacks on an additional 4 sensors that are positioned around the corners of the display. They’re there to combine and work together to deliver one of the phone’s standout features, its dynamic perspective display. It’s undeniably interesting, but we’ll expand more on it later.

Going back to the display itself, which is a moderately sized 4.7-inch 720 x 1280 IPS LCD display, there’s no arguing that its resolution is not in the same boat as other phones in its price category. Sure, phones like the LG G3 have established a new benchmark in terms of detail, but in all fairness, the 315 ppi pixel density count of the Fire Phone’s display is still effective in delivering sharp text – with barely any evidence of pixilation from a normal viewing distance.

Somewhat understated, especially when most people focus on its choice of going with 720p resolution, the Fire Phone’s screen shines strongly with its potent brightness output of 560 nits – albeit, Amazon claims it can get up to 590 nits. Nevertheless, it’s super bright and enables us to view it outdoors with the sun present. However, seeing that it sports reflective glass, it becomes rather troublesome trying to view it. Well, that’s unless we’re under a shade or something.

Amazon clearly didn’t go with a low quality display here, evidenced by its impressive color temperature of 6958 K, which is pretty close to the reference of 6500K. Best of all, we can attest that it’s one of better phones when it comes to being accurate in producing colors – where it’s able to be spot-on with nearly all gradients. Throw in its outstanding viewing angles as well, it firmly tells us this is one high quality display – save for the resolution, of course.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Amazon Fire Phone 566
(Excellent)
3
(Excellent)
1:994
(Average)
6958
(Excellent)
2.05
3.10
(Good)
3
(Good)
Sony Xperia Z2 458
(Good)
16
(Poor)
1:1329
(Excellent)
6909
(Excellent)
2.59
4.41
(Average)
2.95
(Good)
LG G3 455
(Good)
9
(Average)
1:997
(Average)
7099
(Good)
2.26
3.60
(Good)
2.86
(Good)
Samsung Galaxy S5 442
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
8183
(Poor)
2.25
5.08
(Average)
7.38
(Average)
View all


32 Comments
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posted on 28 Jul 2014, 09:22 2

1. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2058; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


John V looks cool. THE BOSS. B)

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 10:31 1

5. John.V (Posts: 92; Member since: 27 May 2011)


haha! Thanks!

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 09:23

2. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8922; Member since: 14 May 2012)


6.5? Ouch. The $200 price is due to the year of Amazon Prime for free.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 09:33 12

3. NexusPhan (Posts: 540; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)


The price is $650. $100 of free prime does not make up for that in the slightest.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 22:12 1

25. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8922; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Blame Amazon and AT&T. It's trying to go against the iPhone but failed from the start.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 10:27 1

4. vuyonc (Posts: 385; Member since: 24 Feb 2014)


Yeesh lowest rated SD80x device on PA. What a waste :/

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 10:32 5

6. John.V (Posts: 92; Member since: 27 May 2011)


The score could've been elevated if they managed to go with a more aggressive price point.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 11:46 2

9. vuyonc (Posts: 385; Member since: 24 Feb 2014)


+1 Definitely. They should've played it safe and delivered on a simpler, cheaper, solid experience instead of throwing in gimmicks with seemingly little futureproofing.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 11:09 3

7. Planterz (Posts: 1080; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


Too much focus on gimmicks, too little focused on real-life functionality. People aren't going to give a crap about the 3D stuff. People won't care about the gesturing stuff, since it's foreign to them and awkward. People don't screw around with similar stuff on the Galaxies, and they're not going to on the Fire Phone.

The price and AT&T exclusivity will kill this phone.

I do have to admit though that Firefly is pretty damn cool. Although I doubt they will, at least anytime soon, it would behoove them to make standalone apps for other platforms. eBay should copy this too.

Hopefully, the hackers and developers can figure out how to jailbreak this phone, and give it Gapps functionality, especially the Play Store. It's been done on the Kindle Fire tablets, and in theory, should eventually be possible on the Fire Phone (it's still Android, and with Android, almost anything is possible). With Gapps, and a 3rd party launcher to make things look more like Android, this could be a pretty cool device. But that'd be a tiny fraction of people interested in this phone. Such people were interested in the Kindles because the price made it worth the hacking, and this phone ain't worth the hacking. It'll probably happen (or at least attempted), but that won't save this phone from being a complete failure.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 11:55 2

10. RandomUsername (Posts: 552; Member since: 29 Oct 2013)


I knew the Amazon phone was doomed to fail from the beginning...

