As predicted, Amazon is updating its entry-level tablet.

The new 9th-gen Amazon Fire 7 tablet is still priced at $50, and it still packs a 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel IPS display. But Amazon has updated the specs for its budget tablet for the first time in two years.

The tablet ships with 16GB or 32GB of storage (up from the 8GB and 16GB options on the 2017 model), and Amazon says the 2019 version has a faster 1.3 GHz quad-core processor than its predecessor.

There are also new color options available.

Amazon will offer the 2019 Fire 7 tablet in a choice of black, blue, plum, and sage (green) colors.

Other changes include support for microSD cards up to 512GB (up from the 256GB limit on the previous model), and the front-facing camera now supports 720p video chat or recording (up from 480p). There’s also an ambient light sensor in the new model.

As for the new processor, it’s the same MediaTek MT8163V/B 1.3 GHz ARM Cortex-A53 quad-core chip used in the 2018 (8th-gen) Amazon Fire HD 8. The previous-gen Fire 7 tablet had a MT8127 ARM Cortex-A7 processor.

But Amazon notes that while the new tablet has the same processor as its 8 inch sibling, it works in 32-bit mode on the smaller tablet and 64-bit mode on the larger model.

Not all of the updates are in the right direction — Amazon says the new Fire 7 tablet should get up to 7 hours of battery life. That’s an hour shorter than the 8 hours of estimated battery life for the previous-gen model.

And some specs remain unchanged. So in addition to getting a 1024 x 600 pixel display, you still get 1GB of RAM, dual-band 802.11n WiFi, and a 2MP rear camera.

The tablet has a 3.5mm audio jack and a built-in speaker as well a micro USB port, and it takes a good 4 hours of charging time to fully top up the battery when using the included 5W power adapter and USB 2.0 charging cable.

It’s also exactly the same size as the 2017 model, measuring 192mm x 115mm x 9.6mm (7.6″ x 4.5″ x 0.4″) although it’s a bit lighter, at 286 grams, or 10.1 ounces (down from 295 grams/10.4 ounces).

The Amazon Fire 7 tablet is up for pre-order starting today, and it has an estimated ship date of June 6th. Folks who order before then will also get $10 of credit to spend on apps and games from the Amazon Appstore.

Amazon is also offering an updated version of the Fire 7 Kids Edition with all the same changes mentioned above. You can pre-order one for $100 or buy a 2-pack for $150.

The Kids Edition model comes with a new version of Amazon’s sturdy, kid-proof bumper case featuring a kickstand. And while the normal Fire 7 tablet only has a 90-day limited warranty, the Fire 7 Kids Edition comes with a 2-year “worry free guarantee” that means Amazon will replace a broken device with no questions asked.

Customers also get a free 1-year subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited with access to books, apps, and games for kids.


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13 replies on “Amazon’s $50 Fire tablet gets a spec bump (double the storage, faster processor)”

  1. I picked up mine during the sales for £30. Terribly slow even compared to my old Nexus 7. Interested to see what this new one is like.

  2. My 8th generation 7 inch fire tablets charging circuit failed within a year of buying the tablet. And the Alexa process was using up battery charge. I had to stop the process manually continually because Alexa restarted on its own. For this reason I bought the Barnes and Noble 7 inch tablet, Advantages: Google play store preinstalled and no Alexa. Also 1 year warranty vs 3 months for the fire. I really like the 7 inch tablets for reading and there aren’t many alternatives. So far I like it. I’ll see how long it lasts.

    1. I bought the 10″ ones for relatives and I was pleasantly surprised about the performance. I tried the smaller ones but ended up getting a XIAOMI Mi Pad 4 for $170. Additional cost is worth it for sure compared to the smaller Fire devices.

  3. I suspect that this new model will close the loopholes that are available for the 2017 Fire 7 and Fire HD 10. The tricks to freeze/hide Amazon bloatware work on those older devices but not the 2018 Fire HD 8. They probably won’t work on the 2019 Fire 7.

    I have the 2017 Fire 7, 2018 HD 8, and 2017 HD 10 and being able to freeze/hide much of the bloatware on the 7 and 10 have really made a difference in performance.

    1. I think you mean the bundled crapware. When I think of bloatware I think of the bulky and slow garbageware created using Xamarin and PWA/PhoneGap technologies. But they all impose a performance tax that forces you to higher-spec devices than you might otherwise need.

      1. “Bloatware” has historically been used to refer to software that’s slow because of feature creep or something like that, rather than something that’s slow because it uses a less efficient back end or is badly architected. Though of course something really well put together (and therefore efficient) might be a lot less bloarware-y than something put together less intelligently.

    2. Have you checked the forums on xda-developers.com? Specifically, the “Amazon Fire Toolbox” thread.

  4. I’d be a lot more excited if they made a refresh on the 10 inch model; the increased resolution and screen size makes for a better media consumption experience in my opinion. A 10 inch, high-resolution tablet for $100 – $200 is the sweet spot for me.

    1. I’m a fan of the 8″ version. The WXGA screen is good enough for watching on a device its size, it has decent battery life, and is light enough to hold for long periods of time. And it definitely has more horsepower than the 7″. I haven’t tried a 10″ Fire tablet yet, but I remember my old Asus TF300 being a bit awkward to use outside of its keyboard.

      That said, the 7″ isn’t a terrible option for a beater “spare” tablet… grab a multi-pack of those, and your house is always ready to host your kids’ friends for impromptu rainy-day Minecraft parties. And the Kids Edition is always worth its price. I do like that it has a stand-up case now. Their previous kids cases didn’t have that option, and usually ended up stuck in a drawer while we replaced it with one of the kid-friendly third party cases.

      I’m a bit surprised that they switched back to unconventional colors. I figured the bright primary colors would have been a big hit.

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