All-New Fire 7 Tablet with Alexa, 7" Display, 8 GB, Black - with Special Offers
- The next generation of our best-selling Fire tablet ever - now thinner, lighter, and with longer battery life and an improved display. More durable than the latest iPad.
- Beautiful 7" IPS display with higher contrast and sharper text, a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, and up to 8 hours of battery life. 8 or 16 GB of internal storage and a microSD slot for up to 256 GB of expandable storage.
- Now with Alexa, for quick access to the information and entertainment you want. Ask questions, play music, check your calendar, get the news, weather, and more - just press the home button and ask.
- Enjoy millions of movies, TV shows, songs, Kindle eBooks, apps and games - including Netflix, Facebook, HBO, Spotify, and more
- Prime members get unlimited access to over a thousand books and magazines, millions of songs, and thousands of movies and TV episodes - at no additional cost
- Watch downloaded videos anywhere with a Prime membership, Netflix plan, or Showtime subscription
- Enhance your entertainment experience with features you only get from Amazon, including ASAP, X-Ray, On Deck, Blue Shade, and FreeTime Parental Controls
Fast and responsive
The fast quad-core processor consists of four high-performance 1.3 GHz cores for quick app launches, smooth games and videos, and great overall performance. Plus, Fire 7 now offers dual-band Wi-Fi with support for more Wi-Fi networks and better network performance.
No more worrying about storage space
Expand your tablet’s storage by up to 256 GB using a microSD card to keep your photos, movies, and compatible apps and games with you. Plus enjoy free unlimited cloud storage for all your Amazon content and photos taken with your Fire tablet.
Capture life's moments
Fire 7 features a 2 MP rear-facing camera for taking photos or recording 720p HD video. The front-facing VGA camera is perfect for Skype calls with friends and family.
Crisp and vivid 7” IPS display
Fire 7 features a 1024 x 600 IPS display with 171 ppi for a bright display with vivid colors and whiter whites for a great viewing experience from all angles. Compared to the previous generation, Fire 7 features an improved display that provides higher contrast and sharper text.
Power when you need it
With up to 8 hours of mixed use battery life, Fire tablet gives you the flexibility to go wherever the day takes you.
Stands up to everyday life
Amazon engineers Fire tablets to hold up against everyday life. As measured in tumble tests, Fire 7 is more durable than the latest iPad and 2x more durable than iPad mini 4 (and costs a lot less too).
Adjust the backlight for nighttime reading with Blue Shade.
Choose from millions of Kindle eBook and magazine titles that you won't be able to find anywhere else. Over 1 million titles are priced at $2.99 or less. Or read as much as you want with a Kindle Unlimited subscription for just $9.99 a month. Connect with the largest online community of book lovers on Goodreads.
Read comfortably at night with Blue Shade, an exclusive Fire OS feature that automatically adjusts and optimizes the backlight for a more comfortable nighttime reading experience.
With millions of songs from thousands of artists, the Amazon Digital Music Store brings all your favorite music to your fingertips. Music you buy on your Fire tablet is saved to Your Music Library for free, and you can play or download it anytime.
Unlock more music with Amazon Music Unlimited, just $7.99 per month for Prime members ($9.99 per month for non-Prime members).
Audible offers more than 180,000 titles in audiobooks, including best sellers, romances, thrillers, and much more.
Enjoy all your favorite movies and TV shows on Amazon Video, Netflix, HBO NOW, Sling TV, and more. Discover hundreds of thousands of TV episodes and movies, plus fling Amazon Video content to your TV using Second Screen. Enhance your video experience with features you only get from Amazon, including On Deck for watching videos anywhere, ASAP for fast video streaming, and X-Ray to go behind the scenes of your favorite movies and TV shows while you watch.
Watch downloaded videos anywhere with a Prime membership, Netflix plan, or Showtime subscription—on a plane, on vacation, in the car, or wherever you don't have a wireless connection.
Fire tablets feature instant access to over 600,000 of the most popular free and best-selling games, social media, premium TV and movie provider apps, and so much more.
Choose from top titles including Candy Crush Saga, Township, Mobile Strike, and more.
Alexa on Fire tablets
Alexa provides quick access to the entertainment you want, including music, games, audiobooks, and more. You can also ask Alexa questions, check your calendar, get news, find sports scores, and even control your smart home. All you have to do is press and ask.
