Amazon Kindle Fire 7 Review

After I wrote my review of the Fire HD 10 two weeks ago, a reader emailed to ask if it would be better to get the $50 Fire 7, since it is, well, only $50 and the Fire HD 10 is $150.

That is a fair question, so my answer is below!

Basically, the Fire 7 is a $50 basic tablet, but it’s a pretty good $50 basic tablet.

PROS:

-Price. That’s the biggest one. That means you can use it in public or while traveling, and if it’s broken or lost or stolen, losing $50 is bad, but it’s not as bad as losing, say, a $499 iPad Pro. Amazon also tends to put it on sale for $30 around Christmas and Prime Day in the summer.

-Size. It’s not a big tablet, and it’s not heavy. (Amazon says it weights 10.4 ounces without a case.) You wouldn’t notice the extra weight in a backpack or a purse, and if your coat has big enough pockets, you can tuck it in there. Again, that’s really handy while travelling or in public.

-The expansion slot. You can put a micro SDHC card of up to 256 GB into the slot, which means you can load a lot of local content onto the Fire. That really comes in handy if you’re going to use it away from the Wi-Fi. You could load it up with an entire season of a TV show and watch it on the train or the plane or whatever.

-The screen is nice. It’s only got 1024×600 resolution, but on a 7 inch screen, that’s not terrible. I think that works out to around 171 pixels per inch.

-It does make a good ebook reader. It’s easier to navigate a big ebook library on a tablet than an eInk device (especially if you, say, have a lot of “Moeller” books that you have scroll past), and the screen is nice enough to use for reading without strain.

-You can use Amazon’s voice-controlled Alexa assistant by holding down the home button.

CONS:

-The speaker is…all right. It’s not great, but it’s not terrible. It’s just got the one speaker, so no stereo sound. Fortunately, it has an earphone jack, and Bluetooth for wireless speakers or headphones.

-It’s not painfully slow, but it’s not snappy, either. The Fire 7 has only 1 gigabyte of RAM, so bigger applications take a while to load.

-The cameras aren’t great, but I don’t think anyone ever bought a Fire tablet for its cameras.

-Like all the Fire tablets, the Fire 7 has lock screen ads. This doesn’t bother me, but many users find it intolerably annoying.

CONCLUSION:

I wouldn’t want to use the Fire 7 as my main tablet if I could afford something better, but it makes an excellent supplemental tablet. I have one, and I use it while travelling or when in public. For $50 (or $30 if you catch a sale) it really is an excellent entertainment device. It’s at its best when watching videos, listening to music, or reading ebooks.