Amazon Fire TV Omni Review: A Solid TV That’s Big On Alexa Smarts

Amazon Fire TV Omni Review: A Solid TV That’s Big On Alexa Smarts

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The five new TVs in the Fire TV Omni Series are Amazon’s first televisions built in-house. Sure, they all offer 4K resolution with support for HDR, but the focus here is on the convenience of the integrated Fire OS over enhanced picture quality. The Omni Series TVs are deeply integrated with Alexa for simpler and quicker search and priced similarly to our best TV pick, the TCL 6-Series.

After a few weeks with the 65-inch Fire TV Omni Series, we’ve been adjusting to the Fire OS interface, asking Alexa to pull up our favorite content and bingeing countless hours of programming to see how it stacks up.

A solid TV that’s big on Alexa smarts

The Fire TV Omni doesn’t arrive with a class-leading picture or the best interface we’ve ever tested. It’s a first-gen product with excellent Alexa integration, succinct voice control and a bevy of smart features. For some, though, the picture quality might leave you wanting a bit more.

The who, what and how Who this is for: The Fire TV Omni is a television for the Alexa-obsessed Amazon user who values functionality over picture quality.

What you need to know: The Fire TV Omni Series impresses with a smooth Fire OS experience for easy access to content paired with succinct Alexa voice control. But it’s also future-proofed with the promise of updates and AirPlay 2 support coming soon. But because Amazon opted for a standard LED panel, you won’t be getting an all-star picture with exceptional vibrancy or rich contrast points.

How this compares: For the price, Amazon is concentrating on value and convenience with the Fire TV Omni series, yet it falls short of comparably priced TVs, with only passable picture quality and no local dimming. This inevitably means contrast and brightness suffer. Those who want to focus on picture quality will be better served by the TCL 6-Series, but the Fire TV Omni does win us over with Alexa integration for easy control and sleek design.

Slimmer bezels, aluminum edges and an Alexa microphone switch Jacob Krol/CNN

The Fire TVs manufactured by Insignia or Toshiba have never been particularly good-looking — with many featuring sizable bezels and a chunky backside. Yet, considering the affordable price and built-in smarts, that’s never been much of an issue.

The Fire TV Omni spices things up, specifically on the larger 65-inch and 75-inch models. Here you’ll find slimmer bezels that are eerily closer to TCL’s 5- and 6-Series, but not as sleek as Sony’s luxurious A90J. Amazon opted for a sporty aluminum silver edging on those same bigger sizes, allowing you to focus on the screen versus the design elements. When it comes to branding — at least in terms of physical design — there is just a single Fire TV logo centered on the bottom bezel.

You can wall mount the Fire TV Omni — it’s VESA-compatible — or use the two built-in legs to stand it up on any flat surface. The legs are fairly similar to that of the TCL 5- or 6-Series and will require a screwdriver. It’s not as plug-and-play as some of Sony’s newer sets, which let you just pop the legs in, but you get what you pay for.

Centered at the bottom of the TV is a rectangular box that serves as a status light and contains a switch to let you effectively kill the built-in microphones. This not only powers the hands-free voice control but also effectively lets the TV double as an Alexa-enabled speaker. A light will glow blue on the box when Alexa is listening, and when you flip the switch to mute the microphone it will glow red.

Jacob Krol/CNN

The similarities to other Amazon products sum up much of the appeal of this new Omni Series — because it’s all about convenience for the Amazon customer. If you’re a fan of Alexa, Prime Video or Fire OS, you’ll be right at home. In fact, when you purchase a Fire TV Omni from Amazon.com, it will be linked to your account, which makes for a super-simple setup. Just connect to Wi-Fi, sign into your Amazon.com account and away you go. In some cases, it will even remember your most used apps, but it doesn’t go as far to remember your passwords, which we think would be a killer feature.

Omni features four HDMI ports (one of which is eARC), a USB-A port, an Ethernet jack, an optical out and a dedicated port for the IR extender. The latter comes included and is handy if you want to decide where to point the remote, which is similar to the ones used with other Amazon Fire TV products.

Here you’ll get the slightly ergonomic back and a plethora of buttons. It works fine for controlling the Fire TV Omni Series, but it’s not the best remote we’ve ever tested — that honor goes to Apple’s second-gen Siri Remote.

Jacob Krol/CNN

Here’s the TLDR on the Fire TV Omni Series: The 65-inch model’s picture quality is more than passable, but it won’t rival or surpass our top pick for a TV, the TCL 6-Series. Vibrancy and contrast work together here to create an all-around good picture, and for most people it will be just fine.

But it’s worth noting that Amazon’s central focus is not on picture quality. In fact, in our side-by-side testing, the Fire TV Omni is most in line with the TCL 5-Series. Clearly, more attention has been given to the smart ecosystem and integration with other digital services.

One thing the Fire TV Omni lacks is local dimming, which is key for better image creation, better details in dimly lit scenes, brighter spots that don’t distort and better HDR modes. It does provide an overall better picture qual

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