Amazon Hearth 7 (2019) evaluation: Nonetheless primary however unbeatable worth
The Amazon Hearth 7 pill is the right instance of what makes Amazon such a tricky firm to compete with. As a product, it’s nothing particular but it surely’s so keenly priced that no different producer can come near matching its mixture of options for the cash. Any aggressive product they might theoretically make could be produced at a loss.
The brand new mannequin, which Amazon is looking, merely, the Hearth 7 (ninth technology) continues this pattern. It’s extremely low cost and conservatively designed, but it surely does the job effectively.
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Amazon Hearth 7 (ninth technology) evaluation: What you must know
As we’ve seen beforehand, this new mannequin doesn’t add a lot to Amazon’s tried and examined design. The plastic chassis has equivalent measurements to 2017’s Hearth 7 pill and it has the identical dimension and backbone display screen at 7in and 1,024 x 600.
Just like the final mannequin, this new Hearth 7 has two fixed-focus cameras – one on the entrance and one on the rear – plus a microSD card slot, a single speaker and a three.5mm headphone jack. As with all of Amazon’s homebrew tablets, it runs Amazon’s personal software program (based mostly on Android) and app retailer, provides customers direct entry to Amazon’s music, video, book and procuring companies however restricts entry to Google Play.
What’s totally different about this mannequin, nonetheless, is that it has full, hands-free Alexa compatibility, additional storage and is available in new colors.
Amazon Hearth 7 (2019) evaluation: Value and competitors
The Amazon Hearth 7’s most alluring side stays that £50 asking worth. Whereas the pill itself is primary, there’s nonetheless nothing else within the pill market that comes near Amazon’s worth proposition.
The £50 pill isn’t the one mannequin out there, although. There are two variants of the , one with 16GB of storage, the opposite with 32GB of storage (£60) and, as ever, you’ll be able to do away with the intrusive lockscreen adverts by paying an additional tenner on high of that.
It’s telling that the Amazon Hearth 7’s closest rival is the Amazon Hearth HD eight, which has a sharper show, extra RAM and higher audio system however prices significantly extra at £80.
Amazon Hearth 7 (ninth technology): Options and design
It is a low cost pill, so that you shouldn’t expect luxurious finishes and supplies, however the Hearth 7 stays a well-made, robust-feeling product. The matte-plastic casing and show really feel properly made and the entire thing is strong sufficient to take fairly a little bit of abuse.
I do know that is true. One among my youngsters has been chucking an Amazon Hearth 7 round (fairly actually) for a few years now and it’s nonetheless going sturdy. Certain, there are a couple of cracks operating throughout the display screen – due to a reasonably abrupt encounter with a metallic mattress body – but it surely nonetheless works it nonetheless appears to be like fairly tidy. The three new colors – plum, sage and twilight blue – are a little bit of an odd selection, although. They’re extra muted than the same old shiny hues Amazon favours and received’t enchantment fairly as a lot to youngsters.
So far as core options go, nothing has modified and, because the years cross, the Hearth 7 is trying more and more dated. The 1,024 x 600 decision IPS display screen appears to be like fuzzy and pixelated by fashionable requirements, the broad black bezels are ugly and the 2MP fixed-focus cameras are practical at greatest. It’s additionally excessive time that Amazon moved on from the micro USB charging port, which severely limits charging speeds.
Nonetheless, the pill does, on the very least, have twice as a lot storage now than it used to, which isn’t an improve to be sniffed at. The outdated pill’s 8GB of area was too small to carry something greater than a small handful of apps and my daughter is continually having to uninstall apps to make room for brand spanking new ones. The 16GB is much extra beneficiant and, don’t neglect, there’s additionally a 32GB mannequin for a mere £10 extra, plus you’ll be able to improve through microSD as much as an extra 512GB.
Amazon Hearth 7 (2019) evaluation: Alexa assist
The Alexa assist is the large new characteristic with this mannequin however, simply to be clear, it’s nothing new on the subject of Amazon’s Hearth tablets. With the earlier replace to the Hearth 7, Amazon was additionally boasting about its Alexa features and the Hearth HD eight and Hearth HD 10 each have Alexa baked in as effectively.
