Fire TV TV

Hands On with Amazon’s Fire TV Edition Smart TVs


This week I had the great opportunity to get hands on with Amazon’s new line of Fire TV edition smart TVs.

The following is my hands on look at the Amazon Fire TV edition smart TVs:

First Impressions

Now let me say right off the bat that I was impressed with the construction of the TV. The stand is metal—not plastic. The rim is a sharp looking gray and the image quality is very sharp for a 4K TV in this price range.

The Complaints

I really only have two complaints. First, at this price point other smart TV manufacturers are now including 4K HDR. The new HDR standard brings deeper blacks and brighter colors to the TV and it’s the direction most TV manufacturers are moving in for this mid-range price point. Not having any 4K HDR options seemed like a missed opportunity as Amazon starts to roll out 4K HDR support for other smart TVs from LG, Samsung, and Sony.

My other complaint is the remote. The remote feels cheaper than the remotes for the Fire TV boxes and sticks. Instead of rubbery buttons the buttons are now plastic and not the shiny plastic of the 1st gen Fire TV but a dual gray plastic. This just gives the remote a cheap feel to it compared to holding a regular Fire TV remote.

My other complaint about the remote is the fact that there is no dedicated mute button on the remote. To mute the TV you first must click the up or down volume button and then the menu button that are on separate sides of the remote. It feels quicker to hold down the volume button until the volume goes to 0. This seems like a massive oversight to not have a mute button on a TV remote.

Amazon added duplicate buttons for play/pause along with fast forward and rewind. (You now have dedicated buttons for each and the directional buttons also work for fast forward, rewind, etc.) But somehow Amazon didn’t add a mute button.

What I Really Liked

Now that I have complained about the TV, there is a ton to like about Amazon’s Fire TV edition smart TVs.

These are fast TVs! Often smart TVs suffer from being underpowered compared to a set-top box, but the Fire TV edition smart TV felt smooth and quick to respond.

The over-the-air TV integration is excellent with a sensitive tuner that did a great job with my antenna. There is even a traditional channel guide. When you are watching a channel you can bring up a guide at the bottom of the screen to see what other shows are live.

When you get down to it this is a Fire TV without the box. All the features and options you would expect are there with a few new ones like a sleep timer; however, you will quickly feel right at home here.

Final Thoughts

I would give the new Fire TV edition smart TVs 4 out of 5 stars. If Amazon could improve the remote by adding a mute button, for example, and maybe come down on the price slightly to reflect the lack of 4K HDR support that other TVs at the same price point have I would give it 5 out of 5.

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  • Carl Collie

    I looked at the 55 inch model, but I went with TCL 55s405 for $399, I did not see where the Amazon TV was worth the $229 premium. I love the Roku integration, however I despise the Roku Playstation App.

  • mau47

    As much as I am not a fan of Roku, right now at this price point you can’t beat the 2017 P Series TCL sets. The picture quality is easily on par with TVs costing twice as much and offers both Dolby Vision and HDR 10 support and if they decide to partner up and update the set the hardware is capable of HDR 10+

  • Evan Herberg

    I assume this has the Alexa built-in control enhancement? So, one could say ‘Alexa, mute the TV’ or change the channel, or open Hulu, etc.

  • Joe in Virginia

    I actually bought one of these for my mom on Prime Day (she finally gave up her old tube tv!) and it is a phenomenal tv. I’m sure there are tv snobs out there that don’t like the colors or the deepness of blacks, etc., but the integration of everything really is great. The integration of OTA is where this tv really shines. I would encourage anyone to check it out.

  • MLSD

    I have the 55 inch Element tv purchased on prime day for $399. Overall I’ve been pretty happy with it. I recently added the Amazon HBO channel to watch Game of Thrones. There was an unexpected bonus when I did this. When viewing the channel guide that shows you all the OTA channels, I now have a whole bunch of HBO channels including the east coast feed that shows up there. Kind of like when you have HBO via a cable subscription.

  • Scott Blanchard

    Apple TV could learn many tricks from Amazon FTV and Roku. Foremost among them would be the OTA integration as demonstrated here. I’m not holding my breath. The forthcoming Apple TV 5th Gen needs more than just 4K and Amazon integration to compete with lower priced, more compelling offerings. However, history is the best teacher. And with that in mind, Apple TV will once again underwhelm us come Sept 12. I hope I’m wrong.