Amazon releasing first smartphone

Published On: Jul 22 2014 11:36:21 PM EDT

The first smartphone designed by Amazon is set to be released on Friday.

Consumer Reports has a beta version of the Fire Phone and put it to the test to see if it really is all that hot.

In its commercial for the Fire Phone, Amazon said the phone comes with a year free of Amazon Prime. Prime is the company's service that includes free two-day shipping on some items plus unlimited streaming music and video.

But Consumer Reports's Mike Gikas is excited about some of the phone's other features and began checking it out in the labs.

"Overall, this is really a cool phone beginning with dynamic perspective which gives the phone a 3D look. And Firefly, helps you identify object in front of you by scanning them," said Gikas.

But some of the Fire Phone's features weren't entirely on par with the competition.

"I found the hands-free gesture feature a bit clunky. It didn't always work," said Gikas. "Firefly sometimes had trouble identifying movies, songs and objects in front of it."

Another of the phone's features is Mayday, a free video tech support with live people. It can access your phone and fix problems, even change settings while you watch.

"Bottom line, this is a really fun phone with a lot of unique features. But some people won't like the fact that it can't run popular Google apps like YouTube or Gmail," said Gikas.

When the retail version is released later this week, Consumer Reports will begin in-depth testing ranging from the Fire Phone's audio quality to its camera quality.


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