Compact tablets are a rare sight these days. A few years back, the market was flooded with a variety of devices from different manufacturers, and brands like Samsung, Apple, Motorola, Blackberry, and even Google all cashed in on the compact tablet craze. Fast-forward to today, however, and all that remains standing is Apple’s iPad Mini line of devices, but even their latest 6th-generation tablet comes at a considerable price.
There is an alternative for cash-conscious consumers, though. Amazon still sells its Fire 7 Tablet (the same model from 2019), which is one of its most affordable devices at the moment. It’s part of their Fire series of tablets, which includes the Fire 8 HD, and Fire 10 HD. It’s no spec-beast compared to the iPad Mini, but the price tag arguably makes it a tempting offer. Is it worth your cash though? Let’s take a look.
Design and Specifications
The Fire 7 Tablet contains some very basic specs. The tablet features a 7-inch IPS display with a pretty basic 1024x600p resolution, and inside the tablet you’ll find a Mediatek chipset, paired with 1GB of RAM and the choice of either 16 or 32GB of onboard storage. There are 2-megapixel cameras on both the front and back, and this whole set-up runs on a battery that, according to Amazon, can last up to 7 hours of mixed usage. There’s also room for a 3.5mm headphone jack, as well as a microSD card slot.
When it comes to looks, the Fire Tablet has a very minimalist style, and all around the device, you’ll find a matte plastic coating. It comes in a variety of different colors, and it does feature rather large bezels around the display, all the more obvious when compared to other compact tablets like the Lenovo Tab M7 and the iPad Mini.
Obviously, the display isn’t the sharpest and brightest out there, but it still gets the job done if all you want to do is catch up on your Kindle library, do a bit of web browsing and maybe watch some Netflix or Amazon Prime videos. Overall, it’s a compact device that gives you a screen with access to the internet and streaming apps, and that pretty much sums up the core strengths of this tablet.
Software and Performance
Since it’s an Amazon-branded device, it doesn’t exactly run on Android as a lot of people might be familiar with. The tablet runs a rather old version of Android 7, but it’s visually tailored and customized to give you direct access to all of Amazon’s software services and ecosystem. Instead of the Playstore and other Google service apps, you get the Amazon Appstore, Alexa, Kindle, as well as a bunch of other Amazon apps. One disadvantage is that the Amazon Appstore lacks some software that can only be found on Google’s own app store – there is a workaround for this, but one that may void your warranty as it requires some extra software and tinkering.
As far as performance is concerned, the low-end chipset and 1GB of RAM on the tablet will be sufficient for a lot of basic tasks – once again we have to remember that this is an entry-level device with a focus on media consumption and maybe some basic gaming thrown in every once in a while. It’s not particularly fast, and scrolling through the UI and different app menus will feel slower if you’re coming from a more expensive device. And if you’re planning to use this tablet for games, it’s best if you stick to simpler puzzle games – no one’s gonna be running Genshin Impact on the Fire Tablet anytime soon.
Battery and Camera
Battery life is decent. I’ve noticed that the tablet can sit on standby for around a week before needing to charge again, but you should keep your charger nearby if you plan to use this very often. It can last for around 5-6 hours in my experience, but games do tend to take a chunk off the battery life. I do wish that we got USB-C charging on here, but again, the entire point of this tablet is to give potential buyers an affordable device, at the cost of certain features.
Remember the cameras we mentioned earlier? They are very basic. If you have a phone, it’s best to stick to that device for taking photos and video, especially if you plan to upload them to social media or send them to other people. You can maybe use the tablet for video calls, but apart from that it’s really not meant to be used as a main camera for daily situations.
So Should You Get It?
In closing, the affordable price means that the Fire 7 Tablet will definitely have performance limitations. If all you need is a basic tablet for media consumption, entertainment and a casual game every now and then, then this might be suitable for you. The solid construction, availability, and pricing will make this a nice piece of tech for little kids, or someone who just needs an inexpensive entertainment device. Keep in mind that it also come with ads, so you have to pay a bit of extra if you wanna get rid of the ads altogether.
However, power-users and enthusiasts might want to avoid this though, and spend a bit more for Apple’s compact 6th-Generation iPad Mini, or Samsung’s Galaxy Tablets, which have much nicer designs and better software features. But for the bare essentials, the Amazon Fire 7 Tablet is here for your consideration.