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Amazon Fire Phone vs. iPhone 5s

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June 18, 2014

Gizmag compares the features and specs of the Amazon Fire Phone and the iPhone 5s

Gizmag compares the features and specs of the Amazon Fire Phone and the iPhone 5s

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After finding success with e-readers and tablets, Amazon is now digging its claws into smartphones. Are the Fire Phone's unique features enough to make it worth a look next to today's most popular handsets? Let's compare its features and specs to those of the iPhone 5s, and see if we can lend a hand.

Size

The Fire Phone is 12 percent longer and 12 percent wider

Like most high-end flagship smartphones, the Fire Phone is bigger than the iPhone. To be exact, it's 12 percent longer and 12 percent wider than the 5s. The iPhone, though, is 15 percent thinner than Amazon's new handset.

Weight

The iPhone is 30 percent lighter

You'd expect a bigger phone to be heavier, but maybe not by this wide a margin. The Fire Phone is a whopping 43 percent heavier than Apple's feathery iPhone.

Build

Amazon is trying to bring glass-backed phones back

Well this helps to explain the Fire's heft. Just when it looked like smartphone makers were moving away from glass backs, Amazon is revisiting the trend that we saw in the iPhone 4/4s, LG Optimus G and Nexus 4.

Colors

It looks like the Fire Phone will only be sold in black

Amazon is going to sell some colorful cases for the Fire Phone, but, much like the Kindle Fire tablets, the phone itself will only be sold in black.

Display (size)

The iPhone gives you 73 percent as much screen area as the Fire Phone does

The Fire Phone's display isn't nearly as big as some recent Android flagship phones, but its screen is still 38 percent bigger than the iPhone's.

Display (resolution)

The Fire Phone's 720p display makes it a lot less sharp than some of its high-end rivals

The Fire Phone's 720p resolution should look pretty sharp, but with 1080p and even 2K screens popping up in modern flagships, this is another area where the Fire is lagging behind much of its competition.

3D display

The Fire Phone's Dynamic Perspective adds a glasses-free 3D effect to the phone's screen

The Fire Phone has a glasses-free 3D screen, though it's a little different than the stereoscopic displays you might have seen on the Nintendo 3DS or, if you can remember that far back, the HTC Evo 3D. Amazon calls the technology "Dynamic Perspective," and it's like a 3D effect that appears to sink into the phone, rather than popping out of it. It should be interesting to see what developers do with it.

Fingerprint sensor

The iPhone 5s has a Touch ID fingerprint sensor in its home button

I'd say Apple's Touch ID is easily the best smarpthone fingerprint sensor in the business right now (though it really doesn't have many rivals yet). Amazon didn't try to compete with it in the Fire Phone.

Image recognition

Amazon's Firefly is a feature that identifies objects and places them in your Amazon shopp...

Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets have always been like virtual Amazon shopping malls, nudging you to buy and consume Amazon content every chance they get. The Fire Phone is taking this to a new level with Firefly. Hold down the dedicated Firefly button, aim your phone's camera at something like an email address, web URL or, you know, a product, and Amazon will take care of the rest. In the case of products, that means plopping said item into your Amazon shopping cart.

On-device tech support

Remember the Mayday button from the latest Kindle Fires? It's on the Fire Phone as well

One of the coolest features in the latest batch of Kindle Fires was Mayday, Amazon's on-device customer support chat. It shows up on the Fire Phone as well. Tap the Mayday button, and an Amazon rep will pop up on your screen, via one-way video chat (you can see and hear the rep, but he or she can only hear you).

Processor

Amazon put Qualcomm's zippy Snapdragon 800 in the Fire Phone

Amazon didn't skimp in the performance department, as Jeff Bezos and Co. opted for the zippy Snapdragon 800 processor.

Storage

Storage options

We have two storage options (and no microSD) for the Fire Phone. Though it's worth noting that Amazon skipped the industry-standard 16 GB base model, leaping straight to 32 GB.

