AMAZON FIRE 7
A decent low-cost option, especially for family use, although the low-res screen holds it back.
16GB, $99 | from amazon.com.au
Although it’s $10 more expensive than the previous generation, this late 2022 update to the Amazon Fire 7 remains one of the cheapest tablets money can buy. In fact, it’s the only tablet under $100 that you should even consider. What’s more, Amazon justifies the extra cost with a few judicious upgrades.
The biggest are an upgraded processor – now a quad-core MediaTek running at 2GHz – and double the RAM, with 2GB as standard. The Fire 7 is still no-one’s idea of a speedy tablet. Its Geekbench scores are almost painfully low, while its 3D performance is even worse; the 3DMark Wild Life and Wild Life Extreme tests won’t even run, while frame rates elsewhere are only made tolerable by limited pixelpushing demands of the 1,024 x 600 resolution screen.
The screen resolution is still the tablet’s biggest failing – even at just seven inches, text looks pixellated, and pin-sharp clarity isn’t on the cards. There’s a visible lack of colour depth as well, with only 63 percent of the sRGB gamut covered and 45 percent of DCI-P3. Yet the screen goes fairly bright, at just over 400cd/m2, and contrast is mediocre rather than terrible. Sound is weak and rough on the ears at higher volumes, so you might want headphones either for quiet listening, or to keep out the racket when the kids are watching Peppa Pig at full volume.
The base model comes with just 16GB of storage, but you can double that to 32GB. Or you can slot in a microSD card for up to 512GB of space. As always, the cheapest versions come with ads on the lockscreen. You also need to be sure you can put up with the content-focused style of the Fire OS
software, not to mention the limited and often dated app selection in Amazon’s dedicated Appstore.
Battery life has improved since the last Fire 7; we saw just over 11 hours of HD video streaming before it ran out of charge. Charging itself isn’t overly speedy, but it restored to 23 percent in 30 minutes.
For all its faults, the Fire 7 feels cheap but rarely nasty. In fact, like its predecessors, it’s built to take the kind of punishment that a tablet gets with younger kids around. It’s far from the ultimate tablet, but it might be the ultimate survivor, especially with the optional Kid-Proof Case.