Whether you’re looking for your favorite playlist or need a quick joke, you can ask Alexa. Just press and ask for a song, artist or genre, and stream directly over Wi-Fi. Alexa also provides voice control for Amazon Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more.
One press. Millions of possibilities.
When connected to Wi-Fi simply press the home button for one second then ask. Alexa will respond to you and will even show visual responses to certain questions.
Voice control your smart home
Alexa works with devices such as lights, switches, thermostats, and more from SmartThings, Insteon, Nest, ecobee, and Wink. Switch on the lamp before getting out of bed, turn on the fan or change the temperature on your thermostat while reading in your favorite chair, or dim the lights from the couch to watch a movie—just press and ask.
Everyday made easier
Alexa on Fire tablets helps make every day easier. Just press and ask to set alarms and timers, check traffic, your calendar, to-do or shopping lists, and more. You can order millions of items with your voice, such as household and personal care products.
Now you can ask Alexa a question and get an immediate voice response. When you press and ask, Alexa can pull up your Flash Briefing, Wikipedia articles, news, sports scores, and more.
Compare Fire tablets
|Display||7"||8" HD||10.1" 1080p Full HD|
|Resolution||1024 x 600 (171 ppi)||1280 x 800 (189 ppi)||1920 x 1200 (224 ppi)|
|Storage||8 or 16 GB (expandable by up to 256 GB) + unlimited cloud storage for Amazon content||16 or 32 GB (expandable by up to 256 GB) + unlimited cloud storage for Amazon content||32 or 64 GB (expandable by up to 256 GB) + unlimited cloud storage for Amazon content|
|Battery Life||Up to 8 hours of reading, surfing the web, watching video, and listening to music||Up to 12 hours of reading, surfing the web, watching video, and listening to music||Up to 10 hours of reading, surfing the web, watching video, and listening to music|
|Audio||Mono speaker, built-in microphone||Dolby Atmos, dual stereo speakers, built-in microphone||Dolby Atmos, Dual stereo speakers, built-in microphone|
|Alexa Enabled||Yes, press and ask||Yes, press and ask||Yes, hands-free mode|
|Colors||Black, Marine Blue, Punch Red, Canary Yellow||Black, Marine Blue, Punch Red, Canary Yellow||Black, Marine Blue, Punch Red|
|Content||Access to millions of movies, TV episodes, songs, books, apps, games, and more||Access to millions of movies, TV episodes, songs, books, apps, games, and more||Access to millions of movies, TV episodes, songs, books, apps, games, and more|
|Warranty and Service||90-day limited warranty||90-day limited warranty||1-year limited warranty|
|Cover||Sold separately||Sold separately||Sold separately|
|Processor||Quad-core 1.3 GHz||Quad-core 1.3 GHz||Quad-core up to 1.8 GHz|
|Camera||VGA Front-facing camera + 2 MP rear-facing camera with 720p HD video recording||VGA Front-facing camera + 2 MP rear-facing camera with 720p HD video recording||VGA Front-facing camera + 2 MP rear-facing camera with 720p HD video recording|
|Connectivity||Dual-band a/b/g/n Wi-Fi||Dual-band a/b/g/n Wi-Fi||Dual-band a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi|
|Weight||10.4 oz (295 grams)||13 oz (369 grams)||17.7 oz (500 grams)|
|Dimensions||7.6" x 4.5" x 0.4" (192 mm x 115 mm x 9.6 mm)||8.4" x 5.0" x 0.4" (214 mm x 128 mm x 9.7 mm)||10.3" x 6.3" x 0.4" (262 mm x 159 mm x 9.8mm)|
|Customer Support||Screen Sharing + email, web, and phone||Screen Sharing + email, web, and phone||Screen Sharing + email, web, and phone|
Find the things you love easier
Fire OS is the best entertainment experience on a tablet with quick access to the things you do most. The home screen includes dedicated content pages for books, games, and apps, video, music, audiobooks, and Newsstand. Powered by Amazon’s recommendations engine, you can quickly browse new books, movies, TV shows, music, apps, and games.
Share content with Family Library
Family Library links your Amazon account to that of your spouse or partner so you can easily share apps, games, audiobooks, and books, and it now allows Prime members to share their Prime Video content. Access your family's content across devices—both Amazon devices and free Amazon apps for other platforms, including iOS and Android.
Enhance your viewing experience
With ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction), Amazon movies and TV episodes are ready for you to watch instantly. ASAP dynamically adapts to your viewing habits.