RAM

The Fire Phone doubles the iPhone's 1 GB of RAM

The Fire Phone's 2 GB of RAM is pretty standard for recent high-end flagship smartphones. Well, at least it is for those that aren't the iPhone.

Battery

Battery capacities

Battery capacities don't necessarily tell us much about actual battery life, but, for what it's worth, the Fire Phone does hold 53 percent more juice than the iPhone does.

Cameras

Amazon didn't skimp in the megapixel department, with a 13 MP rear shooter

Technically the Fire Phone has five front-facing cameras, but four of them are there just to track your face and eyes (to achieve the 3D effect). Megapixels aren't everything, but with a 13 MP rear shooter, it's good to see Amazon didn't skimp in the resolution department. The camera also has optimal image stabilization and f/2.0 aperture.

Software

Fire OS relies on the Amazon Appstore for apps, which might not be such a grew thing

This is probably the biggest reason to balk at the Fire Phone. While it technically runs Android, this isn't the Android you'd find on something like a Nexus, Galaxy or HTC handset. Amazon took Android's open source core, forked it for its own benefit and skipped all the Google goodies. That means no Google apps – including Gmail, Maps and, most importantly, the Play Store. All of the Fire's apps are instead going to come from the Amazon Appstore. It has a solid enough selection, but it's going to be a big downgrade from both Google Play and the iPhone's App Store.

Release

The Fire Phone launches next month, while the iPhone's follow-up should be quickly approac...

If you order the Fire Phone today, you can expect your package on your doorstep on July 25. The iPhone launched about nine months ago, so we're likely hitting the home stretch of its initial life cycle.

Starting price (off-contract)

Somewhat surprisingly, the Fire Phone will ring up for the same $650 off-contract price as...

This was what surprised me the most about the Fire Phone. Amazon's tablets sell for around what it costs Amazon to make them, as the company bets that it will profit off of you for digital content. But the Fire Phone is selling for the same US$650 off-contract price as premium rivals like the iPhone 5s, Galaxy S5 and HTC One (M8). Of course US customers can also opt for a new two-year agreement (with AT&T), but that price is also toe-to-toe with those more established rivals. This should be interesting.

For more on the Fire Phone, you can check out our coverage of Amazon's announcement. And if you want to dig deeper on the iPhone 5s, you can hit up our full review.

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About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica.
  All articles by Will Shanklin
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6 Comments

If it doesn't update everyday apps I don't use i'll give it a look-see

Ozuzi
18th June, 2014 @ 11:40 pm PDT

"But the Fire Phone is selling for the same US$650 off-contract price"

Or you could say it is selling for $100 less than the comparable 32 GB phones.

Michaelc
19th June, 2014 @ 02:19 pm PDT

I'm keeping my now-rather-outdated iPhone 5 for one reason: its size means I can slip it into my pants pocket easily, and more importantly I can extract it quickly when a call comes in. What we need in the Android world is a foldable phone (something like the old clamshell flip-phones), with a foldable or virtual screen so we can have an Android-sized viewing area in an iPhone-sized pocketable form factor.

Terence Kuch
19th June, 2014 @ 04:07 pm PDT

Ummmm...it's a phone. Where is the phone section of the comparison? What bands are covered. Is it 4g/LTE--US only or world wide bands.

John Driggers
19th June, 2014 @ 07:41 pm PDT

My daughter, daughter in-law, son, wife, and sveral friends have Iphones. My wife showed me the conversation between my wife and son with my grand child one the screen playing and talking using Facetime.

Does the Fire phone work seamlessly with the Iphone's Facetime?

Gerald Muffoletto
20th June, 2014 @ 12:03 pm PDT

Love Amazon's new phone and can't wait for the tangle free earbuds. Does anyone know if EarSkinz fit on the new Amazon earbuds?

Wexy
24th June, 2014 @ 02:20 pm PDT
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