While no one is going to put the Fire phone on a list of best devices of 2014, the fledgling effort from Amazon is not completely without redeeming qualities and at $199 with a free year of Prime membership (a $99 value) it becomes an enticing device to have around.
The Fire phone hardware is actually quite nice, the build quality is fantastic and the specs may not be top of the line, but the 4.7-inch display looks good and the 2.2GHz quad-core processor paired with 2GB of RAM is plenty to handle most anything you would want to throw at it.
Having spent a few weeks with the Fire phone, I can’t say that I would recommend it as your daily driver given the lack of Google apps and heavily-skinned Fire OS, but if you are looking for a device for a child, it’s a nice option at basically $99, and Fire OS does have solid parental controls built-in. I’m tempted to pick one up to just have an extra Android device around the house for gaming, browsing at night and to use as an alarm clock.
I wouldn’t hold out hope for a complete reversal of fortune for the Fire phone, but it is important to remember that Amazon hasn’t given up on development for this device. An update in December rectified many of the early complaints about the phone and with a Fire phone 2 being planned, it’s a safe bet there will be further software updates to come.
Even at $199 with a year of Prime, the Fire phone probably isn’t a device for most of you. But if you are a Prime member or have been thinking about becoming one, getting the Fire phone with it for just $99 is a deal worth considering.