Type “Amazon Fire Tablet” into Google and you get an endless list of reviews. One will say Amazon’s new tablet is “an incredible value” for $50, while the next will argue that it “performs quite poorly”. So what’s going on here, exactly? There are plenty of budget tablets out there, and usually, par for the course means giving up on either perfect resolution, or some other compromise, so the cheap price makes sense. Amazon likes to reassess its series of Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets on a yearly basis, figuring out what tech needs to be tweaked while keeping the price as low as possible. The new Amazon Fire is not just another upgrade, but is “pretty much the cheapest tablet money can buy” (from a big name manufacturer), as Engadget put it. Sure, it’s understandable why the skeptics are pointing out its shortcomings, but this tablet from Amazon does not, by any means, suck.
First and foremost, if you care a lot about screen resolution, you may be a bit disappointed at the Fire’s non HD display (sporting just 1024 x 600 pixels is VERY 5 years ago). I won’t go on about this, except for the fact that its weak contrast and glare make it a bad outdoor tablet, so keep that in mind. There’s also little in the way of design beauty, which is really okay for most. The Fire tablet sports a simple sheet of glass on the front, a rather large black bezel, and textured black plastic back. It’s plain as can be, and can feel a little clunky at 0.4 inches and 0.7 pounds for a 7-inch tablet (Tablet PC Review).
Other specs include a micro SD card slot for up to 128GB of storage, a headphone jack, micro USB socket, 5GB of storage, and 1GB of RAM; all powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek processor, and a Mali 450 GPU. Let’s just trust the experts here and agree that this really isn’t a bad list. In fact, Ars Technica reports that with day-to-day use, you know, playing around on apps, checking emails and such, the MediaTek chip works “admirably”. So, good news on that front. You can’t even complain about the battery life, which is a 2,980mAh battery rated for up to 7 hours of usage.
So, other than display and a bulky plastic design, why are we supposed to hate the new Amazon Fire tablet? The design is basic enough to please a huge chunk of the consumer population, not to mention children who just love throwing around a tablet all day. I will not hide the bad reviews regarding audio output from the Fire’s speakers (when put at high volume). Nor will I leave out the fact that its front-facing camera only has 2 whole megapixels to work with (Engadget). But think for a minute, aren’t most $50 tablets usually pretty lousy, generic Android-run, plastic pieces of crap? Oh yes, that’s right, they usually are. At least Amazon is here trying to change that, and is more or less getting it right by showing that half a hundred bucks can sure as heck buy you a decent machine.
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