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Review: Amazon Fire Phone for AT&T

Form Performance Basics Extras Wrap-Up Comments  1  

Screen

Above, I said the Fire Phone is about the same size as other devices that have five-inch screens. The Fire Phone's screen doesn't measure five inches, though; it measures 4.7 inches. It doesn't offer full HD resolution either, as it is limited to 720p. What's striking to me is how much larger the Fire Phone is than the Moto X, which also has a 4.7-inch 720pp screen. The Fire Phone's screen looks decent, but it doesn't quite measure up to today's full-HD displays. Despite that, on-screen elements look crisp enough and pixels are hard to see. Colors look good and viewing angles are excellent. There's no color drop-off or brightness loss when the phone is tilted side to side. Outdoor viewing is quite good. I had no trouble seeing the screen outside in direct sunlight even with fingerprints smeared everywhere. But the same money buys you more real estate and twice as many pixels on today's leading phones.

Signal

The Fire Phone runs just fine on AT&T's LTE 4G network. It performed on par with other devices I've tested around the metro NYC region. It held on to a signal all the time and never lost contact with AT&T. I didn't have any problems connecting calls on the first dial and the phone didn't drop any calls. Data speeds were generally good. I noticed a slight slow down in weak coverage areas, but peaks never matched those of competing devices, such as the Galaxy S5 or G3.

Sound

Phone calls fare well on the Fire. The earpiece produces clean sound that I found easy to hear in all but the noisiest environments. Calls were crackle-free. Only espresso machines and heavy construction equipment overpowered the earpiece when it was set all the way up. Quality and volume both dip a bit when calls are routed to the speakerphone, but not terribly so. I'd say the speakerphone is adequate for holding conversations in any quiet room or office and perhaps in cars. The speakerphone is a wee bit thin sounding and can't quite deliver clean voices. Those with whom I conversed through the Fire said I sounded "fine" and "normal." Ringers and alert tones are not the loudest I've heard, but I was able to hear the phone pretty much all the time in my house. The vibrate alert should get your attention every time it buzzes.

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Battery

I'd rate the battery life as below average. Most modern LTE 4G phones are capable of delivering a full day of use, even with large, high-def screens. The Fire consistently conked out at about the 12-hour mark, and sometimes sooner. That means it lasted, on average, from 7AM to 7PM most days with normal use. That's not quite good enough, especially if you plan to head out for the evening after a long day at school or work. The battery issue is compounded by the lack of replacement batteries. I'd suggest you pick up a spare phone charger or battery pack and keep them handy.

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