Amazon’s Extremely Affordable Fire 4K UHD TVs Are Here: An Overview
Stephan Jukic – June 24, 2017
The days of any 4K TV costing a fortune are long gone and even more importantly the days of only really crappy third-rate brand 4K TVs being highly affordable have also faded into the past thanks to competitive pressures. Amazon’s new Element Fire 4K UHD TVs are a great example of what’s the case today. They’re not only very cheap, they also offer a very good basic home theater experience.
Manufactured under the Westinghouse and Element brand names the new televisions lack assorted premium HDR display technologies for color and contrast but they do offer beautiful native 4K UHD resolution in their screens and best of all, come with all of the superb smart platform technology features found in Amazon’s excellent Fire TV set-top devices. They also include the Alexa smart search and voice assistant feature that the company has placed in its Fire 4K TV content boxes. This has been the exact promise that Amazon had previously given for an upcoming Fire TV edition and now they’ve delivered on their word at some very affordable prices. Fans of Amazon Prime in particular will have plenty to be pleased about with these particular models.
The new Fire TVs don’t come with full-array LED backlighting or even edge-lit LED array designs. Instead they’re simply but more or less effectively back-lit for a decent level of contrast and brightness performance. Local dimming is absent in these models as well but for consumers who want a decent and well-priced starter 4K TV, these characteristics shouldn’t be major problems.
In basic terms, the Amazon Fire 4K TVs are basic mass-market starter models and their prices are just right for consumers who want to finally see what all the fuss around 4K resolution is about without spending well over $1000 on a decent-sized model. With this in mind, the $450 price tag of the 43 inch model and price of $650 for the 55 inch Amazon Fire TV edition are pretty good.
Additionally, based on preliminary viewings of these televisions in action by us here at 4K.com, we can say with satisfaction that their displays perform remarkably well. Motion handling in the Fire 4K TVs isn’t quite as smooth as we’ve seen it in considerably pricier name brand models but natural refresh rate in these TVs does deliver a generally smooth and very natural looking level of picture performance for most streamed and disc media content. Furthermore, the backlit array of the Fire 4K TVs is remarkably robust, with no notable backlight bleed and decently rich black levels overall. On the other hand, the lack of local dimming does produce some halo effects around bright content objects against a dark background.
We should also mention that color performance in the new Fire 4K TVs, at least based on causal viewing of their ability to display native 4K content, looks good. Accuracy is solid and even vibrant scenes render nicely despite the lack of some real HDR color performance via 10 bit color and Wide Color Gamut.
Our one major complaint with Amazon’s new Fire 4K SDR TVs is exactly that, that they are ultimately simply SDR 4K TVs. This is somewhat disappointing at the level of development in the 4K TV market, particularly in 2017 since we’re now seeing models such as TCL’s new and surprisingly good 4K HDR TVs with full HDR color, of which the 55 inch model sells for the same price as Amazon’s 55 inch Fire 4K TV model, $650. And those $650 for the TCL 4K HDR model will get you access to not only the more conventional HDR10 high dynamic range color and contrast technology but also the much more finely tuned Dolby Vision HDR system. That is indeed impressive.
On the other hand, like we said earlier, the superb Amazon Fire 4K TV smart platform does give the Element and Westinghouse Fire 4K TVs some great extra quality value. This smart OS not only offers access to a broad range of apps such as Netflix, Amazon Fire, HBO Go and very easy access to Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity.
Thus, as long as you don’t mind the absence of HDR in the Amazon Fire 4K HDR TVs, these models have lots to offer and they are indeed great mass market start TV options for nearly anyone on a more careful budget. For those who are interested in them, the Fire TV models are all now available for order on Amazon.com, with the 55 inch $650 model being sold right here.
Additionally, here are some of their essential specs:
- 4K LED display with a 60 Hz (120 Hz motion interpolation) refresh rate
- a 1.1 GHz quad-core processor
- 3GB internal memory
- 16GB internal storage for content, movies and other media
- Bluetooth 4.1
- dual-band Wi-Fi
- SD card input
- 4 HDMI 2.0 ports
- 2 USB ports (one USB 2.0, one USB 3.0)
- Ethernet port
- Optical audio output port
- Alexa voice-activated remote
- Superb Amazon Fire TV smart platform OS
Story by 4k.com