Display: 7-inch 1024x600 LCD Touch
CPU: 2GHz quad-core
Storage: 16GB, 32GB
Ports: 1 USB-C, 1 microSD slot, 1 Headphone port
Size: 7.11 x 4.63 x 0.38 inches
Weight: 9.9 ounces
Amazon has never been known for the sleekest or most stylish gadgets around, but the retail giant sure knows how to make affordable devices for the masses. Take the latest 2022 revision of the Fire 7 tablet: Amazon’s entry-level tablet costs just $60 for the base configuration, or less than one-fifth the price of the base 10.2”-inch Apple iPad.
As you might expect, such dramatic cost savings comes with massive caveats. The Fire 7 is seriously sluggish throughout and has a dull, fuzzy display, plus it’s locked to Amazon’s own ecosystem—no official Google apps or Play Store in sight.
Still, if cost is your primary consideration and you want a portable screen for watching videos, surfing the web, and staying in touch with friends, the price is absolutely right… so long as you have some patience while using the thing.
Amazon Fire 7 (2022) review: Price and configurations
- It starts at $60 with 16GB storage and lock screen ads.
- You can double the storage for another $20, and skip the ads for $15 extra.
The base model Amazon Fire 7 (2022) tablet sells for $60 and comes with 16GB of internal storage, while a version with 32GB of storage sells for $80. Both are otherwise identical in terms of specs, packing the same quad-core 2GHz processor, 2GB RAM, and 7-inch touch display, among other features.
At those base prices, the Fire 7 comes with Amazon’s familiar “special offers” equipped—that is, lock screen ads. You can pay $15 more per edition—so, $75 or $95—to get a tablet without lock screen ads, or otherwise pay the same amount at any point in the future to remove them.
My review unit did not display lock screen ads, but having viewed them on other Amazon tablets in the past, I’ve generally found them to be unobtrusive. They don’t slow down the experience, and it’s somewhat akin to picking up a magazine and having to flip through ads before you get to the content. In this case, though, it’s the entryway to your tablet.
Amazon Fire 7 (2022) review: Design
- The Fire 7 is slim and lightweight, and easy to tote around.
- It has plastic backing and a significant bezel around the display.
As mentioned, Amazon’s tablets don’t have the sleek, alluring design of Apple’s iPad and other similarly premium portable devices—but the Fire 7 is solidly refined for a $60 device. It’s slim and lightweight, weighing in at less than 10 ounces with 7.11 x 4.63 x 0.38-inch footprint.
True, it’s thin plastic on the back instead of metal on some pricier rivals, but the Fire 7 is nicely contoured and doesn’t feel especially cheap or flimsy. In other words, it’s not lavish by any means, but the Fire 7 looks and feels more polished than expected at this price.
It’s a little curvier than the previous 2019 edition, but the silhouette isn’t dramatically changed. I reviewed the version with a Rose-colored backing, but there are also Denim and Black options available.
You do get a fair amount of bezel around the screen, however, making the Fire 7 feel larger than perhaps it needs to be. But that’s less a complaint than purely an observation: I found it easy to tote this lil’ thing around and even pop it in my back pocket when walking around.
Amazon has switched to a USB-C port this time around, moving up from microUSB on the last Fire 7 model to match the current standard for most tablets.
Amazon Fire 7 (2022) review: Display
- The Fire 7 has a relatively low-resolution display at 1024x600, or 171 ppi.
- It’s also not a very vibrant screen.
Here’s the first of a couple notable pain points for the Amazon Fire 7, however, and it’s no real surprise: the 7-inch LCD touch panel is fuzzier than most these days, plus it’s not very vibrant.
At a mere 1024x600 resolution, the Fire 7 packs in just 171 pixels per inch (ppi), falling well below the base model 10.2-inch Apple iPad (2160x1620, or 264 ppi) as well as the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 (2000x1200, or 224 ppi). Amazon’s Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 models also both pack sharper displays, as hinted by their names.
Look, a 600p panel isn’t the end of the world at the 7” size, but it results in fuzzy-looking text and images, which impacts the viewing experience. It’s generally less noticeable when watching video or playing 3D games, so it might bother some users more than others, but there’s a strong chance that your smartphone’s screen is significantly crisper than this one.
At times, the bigger issue is that the LCD screen is simply dull. Like the previous model, this Fire 7’s colors can look washed out at times, and there’s just not a lot of range to it. Our lab tests backed that up, with just under 67% of the sRGB color gamut on display, and 47% of the DCI-P3 space. It puts up a flatter image than I’d hoped for.
In fact, I thought the display was dim at first, but my eyes deceived me—our brightness test measured a surprising 421 nits at the center, which is far more than I expected at a glance. Viewing angles are a bit limited, too, as any view other than dead-on tends to lose clarity.
Amazon Fire 7 (2022) review: Performance
- The Fire 7 is very slow in loading apps and services.
- It’s also not a very capable gaming device.
Unfortunately, performance is the other big issue. Sluggishness absolutely defines the Fire 7 experience, top to bottom, often adding lengthy waits as you attempt to do just about anything.
