Amazon Fire Phone: Unboxing & Review

by birtanpublished on May 4, 2021

Hey guys Mike here the Detroit Borg with a look at Amazon's fire phone so this is Amazon's for a smartphone this joins their tablets and the Amazon fire TV for a complete hardware lineup directly from Amazon which is pushing their services this is running Android by the heavily fork version called fire OS 3.5 again very similar to the tablets now this is powered by a Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.2 gig roots that's quad core and then we have an adrenal 330 GPU we also have 2 gigs of ram we come standard with 32 gigs of storage and 64 gigs is available this does not have expandable storage so pick the capacity

You want when you buy the phone now this also has a 13 megapixel rear facing camera and a 2.1 megapixel front-facing camera now talking about that display 4.7 inches 720p that's good for 312 pixels per inch now amazon says this is one of the brightest screens out there with 519 it so we're going to take a look at that so not a really high resolution display but it sounds like quality is pretty good now the fire phone has to stand up features dynamic perspective which is part of their 3d interface it actually has a bunch of cameras on the front of the phone which

Tracks your face and it uses gyroscopes and other sensors to track motion so it's able to generate a 3d interface using those features and we're going to demonstrate that in this video and then we have Firefly which is Amazon's platform for searching for items using photographs or sound so let's go and take a look now of course Amazon does sell some case accessories including this natural leather case which is kind of a hardshell case so we're going to explore that briefly in this video all right so let's go ahead unbox this thing just have to push this through here you

Can see we have this little sleeve he's got that red and black coloring kind of nice alright so we have our box here we should have a little tab here to cut all right so let's just lift the lid here so as you can see here there we have our phone you can see our fire branding on the inside of the box let's go ahead and pull up this tab here so there is our foam which is kind of a standard size 4.7 inches pretty standard here we're going to set that aside for just a moment so we can clear the contents here so we have some paperwork which tells us a little bit about the buttons and ports

And where we stick the cable as you can see here it's available in English and Spanish I think yep and then we have our accessories down below here so inside we should have a microUSB charging cable there we go pretty standard stuff and then we have a compartment which should contain some other accessories which includes a set of tangle free earphones and we also have our power adapter which is included here so there we go our Amazon branded travel charger which is quite nice here you can see it's matte finish on the top

Velocity finish on the side and our folding prongs pretty nice and of course you have your USB port on the side here and then we have our tangle free headphones this little tab here to pull there we go let's pull these out push these through so there you go we have that tangle free flat cable sometimes called a spaghetti cable this does include a remote control and microphone so you can see your volume up volume down and our select button in the center we also have our headphones and these are in your headphones you can see they're kind of similar in design to

Apple's ear pods and they are magnetic so they fastened to each other magnetically in fact if you look closely at them you can see that the left and right indicators are actually convex and concave so they fit together nicely alright so let's get to the phone itself wrapped in plastic here just going to pull this tab just slide right out hopefully or not there you go first impression right away is that this looks a lot like a nexus 4 or maybe even the iPhone 4 with that glass back panel this is Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on the front and back so it's pretty scratch

Resistant pretty shatter resistant so it's a little more durable than you would think alright so let's go ahead and boot this phone up for the first time as you can see it's quite reflective tap and hold the power button at the top and then we'll do a complete Hardware tour and explore all the features you can see our boot animation which is kind of nice so this is powered by an adrenal 330 processor which is being put to good use here with all the 3d animation alright so we only have two language options here so we're going to select

English click Next we're going to skip this run out I'm going to install the sim card later we're going to select our times because I do not have a SIM card installed yet there we go and then we have to connect to Wi-Fi so I'm going to log into my local Wi-Fi network now very similar to the Kindle this phone has already been set up for my account so I didn't have to log into my Amazon account it's just asking me if I am this person so we're going to click Next and we're going to enable location services enable backup features and we

Can sign into our social networks I'm going to skip that for now and then we're going to go through a little tutorial here so from the start so as you can see here with this little tutorial which explore some of the features including dynamic perspective so we can click Next alright so let's take a look at the design of the fire phone so this is a 4.7 inch LCD display which again is very bright 519 it's so you can swipe up here to unlock the device and we'll explore the interface in just a bit as you can see here we have a home button up top we have our

