The Element Amazon Fire TV is a decent 4k LED TV that features Amazon's Fire TV smart platform with their Alexa personal assistant. It has good contrast, but its lack of extra features, narrow viewing angles and lack of HDR support gimp its versatility. It also has a lot more advertisements than the average TV.
- High contrast gives deep and uniform blacks
- Amazon's Alexa is a powerful assistant
- Picture quality degrades at an angle
- Input lag is high
- Ads are more intrusive than average
Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.
The design of the Fire Edition TV is basic, but it looks good. It appears quite sleek when viewed from the front. The stand is quite wide, but is very stable. The controls are all located under the front, and appear more like a PC monitor with buttons for each function.
The rear of the TV is simple, and has a metallic back similar to the TCL S405. The connections are all fairly easy to access if placed close to a wall as they run parallel to the TV.
The TV gets a little warm, especially in a few places on the back; however, this isn't a concern during normal use.
- 11% Contrast
- 6% Local Dimming
- 6% SDR Peak Brightness
- 6% HDR Peak Brightness
- 6% Gray Uniformity
- 7% Viewing Angle
- 4% Black Uniformity
- 2% Gradient
- 4% Pre Calibration
- 1% Post Calibration
- 6% 480p Input
- 9% 720p Input
- 11% 1080p Input
- 6% 4k Input
- 4% Color Gamut
- 4% Color Volume
- 1% Image Retention
- 6% Reflections
- 1% 3D
The Element Fire TV has an average picture quality. It does particularly well when it is set in a dark room since it has an excellent native contrast ratio and black uniformity. When set in a brighter room, it does an okay job too considering that it can deal quite well with reflections and that it gets brighter than its competition. The viewing angle is bad though and the gray uniformity could be better and therefore, this Fire TV would not make a good option for sports fans, since dirty screen effect is visible and the best picture quality is reserved only for a few people sitting directly in front. Finally, this TV does not support HDR but it can do a decent job playing SDR content.
The Fire TV has a great native contrast ratio. With a contrast ratio above 5000:1, this means that it can display really deep blacks, which in turn is great for dark scenes in movies, especially when watching TV in a dark room.
The Element Fire TV does not have a local dimming feature. The video is for reference only.
- 64% SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
- 5% SDR Peak 2% Window
- 5% SDR Peak 10% Window
- 5% SDR Peak 25% Window
- 5% SDR Peak 50% Window
- 5% SDR Peak 100% Window
- 2% SDR Sustained 2% Window
- 2% SDR Sustained 10% Window
- 2% SDR Sustained 25% Window
- 2% SDR Sustained 50% Window
- 2% SDR Sustained 100% Window
- 1% SDR ABL
- 64% HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
- 5% HDR Peak 2% Window
- 5% HDR Peak 10% Window
- 5% HDR Peak 25% Window
- 5% HDR Peak 50% Window
- 5% HDR Peak 100% Window
- 2% HDR Sustained 2% Window
- 2% HDR Sustained 10% Window
- 2% HDR Sustained 25% Window
- 2% HDR Sustained 50% Window
- 2% HDR Sustained 100% Window
- 2% HDR ABL
HDR is not supported.
The Element Fire TV has an average gray uniformity and while looking at our test picture of the 50% gray, you can see that the 4 corners are darker than the center. The top and bottom part of the screen is also a bit darker than the middle and some faint darker vertical and horizontal bands are also visible, something that we often see on direct-lit TVs.
Looking at our 5% gray test picture, not much come out and the lighter sides are not a uniformity problem but are due to the narrow viewing angle affecting the camera since, in person, it was not an issue.
Poor viewing angle, but typical for a TV with a VA panel. Blacks turn gray when the TV is viewed from even a small angle, while colors and brightness degrade at more moderate angles. This TV is not a good fit for a room where people often view the TV from the side.
Excellent black uniformity for the Fire TV. Looking at our test picture, the screen is very uniform, even in the corners and edges, where clouding usually happens. This is a very good result and should reflect on dark scene performance.