Apps and games are often incredibly slow to load, and sometimes don’t get there. I’ve had multiple instances of apps—like Netflix, Asphalt 9: Legends, and even Amazon Music—try and try to load something and seemingly just get stuck, sometimes crashing in the process.
Most of the time, the apps eventually worked as intended, but with longer-than-usual waits. Angry Birds 2, for example, plays relatively smoothly once the level loads. But getting there takes a long while. Also, the tablet often gets bogged down when returning from sleep, especially if it has to try and reload a resource-intensive app or game.
Amazon bumped this model’s quad-core processor from 1.3GHz the last time around to 2GHz, and even doubled the RAM from 1GB to 2GB, but the end result isn’t anywhere near good enough to handle even basic everyday demands. That’s the trade-off for a $60 tablet, and you’ll need patience to deal with the frequent delays.
Expectedly, it’s spotty on gaming. Simpler games do OK here, like Angry Birds or Subway Surfers, aside from the slow loading times. For a visually-intensive racing game, Asphalt 9 ran sturdier than anticipated, but still encountered major performance hits during crashes and other big events. Roblox games, on the other hand, were widely hit-or-miss in terms of performance.
Note that in addition to the 16GB and 32GB internal storage options, there’s also a microSD slot that accommodates cards up to 1TB in size. That’s a great benefit, especially since microSD cards are pretty affordable. For example, you can typically grab a 128GB microSD card for less than the $20 difference between the 16GB and 32GB models.
Amazon Fire 7 (2022) review: Audio
- Audio playback isn’t great—use headphones if you can.
There’s just a tiny speaker grate here—six holes on the top when held in landscape mode—and expectedly, the output isn’t great. It gets pretty loud, but music and other audio gets very muffled at the higher levels.
It’s fine for games, web browsing, and casual video watching, but I highly recommend plugging in headphones for consuming media and music.
Amazon Fire 7 (2022) review: Battery life
- Battery life is pretty solid, but it recharges slowly.
Amazon claims that the Fire 7 can deliver up to 10 hours of battery life, and that’s true under the right circumstances. In fact, we beat that time with our battery rundown test, in which the tablet continually surfs the web at a dim 150 nits. We registered nearly 10:55 on that test, although the tablet automatically kicked in a low power mode near the end of the run.
At full brightness, you’ll still get very solid uptime for a small tablet. I had the Fire 7 run through hours of Netflix and YouTube videos at max brightness, and it stayed alive for more than seven hours. That’s a fair target for mixed usage too, in terms of media, web browsing, and other apps, although 3D games can drain it even faster.
Unfortunately, it’s a slow charger—the Fire 7 only picked up 8% of charge in 15 minutes and 15% in 30 minutes, so it’ll take a few hours to top up once it’s drained.
Amazon Fire 7 (2022) review: Cameras
- They’re poor cameras, through and through.
You get a pair of 2-megapixel cameras on the Fire 7, one on each side, and neither pumps out particularly detailed or balanced shots. Even in strong outdoor lighting, shots from the main (rear) camera were consistently muddy, while selfie shots were either washed out or had an odd orangish glow to them.
And indoors, with less robust lighting on tap, the Fire 7 typically delivered noisy, blurry results. Nothing the Fire 7 gave me was Instagram-worthy, but again, none of this is surprising at the $60 price. It can give you tolerable video for Skype and other video chat apps with decent lighting, but don’t count on snagging any still shots worth saving.
Amazon Fire 7 (2022) review: Software
- Many major apps and games are available, but not nearly as many as on iOS or Android.
The Fire 7 is built on Android—but it’s Amazon’s flavor of Android, which is still pretty clunky after all these years. Beyond this particular tablet’s performance issues, the interface isn’t very smooth or appealing, and it often took a couple extra steps to find the app, tool, or content that I was hunting for.
And because it’s Amazon’s own fork of Android, you don’t get official Google apps here, which is a definite drag. Amazon’s Silk browser is adequate, but doesn’t provide the speed or refinement of Chrome, plus there’s no official Gmail, YouTube, or Google Maps apps. It’s so strange to see Google knockoffs in an app marketplace in 2022.
Likewise, with no access to Google’s Play Store, you’re not going to get the same level of access to premier apps and games as on most Android devices. But a lot of the heavy hitters are here, like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ for video, Spotify for music, Facebook apps and TikTok, and big games like Minecraft, Roblox, and Candy Crush Saga.
Amazon’s Echo voice assistant is baked in, too, and you can choose whether or not to have it listen out for your commands even when the screen is off. Weirdly, however, I routinely encountered error messages when using Alexa, even when connected to Wi-Fi.
Amazon Fire 7 (2022) review: Verdict
Despite some sizable complaints, it’s still amazing that you can get a functional tablet for $60. The Fire 7 won’t be for everyone, and if you already have a high-end smartphone, then a slightly larger tablet that’s slow and clunky probably won’t appeal.
But if you’re looking for a super-affordable tablet for watching streaming video on trips or on your commute, or another way to tap into social media and casual web browsing, then the Fire 7 can meet those budget-conscious needs. Steer clear if you put performance over price, though.