Earpiece next to that is the 2.1 megapixel front-facing camera now at all four corners of the phone you'll find these low powered cameras which are there to detect the presence of your face and in fact these work in conjunction with some mapping sensors so if you look closely in the shadow of the bezel you'll find these I are mapping sensors which are there to map the presence of your face the camera picks up the light and changes the user interface accordingly so it's kind of an interesting technology but of course it does add quite a bit of clutter visual

Clutter to the front of the phone now toward the bottom you'll find the slightly raised home button and that's the only button you'll find here no off screen Android light controls just a simple home button now on the left hand side you have your volume rocker as well as your dedicated camera key and Firefly key which I'll demonstrate when they look at the software we also have our sim tray this is a nano SIM it does include a AT&T SIM when you buy this device because again this is an ATT exclusive now at the top of the phone you find your sleep wake power button

Along with one of the stereo speakers so this does give you scary Oh in landscape orientation and then we have our headphone jack now at the bottom will find our micro USB 2.0 charging and data syncing port along with our microphone which is right here at the mouth piece and the other stereo speaker and we also have our screws here to fasten it together now on the edge of the phone you'll find the soft touch or material which adds to the grip ability of the phone and gives some shock and impact protection to the edge of the phone to protect the glass and

Again as you can see here with this nice glass panel on the back which looks pretty sharp you have your Amazon logo emblazoned in the center top you have an LED flash it's a single LED flash with your 13 megapixel camera which does support optical image stabilization optical image stabilization is built-in but it doesn't support 4k video recording just 1080p we also have our microphone right next to it now just to give you some idea the size comparison between the other popular 4.7 inch phone or the soon-to-be popular 4.7 inch iPhone 6 you can see that they're fairly

Similar in size they got the same overall footprint that you have the same 4.7 inch screen but the iPhone 6 is indeed much thinner and it's made out of metal versus glass and rubber but again very interesting designs overall alright so it's going to take a look at the user interface and the first thing you see on the lockscreen is the 3d animated wallpaper or dynamic perspective wallpaper whatever you want to call it it's kind of neat it's tracking the orientation based on my face so as I move it around it's see it's basically giving me the impression

I'm looking through the phone into the scene so it's kind of nice and these are changeable there's quite a variety of them to pick from and I'll explore that in a bit but you can swipe down to get to your drop down notification shape so you can see your notifications just like you would on an Android you can swipe down to expand them and you can swipe to dismiss them or access them you can see we also have these quick setting toggles up here so we have a flashlight which is very handy Bluetooth Wi-Fi and airplane mode so not a whole lot up here you can also see access to syncing so you can

Sync your phone you can jump to your sand you can jump to Mayday or you can jump to search now if you go to search takes you to a search which is platform it searches the entire device or searches the web so for example if I on the search Amazon so I can see my stuff and I can see the web or I can see the store so you can see search is just a drop away now maybe is a feature that basically gives you a live assistant they can't see you but you can see them and they talk to you so if you have a question they can control your phone and that sort of thing it's a really neat

Feature that's also available on their tablets now to unlock we just swipe up it takes us to this home screen which consists of Amazon's familiar carousel design so anything you've recently accessed will appear first and again it's all chronological so you just swipe through them now that 3d dynamic perspective effect is used across everything so you can see it on the home screen here with these icons the icons are dimensional you can also swipe up to get to your after work so you can see the dock up here this allows you to edit the dock so

For example if you want to change one of the icons up here just drag and drop it now you have to have four icons up here so it will automatically replace one with the other so you pretty much have to drag and drop what you want up here to replace what you don't want I think one of the most interesting aspects to this user interface design is the fact that they kind of act like a live widget so you can see all your information below it so you can see all your messages under messaging you can see well you can see some albums that are available to purchase under music or you

Can see your existing albums you can see your magazines that sort of thing so you just have pon them it wakes up the app and takes you to wherever you want to go in this case it's taken me to the newsstand to buy additional issues now to go back you swipe up so the back gesture is actually a swipe up gesture now this dynamic perspective effect is used in a variety of ways not just for animating objects so for example when you pitch the phone to the left you can see it wakes up some of your information up here so you can see the clock you can see the battery wireless status that

Sort of thing so again you move it off to the left here it wakes all that information up otherwise it gives you a full cleaner looking display now you can disable it so if you always want to see that information available instead of always having to use that sort of gesture to wake it up you can now if you go into for example the photo gallery here let me zoom out here if you pitch the phone again to the left or right you can see it wakes up to more information so I can see the duration of this video up here you can also see the date of those albums so again if I move it

