This is the Series 2 Fire TV from Amazon. It’s small at just 32″, or at least this version I have here and it only has a resolution of 720p. In 2023 is that still acceptable? Everything is 4K this, 4K that, even 8K was mentioned a couple of years ago but that has seemed to have disappeared. Well In my opinion, and for the reasoning behind me getting this TV, yes, 720p is acceptable. Let me run you through the TV as a whole and perhaps you too may pick one of these up.
Amazon has a range of Fire TV’s now, with the series 2 being their entry-level option and you can purchase either the 32″ model with the 720p display OR a 40″ model with a 1080p display. The 40″ retails at £299, while the 32″ retails at £249, however, and one of the reasons why I went for this TV was that during this year’s Prime Day, it was in the sale for £150, and that is a bit of a bargain. If you’re thinking about getting an Amazon TV, they will be reduced in sale events, so make sure you hold out until the time is right.
So we know it’s got an HD resolution of 720p, it’s a backlight LED panel with HDR 10 and it’s 60hz. It has built-in speakers at the bottom that fire down, they’re 8 watts each and include Dolby Digital Plus with passthrough. Inputs are on the side of the TV and include two HDMI 1.4 ports plus one HDMI arc so you can plug a soundbar in. There is an optical in also for audio, and ethernet port although it has WiFi built in too. USB port for, aerial input for Freeview, infrared emitter and mini AV port. In the box you get the tele, power lead, remote, batteries and two legs to allow you to put it on a stand. VESA mount options are 100x100mm only so you can mount it on your wall if you want.
Visually, it’s not the sleekest looking tele on the market, it does have bezels, it’s somewhat thin but chunkier at the bottom where the speakers are, it’s got a glossy black frame and it won’t win any awards for its looks but I’ve certainly seen worse. I will say it’s very lightweight which helps when handling it.
The interface for the tele is fire tv, so if you’ve ever used a fire tv stick before, you’ll know what the UI is like. For me, it’s a love hate relationship. It’s versatile, it has alot of options for content and it makes alot of stuff accessible, including the ability to sideload certain apps. However, it’s busy, it’s abit hectic on the homepage with apps, ads, and suggestions and sometimes I just annoys me. However, the remote control comes with a handy Alexa feature that allows me to bypass the chaos.
It’s a nice remote, lightweight, functional and easy to use. Quick buttons for Prime Video, Prime Music, Netflix and Freeview, as well as the usual buttons you’d expect to have on a remote. To the very top is a blue Alexa button, hold this in and speak into the remote and Alexa will take action on your command. So for me, I’ll say open Apple TV and instead of me scrolling on the menu, Alexa opens it for me. It’s so easy, even my kids do that now rather than search the home screen.
Moving onto picture quality, considering the price tag and the resolution of just 720p, I’m actually pleasantly surprised. For context, I have a 4K tele in the other room and have done so for years, so you could say that’s what I’m used to viewing. It’s a clear picture, brightness is ok, blacks are pretty good, not pixelated or faded. HDR, not sure, compared to my other tele with HDR, it’s a very obvious brightness improvement which I haven’t noticed yet on the series 2, unless I’ve been unlucky and not watched anything that would turn the HDR on. I reckon it’s on and not that great. The colour is a little dull, like it needs HDR funnily enough. Now I’ve probably made that sound quite bad but it really isn’t and from the moment I turned it on, I’ve been impressed. Remember, this is a cheap tele with a low resolution, so you can’t expect the best, but It’s better than i expected. 720p at 32″ works, it’s enjoyable to use. 720p at a higher screen size and you’re likely going to be less impressed.
As for audio, it’s more than adequate. It certainly won’t blow you away or provide that cinematic experience but sitting 2 or 3m away from it and 50% volume, more than loud enough and clear enough to enjoy what you’re watching. The quality does drop off at the higher volumes, it’s a bit distorted but I rarely had it that high as it would wake my kids up. I will always recommend adding at least a soundbar to any TV nowadays and as long as it’s a fairly decent one, the difference will be night & day.
For me, I wanted a cheap TV, one that would fit within this niche in my house, one that had all the streaming apps I needed, with actual performance being the fourth priority because this is a casual TV for me, it’s not my main ‘movie’ tele. Given that brief and its performance over the last few weeks, I would happily recommend this tele to you, if your requirements are similar to mine. If you’re big on movies and TV series, getting a higher spec tele, be it an Amazon one or not, will offer a much better experience but for everyone else, I don’t think you’d be disappointed with this.