Amazon has officially entered the smartphone wars with its new Fire phone. Available for pre-order for $199 as an AT&T exclusive, the Fire packs a unique 3D-style interface that can track your head movement and adjust what you see on the screen accordingly. There's also a new FireFly service that can identify items you take photos of, allowing you to instantly purchase them through Amazon.
On the inside, the Fire phone gets a 4.7-inch, 1280 x 720 LCD display, quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of storage. There's also a 13-megapixel rear shooter paired with a 2.1-megapixel front camera. But is all of that enough for the Amazon Fire to compete with the some of the best smartphones on the planet?
|Amazon Fire Phone||iPhone 5s||Samsung Galaxy S5||HTC One M8||LG G3|
|Display||4.7-inch, 1280 x 720 LCD||4-inch, 1136 x 650 Retina display||5.1-inch, 1920 x 1080 Super AMOLED||5-inch, 1920 x 1080 Super LCD 3||5.5-inch, 2560 x 1440 QHD|
|Processor||Quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU||64-bit, dual-core A7 CPU||Quad-core Snapdragon 801 CPU||Quad-core Snapdragon 801 CPU||Quad-core Snapdragon 801 CPU|
|Storage||32GB/64GB||16GB/32GB/64GB||16GB/32GB (expandable to 64GB)||16GB/32GB (expandable to 128GB)||32GB (expandable to 128GB)|
|Connectivity||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 3.0||802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0||802.11 a/b/g/b/ac, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Operating System||Fire OS 3.5.0||iOS 7||Android 4.4.2 KitKat||Android 4.4.2 KitKat||Android 4.2.2 KitKat|
|Camera||13-MP rear 2.1-MP front||8-MP rear 1.2-MP front||16-MP rear 2.1-MP front||Ultrapixel rear Duo Camera 5-MP front||13-MP rear with Laser Auto Focus 2.1-MP front|
|Size||5.5 x 2.6 x 0.35 inches||4.8 x 2.3 x 0.30 inches||5.3 x 2.9 x 0.25 inches||5.8 x 2.8 x 0.37 inches||5.8 x 2.9 x 0.36 inches|
|Weight||5.6 ounces||4.0 ounces||5.1 ounces||5.6 ounces||5.3 ounces|
|Battery||2,400 mAh||~1,570 mAh (non-removable)||2,800 mAh (removable)||2,600 mAh (non-removable)||3,000 mAh (removable)|
Compared to the screens found on today's top-tier smartphones, the Amazon Fire Phone's display is a bit underwhelming. At 4.7-inches, the Fire's panel is larger than the iPhone 5s', but smaller than the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, and LG G3. What's more, the Fire's 1280 x 720 resolution display offers a lower pixel density, 315 pixels per inch, than all four of its competitors.
On the plus side, the Fire has a rated brightness of 590 nits. That would be higher than any other flagship phone we've tested in the past year. In other words, it should be really easy to view content on the Fire when you're outdoors.
Physically, the Fire Phone is bulky given its screen size. At 5.5 x 2.6 x 0.35 inches, the handset is bigger than the 4.8 x 2.3 x 0.30-inch iPhone 5s, as well as the 5.3 x 2.9 x 0.25-inch Galaxy S5. Still, it's still smaller than the One M8, which measures 5.8 x 2.8 x 0.37 inches, and the 5.8 x 2.8 x 0.36-inch G3.
Weighing 5.6 ounces, the Fire phone is rather heavy for a 4.7-inch handset. In fact, it's heavier than the 5.1-ounce Galaxy S5, despite that phone offering a larger display, as well as the 5.3-ounce G3. The Fire Phone is dead even with the 5.6-ounce HTC One M8, though that handset also sports a larger display, as well as a gorgeous all-aluminum chassis. The iPhone 5s is the lightest of the group, weighing just 4.0 ounces.
In terms of performance specs, the Fire phone appears to fall short of its four competitors. With its quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU, the Fire is a processor generation behind the quad-core Snapdragon 801 chip found in the Galaxy S5, One M8 and G3. The iPhone 5s uses a zippy 64-bit A7 processor.
One way Amazon believes the Fire phone will outclass the competition is its camera. The handset's 13-megapixel shooter features optical image stabilization and an f/2.0 5-element wide aperture lens. The Galaxy S5 offers a 16-MP shooter, while the LG G3, like the Fire, gets a 13-MP camera. The iPhone 5s, which is considered to have the best camera on any smartphone, has an 8-MP camera. The One M8 includes, what HTC calls an Ultrapixel rear camera, that measures equates to a 4-MP shooter.
Like its Fire tablets, Amazon has loaded the Fire phone with its proprietary Fire OS. A forked version of Android, the Fire OS uses Amazon's own app store, which offers just over 240,000 apps. That's well below the more than 1 million apps found in both the Google Play Store and Apple's App Store.
As of right now, the Fire phone appears to fall short of other flagship phones in terms of specs. That said, Amazon is largely banking on getting users interested in the Fire phone's user experience, especially its Firefly app, Mayday support and dynamic perspective feature.
The ultimate goal of the Fire phone is to make it easier for consumers to buy items from Amazon with their smartphone, and it certainly does. But does that make this device better than its biggest competitors? You'll have to wait until our full review to find out.