Towards Center all the information goes away move it off to the left wakes up now you can swipe in from the left to get to the left column in this case on the home screen it takes you to popular features such as your App Store games web Music web is the browser music videos photos ebooks newsstand audiobooks Doc's shop and Amazon Prime so for example this takes you to the App Store you can also swipe in from the right edge to get to more information now this is all contextually based so for example on the home screen I get my weather and today's events and other

Information here I can also use a flick gesture to hide this or activate it so for example if I want to hide this just flick it to the right if I want to bring it up flick it to the left hide it again and to bring up the left column just do the same gesture now this column idea can be used in a variety of ways so for example when you're in the messaging or email app if you swipe to the right here you get to the option to and photograph so for example you want to add a photograph to a message and send it it's pretty easy to do so in

This case so essentially these are your option panels on the right-hand and left-hand side now what you don't have here unfortunately is recent apps so there is no recent apps launcher on the fire phone instead you just basically have to find the app by going to the carousel and selecting it and since they're in chronological order perhaps it's not as important that you don't have recent apps launched here now the after also displays what's on cloud or what's on device so I can see what I have previously purchased from the Amazon App Store you can see that a lot

Of these were purchased on my Kindles and I can transfer them to my device by just selecting them now from this carousel if I tap and hold on one of these items I have the option to remove from the carousel or remove from the device so let's go ahead and remove from the device and that will uninstall it and again if I want to reiax s it just go to cloud and select AccuWeather and it will download it for me again and reinstall on my device now if you press and hold the home button XE get you to a voice assistant what's the weather like today sorry so as you can see here this

Is a very limited voice assistant it's not like Google now it's not like Siri it's actually very similar to voice control but even more limited than that you can make calls you can send messages you can send emails or search the web so I can say search the web for Amazon now the interesting thing here is that the default search engine is Bing there is not a choice to select Google so Bing is the only search option available for silk now we have another gesture to look at here and that is scrolling so again it's using dynamic perspective to aid in scrolling so I have to do is move the

Device up and down so you can start scrolling through it kind of in a natural way you can see it doesn't go crazy when you pitch the device is pretty well controlled here so actually like it you have a lot of variability in terms of how fast you want it to scroll it works kind of nice but I have found that sometimes it activates when I don't want it to so be kind of nice to have a quick toggle to stop this feature so for example when you're laying the bed you put the device down to move or something automatically start scrolling and you lose your place

So that is the drawback of this feature now if you press the volume button you get to your volume control so for example you have your slider here or you can go to vibrate silent or just silent for three hours or turn your ringer back on now perhaps the biggest feature here is Firefly so as you can see here when you bring up the Firefly icon on the carousel you can see my previous searches right below it and if I tap and hold the camera' button along the side it also activates Firefly so Firefly can do a number of things it can scan for music it can scan for TVs or movies or

It can scan for physical objects bar codes QR codes and that sort of thing so if I activate the Firefly feature the camera automatically activates and starts searching for objects that it can recognize so for example I have this Galaxy Tab s in order for it to recognize I actually have to wake up the screen here and that's because it's searching the Amazon store using its existing library of photographs so down here you can see that it's founded in fact I can swipe up here to see my previous history but I can tap on the island here I can see that's available

On Amazon so I can go ahead and tap on it it takes me exactly to the right model Tab s 8.4 inch 16 gig and that sort of thing so I can buy it right from the store now we can also search your bar codes from packages so for example this SD card here automatically finds the barcode highlights it takes me to the exact item I'm looking for here and I can go right to Amazon to buy it of course also works great with media such as books and DVDs here and it finds it right away down here you can see it's available in the video store I can shop on Amazon I

Can look it up via IMDB because Amazon does own that property and I can share it I can view the original photo send feedback or delete from history so I can go to shop Amazon to find that exact item now admittedly it's not always reliable it took me a while to find examples that would actually work so for example with this tablet here if I just look at the back here Samsung Galaxy Tab as back you can see it doesn't recognize it at all it keeps searching keep scanning you can see those little animations around the tablet and it's not finding

At some point it will tell me that it can't find the item so I actually had to flip it around wake up the display and because it has this image in it's a library of items it actually found it now if I fall I can also identify texts such as websites phone numbers and email addresses so for example I have this website down here printed on a spec sheet I'm using to refer to in this review so I have to do to bring it up on my phone is a la Firefly it to find it as you can see it's highlighted it and down here it's given me the option to open it so I can go ahead and open it in

