Amazon's Fire 7 Tablet - a basic tablet for basic needs

get the pun play?  Amazon Basics... basic tablet?

Someone got it.

But I'm not wrong, this is a very basic tablet running at just $80CDN.  However, with the summer mode on and lots of provinces having Stay-cation tax credits, there's a hopeful return of the road trip, and if you're road tripping, you don't need a powerful device to read a book or let a kid entertain themselves with some movies, or even if you're stopping at a campsite for a couple days, you may not want to bring your flagship device out in and amongst the s'mores and ants and whatnot.

$80 starts to sound pretty attractive for those scenarios.

Let's dive into the Amazon Fire 7 Tablet.

So, let's take a peak at what you get for this price:

  • 7" @ 1024x600
  • Quadcore processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB storage + microSD (1TB max) [for $20 more you can double this]
  • 2MP front and back camera
  • 10 hour battery
  • Headphone jack
  • Amazon influenced Android 

So, even on paper it's really looking underpowered.  It is what it is, but let's get through it.

First up, going around the device you see that the back has a nice rubberized texture, indicating that this is something to be held on to and not slip, that's nice.  Then the orientation of the whole thing throws me.

I see that the power buttons are, if in a landscape mode are on the right hand side.  We have them all along one edge; power, volume, USB-C and a headphone jack.  Now I know this is the orientation as the camera is at the top of the long side.

The speaker output is at the top left now (usually it points down) and then the microSD slot is on the bottom right.

I don't know what it is, but every time I pick it up, I feel like I've got the wrong way up.

Now, let's turn it on, and this is where my 'privilege' really shows as I have no other way to get in but to use the PIN.  No fingerprint sensor, no facial recognition.  EVERY TIME you want in, you've gotta use a PIN.

And now that I'm in I see where Amazon has really taken over.  The set up is only with Amazon account properties.

There's no real homescreen to speak of, just an iPhone like myriad of apps.

For a devout Android user, even the occasional iPhone use, this is hardly 'familiar'.  All the Amazon apps look the same but one's video, one's music... not a lot of diversity in the iconography there.

But to want to get apps... you'll go into the Appstore, but that's only going to be whatever people have loaded into the Amazon version... which is pretty limited. 

Most importantly - no Youtube.  No Gmail... nothing Google.  I've read reviews where people complain about the limited appstore.

Maybe I just need to be more in the Amazon realm... like their Alexas or home automation.

But, maybe I can just use the browser and build shortcuts to what I like, right?  

In here we have a 'Silk browser', and if you thought the browser version of an app was slower than the app, this browser is even slower.

Let alone that with only 16GB of storage, you don't have a lot of space at all to be installing a few games.

Essentially, if you're into Amazon, then you'll be into this device.  To be honest, for me it's a fancier version of a Kindle eReader that could do other things if you needed to.

Overall, it's a slow device, with basic display and a limited app list... but it's only $80, so compare that to a mid range tablet at 3 to 4x that cost... so it's a matter of sacrifice.  Can you live with a slower device to save the money, or do you want this to do more - so it's worth it to spend extra.