Amazon's long-rumoured Fire Phone is finally here, folks! It has a crazy face-tracking 3D display that knows the position of your head at all times and a scanner that identifies (and helps you buy) just about anything. But funky features aside, how does The Everything Store's phone stack up to the major competition? Let's find out.
First off, the hardware. Fire Phone runs its own in-house software, Fire OS (which way deep down inside is just Android with heavy layers of Amazon on top), with a quad-core 2.2GHz processor that's slightly out-gunned by the Galaxy S5 but otherwise on par with the competition.
Then we come to the stuff everyone's gonna be talking about: displays and cameras. On screen size and resolution, the Amazon phone comes in second-to-last place, only beating the soon-to-be-updated iPhone 5S. Given the Amazon phone's 3D trickery, measuring the new phone's 4.7-inch, 720p screen against the Galaxy S5's juggernaut display probably isn't a truly even comparison. Then again, the Moto X has a 720p display as well, and it's just fine. We'll have to wait until some hands on time to really know what we're dealing with there.
Besides, nobody else has the head-tracking 3D feature, which looked very cool in Bezo's on-stage demo and might make us forget the otherwise lacklustre specs.
As for cameras, Amazon's phone comes out near the top of the stack. Its 2.1MP front shooter is midrange for this crowd, but the 13MP rear bests all but the Galaxy S5 and the 20MP camera pacesetter, the Lumia Icon. But megapixels aren't even close to the full story when it comes to camera quality, so we'll see how sample shots compare head to head.
On the rest of the specs, the Amazon phone seems pretty evenly matched, with the standard 2GB of memory and 32GB or 64GB storage options. A 2400mAh battery should theoretically hold more juice than the iPhone 5S and be roughly equal to the Lumia Icon and Nexus 5, but we'll see if those four front-facing cameras end up sucking more juice than your average features.
As for the price? The Fire Phone is AT&T only, with the 32GB model ringing in at $US200 with a two-year contract — although that includes a year of Amazon Prime membership, a $US99 value, so it's more like $US100 with a two-year contract if you think about it.
It seems like Amazon's phone runs pretty much neck-and-neck with the standard-bearers of the smartphone world, but so much remains to be seen about its real-world use. The nifty 3D display may just outshine its somewhat lackluster screen specs, and with Firefly, Mayday and unlimited cloud-based photo storage, it has some appealing features nobody else offers that don't show up on a spec sheet. As for the rest? We'll know shortly after we get some hands-on time.
The Fire Phone is only available in the US at this time.