The silk browser and it launches the website for me now Firefly is a platform so apps can take advantage of it in fact you can browse apps that can take advantage of it so for example you see iHeartRadio Flixster calorie counter StubHub & trove news now you can plug your Google count into this device and for example when you add your email account you have the option to sync your calendar so for example we can go to my accounts we can go to manage email accounts so you can see here I've already added three email accounts including two of my Gmail accounts so if

I go to this here you can see I can sink my calendar and my contacts and so that means that I have my Google Calendar and my contacts already loaded on my phone which is very handy so in the email client I can pull to refresh I can swipe in from the right to see my various inboxes and also swipe from the right edge to see my attached documents I also have all my contacts here so I can see all my contacts that have been synced from Google and you can also search them as well under the calendar again very familiar interface here so you can tap on a day to see the event you can also

See the calendar view or the list view like so again this all syncs to your Google account if you prefer now I also have maps which is using here maps instead of Bing or Google Maps and this is pretty familiar stuff I mean you have traffic and navigation satellite you have various options you can add bookmarks or locations that you want you can search for locations to navigate to so for example if I want to do Apple Store I can search Apple Store on Big Beaver Road and Troy I can select this for navigation so use my career location I can get directions here now

Let's have a weather app so you can see your current location and conditions including the time line you can swipe in from the edge to see your future forecasts and swipe in from the left edge to add additional locations you also have instant video so once again this does come with one year of Amazon Prime free with the purchase of this device you do have Amazon Instant Video so for example it sees my TV shows it sees HBO on Prime instant video recently added two TV primes you can see lots of things that you can download I'm just going to go with let's go with this

One here so you can see I started watching an episode here I can click resume so if you have a mere cast equipped device like a Samsung Smart TV you can largely broadcast this display onto that TV as you can see here excuse my Samsung device which is offline right now we also have the music player which includes everything you've purchased from Amazon or anything you've stored on Amazon so for example you can select your album here and of course you can buy more stuff next up is the Kindle book app and as you can see here I have my existing purchases I can search or I

Can go right to the Amazon store to purchase more books so you can see here that I have my pages I can swipe through here I can tap on the screen to adjust settings so for example I can change my backdrop here so for example I want sepia tone or if I want black background with white text I can change the size of my text I can also change the line spacing here from wider to narrower I can change my fonts now if you swipe in from the right edge you'll get to x-ray which breaks down all the major subjects on this page so you see all the major names locations and that sort of thing

Here so for example if you want to tap on this item it will show you exactly where Walt Mossberg appears in the book you can see there highlighted in blue you can scrub to those locations or you can jump to them down here so you can see what pages he's mentioned on and that sort of thing and parts of the text you can also go up here to see the full Wikipedia article on Walt Mossberg which is what appears in the synopsis up top now this also integrates with audio books so if you have a companion audiobook with this book you click play will actually start reading along with

You in the book now I also have a note-taking app so you can add any note here and you can just start typing in text or you can use voice so this does this keyboard does include voice dictation this is a test of voice dictation on the Amazon fire phone period all right so let's take a look at the settings panel as you can see here you have all the major categories which you can tap on to expand you can also just search for items here so you have a searchable Settings panel which is very useful now if you go to Wi-Fi networks again you can see it expands you can see

That we do have NFC technology in here which you can toggle on and off under display we have a lot of useful settings here so for example we can enable show status bars so if you want the status bar to be persistent instead of always disappearing you can enable that also under display is configure in low motion settings this is where you turn off all those effects so if you don't want that dynamic effect to work you can disable them entirely with one switch or you can disable certain features now one of the features here is peak now peak is referring to the ability to tilt the

Device left or right to show additional information such as the status bar or labels on icons and that sort of thing so if you want to disable that you can now under lockscreen this is where you can change your lockscreen scenes and this shows you just how many there are so you can go ahead and select any one of them go ahead and select this one and then if we go to the lock screen now you'll see that it has updated for that scene there's quite a few of them a lot of them are quite interesting here as you can see so they're nice and then you can also choose to have a rotating

Screen instead so it will automatically cycle between all these scenes for you now you can select your own photograph here and it doesn't turn it into a 3d object what it does move around as you move the phone you also have battery and storage so you can view your battery usage here it's not as informative as I'd like to see but as you can see you can't tap to see your entire timeline or that sort of thing terms of battery life is not great I think part of the fact is this displays ultra bright and it's using these infrared cameras constantly to monitor for the presence of your face

