Better than last year, costs less

Better than last year, costs less

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED Series 4K UHD Smart TV.

Amazon

I tested AmazonThe new 65-inch Fire TV Omni QLED Series 4K UHD Smart TV. If you’re a casual viewer like me, the new Fire TV is easy to use and offers great picture quality for the price.

And speaking of price, at press time it’s on sale for $550, about $250 off its launch price, making it cheaper than last year’s model that Amazon is selling. still. There’s also a more expensive 75-inch model that costs $1,100.

The company made its foray into Amazon-branded TVs last year with a model that was fine, but not great. This year’s version has many updates that make it a better buy. Most notably, the picture has improved, there’s new ambient display artwork, and the speakers are an improvement.

But Amazon doesn’t make a lot of money from the hardware. It is a cloud business and an online retailer. Instead, its hardware serves as a portal to its services, like Prime Video and even the Amazon store. You can talk to Alexa, which is built in. It’s a great window on Amazon that you can hang on your wall. And people who use a lot of Amazon services might like it.

Here’s what you need to know about it.

what is good

The new Fire TV will fit right into your smart home ecosystem if you already use the company’s Alexa voice assistant through other products like Amazon Echo. The TV has hands-free voice commands. So when you can’t find your remote, you can just shout “Alexa, turn off the TV”. More complex commands are also possible. I was able to tell the TV to “play the next episode” of “The Devil’s Hour” on Prime, so I didn’t have to watch the end credits.

This feature is not new. Last year’s TV also had hands-free Alexa, but it’s still a great feature and I was able to use it easily. You can mute the microphone if you don’t want to use the Alexa function.

My current TVs are hard to see in my living room, which gets lots of natural light. But this Fire TV was very bright, so I could still watch TV clearly even in bright sunlight.

There’s a new “ambient” experience on this year’s model that uses sensors to detect your presence in the room. It’s a little scary in theory, but now I see the value in having the biggest screen in my living room as a backdrop, or even a space to display important information like calendar events and digital sticky notes.

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED Series 4K UHD Smart TV with Widget Display.

Amazon

There are a few cool features in Ambient Mode. One turns your TV into a work of art. The art is drawn from a collection of 1,500 photos and works of art, including from the National Gallery of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. Samsung’s “The Frame” TVs also have this feature, but you have to pay to view the art, whereas Amazon’s TV Art Gallery is free.

Amazon Fire TV Series Omni QLED 4K UHD.

Sophie Pitt

You can display your own photos on the TV, which is a nice but common feature found on other TVs. You can customize the widgets on your screen with news, reminders, sticky notes, and calendars, and you can add control centers for your smart home devices. I used the sticky note option to leave my husband a reminder to buy oat milk at the grocery store.

Amazon Fire TV Series Omni QLED 4K UHD.

Sophie Pitt

You can also listen to music from the TV even when the screen is not on. I didn’t expect to use this feature as I have a fairly robust stereo system, but I was impressed with the sound quality and volume of the TV’s built-in speakers. I have soundbar speakers for my other two TVs at home because the speakers are so bad, but I didn’t feel the need for them here. The new Fire TV gets loud and the sound is crisp. Still, soundbars deliver deeper bass and richer sound.

what’s wrong

Alexa couldn’t always hear my commands when the TV volume was loud, which makes sense but can still be a little frustrating. You will need to use the remote to pause in order to talk to Alexa.

Also, this TV isn’t the best option for people who aren’t really into Alexa or aren’t Amazon Prime subscribers. All Fire TVs highlight Prime content on the main UI. You’ll see suggested shows to watch, like Amazon’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.”

As you can see from the picture below, there are a lot of ads for Prime Video shows, there is a row of sponsored movies from Tubi, and I saw other ads often. It can get boring if you don’t care about them.

While the brightness and picture are enough for casual viewers, there are other TVs in the same price range that can get brighter. And others might provide better, smoother gaming experiences. The Hisense 65-inch Class ULED Premium U7H QLED Series Quantum Dot Google 4K offers a refresh rate of 120Hz, for example, while the Omni QLED only offers 60Hz. The U7H is also priced at $700 and l The image also has deeper blacks and more realistic tones.

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED Series 4K UHD Prime UI.

Sophie Pitt

Should I buy it?

You’ll like it if you’re deep into Amazon’s ecosystem of products and services. I appreciate that it makes the biggest screen in your home useful with its “ambient” experience. It’s very easy to set up and using Alexa to navigate is a breeze. The new Amazon Fire TV Omni is a big improvement over last year’s model, especially when it comes to the screen, and its current price drop makes it an even better deal for its capabilities and size.

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