Consumer Reports: Amazon phone 'traps' users

The new Fire smartphone isn't awful or necessarily doing anything wrong, the magazine notes. It just locks people out of some options.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 15, 2014 12:52PM
Credit: © Ted S. Warren/AP

Caption: The new Amazon Fire PhoneBy Michelle Fox, CNBC

The new Amazon Fire smartphone (pictured) doesn't measure up against its competitors and "traps" its users in the Amazon ecosystem, according to a review by Consumer Reports.

While the Fire, which wants to be the ultimate shopping phone, taps into all Amazon (AMZN) has to offer, other phones can provide most of those benefits, Mike Gikas, an editor at Consumer Reportssaid Thursday on CNBC's "Power Lunch."

Instead, users are "trapped in Amazon's retail world."

"What happens with the Fire is that it's locked out of Google's Play app store, which prevents people from downloading very popular Google (GOOG) apps" like Gmail, Google Maps and the search tool Google Now, Gikas said. "These apps work together in a very interesting and compelling way that a lot of people like."

That said, the Fire isn't "awful" or necessarily doing anything wrong, he noted.

However, when you tally up the test results and compare them to the 100 other smartphones the magazine tested, the Fire "didn't add up to a high enough score."

One issue was that its battery life is much shorter than its rivals. The phone provides about 10 hours of talk time, compared with other phones that can go close to 20 hours or more, Gikas said. 

He thinks a better smartphone is the new LG G3 phone. He likes its ultra-sharp HD display, the battery life and camera. He also said its interface is simpler and smarter.

"These are the things that people who use smartphones appreciate," Gikas said. 

More from CNBC

Aug 15, 2014 1:08PM
Aug 16, 2014 1:12AM
So doesn't "trapping users into its ecosystem" emulate what Apple products are designed to do?
Aug 15, 2014 2:32PM
Aug 18, 2014 7:05AM

Ok people!! "FERGUSON" What the "H" does burning and looting the small businesses there, which are predominantly black owned and operated, the backbone of  Ferguson's local economy, have to do with this kid's death anyway?? Why destroy something, that helps you. Why destroy your own neighborhoods, your livelihood, for what, the sake of civil rights?? Does the right of assembly, gives you the right to destroy other peoples lives?? I understand the slave bull sh@#, but that was over 200 years ago, and the culprits, are long gone now. I understand the plight, the cotton fields, Dr. King, back of the bus bull sh%$, everything. So what's with the looting and burning, have to do with this kids death?? Anger, is that it, with whom, your selves. Is that why you try to destroy your own neighborhoods? I think that America needs to have this discussion again, and again.

Aug 15, 2014 3:42PM
Another reason to stick with Android. Company sent me a iphone 5 to use..sorry, this thing is a big step backwards from my Galaxy 3. Sent it back and they are sending me Galaxy 4! One drop of the iphone and that thing will thanks
Aug 15, 2014 3:45PM

Isn't that what Apple does with the iPhone?!?!?! You can't access the Play Store with it either and yet the iPhone is supposedly the best thing that hit mankind.


Try 1Mobile. It's almost just like the PlayStore and just about anyone can download the appstore.

Aug 18, 2014 8:28AM
This article is ridiculous, every phone out there has something that leans towards making the customer purchase accessories or service from the mfg'er. To say this is different kind of advertisement toward the buyer is just plain dumb.
Aug 18, 2014 10:47AM
I want a phone app that tells me the number of DumbA** people using their cell phones while driving and their location. That way I can keep clear. 
I have a Kindle Fire HD and I had to root the device to be able to access the Google Play store. 
I'll stick with my dumb phone, a phone is meant to make calls not replace a computer.
Aug 15, 2014 3:59PM
Can those new fangled things.....cook breakfast in the morning..?  What kind of App is that..?
Aug 18, 2014 10:46AM

I like the Android. I'm not stuck with any particular company's plans or online access. It's

a prepaid, so I pay for what I use, when I use it. I have WiFi at home and work, and most places you go to these days have it, so I feel need to spend the money to have a data plan.

I am not attached to my phone like so many are today. I can make calls, text and check something online when necessary.

Aug 18, 2014 10:59AM
Or... you could sideload the apps you want. That's what I did to get OneDrive on to my Kindle Fire HDX. Just Google the directions. No rooting needed.
Aug 18, 2014 10:49AM
Since they are using children in the ads maybe their target audience is kids who will rack up charges to their parents..... I will stick w my Samsung as it does all I need
Aug 18, 2014 12:00PM
Windows Phone is the way to go!! I had a Nexus 5 for about 3 months, using an iPhone (because that's what my company provides) since 5 months, and I wish I could go back to the Windows Phone. it's the best.
Aug 15, 2014 3:37PM
I like my Iphone better than my wifes galaxy 3 that thing is a POS. I dropped it combining corn last fall and found it this year planting beans, plugged it in still works! even though its packed with mud but still use it. but my best phone I have ever had was a Pantech Matrix.
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