On Deck automatically downloads Prime Video (for Prime members) and the first episodes of Amazon Original Series while your device isn’t in use, ensuring that there is always something new to enjoy instantly, even when offline.
Integrated on-device tech support
Screen Sharing brings Mayday-powered customer service to Fire tablets. Simply call customer service and Amazon experts can connect to your Fire tablet to co-pilot through features by drawing on your screen, walking you through how to do something yourself, or doing it for you—whatever works best.
Access your entertainment across all devices
Whispersync remembers how much you've watched, read, or listened to so you can pick up right where you left off, no matter which device you are using. Plus, with every Fire tablet, you get free, unlimited cloud storage for all your Amazon content including unlimited storage on photos you've taken with your Fire tablet.
Try Prime free for a month
If you haven't tried Amazon Prime in the past, we'll give you a 30-day free trial. Experience what millions of members already enjoy—unlimited streaming of thousands of hit movies and TV episodes, ad-free access to over two million songs, over a thousand Kindle books, and Free Two-Day Shipping on millions of items. Learn more
Unlimited reading on any device
Prime Reading gives you unlimited access to over a thousand books, current magazines, comics, Kindle Singles, and more. With any device – including your phone, tablet, or Kindle – you can read however you want, whenever you want.
Stream thousands of movies and TV episodes with Prime Video
With Amazon Prime, members enjoy unlimited streaming of thousands of movies and TV episodes at no additional cost, including award-winning Amazon Original series like Transparent and The Grand Tour, and top HBO shows like True Blood, Girls, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
No Wi-Fi, no problem—Prime Video downloads
Exclusive to Prime members, download thousands of Prime Video movies and TV episodes. Watch downloaded videos anywhere—on a plane, on vacation, in the car, or wherever you don't have a wireless connection. Prime Video offers offline viewing at no additional cost.
Over 2 million songs free with Prime Music
Prime Music is a benefit of your Amazon Prime Membership, featuring a growing selection of over two million songs, always ad-free and on-demand. Unlock more music with Amazon Music Unlimited, just $7.99 per month for Prime members. Learn more about Unlimited
Add HBO, SHOWTIME and more to Prime
With Amazon Channels, Prime members can also subscribe to over 100 premium and specialty channels like HBO and SHOWTIME to add and stream—no cable or satellite subscription necessary. Prime members can subscribe to any or all of these channels with a free trial.
Designed with kids in mind
When kids use Amazon FreeTime, it's like they have their very own personalized tablet. The background color and fonts change to a kid-friendly design and they only see the titles that you give them access to.
Over 15,000 kid-friendly titles with FreeTime Unlimited
Amazon FreeTime Unlimited is the first-ever all-in-one subscription that brings together books, games, educational apps, movies, and TV shows—all the types of content that kids and parents love. From just $2.99 per month, enjoy unlimited access to content including titles from Disney, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street, PBS, and more.
Perfect for parents
Amazon FreeTime is built from the ground up to help give parents peace of mind when it comes to tablet use. Parents can create a profile for each of their children and choose which books, apps, games, and videos they want to give their kids access to. Amazon FreeTime is free on every Fire tablet.
Fire Kids Edition tablets also available
The Fire 7 Kids Edition and Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablets include the Fire tablet, 1-year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, a Kid-Proof Case, plus a 2-year worry-free guarantee. Kids get access to 15,000 popular apps and games, videos, books and educational content from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney, and more with one year of FreeTime Unlimited. Best-in-class parental controls allow you to manage usage limits, content access, and educational goals.
Limit screen time, so they don’t just play
With Amazon FreeTime, parents can set daily limits for tablet use, or restrict certain categories—like games and video—while leaving unlimited time for reading.
Made with premium fabric, our slim, form-fitting case designed by Amazon conveniently allows your Fire tablet to rest in either landscape or portrait orientation so you can enjoy your content hands-free.
Easy to attach and remove, the cases are integrated with a magnetic closure to ensure your cover stays shut while on the go, and automatically puts your Fire tablet to sleep when it is closed and wakes it upon opening.
Explore beyond our cases, and accessorize your device with a wide selection of memory cards, screen protectors, extended warranty services, and more. Learn more
Top customer reviews
I purchased both the 7" and 8" Fire models because I wanted to see how they compared, and I was curious how they performed. They are both shown in the video attached to this review. I will focus here on the 7" model, to try to help the potential buyer decide whether or not the more expensive 8" Fire tablet is worth the extra money (and if the 7" model is worth purchasing on its own merits).