So that does eat up some power now in terms of the phone dialer here again pretty familiar stuff it does have that dynamic perspective effect as well with that drop shadow but a very basic and friendly user interface now in terms of the camera app again you just tap the button along the side to activate it you tap in the hole to activate Firefly so you can see you can switch between the the still camera and the video camera this little toggle in the lower left corner you can snap your photograph you can tap anywhere on the scene to adjust exposure and focus as you can see here

Does it pretty quickly you can switch between the front-facing and rear-facing camera as well now settings are pretty basic here so in still camera you have HDR or image review you can toggle those on and off and then you have two camera modes lenticular or panorama mode both of these will actually coach you how to make how to take those type of photographs now when you're recording video it does have optical image stabilization which is always present that means it doesn't have to crop the image in order to stabilize it doesn't

Have to do it in software it actually works very well makes you pretty impressed by the results I was outside taking video with my dogs and the results are pretty impressive say anyway getting back to the camera here as I'm recording you can snap photographs while recording video and it does it silently alright guys Mike here the Detroit Board with the front-facing camera of the fire phone again 2.1 megapixels does a pretty decent job you have a wide angle but you don't have the distortion of most wide-angle lenses so doesn't make you look a little funny so

Pretty press overall you can see it does have automatic disclosure so it will adjust the scene but it doesn't get too crazy here you can see have a lot of brights in the scene here it's not going too crazy I do have text photo tap to change exposure as you can see I just tap the light fixture and it exposed for the light fixture so you do have tab to expose of course there's no autofocus in here this should also give you an idea of the audio quality the audio pickup which is pretty decent here as well now let me quickly show you the leather case that Amazon sells for the fire phone

Here so let's pop off this insert and snap in the phone so as you can see along the side the buttons are exposed everything is completely open on the bottom including the speaker and the microphone and the USB port along the top everything is also open again for the headphone jack the other speaker and the sleep/wake button now you do not have a lay on table design it is completely flushed to the glass and on the back you have this nice leather finish this is actually genuine leather that's surrounded by plastic so in conclusion the Amazon fire phone does

Have a few pros and cons in terms of pros I think the biggest one is going to be that display 519 it's makes for a very bright and vivid display gand LCD IPS and it's fairly high resolution although not 1080p like you've come to expect from a lot of smart phones today you also have that great camera on the back 13 megapixels with optical image stabilization which does deliver excellent results so it's a great camera phone in general now there are quite a few things I like about the Amazon interface like these side panels here which give you additional information I

Really like the carousel view because they kind of give you direct access to items from that app so for example if you go to the camera app instead of launching the camera app and then looking for the gallery you can see the gallery right below the camera app icon and you can quickly launch one of the photographs instead so I think that's a very novel it also works with things like the silk browser messaging that sort of thing so I actually really like that sort of design now what I don't like is that when you're swiping through the carousel it's pretty easy to

Accidentally trigger one of these side panels instead so that can get a little annoying and the drop down notification panel tends not to be as responsive as I'd like to see and instead of having this nice drop down the effect like you get instead you get this fade in effect which I find a little disconcerting and I also like the fact that we have an app drawer without an app screen so you have two places for apps you have the carousel with all your recent apps and then you have your app drawer now unfortunate you can't manage this as much as I like I'd like to be able to

Folder items and that sort of thing but you do have a pretty excellent search engine right from the drop-down shade now unfortunately something I've run into a lot with this phone when it's in my pocket is accidentally triggering the razed home button so I'm constantly hearing this ding sound coming from my pocket because it's activating the voice control or alternatively it's easy to accidentally hit this camera key along the side again if your phone is in the lock state if you just hit the key once it wakes up the camera so a lot of times I pull the phone out of my pocket and I

See that my camera has been on the entire time so that has adversely affected my battery life experience so far with this phone ultimately the Amazon fire phone is best suited to new smartphone customers because I think people who are already invested into an ecosystem like Google or Apple or Microsoft are not going to have use for the Amazon fire phone which is pretty locked down to the Amazon ecosystem so if you have Android apps that you're used to if you already plugged into Google services you're pretty limited when you come over to the Amazon

So for me this isn't a terribly interesting phone that's not something I'm going to be using day to day but I think some people may find it useful especially Amazon customers so that's going to do for me in this video I hope you enjoyed it and I'll see you again in the next one

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