The Fire TV has a relatively smooth gradient performance even though 8-bit banding is visible. But besides the 8-bit visible banding, there are not many shade issues, even in the darker colors, which is good. Here the lack of a 10-bit panel is not so problematic since the TV does not support HDR.
Out of the box, the Element Fire TV has a good picture quality. It is not as good as some other more expensive TVs, but it is still reasonable. The level of inaccuracy both in the white balance dE and color dE is high enough so that enthusiasts might notice it.
Those results are base on the 'Warm' color temperature, which we always use to start or review. We measured both the 'Standard' and 'Cool' color temperatures and found them to be both too inaccurate (white balance dE over 10 and color dE over 7 for both).
There are no advanced calibration options on the Element Fire TV, so the only changes that could be made are the simple changes to the picture settings that were made before the pre-calibration reading, and as such, the measurement stayed the same.
You can see our recommended settings here.
Standard color gamut, only good enough for SDR (Rec 709) content, but it does cover the entire Rec 709 color gamut.
Disappointing color volume. The narrow color gamut, lack of local dimming and over-brightening of the 10% brightness colors prevent the TV from achieving a satisfying color volume.
A perfect result on our image retention test for the Element Fire TV. After the 10 minutes burn-in scene, no remains of any of the RTINGS logos can be seen. This result is in line with other VA TVs.
The Fire TV is good at handling reflections. It has a semi-gloss finish which diffuses glare across the screen, reducing its intensity. It should be fine for an average room, but may present an issue in a bright room.
The Element Fire TV doesn't support 3D.
Motion performance for the Fire TV is average. The response time is very good, so only a short trail of blur can be seen following fast moving objects. The TV flickers at 220 Hz to dim, so motion isn't as smooth as some other TVs and the flicker frequency not being a multiple of 60 Hz produces visual artifacts for fast-moving objects. This TV is not able to play movies at 24p from any source without judder. The Element Fire TV can use its 60 Hz panel to interpolate 30 fps content.
The response time of the Fire TV is very good, resulting in a short trail following moving objects, which is great when watching fast-moving content.
The Element Fire TV uses PWM at 220Hz to dim the backlight, starting at 99/100 backlight setting. Lowering the setting shortens the duty cycle, while amplitude remains constant. Backlights that use PWM results in duplications following moving objects, but it does help to clear up motion slightly. PWM at 220Hz is unusual, and this is the only TV we have tested so far that uses this frequency. Since it is not a multiple of the panel's refresh rate, which is 60Hz, it results in shaky duplications following fast-moving objects. It is not possible to activate Black Frame Insertion (BFI) to clear up motion.
Update 10/05/2017: Added BFI Frequency.
The Fire TV can't remove judder from 24p movies no matter the frame rate of the sources, from 24p to 60p and 60i.
The Fire TV can interpolate lower frame rate content using its 60 Hz panel. To add the soap opera effect to 60 fps content, change 'Motion Smoothing' to any value except 'Bypass' in the Advanced Options menu. Note that any motion interpolation will introduce artifacts, so use a low setting unless you really like the soap opera effect.
Unfortunately, the Element Fire TV can only display basic 4k content, as it doesn't support HDR and can't properly display 4:4:4 color. It also has high input lag making it a poor choice for video games that require fast reactions.
High input lag, even in the 'PC/Game' picture mode. This is fine for casual gaming, but any game that requires fast reactions will be more difficult than on other TVs with low input lag. Also in 'PC/Game' mode 4k @ 60Hz input shows visual glitches, and sharpening can't be disabled.
- 20% 1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
- 20% 1080p @ 120Hz
- 20% 4k @ 30Hz @ 4:4:4
- 20% 4k @ 60Hz
- 20% 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Only basic resolutions are supported. 4:4:4 color is not shown properly, even in the 'PC/Game' picture mode. 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:2:0 color is supported, but not at 4:4:4 or 4:2:2 because the TV does not support HDMI 2.0 full bandwidth. Also in 'PC/Game' mode 4k @ 60Hz input shows visual glitches, and sharpening can't be disabled.
