New out of old
Unsurprisingly, we found the same constraints and advantages on the Fire 7 as on the previous model. The tablet embeds the Fire OS operating system in overlay of Android. Everything being reviewed in Amazon sauce, the Play Store is absent (this is also the case for all Google services), replaced by an owner store, certainly well supplied but where we have not found all our favorite apps , especially the Chrome browser. Normal, Amazon prefers to promote its own! On the other hand, we appreciated the smooth navigation and the easy access to content: applications, e-books, games, videos and music. A good point if we have already bought content on Amazon, because they are then available within the interface.
More surprising, for a novelty of 2017, the Fire 7 remained stuck on Fire OS 5 in overlay of Android … Lollipop (5.1.1)! Apart from a few comfort updates, the only real innovation brought by Fire OS, in this version 5.3.3, is the addition of the Alexa personal assistant. And as it is not available in UK, there is reason to be annoyed. The American would he try to make new with old? A bit daring for a tablet that has hardly changed since 2015 and which costs 10 euros more.
Beyond this negative point, the tablet remains a pretty unbeatable value for money compared to supermarket models sold at the same price. Players will especially appreciate the presence of many free games. Fans of sophisticated 3D games will be getting their money’s worth because this slate is clearly not powerful enough to offer a smooth display for this type of use. Inevitable since Amazon keeps the same small processor as for the previous model, a MediaTek MT8127 (quad core and 1.3 GHz) with 1 GB of RAM. The configuration is still sufficient to run most of the apps. Of the 8 GB of internal memory, only 5.6 GB is available to the user, which is a bit tight. However, Amazon offers the 16 GB version for only 10 euros more and it is also possible to add a microSD memory card (up to 256 GB) to free the internal memory. The only notable technical improvement comes from the Wi-Fi interface which now manages the 5 GHz frequency band in addition to 2.4 GHz.
A little better in autonomy
On the endurance side, the Fire 7 does, however, better than the old model. According to our measurements, the autonomy in multipurpose use which mixes several types of use goes from 5:59 to 7:08. The autonomy in video playback (7:22) does not move. Nothing exceptional compared to some more high-end models but remember that the Fire 7 is sold below the 100 euros mark and that number of models at this price ensure a much worse endurance.
A reduced definition for the screen
We would have appreciated that Amazon ensures better display quality on its new generation of tablets. It is missed because the definition does not increase and remains at 1024 x 600 pixels and the screen brightness is still as low (311 cd / m²). Not obvious for comfortable use in bright places, for example a park or a garden. Only consolation, the contrast ratio is satisfactory (1196: 1) and the IPS technology offers comfortable viewing angles, which TN technology does not yet present on some inexpensive models.
On the design side, the Fire 7 is still not celebrating with its black plastic case, very far from the superb tablets of Apple or Samsung, price forces. Amazon has however made a small effort since the Fire 7 is slightly thinner (0.96 against 1.06 cm) and lighter (280 against 313 g) than the previous model. In the end, the grip is not unpleasant and the finish rather correct.
A mediocre camera
Amazon has not improved the photo functions of its tablet either. The rear 2 megapixel sensor delivers poor quality shots, without detail, which become blurred when the light is lacking.
As for 720p videos, they suffer from tremors and a blatant lack of precision. So use it only if you really have nothing else on hand.
The verdict of the review
Amazon Fire 7 8 GB
An almost exact copy of the Fire launched in late 2015, the Fire 7 is not a revolutionary product – far from it, but continues to provide excellent value for money. Pleasant to use, it even pays for the luxury of offering significantly improved autonomy despite its thinner housing. However, you have to accept the Amazon environment and ignore Google services. For 10 euros more, we advise you to opt for the 16 GB model, especially if you plan to install a lot of applications.
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