I've given this 7" model a 4-star rating after further consideration and largely because of the very mediocre quality sound output (see detailed comments below). It is still a terrific bargain at the price, but I do want to be clear that it is not ideal for all uses.
- These new models represent minimal changes compared to the previous generation Fire tablets:
--- Same display specs as before (Amazon says the 7” model has an improved display), same processors (1.3 GHz quad-core but a newer model that is probably slightly faster in operation), same standard and available storage (7” 8 or 16 GB; 8” 16 or 32 GB)
--- New colors
--- the 8” model is $10 cheaper
--- the 7” model now has dual band wi-fi (previously single band wi-fi) for better connectivity
--- Kids edition now available for both models (previously only the 7” model). Note that the Kids edition is only sold with the higher storage (7” – 16 GB; 8” – 32 GB)
--- both models can use up to 256 GB microSDXC expansion storage (previously max 128 GB for 7”)
--- both models offer Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant at the touch of a button
--- both models are physically the same size as previously but slightly lighter – the 8” has lost 1 oz of weight, the 7” is 0.6 oz lighter
- BOTH 7” and 8” MODELS are suitable for:
--- web surfing using Amazon’s Silk browser
--- watching streaming movies or TV shows **
--- listening to music **
--- reading Kindle books (the 7” is roughly the same size as a Kindle)
--- playing games and other apps (within the limitation of Amazon's own ecosystem)
--- Kid use – both offer the ability to set up child accounts with restricted access
--- ** note comments below regarding sound quality and volume, particularly for the 7" model
- IN ADDITION, THE 8” FIRE HAS:
--- slightly larger and higher quality display (but I found both displays to be essentially equivalent in quality)
--- larger standard storage (16 GB vs 8 GB)
--- better sound – Dolby audio, stereo (7” has mono speaker) **
--- larger battery / longer life between charges (Amazon states up to 12 hours, vs up to 8 hrs for the 7”)
--- ** note comments below regarding sound quality and volume, particularly for the 7" model
- WHAT DON’T THEY DO AND WHAT ARE THEIR LIMITATIONS?
--- Neither model will display 1080p video
--- camera specs are poor compared to most current phone and higher priced tablets, so don’t expect high resolution photos
--- Sound quality and volume ability is a limitation - see next paragraph
--- With limited built in storage, they both rely upon the expansion slot to store larger amounts of photos, videos, or music. Responsiveness using memory from the expansion slot is not quite the same as with a tablet that has greater hard wired storage built-in
--- All Fire models are limited to using Amazon’s own Silk web browser, which is less flexible than the regular Chrome or Firefox browsers that can be used on regular Android or Apple tablets
- THE SOUND QUALITY AND MAXIMUM VOLUME CAPABILITY IS A WEAK POINT
--- Accepting the fact that these are very low cost tablets, they do offer the ability to listen to videos and music and so the built-in speakers will be relied upon by many users. In my opinion the most significant difference between these two Fire models, aside from the screen size, is the difference in sound quality. But I first want to say that neither model has the ability to provide much volume of sound, even at the very highest setting. This is a disappointment.
--- The 7" Fire has a single speaker located on the rear of the device, near the bottom. It is weak and produces a very low quality sound. Also, depending on how you are holding the tablet, or if you're using a case to hold it in landscape or portrait mode, the speaker could be covered and even further muffled.
--- The 8" HD Fire has better quality sound - two stereo speakers located on the side, positioned so that they will be at the top when the tablet is supported in landscape mode. It also has better sound processing ('Dolby Atmos'), and the sound quality is noticeably better than the 7". Still, the maximum volume capability is modest.
--- Bottom line - if you plan to use either model for listening to music or videos, then ear pods or headphones or an external speaker is probably going to be necessary in order to get satisfactory sound. Sound quality is not going to be something owners of these small Fire tablets will be bragging about.
- MY IMPRESSIONS OF BOTH MODELS AND HOW THEY COMPARE
I purchased both models and illustrate them side by side in my video. They’re obviously very similar in feel and appearance, and the quality is excellent. I also like the matching Amazon cases that protect the screen when not in use and prop the tablet in either landscape or portrait orientation to make it easy to set it on a table to read or watch videos. The cases work exactly the same for both sizes.
