After about 3 years, Amazon finally refreshed the most affordable Android tablet on the planet, Fire 7. The 12th Gen Fire 7 (2022) was announced in May and released in June. Many Fire tablet owners wonder about the difference between Fire 7 2022 and Fire 7 2019.
As a successor to the 9th Gen Fire 7 (2019), Fire 7 2022 offers some valuable upgrades and changes.
This Fire tablet guide explains the top 10 new features and improvements of Fire 7 2022 vs Fire 7 2019, including
- Fire OS 8
- Faster CPU and GPU
- More (double) RAM
- WiFi 5 (802.11ac)
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Longer battery life
- VP9 codecs
- Widevine DRM L1 support
- Inflation tax (just to make it 10)
Some comparison was also extended to the current Fire HD 8 (10th Gen) and Fire HD 10 (11th Gen) to help you decide whether Fire 7 2022 is the right tablet for you.
Fire OS 8
Fire 7 2022 is the first Amazon device that ships with Fire OS 8, which is based on Android 11.
As a comparison, Fire 7 2019 (9th Gen) was updated to Fire OS 7, which is based on Android 9. The latest Fire HD 8 (2020, 10th gen) and Fire HD 10 (2021, 11th gen) are also running on Fire OS 7.
Although the latest version of Android is Android 12, Android 11 is still a major leap from Android 9 (Android Pie).
Some of the Android 10 and Android 11 features will benefit all users. For example,
- Improved security and privacy options.
- Native screen recorder.
- System-wide dark theme.
You may check this guide on using new features in Fire OS 8.
Fire OS does not equal Android. Amazon, as usual, stripped all Google services and Google stuff and wants you to use it as an Amazon content delivery vehicle.
It is possible (and easy) to sideload the Google Play store on Fire 7 2022. But some Google apps integrated with parental controls, e.g., YouTube Kids, do NOT work on Fire 7 2022. YouTube does work.
Update: Google Play Store does NOT work on Fire OS 8. It is almost impossible to make Google Play Store work reliably on Fire 7 2022 and other devices (e.g., Fire HD 8 2022)with Fire OS 8.
Split-screen mode, which was an exclusive feature for Fire HD 10 2020, is also available in Fire OS 8. But it is disabled on Fire 7 2022.
Please check this guide to use and schedule the dark theme on Fire tablets with Fire OS 8
Faster CPU and GPU
The Fire tablet is never a performance device. It is designed for you to consume content with “just enough” resources.
But this does not mean Fire 7 owners do not want “speed”.
Amazon upgraded the CPU from MediaTek MT8163V/B in the 9th Gen Fire 7 to MediaTek MT8168V/B in Fire 7 2022, resulting in about a 30% performance improvement.
What Amazon forgot to mention is even more dramatic improvements in GPU. The Mali-G52 3EE MC1 GPU in the Fire 7 2022 is at least a few times faster than the Mali-T720 MP2 in Fire 7 2019.
The chipset in Fire 7 2022 (12th Gen) actually matches that in the current Fire HD 8 2020 (10th Gen).
More (double) RAM
The primary cause of the slowness in Fire 7 in previous generations is actually due to insufficient memory (RAM). 1GB RAM in Fire 7 2019 is sufficient for most apps. But it is inadequate for multitasking or switching (reopening) apps.
Fire 7 2022 now doubles the RAM to 2GB. This is on par with the RAM configurations on the current Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10.
Many Fire 7 owners who often switch among a few apps will feel the “speed” and may stop complaining about the slowness.
The RAM increase is the most significant upgrade for Fire 7 2022 vs Fire 7 2019, IMHO.
Fire 7 2022 ditched the micro USB port on Fire tablets and switched to USB-C. Fire HD 10 switched to USB-C in 2019 (9th gen), and Fire HD 8 made the switch in 2020 (10th gen).
USB-C port offers many advantages, including:
- USB-C charging. You can charge the tablet faster (but NOT with the bundled 5W charger).
- You can use more USB accessories without needing USB-OTG. For example, it is easy to attach an external USB drive to Fire 7 2022.
- You can easily insert the cable into the port without turning on the light.
- More protocols can be supported.
Please note, USB-C is not a magician. For example, you still cannot connect the tablet to a TV through an HDMI cable directly because HDMI Alt Mode for USB-C is not supported on all Fire and Fire HD tablets.
