Amazon’s smallest and cheapest The tablet gets a much-needed upgrade in terms of design, speed, battery life and software, but with a price hike.
The 12th generation Fire 7 starts at £59.99 ($59.99) – £10 more than the last version – but still offers the most bang for the buck in the budget tablet market.
All of Amazon’s tablets have a tried-and-true formula: a simple, solid design, a reasonable quality screen, fast enough chips, and their own version of Android, with long-term support and offered for significantly less than their main competitors.
The new Fire 7 inherits the sleek, modern and slimmed-down design of the latest Fire HD 8 and HD 10 tablets. The 7-inch screen is better than it looks on paper, but it’s not HD and pales in comparison to the more expensive competition. It’s fine for casual TV shows and movies, but it doesn’t have an automatic brightness adjustment, so you’ll need to manually turn it off at night or turn it up in bright light.
The mono speaker sounds surprisingly good for private viewing, but it’s a little too quiet to beat cooking noise in the kitchen or the like. There’s a headphone jack on top for wired listening, but the tablet supports Bluetooth 5 and should work with any wireless headphones you have.
Screen: 7 inch (1024 x 600) LCD (171ppi)
Processor: 2 GHz quad-core
RAM: 2 GB of RAM
Storage: 16 GB; There is also a microSD slot
Operating system: Fire OS 8 based on Android 11
Camera: 2MP rear and front cameras
The connection: Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5, USB-C, headphones
Dimensions: 180.7 x 117.6 x 9.7 mm
Faster with longer battery life
The tablet has a new processor and more RAM, which is 30% faster than its predecessor. It’s still not what I would call fast, but the interface is responsive enough and videos load quickly. Apps can be a bit slow at times, but games run fine.
The base model has 16GB of storage – 9.5GB of which is available for apps and media – but it also has a microSD card slot to add more space for less.
Battery life is very good, at least 10 hours of video playback, which is certainly enough for a compact tablet, and three hours more than its predecessor. It charges very slowly, though, taking four hours to fully charge using the included 5W power adapter, and about 30 minutes faster using more powerful chargers.
Fire OS 8.3
The Fire 7 is Amazon’s first tablet to run a new and updated version of Fire OS, now based on the latest Android 11, which brings improved security and privacy options. It relies on Amazon’s App Store and services, without Google’s Play services and store. Amazon typically supports its tablets for longer than its lower-priced Android competitors, with at least several years of software and security updates.
The interface is similar to previous Fire OS versions, with a simple home screen for apps and media, a personalized “for you” section, and a “library” section with all your Kindle books, games, movies, and other media. In addition, it has built-in Alexa to control devices and answer questions.
Amazon’s App Store has most of the media consumption apps you want in the UK, but BT Sport, Paramount+, Google’s YouTube, Chrome and Maps, and Apple’s Music and TV are not available. Zoom, Skype and Alexa are available for video calling, and the store has a fairly large range of games, although most of them are rubbish. Note: Fortnite does not support Fire 7.
You need an Amazon account to use the tablet, and a Prime subscription that gives you access to Prime Video to really use it. Note that device encryption is not enabled out of the box, so I recommend turning it on when you turn it on to protect your data in case of theft.
Amazon doesn’t provide an expected battery life, but it should last at least 500 full charge cycles at 80% of its original capacity. The Fire 7 is largely repairable and contains 35% post-consumer recycled plastic. The company offers trade and recycling schemes and publishes information about its various sustainability efforts.
The price is
The Amazon Fire 7 costs £59.99 ($59.99) with lock screen ads and 16GB of storage, or £69.99 ($79.99) with 32GB. Removing ads from the lock screen costs an additional £10 ($15).
The kids’ edition of the Fire 7 costs £109.99, with a rugged case, two-year replacement warranty and a one-year subscription to Kids+, Amazon’s kid-friendly apps, games and media centre.
In comparison, the Fire HD 8 costs £89.99, the Fire HD 10 costs £149.99 and the Apple 10.2-inch iPad costs £319.
The Amazon Fire 7 is still the go-to tablet for simple browsing, reading, and media consumption tasks.
A refreshed, modern design, a faster chip, longer battery life and a newer version of Android are the updates. But it won’t make you happy, it doesn’t have Google, it lacks some apps, and it can’t beat the iPad.
But that’s not the point. It gets the job done for as little money as possible, with software that lasts longer than budget competitors at this price point. Despite the £10 price rise, the Fire 7 is still fantastic value at £60. It will appeal to anyone who wants to spend as little as possible on accessing the Internet and watching videos.
Advantages: solid battery life, microSD card slot, USB-C charging, headphone jacks, reasonable performance, very affordable price, Alexa integration, made from recycled plastic.
Disadvantages: screen only SD, poor cameras, slow charging, no Google Play or Apple apps, some apps not in Amazon App Store, requires Amazon Prime subscription to get the most out of it.