If you’re looking for a smart home tablet, my breakdown here will explain why the Amazon Fire 7 sucks, what you can do to fix it if you do still wish to get it and if there is a better alternative.
My overall impression
If you read Kindle books a lot or like to listen to audiobooks whilst being under the Amazon EcoSystem, this is great value. Otherwise, it’s a very bad tablet with no real features.
- Great for Kindles
- Very cheap
- Perfect if you’re in the Amazon ecosystem
- Slow to run, lots of latency
- Touch Screen horrible
- Low-quality screen
Key Points to know
- It’s often in a bundle
- Quad-core chipset
- MicroSD slot (Up to 512MB)
- 7-inch screen
- 16GB Internal storage
Why it sucks (As a smart home tablet)
I’m going to be brutally honest, I bought the tablet with the intention of playing terrible mobile games and tell myself I could work in bed if I had the will power.
However, when I got the tablet, I found quickly that you can’t install Google Play natively and it requires a workaround. So, if you do want to use this for Smart Home purposes (Like a controller), you will need to trick the Android system into installing Google Play.
If you want to try and use the Amazon App Store, good luck, it’s about as useful as the Echo Skills store. It’s filled to the brim with absolute garbage and honestly isn’t work your time.
It feels flimsy, very cheap plastic and poor screen quality. But I do have to give it credit on the slim factor. It would be a great hacky and demo like device if you’re looking to have something to test with.
How does it compare to other tablets on the market?
If you’ve read this far, I’m sure you can understand that this is a bottom of the barrel tablet and only really for very basic needs.
Don’t expect the latest generation Ipad or Samsung Galaxy tablet, the Amazon Fire 7 Tablet should be considered as a very budget device for next to no functionality. This shouldn’t really be surprising, but it’s always worth setting an expectation for this tablet!
Can I use this as a Home Automation Dashboard (Android)?
Effectively? No. There is a LOT of bloatware on these tablets and all of which is a pain to get rid of. It really does depend on the amount of effort you wish to put into cleaning these out / flashing the devices.
With a newer update, a lot of Amazon Fire Tablets actually have an inbuilt Device Dashboard for any device which works with Alexa now.
Smart home tablet wall mount
I do have to give props to Vidabox who created a wall mount for the Amazon Fire HD 7 to allow it to be charged constantly whilst keeping it stylish as a controller.
It’s quite expensive but if you’re not into doing total DIY it can be an easy solution to having your controllers have a clean finish.
If you’re happy to hack the device a fair bit, you can remove all the bloatware and extras to keep this as a very basic shell of a device which only has one function.
Honestly, given the specs, I couldn’t even recommend going for the Fire 10 which is fairly new. I only picked up this Amazon device because it was on sale in a bundle and even then it’s not worth it.
Using the Amazon Fire Tablet for SmartThings
This is probably the better option when using the Fire Tablet as you can install SmartTiles Panels. This then works alongside another app called ” Fully Kiosk Browser” which removes all other bars etc from the tablet.
It’s definitely the cleanest way to keep your SmartThings devices under control and also probably the best way to utilise your Amazon Fire tablet.
If you’re looking for an easy way to do this, I HIGHLY suggest checking out this forum post which has a script/tool for installing and setting all this up automatically.
How do I install Google Play on my Amazon Fire Tablet for SmartThings?
- Go to Settings > Security and enable “Apps from Unknown Sources”.
- Download the APK (Android application package) of the Google Account Manager and Framework
- Download the correct Google Play Store, choose from the listed versions:
- Install the APKs in the order of the download list above by going to Menu > Docs > LocalStorage > Downloads
- You should now see the Google Play Store app, restart your tablet by holding down the power button, then open and login to Google to download the SmartThings App directly.
- If you have issues, let me know in the comments as I did this a few times before getting it right!
Fire Tablet Home Automation – Is it worth it?
If I ignore my stubbornness, I guess it’s not as bad as I think. But I do have high expectations and love fluidity without issue or hacky results when it comes to my home.
If you find a better solution or a way to make the Fire Tablet amazing, please do let me know, however, for the time being. I will let it get dusty and stay as a testing group for smart home tablet automation.