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 12:19 2

11. Planterz (Posts: 1080; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


The concept wasn't doomed. The actual ending application, however, is.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 12:32 2

12. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1054; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)


I think 6.5 is generous. With its high cost, poor battery life and poor camera, and no Google play store, I'd give it a 4 at best. It's basically a super expensive feature phone.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 12:40

15. WahyuWisnu (Posts: 1001; Member since: 29 May 2014)


Basically it's a phone with limited ecosystem like WP & BB.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 12:38

13. WahyuWisnu (Posts: 1001; Member since: 29 May 2014)


Quote from the second paragraph from bottom "its third party apps support is limited". So, I guess BB OS10 who inherit the Amazon app store also have limited third party apps support.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 12:39

14. WahyuWisnu (Posts: 1001; Member since: 29 May 2014)


Why the battery life is bad? Is it because the 4 sensor that watching our face/eyes for the 3D UI

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 13:26

16. eN16HTMAR3 (Posts: 116; Member since: 08 Oct 2013)


Well............Just another reason to hate Amazon.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 17:01 1

21. Planterz (Posts: 1080; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


Hate Amazon? Why?

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 13:40 2

17. marbovo (Posts: 658; Member since: 16 May 2013)


I don't think the lack of google products, mainly the play store is a con, it is an android os but not google's android, it's the same thing as saying the lack of face time or any other apple app as a con in an android.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 14:51

18. tacarat (Posts: 215; Member since: 22 Apr 2013)


Mayday wasn't mentioned? How could you skip mayday? If this was out before I'd have gotten it for my mother strictly by that free service alone.

... After I installed a battery app.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 15:25

19. T-rex (Posts: 13; Member since: 22 May 2013)


Damn you John V.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 16:26

20. javy108 (Posts: 164; Member since: 27 Jul 2014)


Mmm... I just dont like this phone's design.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 19:43 2

24. hafini_27 (Posts: 305; Member since: 31 Oct 2013)


Deep integration with Amazon is the only selling point of this phone. No Google Play Store, gimmick 3D and a ridiculous price. I expected more from Amazon

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 23:18

28. garlic456 (Posts: 203; Member since: 24 Dec 2012)


No Google Play store, lol.

posted on 28 Jul 2014, 23:20 1

29. irvinkeith (Posts: 55; Member since: 27 Jan 2010)


I know this review was for the fire phone but it seems like the Xperia Z2 indirectly took a bashing in most of the comparisons lol

posted on 11 Aug 2014, 16:07

30. maulgandhi (unregistered)


I have used this phone for half hour at at&t store. imo this phone does look better than any Samsung phones out there in terms of UI, build quality, and camera performance is about same. I must say they worked really hard on UI, definitely second best one after stock.

posted on 09 Sep 2014, 05:45

31. lord_vanski (Posts: 4; Member since: 17 May 2014)


All the features and functionality are pretty much standard on all phone. HOWEVER, there is one thing I don't like about the Amazon products is their operating system. You're very limited what you can download when it comes to APPS. There are several apps I want and it is only found on Android. If the FIRE PHONE had an Android OS, this phone would have been so perfect. I have done away with Kindle Fire to Samsung Tablet only because of the Android operating system.

posted on 4 days ago, 07:25

32. robocopvn (Posts: 214; Member since: 10 Mar 2010)


I use my phone a lot, so battery life is very important to me. And I've read many reviews from many well-known tech sites. Phonearena is the only one who claims amazon fire phone has a poor battery life. The others admit amazon fire phone has a very good battery life, at leqst comparing to the same 2400mah battety.

And I grabbed 1 in the fire sale, and use it for a week now.

My conclusion is Amazon fire phone has a very good battery performance. just a little bit short of my LG G2 (which has amazing battery life). I use fire phone extreme heavily ( 2 Gmail, continously using facebook, twitter, youtube, web. 1 and half hour playing games. Plus music and camera) it lasts almost 6 hour of on screen time

So there was something wromg with Phonearena battery nenchmark (their script maybe).

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Display4.7 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (315 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera13 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 8974, Quad core, 2200 MHz, Krait 400 processor
2048 MB RAM
Size5.5 x 2.6 x 0.35 inches
(140 x 66 x 9 mm)
5.64 oz  (160 g)
Battery2400 mAh, 22 hours talk time

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