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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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