Amazon Fire Phone Review
Fire Phone, Amazon’s first smart phone, was launched earlier this summer and it is exclusive to AT&T. I have been using the Fire for a while now and am still amazed by some innovative features on this smart phone.
Fire runs on Fire OS 3.5.x, an Android variant, has a 4.7” HD screen with gorilla glass front AND back panel for greater scratch resistance. The rubber polyurethane housing makes the device feels very sturdy and it gives some added protection when the user accidentally drops it. One thing the user will notice immediately is that the volume and camera buttons are on the left and it will take some time to get used to it.
There are a few great selling points of this device, the innovative dynamic perspective, fire fly, mayday on device support, unlimited cloud storage.
Dynamic Perspective is a fresh approach of bringing 3D effect/perspective to a smart phone. There are four sensors found on the front that is used to create the optical illusion. It interacts with how the user is moving or tilting the device. A great example is the auto scroll on webpages or when the user is reading a book in the Kindle app. Tilting the device down allows the text to scroll down and vice versa. I really like how various lock screens have the 3D effect and animation.
The name Amazon is synonymous with shopping and they have added a nifty feature to the Fire Phone called Firefly. Simply clicking on the camera button launches firefly. The user scans a product, poster and it will show the phone number, web address on your device. If the product is found, it will have a link to the Amazon store where you can purchase the product.
In addition to finding items, the user can also search for music, and even movie or shows. I used firefly to search for series like 24, person of interest and it is quite accurate with the results.
In my opinion, firefly is basically Shazam on steroids.
Amazon’s award winning customer support is also available on their first smart phone. The user can interact with a customer support agent in real time via video chat and take access over the device to troubleshoot or help the user with their inquiry.
Unlimited Cloud Storage
The user gets free and unlimited cloud storage for the full resolution images taken with the device. Many cloud storage can cost around $40 or higher per year.
Fire Phone comes with a bunch of built-in Amazon apps: Book (Kindle), Amazon Instant Video (Android exclusive), Amazon AppStore, Amazon Music, AudioBooks, Silk Browser and Shop. There are many titles on the Amazon Android App store and I noticed that a few high profile apps I use are not available.
I like the fact that the user can download movies, shows onto the device from Instant video for offline viewing.
Fire Phone has a 13 MP rear facing camera with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) which is found on many Nokia Lumia Windows Phone devices. OIS allows the user to take stunning pictures in low light conditions without the use of flash.
The user can take 1080p video using the front and rear camera, which is ideal especially when many devices have only 1080p video recording on their rear camera.
I believe the Fire Phone is a solid built device with many selling points: dynamic perspective, firefly, amazon prime video, music and unlimited cloud storage. App store has tons of apps but missing a handful of high profile apps (Square, HangOuts) that are available on Google Play store. Amazon will need to up the ante and try to attract developers to release high profile apps for their Android store.
I really like how dynamic perspective gives me a different way to interact with a mobile device. One-handed scroll is by far my favorite, because it eliminates the need for me to use my finger to scroll down or up when reading an article on the web browser or e-book.
It is a great device for a person who has their Kindle Fire and is looking for a new device. They would have the same user experience throughout their tablet and mobile phone.
You can watch my video review of the Amazon Fire Phone below:
For a limited time, Amazon is giving a free one-year Amazon Prime subscription a US $99 value. Amazon Prime gives you two day free shipping, watch unlimited movies and shows. Prime music is the latest feature that allows users to stream unlimited songs and access thousands of playlists. If you are already an Amazon Prime member, your subscription will be automatically extended for an additional year.
New Pricing and expanded international markets
Currently, AT&T is the exclusive US carrier for the Fire phone and it comes in two variants (32 GB and 64 GB) and it is free with AT&T Next plan. Prior to last week, the 32 GB variant was $199 but it can now be purchased for 99 cents with a qualifying contract. In addition to the price cut announcement, Amazon also expanded the availability of the Fire Phone to Germany and the UK and should be available for purchase very soon.