The display is the most obvious difference – not only size, but the slightly greater display content and resolution. At least that is what the Amazon specs suggest, but to my eyes they are both pretty much the same. I did find that the 7" model seemed to have a slightly brighter display, and the 'whiteness' of the display also seemed to be better.
The other difference I wanted to evaluate was the sound quality, since the 7" model has only a single speaker and the 8" model has two (stereo) speakers with Dolby sound processing. For anyone using this tablet for watching videos or listening to music, I thought that would be an important difference.
What I found, as also mentioned elsewhere in this review and with respect to the sound quality, was that the limited volume ability of the built-in speakers makes ear pods or headphones or the use of an external speaker almost mandatory. If those considerations are acceptable, then the higher price of the 8" model is probably well worthwhile for users who will use the table very much to listen to music or videos.
For reading Kindle books or those who prefer the smaller and lighter size, the 7” model is just great (either model is fine, really).
By comparison, the latest small iPad mini has a 7.0” display and is roughly between the 7” and 8” Fire tablets in size (width and height), quite a bit thinner, and about the same weight as the 7” Fire. It’s considerably more powerful and has 128 GB storage standard, but think about it – you can purchase eight 7” Fire tablets for the price of a single iPad mini today! That is really a striking difference.
These two models are the 7th generation Amazon Fire tablet – the first generation was introduced in November, 2011 as the Kindle Fire, offering the same screen size and resolution but a considerably less powerful processor, and selling for $199. Along the way they’ve offered models of various sizes and specifications, and for a short time (generations 3 and 4) their Fire models included the more sophisticated (and expensive) Fire HDX model that may have been intended to be a more direct competitor to Apple’s iPad.
Then, in September 2015, Amazon introduced the $49.99 Fire 7, and since that time it seems that they’ve been happy to offer these bargain priced tablets that do everything that most people really need on a day-to-day basis. They make great Kids tablets, too, particularly the ‘Kids Edition’ models that come with the more protective case and 2-year replacement guarantee, just in case your kid drops it in the, ah, swimming pool or some such!
The standard warranty for both Fire models is a short 90-days. Longer warranties - 1, 2 or 3 years - are available at extra cost ($10.99, $14.99, $16.99 respectively). Compared to most devices this is a very short standard warranty.
Both Fire models have a 2 MP rear-facing 'HD' camera, and a 'VGA' front-facing 0.3 MP camera. These are very mediocre cameras compared to just about any smart phone or tablet currently available and anyone wanting to take photos or videos with their tablet is not going to be satisfied with the quality that can be obtained from these Fire models, but they do suffice if all you want is to take a photo to make a visual note of something for future reference.
Both fire models include a 5W wall charger and a VERY SHORT USB cable (just over 3 ft long).
As with pretty much all Amazon Fire and Kindle models these days, you can purchase either of these tablets either with or without ‘special offers’. The $15 difference in price eliminates the ads that show when the screen is locked (but disappear when unlocked).
For anyone who wants a smaller and lighter weight tablet, these Fire models have become the logical choice. The prices are now so low that they can be a casual purchase for many people, not quite disposable but something easy to pass on when the next new model comes out.
I will continue to add more details here as I use these tablets more and have thoughts and comments to share.
It turns out that the $49.95 Fire 7 version released two years ago didn't have an IPS screen.
Now it does.
Technically, both the old one and this new one are just 171 ppi (pixels per inch) but this one seems much "crisper" than the first generation "$49-er".
My eyes don't lie. IPS makes the screen a lot crisper!
There's also a stunning improvement in color quality with the new screen. Now it holds its own with the 62% color gamut original iPad Mini; before, it wasn't anywhere near.
Mind you it's not current Apple screen quality, or current high-end Samsung screen quality - but what is? It's only $49.95, and it's good enough. Heck, at $49.95, its MORE than "good enough", it's great. It blows away just about any entry level consumer laptop screen, that's for sure.
I pulled out my 2015 first-gen, $49.95 Fire 7 - the one this replaces - and placed it side by side with this new one. The colors (including a horrific green tint on white backgrounds) on the old one weren't video-worthy - ok for casual videos on Facebook and YouTube, maybe, but not good enough for Netflixing and Amazon Prime.
This new one, though? It's movie-worthy, especially with earphones (ok, ONLY with earphones). I'd prefer 720p over the Fire 7's 600p (600p is better than 480p DVD's, but not ask good as even entry-level - 720p - HDTV quality), but overall even at 600p it's eminently watchable.
