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Amazon Fire 7 Review: More Speed Makes it Better at the Basics

I've spent close to a week with Amazon's 2022 Fire 7 tablet to see just how well it performs.
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Update: Amazon is currently discounting the 2022 Fire 7 Tablet to $44.99, which is $15 off the $59.99 starting price.

Amazon’s Fire tablets have always screamed value, and the Fire 7 2022 continues belting that note. For $59.99, it keeps a similar plastic build with a -- you guessed it -- seven-inch screen and amps up the power. That means a faster experience when using it and longer runtime.

So is it worth the $10 price jump over the 2019 version? Does it still easily handle streaming, web browsing, reading, and video calls? I’ve been using it for several days as my primary consumption device to find out.

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A Simple, Plastic Design

The Fire 7 isn't a beauty. It's a no-frills tablet that, well, looks like a simple tablet. It comes in three colors -- Pink, Black, and Blue -- and is fairly comfortable to hold with just one hand. The back is smooth to the touch, and on the black model I've been using, there's a bit of a shine when the light hits it right. It's also a bit more than half a pound (0.62-pounds in total weight), so it won't weigh your wrist down.

The power button, volume controls, a USB-C port, and a headphone jack all live on the top when held vertically. There is a single speaker on the bottom left-hand side and a microSD card slot hidden behind a door on the top right. That external storage slot supports up to a 1TB card as well. Internally, you're limited to either 16GB or 32GB. When you switch to landscape, the speaker goes to the top, controls and ports are on the right, and the storage slot is on the bottom. It's plenty ergonomic and easy enough to get used to. Amazon  (AMZN)  also includes both a 5-watt power adapter and a USB-C cable in the box.

And let me applaud Amazon for ditching micro USB and swapping to the universal standard. Almost all of Apple's iPads use USB-C, sans the entry-level, and for a $59.99 tablet, it's pretty nice to see. Also, likely one less cable you need to remember to bring.

The front-facing camera is still just two megapixels and it is in a great spot! When held in landscape orientation, it's centered along the top bezel. This way, you won't appear off to one side when you're on a Zoom call or calling with Alexa. It's a reasonably decent camera as well, you won't find a ton of details captured, and it's not the best in low-lighting. But it's passable for calls.

The Amazon graphic engraved on the back and a similar two-megapixel camera in the corner are rounding out the design. There's no flash here, and we wouldn't recommend shooting with the Fire 7 as your primary device.

Better Performance, But Best for Streaming and Basic Tasks

So if you're after a tablet that can replace your laptop or even be a solid performer for gaming or going the extra mile, I wouldn't necessarily recommend the Fire 7. Yes, it's got a fancy new processor that improves things and stretches the battery, but it's ideal for content consumption and more basic tasks.

With the 2022 model, it's still running Amazon's custom version of Android dubbed FireOS. It'll look familiar to those who have used Android, but you won't find Google apps or the PlayStore here. It's a fully locked down version that works well if you live in the Amazon ecosystem. You can control smart home gadgets through a handy dashboard, ask Alexa for pretty much anything, stream from Prime Video or Prime Music, shop on Amazon, and even read an ebook.

The single speaker pushes out decent sound that can fill a tiny space. It doesn't offer a wide soundstage, but it gets the job done for simple sound with a stream.

And all of that happens pretty fluidly. It's not without hiccups, though -- I experienced applications taking a bit to open, a game slowing down, or even a bit of a scroll through the app library noticeably slows down.

The new for 2022 2.0GHz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM does improve a lot here. You can get by leaving a lot of applications open and can even play some games here. Roblox went well, but after a while did slow down a bit, and more basic games ran swell here. There's also a game mode that helps to keep these titles running smoothly -- basically giving priority to the RAM allocation and the processor to the game. Mileage will vary, but the overall performance is much closer to the Fire HD 8

Amazon Fire 7 2022

GeekBench 5 Single-Core

169 single-core

GeekBench 5 Multi-Core

582 multi-core

The main difference here is screen quality. The seven-inch screen here is good but not great. Colors look sharp and can get pretty vibrant, but it's definitely on the more basic end of the spectrum. Zooming in on text or an image can also lead to some blurring. It's fine for video streaming or even reading a book. Just remember it's only a 1024 x 600 resolution.

The big boost on the Fire 7 is ultimately from the processor and shows with the battery life. It quickly got me through several hours of gaming and browsing, but standby is seriously improved. I had the Fire 7 last a few days without losing much battery percentage as well.

It’s Great for Smart Home Control

One last thing: I love that hands-free Alexa is supported on the Fire 7. It’s basically like a portable smart speaker, well, a smart speaker with alright sound. But the main advantage here is that you can ask for things hand-free -- like the weather, a fun fact, a joke, to call or send someone a message, or even to control a smart home device.

The Fire 7 is quick to hear my voice, whether locked or unlocked, from a few feet away. It played interference well with an Echo Show 15 and 4th Gen Echo in my apartment, and Alexa was smart enough to know which device should handle the request.

Backed into the FireOS interface is a dedicated tab to open a smart home control window. It’s simple and shows all the connected smart home devices on your Amazon account.

Bottom Line

Amazon’s Fire 7 is still a simple, budget tablet that’s fit for enjoying content, web browsing, and some lighter games. For $10 more at $59.99, it’s not as cheap as it once was, and the only real change is a better processor. If you have a previous gen Fire 7 showing its age and want a faster experience, this would be an excellent model to upgrade.

If you want a better screen, opt for the Fire HD 8, and those after sharper visuals with more speed can look at the Fire HD 10. They’re only a bit more, and with Prime Day fast approaching, I’d expect them to see some discounts.

For $60, Amazon’s Fire 7 is a no-frills tablet experience that gets the basics right.

Prices are accurate and items in stock at time of publishing.