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Review: Amazon Fire Phone for AT&T

Form Performance Basics Extras Wrap-Up Comments  1  

Jul 29, 2014, 3:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman
updated Aug 5, 2014, 8:44 AM

Amazon's Fire Phone is a curious animal. It has a few neat tricks up its sleeves, but the Fire Phone is not for everyone. Phone Scoop's deep dive gives you all the info you need to see if it is the phone for you.

Is It Your Type?

The Amazon Fire Phone is only for two types of people: those who absolutely love Amazon (and, by default, shopping), and those who want something entirely different from Android, iOS, or Windows Phone. If you're not one of these two types, stay away; the Fire Phone is not for you.

Body

The Amazon Fire phone is about the same size and shape as most smartphones with screens measuring near five inches. It's heavy, somewhat blocky, but not wholly unattractive. As far as black slabs go, I've seen much worse. Amazon did manage to make some quizzical design choices, but they are what make the Fire Phone look unique.

The Fire is made of two glass slabs that sandwich a polycarbonate frame. The glass is glossy, the frame is matte. The glass is somewhat slippery and prone to smudging, while the frame's matte finish lends it some grip. The phone feels well made and of high quality. Everything is put together tightly.

The Fire is oblong thanks to hefty bezels above and below the screen. They give the Fire Phone a bit of an odd look. It is narrow enough to easily wrap my hands around, but I wish it weren't quite so chunky. The device should fit into most pockets without issue.

What perhaps stands out most on the Fire Phone's face are four obvious sensors located in the four corners. They’re the cameras to aid the Dynamic Perspective user interface (more on that later). There's also a slit in the glass for the earpiece speaker, the standard user-facing camera, and a home button below the screen. The button protrudes from the front surface, making it easy to find. It offers excellent travel and feedback. The front surface is a really busy place. I wish the four Dynamic Perspective sensors were hidden to reduce the design clutter. They also contribute to the phone's interesting proportions.

 

Body

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

Thanks to the polycarbonate frame, the Fire has a nasty-feeling rim around both the front and back surfaces. You get double skin-biting action on this bad boy. Granted, the rim is to protect the glass surfaces, but I found it grating to my hand.

Most controls are located along the left edge of the phone. The volume toggle is nearest the top, followed by a dedicated camera/Firefly button, and tray for the SIM card. The buttons are great. They are easy to find, have a pleasing shape, and function perfectly. There's a screen lock/power button on top, and it has the same solid design characteristics. The top also houses a stereo headphone jack and one of the stereo speakers. The other speaker is located on the bottom, as is the microUSB port. The stereo speakers mean you can get good sound when holding the phone sideways.

The back cover is not removable, which means there's no battery swapping. The Fire Phone does not support memory cards, so you're stuck with the internal storage, which thankfully starts at 32 GB.

The Fire Phone's hardware is definitely functional, and almost looks good.

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Something new? carlosmangaka Jul 30, 2014, 6:52 AM
 
 
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