Product Amazon Fire tablet
Specifications 7in IPS display at 1024x600 resolution and 171ppi, 1.3GHz quad-core processor with 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, FireOS based on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, one microUSB port, one microSD slot (up to 128GB), WiFi (802.11b/g/n), 191x115x10.6mm, 313g
THE HIGHER END of the tablet market is moving towards sprawling, extravagant productivity slates (see the current rumble going on between the iPad Pro and Surface Pro 4) but Amazon has instead looked downwards, serving up the latest Fire tablet, a £50, 7in device designed mainly with entertainment in mind.
Fifty quid for a fully-featured tablet? You'd need a heart of granite to not at least have a look at it. The bad news is that we have had a look at it, and as wallet-friendly as it may be it's not exactly a wondrous sight.
This is certainly among the chunkier tablets we've tested at 191x115x10.6mm, although the rounded rear edges make it reasonably comfortable to hold as does the 313g weight, which is only a few grams more than the slimline Asus ZenPad S 8. It's lighter in our hands than expected, in any case.
Less surprising is the use of extremely basic, matte plastic for the rear cover. There's no way that this utilitarian, frankly boring look could help the Fire tablet pass for a premium device but it does have its perks, namely an impressive durability. The thick plastic is difficult to bend or flex and acquired only a tiny bit of scuffing from several days of being lugged around in a satchel and suitcase. We also dropped it on the floor, quite intentionally, and found no trace of the impact.
Likewise, the glass display proved admirably scratch-resistant, although it picks up fingerprints at an alarming rate. The big, black bezels are a bit tacky-looking, but this is a common design problem at the very bottom end.
A microUSB port and microSD slot are included as standard, which is fine, but don't expect to add a SIM card as well. This is a strictly WiFi-only device.
The Fire tablet's 7in 1024x600 display looks like a relic from the past. It's not even HD, and a dreadful 171ppi ensures that text and images lack the definition that even other budget slates like the Tesco Hudl 2 can muster. Video playback fares the worst from this, as what would normally be sharp HD movies appear blurry and dull.
Colour balance is decent, at least. Some blacks look more like greys but reds, blues and greens are all sufficiently vibrant, and clear whites aid the Fire tablet's e-reader credentials by providing a clean background for the text.
The fact that this is an IPS screen also means it can boast some wide viewing angles, provided it isn't pointed towards any sort of bright light. This is an immensely reflective piece of glass, and trying to hold the slate in such a way that it didn't create a mirror image of nearby lamps can be a big pain.
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