The Element Fire TV sounds about average for a modern TV set. It won't provide a particularly enjoyable and immersive experience, but it shouldn't cause issues with understanding dialog. Any form of upgrade such as a sound bar would improve the sound by good amount.
The Element Fire TV's frequency response is below average. The under-emphasized treble region causes the TV to sound a bit dark, but it shouldn't cause any major issues with dialog. There is some dynamic range compression at higher volumes though.
Passable distortion levels. While there is a noticeable peak at 400 Hz when the TV is set to max volume, the distortion levels of the Fire TV remain within standard range of what's found in TVs.
The Element Fire TV runs the Amazon Fire TV smart platform, which has very smooth navigation and a great voice command feature, but pushes Amazon content and ads on the user to an annoying degree. A highlight of the platform is the Alexa voice command feature, which can do many things such as changing between apps and inputs, searching for content, and even more general purpose things such as finding nearby restaurants. The interface is also really responsive, has smooth animations and has an easy to understand layout. However, most of the interface pushes Amazon content on the user, giving tons of suggestions from Amazon Video and apps. It's annoying even if you are an Amazon Prime subscriber.
The interface has large banner ads in a few places, and pushes a lot of suggested Amazon Video and app content on the user nearly everywhere. This can be annoying even if you do have an Amazon Prime subscription.
Only Amazon apps are installed on the TV out of the box, but many more are available on the Amazon app store, such as Netflix and YouTube. However, Amazon 1-click ordering needs to be set up before any apps can be downloaded, which requires a payment method even when downloading free apps. Navigating apps feels smooth but their stability isn't as good as on many other platforms, as Netflix crashed during testing and had to be force stopped, and casting from a phone or tablet often failed on first try. The TV can play content from a USB drive, but unfortunately it doesn't have a built in media player, so an app like VLC for Fire TV is required for USB playback.
The remote is small and comfortable, and has a great Alexa voice command feature. It has very few buttons so most things need to be changed via voice or navigating the interface, but all the navigation buttons are within easy reach which is good. Holding down on the home button brings up a quick menu with settings, inputs and apps, which is handy. The Alexa voice control can do an impressive list of things, such as switch between apps and inputs, search for content, and can even do some general purpose things like finding nearby restaurants.
The TV has a lot of buttons on the bottom border, and a joystick on the back of the TV in the lower corner. When used in tandem the buttons and joystick can do just about anything the remote can do.
Differences between Sizes and Variants
We tested the 55" (EL4KAMZ5517). For the most part, we expect our review to be valid for other sizes of the Fire TV.
If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their Element EL4KAMZ Fire TV doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review.
Compared to other TVs
The Element Fire TV is a mediocre TV, especially compared to the very capable competition found in its price range.
The TCL P607 is the highest performing 4k LED TV in their line of products. It features a local dimming feature, wide color gamut and low input lag making it a very versatile TV. It's picture quality is significantly better than the average TV in its price range. Overall, it's slightly more expensive than the Element Fire TV, but it offers a much more compelling offering.
The TCL S405 is an entry-level 4k TV that sports the Roku smart platform. It's a basic TV and a decent performer across many usages. The Element Fire TV gets brighter, but the TCL S405 has better input lag for gaming and has HDR support. The S405 is also cheaper, so unless you really prefer the Amazon Fire TV operating system, go for the S405.
The Vizio M Series 2017 LED TV is a mid-range 4k TV with good picture quality and decent HDR performance. It has a local dimming feature which the Element lacks, and it also has a wide color gamut and local dimming feature that enables a good HDR experience. It's a little more expensive, but its worth spending more on the M Series over the Fire TV.
The MU6300 is Samsung's budget 4k LED model. It features their own SmartHub operating system and is decently versatile package overall. It's a bit more polished than the Fire TV, and it has some HDR capability which the Element lacks entirely. It's especially better for gaming since its input lag is about three times lower. If you can afford it, the MU6300 is a better TV.