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Better than last year, costs less

by SuperiorInvest

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

Amazon

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

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

The company made inroads into Amazon-brand TVs last year with a model that was okay but not great. This year’s version has a lot of updates that make it a better buy. The most obvious improvement is the picture, there is a new graphic of the ambient display and the improvements are the speakers.

But Amazon doesn’t make much money on hardware. It is a cloud based company and 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 one big window into Amazon that you can hang on your wall. And that might appeal to people who use a lot of Amazon’s services.

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 the Amazon Echo. The TV is equipped with hands-free voice commands, so if you can’t find the remote, you can simply 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 “Devil’s Hour” on Prima so I didn’t have to sit through the end credits.

This feature is not new. Last year’s TV also included hands-free Alexa, but it’s still a nice feature and I could easily use it. If you don’t want to use Alexa, you can turn off the microphone.

My current TVs are hard to see in my living room where there is a lot of natural light. But this Fire TV was bright enough that I could still watch TV clearly even with a lot of sunlight shining in.

This year’s model has a new “ambient” experience that uses sensors to detect your presence in the room. It’s a bit creepy in theory, but now I can see the value in having the biggest screen in my living room serve as decoration or even as 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 some great Ambient Mode features. One turns your TV into a work of art. The art comes from a collection of 1,500 photographs and fine art from the National Gallery of Art and The Art Institute of Chicago, among others. Samsung’s “The Frame TV” also has this feature, but you have to pay to view art, while Amazon TV’s art gallery is free.

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED Series 4K UHD.

Sophia 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 the screen with messages, reminders, notes and calendars, and you can add control centers for your smart home devices. I used the sticky note option to leave a reminder for my husband to pick up the oat milk at the grocery store.

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED Series 4K UHD.

Sophia Pitt

You can also play music from the TV even when the screen is not on. I didn’t expect to use this feature since I have a pretty 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 one here. The new Fire TV is loud and the sound is crisp. Still, soundbars provide deeper bass and richer sound.

What is wrong

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

This TV is also not the best choice for people who aren’t actually on Alexa or who don’t subscribe to Amazon Prime. All Fire TVs feature Prime content prominently in the main user interface. You’ll see suggestions for shows you should watch, like Amazon’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.”

As you can see from the image below, there are many ads for Prime Video shows, there are a number of sponsored movies from Tubi, and I often saw other ads. It can be annoying if you are not interested in them.

While the brightness and picture will be enough for the average TV viewer, there are​​​​​​other TVs in the same price range that are capable of getting brightness. And others can provide smoother and better gaming experiences. For example, the Hisense 65-inch ULED Premium U7H QLED Quantum Dot Google 4K offers a 120Hz refresh rate, while the Omni QLED only offers 60Hz. The U7H is similarly priced at $700, and the picture also has deeper blacks and more realistic tones.

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED Series 4K UHD Prime user interface.

Sophia Pitt

Should you buy it?

You’ll love it if you’re deep into Amazon’s ecosystem of products and services. I appreciate that the “ambient” experience makes the biggest screen in your house useful. 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 cut makes it an even better deal for its capabilities and size.

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