Amazon’s New Element Fire 4K TVs With Alexa Launch Today Starting at $450: Are they Worth It?
Stephan Jukic – May 16, 2017
Amazon wants to see some major market share in the budget 4K TV arena with its own native smart platform software and other features and it’s working with budget manufacturers to make this happen. This could easily be viewed as a competitive move against Roku and its own smart platform for economical 4K TVs such as the soon-to-be-released 4K HDR P and C-Series models from TCL.
Thus, from Amazon, what we’re getting as of today are some inexpensive Element Amazon Fire 4K TVs which will be sold under that brand name and which are now available for preorder at the Amazon website for prices that start off at a relatively affordable $449 for the 43 inch model, going up from there to $899 for a large 65 inch model. The new TVs will also be hitting physical retailers as of June. Element itself is one brand name out of several which include Westinghouse, and Seiki, all owned by the Chinese electronics firm Tongfang Global.
A for the TVs themselves, are cheap and they do deliver lovely 4K ultra HD resolution but these new Element 4K models won’t offer support for Dolby Vision HDR standards, as TCL’s also very affordable 4K HDR TV models mentioned above do. They in fact won’t support HDR standards of any kind (including HDR10) and what you’ll be getting with the models is a pretty basic 4K resolution package with SDR display and the admittedly great Amazon Fire smart TV software platform built into them. This is the most promising aspect of these new 4K TVs in fact.
The Amazon Fire 4K TV package comes with great access to numerous apps and includes a remote control with voice search capability and support for Alexa. Users can thus look up content, open apps and so forth by talking to their Element 4K TVs. As for the Alexa support it means the ability to do things like controlling household smart lighting, checking weather ad doing content searches as well on the TV through the Amazon assistant software, which is of course also voice-powered and can be kicked into action by saying “Alexa” to the remote control which comes with these new Amazon Fire TVs.
Furthermore, since these are actual TVs using Amazon’s Fire software platform, they can pull some other neat tricks like automatically downloading local broadcast listings via their internal Fire platform “Gracenote” software if you plug in an external antenna. This feature even includes artwork for different shows or movies as you use the TVs to surf between channels. The Amazon Fire platform will even add broadcast channel names in among the streaming app content in the “Recents” area of the smart platform, allowing for quick skipping between streamed canned content and broadcast TV shows or sports events. These Fire 4K TVs even allow for pausing and rewinding live broadcast content from antenna sources due to their internal 16GB storage space. Furthermore, the voice search aspects of the remote control for these 4K TVs let users select broadcast channels by saying their names. The remote however lacks headphones, which ar a distinctly useful aspect of TCL’s recent Roku 4K TV competitors.
Overall, at least from a very limited first impression, we have to call these new Amazon Fire 4K TVs a pretty decent deal. No HDR of any kind means a pretty ordinary content experience except for the crystal clarity of native 4K resolution but for many consumers who just want a basic start 4K TV with a particularly excellent built-in smart TV platform, the new Element Amazon Fire TVs might be a great option. On the other hand, TCL’s Roku P-Series and C-Series models do definitely offer the superior display experience and some very enticing premium specs like full-array LED backlighting and Dolby Vision HDR support for only moderately higher prices, so if you want a starter TV that’s far more future-proof, the TCL option could be your best choice.
For those who are interested in the new Amazon Fire 4K TVs from Element/Westinghouse, here is a breakdown of their core specs and a listing of models/prices.
- Resolution: 3840 x 2160 (4K UHD)
- Refresh rate: 120Hz / 60Hz (for 4K UHD)
- Processor: Quad-core T1-938
- GPU: ARM Mali Multi-core 3D GPU3GB
- Memory: 3 GB
- Storage: 16GB internal
- Ports: HDMI x 4 (HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2), Component/Composite x 1, Optical SPDIF x 1, TV/DTV x 1, USB 2.0 x 1, USB 3.0 x 1, Ethernet x 1 (10/100/1000Mbp), VGA x 1, Headphone x 1, RCA Input x 1
- Wi-Fi: Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO). Supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi networks.
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.1 + LE, with support for HFP and A2DP for private listening via Bluetooth headphones, HID, and SPP
- Streaming resolution: 2160p, 1080p, and 720p up to 60fps
Element 43 inch Amazon Fire 4K TV 43 inch model: $449.99
Story by 4k.com