So what on Earth is Amazon happening about right here? The distinction is in how the 2019 mannequin helps Amazon’s digital butler: Alexa is now fully hands-free, which suggests you not have to carry down a button on the display screen to speak to your good assistant. This pill is, successfully, a slimline good speaker.
As with Amazon’s 8in and 10in Hearth HD tablets, it’s a perform that works reasonably effectively. You get added visuals with sure requests (like “what’s the climate?”) and suggestions that assist customers discover ways to use Alexa. It’s a terrific introduction to the know-how.
Don’t anticipate it to carry out precisely like a full-blown Echo speaker, nonetheless. The microphones aren’t as delicate, for a begin. Step away from the pill a bit too far, add a little bit of background noise into the equation and your pleas for Alexa’s consideration will fall on deaf ears.
Except for this, Alexa on the Hearth 7 is simply as totally featured as it’s on the Echo audio system, with no restrictions on options reminiscent of calling, messaging or drop-in. And one bonus is that, when the pill is utilized in the identical room as one other Echo speaker with the identical wake phrase (usually, “Alexa”), just one machine will reply.
Clunkily-dubbed “Pill ESP Behaviour”, this characteristic needs to be enabled within the pill’s settings but it surely labored effectively once I examined it, handing off playback duties robotically to my Echo Present 2 within the kitchen when the 2 units had been in the identical room.
Amazon Hearth 7 (ninth technology) evaluation: Efficiency and battery life
Regardless of the newly improved Alexa assist, core efficiency hasn’t moved on too considerably. Beneath its chunky, plastic pores and skin, the Amazon Hearth 7 is endowed (though that’s most likely too sturdy a phrase) with a 1.32GHz quad-core MediaTek MT8163 processor, backed by a meagre 1GB of RAM.
This is similar chip Amazon makes use of in its Hearth HD eight pill however with half a gigabyte much less reminiscence. Suffice it to say, this isn’t a very responsive or fast mixture of parts. However, hey, it does the job for watching YouTube and Netflix and searching the online. You may play informal video games on it, too, with out feeling overly annoyed, and studying ebooks is, clearly, effectively throughout the Hearth 7’s capabilities.
Listed below are a couple of benchmark figures, although, simply to set issues in context. Oh, and only a fast observe: the rationale for the superior efficiency within the onscreen GFXBench take a look at is that the Hearth 7 has a a lot decrease decision show than the Hearth HD eight. In any other case, the scores could be just about the identical.
In different phrases, the efficiency is okay – it’s a bit quicker than the earlier mannequin and affords across the identical efficiency because the bigger, HD eight and HD 10 fashions. The frustration is that with even low cost smartphones now proving slicker and extra responsive experiences, it feels as if that is one thing we shouldn’t need to put up with at any worth. Apps ceaselessly take an age to load on the Hearth 7 and tapping on-screen switches and buttons can really feel disappointingly sluggish.
Likewise, battery life is underwhelming. I’ve had some hassle operating our battery benchmark, which suggests I can’t report an actual determine proper now however I do know will probably be wanting eight-and-a-half hours, which is way lower than the double figures each the Hearth HD eight and HD 10 achieved.
Amazon Hearth 7 (2019) evaluation: Verdict
If I’m sincere, I’m a tiny bit upset with the Amazon Hearth 7 with Alexa (ninth technology, 2019). I’m upset that it isn’t just a bit extra highly effective and I’m not notably proud of the battery life, both.
However, hey, it’s not as if Amazon is asking some huge cash for this pill. Let me reiterate: this can be a product that prices, in its least expensive kind, a mere £50 – and that worth hasn’t modified for years. Regardless of this, Amazon has nonetheless discovered room within the manufacturing finances to enhance it barely, with double the storage, a barely quicker processor, new Alexa options and the identical tight integration with Amazon’s companies.
With all that taken into consideration, it’s onerous to be too detrimental. Mood your expectations and also you’ll be completely proud of the Amazon Hearth 7 – it’s the very definition of low cost and cheerful.