Though smart TVs have been around for over a decade, if you haven't made the switch yet, the idea of upgrading can be a little intimidating, and the cost can be high.
Amazon doesn't think that should be the case. The company's 50-inch smart TV makes upgrading easy and affordable. Amazon promises that with the Omni Series 4K smart TV, you have access to over 1 million movies and TV episodes, live TV without cable, personalized viewing recommendations and a variety of other convenient features.
This sounded like exactly what we were looking for, so we tested the Amazon Fire TV 50-inch Omni Series 4K Smart TV to see if these claims were true. Here's what we found.
While our tester has experience using a modern smart TV when visiting family, they own a Vizio that's almost a decade old. This TV pales in comparison to modern smart TV technology: the software is outdated and can only stream Netflix, and the performance is slow and unreliable. Our tester is looking for an upgrade that can reliably run all streaming apps, connect to an Xbox One and utilize Alexa's functionality.
For this article, we had our tester use the Amazon Fire TV for a few weeks to get comfortable with its features. During that time, they took extensive notes in such areas as setup, picture quality, audio quality, accessibility features and more.
The Amazon Fire TV 50-Inch Omni Series 4K Smart TV is a UHD smart TV that features a streamlined technological design. From our experience, it's a value option, not a high-end model packed with premium bells and whistles. However, that doesn't mean this 4K TV is subpar. It has a wide expanse of desirable features that elevate the user experience.
The model we tested has a 50-inch LED screen with a 60Hz refresh rate and 3840 x 2160 resolution. It works with Apple AirPlay, offers hands-free Alexa control and supports HDR10. The TV has audio support for Dolby Digital Plus with a pass-through of Dolby-encoded audio and it's compatible with Echo Studio, Echo (3rd Generation), Echo (4th Generation), Echo Plus (2nd Generation), Echo Dot (4th Generation) and Echo Dot (4th Generation) with a clock.
If you just want the TV, Amazon's 50-inch Omni Series Fire TV costs $509.99. When you add on a wall mount and remote cover, that brings the price up to $562.97. Expert wall mounting is an additional $99.99 per unit. All of these options are available on Amazon.
Setting up the Omni TV was easy. The toughest challenge is getting it out of the box, it arrives very well-packed. Once you get it positioned where you like it, plug it in and connect to your Amazon Prime account, you get a series of step-by-step instructions. It only took 30 minutes from start to finish, and the only tool needed was a screwdriver.
At first use, we found the home screen was geared, and rightfully so, to Prime Video users. It takes a little time and traveling down some dead ends to build up a repertoire of favorite apps to customize your home screen experience. Once you have everything the way you like it, navigation is much easier.
Amazon's remote features a streamlined design. There are no buttons lacking and it isn't overcrowded. The built-in Alexa makes navigating effortless: Just tell Alexa where you want to go, and you're there. You can also adjust the volume, rewind, fast-forward and more. Alexa will even answer general questions and get information unrelated to entertainment, if needed. This was particularly useful in our situation, because we have no Echo devices in the home.
Unfortunately, the picture quality on our model was not as impressive as we were hoping. We watched identical programs side-by-side on our old Vizio TV, and while there was a definite upgrade in quality, it wasn't dramatic enough to make a huge impact on our overall viewing experience. We found brighter colors came across in vivid hues, but greens and blues, as well as darker content, were a little murky.
The stock speakers on the Omni TV were underwhelming. Also, the dialogue was challenging to understand if the volume wasn't turned up. Because of slim designs, this is a common problem with many modern TVs, but not necessarily something that would be a deal-breaker. Adding a soundbar, for instance, is a quick and easy fix. You can also use an Alexa device to create a makeshift surround sound setup.
There are limitations with the TV's 60Hz refresh rate, but it's suitable for most gaming systems. We didn't play anything that required a higher refresh rate (no first-person shooters, etc.) so our gaming experience was fine. An avid gamer might not be as accommodating to the low-end refresh rate.
We tested all the accessibility features. The screen magnifying and text banner are very helpful for those who require assistance. While the VoiceView worked very well, it did pronounce words incorrectly at times and sounded clunky and robotic. But again, this feature would benefit an individual who required it.
The Amazon Fire TV 50-Inch Omni Series 4K Smart TV is an affordable way to upgrade to smart TV functionality. If you have an older model, this will satisfy (and possibly amaze) you. The built-in Alexa hands-free navigation is a game-changer. Further, the easy setup, ethernet connectivity, ability to watch live TV with no additional costs and accessibility features all add to and enhance the overall user experience.
As great a value as this TV is, it isn't without its drawbacks. For us, the picture quality wasn't as impressive as other 4K options. That being said, it isn't bad, and individuals who are upgrading from an older TV will likely be satisfied. While the built-in speakers aren't impressive, that's not a model-specific flaw as much as it is a design limitation. If audio is important, you'll want to purchase external speakers. The other two problems we encountered with this model were accessing the Accessibility features. They worked, but figuring out how to engage them was challenging, and using the AirPlay feature we could use screen mirroring, but never figured out how to transfer files.
If you have an old TV and are on a limited budget but crave value and want to upgrade, the Amazon Fire TV 50-inch Omni Series 4K Smart TV comes highly recommended. It's also a solid choice for a secondary TV, a model for a vacation home, a younger family member or a casual viewer. If you're an entertainment connoisseur and you're seeking the highest picture quality available, there are better options out there.
If you're looking for a “best of the best” model, this high-end TV not only has a quantum dot picture for a remarkable viewing experience, but it displays as artwork in a frame when the TV is off.
Sold by Amazon
This model costs slightly more than the Omni, but you get a few benefits, such as a low-latency game mode, immersive sound and NanoCell technology for a more vivid picture.
Sold by Amazon
If you like the quality and value offered by Amazon but are seeking a larger screen that supports Dolby Vision, this 75-inch model should top your list.
Sold by Amazon
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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.