By the way, for me streaming video content on Amazon Prime Instant Video has been noticeably sharper than streaming YouTube. I think Amazon Prime adapts to 600p (max for this tablet) while YouTube is is probably delivering only 480p (remember YouTube's defaults are 360p/480p/720p and up).
So the short-and-sweet advice is try this out on your favorite video sources when you get it, and make sure you are getting the video quality you want; also, use Netflix's Fast dot com web site to check your internet download speeds. If they aren't high, even Amazon Prime won't be able to deliver sharp video.
Tip: due to the limited 1gb of onboard RAM, try not to multi-task for zippy performance. After my Fire OS updates were completed (which slows down everything while they are downloading), there was no lag in ANY app, so long as I wasn't background running another app (like music).
Tip: there's only one really usable brightness setting, and that's all the way up. This is not a screen with "extra" brightness in reserve. The best tablet experience with this is setting the brightness level to "11."
Tip: if you don't have a spare lying around, order this with at least a 16gb Class 10/UH1 micro SD card (I like Samsung Evo Select currently under $15 for 32gb). Go into Settings (or follow the alert that pops up) and have apps and content default store to the micro SD card - Amazon now allows downloaded videos and books to go there, making the 8gb model very usable. At just $49.95 and with the ability to download both Netflix and Amazon Prime movies and TV, you shouldn't fly without this.
Tip: there's only $10 difference between the 16gb version of this new Fire 7, and the entry level of the brand new 2017 Fire HD 8 - which already comes with 16gb, PLUS 1.5 gb RAM vs. 1gb on the Fire 7, PLUS actual HD video quality (720p). So for a mere $10 more you get a whole lot more.
Of course if you can live with 8gb storage - I have my tricks! - nothing beats $49.95.
Tip: GREAT for kids since Amazon says it survives drops better than even an iPad Mini, AND Amazon has the best kid control settings in the business. $49.95 vs. a couple hundred dollars counts for a LOT too. BUT Apple continues to rule the roost in terms of maximum number of education and game apps for kids.
Tip: the speaker IS adequate especially if you cup your hands behind it to reflect the sound forward. BUT you are better served by a budget AmazonBasics Bluetooth speaker, or by earphones. The AmazonBasics won't sound THAT much better, but it WILL be easier to hear and easier to hold the tablet; with earphones, you'll think the tablet cost several hundred dollars! (That's thanks to the magic earphones work vs. tiny built in speakers on ANY tablet.)
Tip: screen resolution is about the same as the entry-level Amazon Kindle E-reader, so apart from the E-reader's unparalleled ability to deal with bright sunlight without washing out the screen, you are probably better off with this more versatile $49.95 Fire 7 table than the $59.95 (current sale price) E-reader.
Tip: "blue light control" saves your sleeping if you Kindle read a lot; just select the option from the swipe-down menu on the home screen.
KUDOS: really compact, useful, and safe charger (it's Amazon, not mystery-sourced). It only puts out 5 watts (some phone chargers on low-end phones actually put out less!) but it's plenty for the modest battery in this $49.95 tablet. It seems very well built, works with the other phones and tablets I have (both Apple and Android), and the cable (detachable) that comes with it feels really solid and sturdy. Nothing flimsy or fly by night here.
CAVEAT: You do know this won't run classic Google apps or Apple apps (like Music), right? (Yeah some users "hack" it do do so, but I'm talking about the rest of us.) This limitation is just Amazon going it's own way. Fire OS is a legal "clone" of Android 5.1.1, a solid Android release, with Amazon "skinning" (putting its own book cover on) the usual Android home screen etc.. Amazon has been very good about security and version updates with Fire OS, BUT I and many others long for the day, hopefully not too far in the future, when Amazon bites the bullet and releases regular Android on an Amazon tablet. And, btw, when that day comes, I hope it's still $49.95, but gets a bump to 720p. What a sales success that would be! (And by all accounts Amazon ALREADY has huge sales success with Fire tablets.)
KUDOS: Alexa! You have to hold the button though, it's not always listening like a standalone Alexa speaker.
This is 5 star if you don't care about Google and are a big Amazon fan, 3 star if you love Google apps and think Amazon turns the Fire line into "all Amazon shopping, all the time" sales tool, and for me about 4.5 star based on its price, build quality, and durability. A good $49.95 tablet is now great thanks to the IPS addition to the screen!