WiFi 5 (802.11ac) support
Fire 7 2022 now supports IEEE 802.11ac (WiFi 5). While Fire 7 2019 only supports up to IEEE 802.11n (aka WiFi 4). Other supported WiFi versions are WiFi 0 (802.11), WiFi 1(802.11b), WiFi 2 (802.11a), and WiFi 3 (802.11.g)
WiFi 5 does not mean 5G Hz, although it uses 5G Hz only. WiFi 4 already uses 5G Hz (and 2.4GHz). WiFi 2 also uses 5G Hz only.
Also, WiFi 5 has nothing to do with the 5G mobile network. They are totally unrelated and totally different things. One is for the WiFi network, and the other is for the mobile network.
WiFi 5 generally offers faster connections if your wireless router supports it (almost all routers in the market now support it).
None of the Fire and Fire tablets supports WiFi 6 (802.11ax) yet.
You will also see the Bluetooth version bump when comparing Fire 7 2022 vs Fire 7 2019.
Fire 7 2022 supports Bluetooth 5.0 LE, and Fire 7 2019 supports Bluetooth 4.1 LE.
Generally, the newer version of Bluetooth offers better connection quality.
Longer battery life
More than 40% longer battery life is another major upgrade for Fire 7 2022 vs Fire 7 2019.
The 9th Gen Fire 7 (2019) offers about 7 hours of screen time (typical usage). It is actually quite impressive. The 12th Gen Fire 7 (2022) now offers 10+ hours of screen time.
VP9 codec support
Thanks to the chipset upgrade, the VP9 codec is now supported on the 12th Gen Fire 7 (2022).
Although VP9 is mainly used by YouTube, it becomes increasingly popular. VP9 support will benefit not only YouTube users but also users who watch videos through HTML5.
Widevine DRM L1 support
Widevine DRM is Google’s content protection system for premium media. Almost all streaming providers (YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max…) are using it.
The 9th Gen Fire 7 only supports Widevine DRM L3. It means you can only stream videos up to 480p. Fire 7 2022 supports Widevine DRM L3. Therefore, you can stream videos at 720p or higher.
One argument is that you do not need the 720p on Fire 7 2022 because the screen resolution is only 1024 x 600. This sounds valid but is not true. You will immediately see the difference when you stream video at 720p on Fire 7 2022.
The most affordable Android tablet now has a $10-higher price tag.
Amazon increased the price of Fire 7 2022 by $10 to $59.99 (16GB base model), thanks to inflation and whatever politicians can blame.
This actually narrows the price gap between Fire 7 and Fire HD 8. The 32GB version of Fire 7 2022 and Fire HD 8 2020 differs by only $10.
If portability is not your concern and you need the 32GB version, then the current Fire HD 8 (2020) now may offer better value with a better display and better audio and dual speakers.
Anyway, if the 16GB version (with up to 1TB micro SD card support) is sufficient for you, you cannot find a better deal than Fire 7 2022. Period.
Of course, it is NOT necessary to buy Fire 7 2022 at full price if you do not need it urgently. You can always wait for the promotions during Prime Day or Black Friday. Amazon often offers a considerable discount for their devices a few times throughout the year.
Fire 7 2022 vs Fire 7 2019: what is not or only slightly changed?
Now, let’s quickly go through some common configurations of Fire 7 2022 vs Fire 7 2019:
- Similar size/weight/design/build. It is plastic, and it is better than glass.
- Identical screen resolution (1024*60).
- Slightly better screen (in brightness)
- Mono speaker. Your headphone can solve the issue thanks to the 3.5mm jack. Fire HD 8 and 10 tablets have dual speakers.
- No Dolby Atmos for sound. Your headphone cannot solve the issue. Fire HD 8 and 10 tablets get Dolby Atmos.
- 16GB or 32GB storage.
- The most affordable Android tablet, although Amazon increased the price of Fire 7 2022 by $10.
Is Fire 7 2022 the right device for you?
You may check Fire Tablet Buyers’ Guide 2022 to see the comparison of the current Fire tablet models and find out which Fire tablet is your best choice.
Do you have any questions about Fire 7 2022 vs Fire 7 2019?
Please let us know in the comment box below if you have any questions about the new features and improvements of Fire 7 2022 vs Fire 7 2019.
Detailed information on how to use Google Play Store on Fire tablets can be found here.
Need advice on choosing a Fire tablet? Check the Fire Tablet Buyer’s Guide now.
You may check other Fire tablet how-to guides and tutorials on the Fire tablet how-to guides page.
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