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Amazon Fire Phone Review, A Dynamic Perspective

by Hot HardwareAugust 28, 2014
Bold. That’s the word that comes to mind when we consider Amazon’s Fire Phone. In a world where precious little has happened in the smartphone space over the past few years, at least in terms of groundbreaking innovation, Amazon’s entrance provides all the spark you need to sit up and pay attention. These days, a major OEM doesn’t just enter the smartphone space. Apple and Samsung have dominated market share and profits for years, squeezing BlackBerry out almost entirely and putting HTC on life support. Nokia, meanwhile, is stutter-stepping as Microsoft begins a massive series of layoffs that’ll no doubt impact the future of Lumia going forward.

So what’s Amazon, predominantly an online e-tailer, doing jumping into this Lion’s den of a market space? The Fire Phone is the company’s first foray into the cutthroat world of handsets, but it’s far from its first rodeo in mobile hardware. The company has seen terrific success in the e-reader world with its famed Kindle line, and it has even garnered mainstream respect with its well-priced Kindle Fire tablets. Smartphones, however, are different. The lines in the sand have been drawn, and the new Fire Phone runs a forked version of Android that looks and feels almost nothing like the version you’d see on any other flagship Android phone. In fact, Amazon refers to it as Fire OS.


Before we dive into what makes the phone so different from a usage and software standpoint, let’s look at what’s inside the device with a quick spec rundown, as well as our hands-on video review…

Amazon Fire Phone
Specifications & Features
Processor 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
Memory 2GB RAM
32GB or 64GB
Size & Weight 5.5 (H) x 2.6 (W) x 0.35 (D) inches
5.64 ounces
Display 4.7-inch LCD (1280 x 720)
OS Android-based “Fire OS” 3.5.1
SIM Card Type Nano-SIM
Network GSM Frequencies: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, UMTS, WCDMA, HSDPA, HSUPA

LTE Bands: 1 [2100], 3 [1800], 4 [1700 / 2100], 5 [850], 7 [2600], 17 [700], 20 [800]

Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
Bluetooth 3.0
micro-USB 2.0

GPS (A-GPS), Compass, Cellular Location
Software Features Firefly Product Recognition, Mayday Onboard Support, “Dynamic Perspective” UI
Camera 13 Megapixel Rear-Facing Autofocus Camera with five-element wide aperture f/2.0 lens
2.1 Megapixel Front-Facing Camera
Dynamic Perspective sensor system with invisible infrared illumination, gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, barometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor
Battery 2,400 mAh; Talk time: up to 22 hours; standby time: up to 285 hours. Video playback: up to 11 hours; audio playback: up to 65 hours.
Price $0 to $199 on contract, $649 unlocked (AT&T exclusive currently)

Clearly a mid-range Android phone dressed in a completely unique user experience is going to face headwinds in the market. Despite consumers barking for differentiation, the masses continue to buy new iPhones and Galaxy phones to replace older versions of the same families. Is Amazon’s Fire Phone different enough to break the cycle? Let’s find out in the pages ahead.

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