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Fire Phone Teardown Doesn’t Inspire Me to Buy One, But I Would Buy a Kindle Fire 3D Tablet

amazon fire phone 1iFixit has already got their hands on the Fire Phone (before it was supposed to ship) and they’ve posted their usual teardown photos.  This is one complicated phone.

When Amazon officially unveiled the Fire Phone with its 6 cameras, we all guessed that it would be more complicated internally than your average smartphone and it turns out that’s true. From the outside it may look like a slim black slab, internally the iFixit team found a veritable mess of cables, connectors, and glue.

Cables aren’t just snapped into place; several were attached with screws. The four face-tracking cameras are glued in place and they are also built into the screen sub-assembly, making replacing the screen either an expensive or complicated undertaking. And not only is this a phone a complicated mess inside, there is also an anti-tamper tag.

For anyone thinking of buying a Fire Phone with the idea of repairing it if something goes wrong, the iFixit verdict on this is simple – don’t. The Fire Phone received a repairability score of 3 out of 10, where 10 is easiest to repair and a one is kryptonite.

amazon fire phone

Inside the Fire Phone Samsung and Qualcomm are the winners, and so are consumers. iFixit found a number of components not listed on the spec sheet, including a Qualcomm chip which supports Bluetooth 4.0 . This is used to communicate with smartwatches, suggesting that the Fire Phone could get more useful after the next major update.

I sure hope that update comes soon, because the early reviews haven’t inspired me to rush out and buy one. The pro reviewers have nearly universally panned the phone, and with good reason. With a 4.7″ screen and a SnapDragon 800 CPU, the Fire Phone is a mid-sized mid-grade smartphone with a premium price tag. Retail is $650, and it’s only available at a subsidized price via AT&T.

And oh yes, it’s not available outside the US.

There are a lot of reasons not to buy the Fire Phone, and very few reasons to buy one. It’s tied to Amazon and offers a few nifty 3d and interface features which reviewers say aren’t actually that useful yet.

I don’t plan to get one; instead I will wait for similar features to show up in the next Kindle Fire tablet. While I have no rumors or leaks to suggest that will happen, I think it would make sense for Amazon to integrate its face-tracking 3d tech into the next Kindle Fire tablet.

The idea of adding 3d tech to tablets is not new, but the earlier attempts were all described as visually unpleasant (my opinion) or simply not that fun to watch. If Amazon solved this problem then 3d on a 7″ or 9″ tablet could be a lot of fun.

Unlike a smartphone, a tablet is more of an entertainment device than a utility so fun toylike features like 3d might have a warmer welcome. Or at least I would want to try it, but I could be an outlier.

Would you buy a Kindle Fire 3d tablet?

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Syn July 25, 2014 um 12:05 pm

I buy a lot of Amazon stuff. Movies, music, PW and two Kindles prior to it. Im on my 3rd Kindle Fire tablet. I have to say they lost me on this one. I think they will lose thier shirts on this phone.

Then again because of the telecoms, and their pricing, im pretty anti smartphone anyway, so I might not be the best judge.

jjj July 25, 2014 um 3:48 pm

Yesterday IDC released Q2 tablet numbers , Acer is 5th with 1 mil units and Amazon is not above them. Seems like they need to do a much better job with their tablets and jacking up the BOM with a feature that failed in their phone is rather risky.
They might be better off if they focus on slim bezels ,fast and cheap (like anyone else should i guess). To be fair their current tablets are rather overpriced so not sure if cheap is something they aim for anymore, they might be happy with the install base but long term that’s not a great strategy.

Doan Thanh Son July 26, 2014 um 3:03 am

Ifixit rated on very first iPhone at 2/10 even with its less sofisticated features, not bad amazon fire phone for this first generation.

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