Amazon redefines what’s possible with the eminently affordable Amazon Fire TV Omni Mini LED QLED
- Excellent picture accuracy
- Extensive set of features
- Competitively priced
- Surprisingly dim
- Smart platform a bit slow
- Not ideal for next-gen gamers
The Amazon Fire TV Omni is the latest 4K HDR QLED TV from the retail giant and adds the benefits of a Mini LED backlight with full-array local dimming. It also comes feature-packed with built-in Alexa along with support for the HDR10+ Adaptive and Dolby Vision IQ HDR formats.
There’s a decent sound system, a comprehensive smart system, and plenty of gaming features as well, and that, plus impressive performance, make it a great TV choice for anyone on a budget.
Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review: Key specifications
|Screen sizes available:
|4K/UHD (3,840 x 2,160)
|HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10+ Adaptive
|1 x HDMI 2.1, 3 x HDMI 2.0
|Freeview Play compatibility:
Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review: What you need to know
The Amazon Fire TV Omni is a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) HDR smart QLED TV that uses a Mini LED backlight with full-array local dimming. The Omni comes in 43in, 50in, 55in and 65in screen sizes, although it should be noted that the 43in model uses a direct LED backlight, without the full-array local dimming found on the larger screen sizes.
The Omni runs the latest version of Amazon’s Fire TV operating system and supports HDR10, HDR10+ Adaptive, Dolby Vision IQ and HLG, which covers every current HDR format. The smart platform includes built-in Alexa, and offers a comprehensive selection of streaming apps, along with a full complement of TV catch-up services.
There’s a stereo sound system with 12W of power per channel, but no Dolby Atmos because the Omni is limited to Dolby Digital Plus. There are four HDMI inputs, although only one is HDMI 2.1. While the Omni can handle VRR, it’s only up to 60Hz due to the panel, and for the same reason, there’s no support for 4K/120Hz gaming.
Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review: Price and competition
The Amazon Fire TV Omni is available in four screen sizes: the 43in model retails for £550; the 50in version costs £650; the 55in screen size is priced at £750; and the bigger 65in TV reviewed here will set you back £1,000, though it was available for just £800 at the time of writing. When you consider all features available on the Omni, these prices are certainly competitive when compared to the alternatives.
If you are looking for similarly priced alternatives there’s the 65in Hisense U7 that retails for £760 and supports 4K/120Hz, or the 65in Samsung QN85B from last year, which offers all of the brand’s cutting-edge Neo QLED technology for £1,099. If you prefer an OLED TV, the 65in LG A2 is definitely worth considering at only £1,096.
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Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review: Design, connections and control
The Amazon Fire TV Omni isn’t going to win any design awards, but it has a pleasingly minimalist appearance, with a bezel-less screen, a 20mm wide brushed metal strip along the bottom, and a gunmetal grey finish. The 65in model is 35mm deep at the top but widens out to 70mm towards the bottom, where the speakers and electronics are housed.
The overall build quality is generally good, and the 65in Omni weighs in at a solid 22kg. It sits on a pair of feet that provide 110mm of clearance for a soundbar, although you will need a fairly wide surface to install it on. Alternatively, you can wall mount using a 400 x 300mm VESA bracket.
The side-facing connections are on the right of the screen, but only 150mm from the edge, so cables may be visible from the front. There are four HDMI inputs, all of which support 4K/60Hz and HDR, but only one supports eARC, VRR, and ALLM. There’s also a terrestrial tuner, an AV input, an IR emitter, an optical digital output, an Ethernet port, two USB ports, and built-in Wi-Fi.
The included zapper is the standard Fire TV Voice Remote, and as such it’s a rather small and fiddly plain black plastic affair. As is often the case these days, the button choice is stripped back, and most are identified by icons or, in the case of the navigation and enter controls, nothing at all. It’s not the most intuitive wand, although Amazon probably wants you to prioritise Alexa voice control, but at least there are direct keys for Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, and Freeview Play.
Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review: Smart TV platform
Unsurprisingly, the Amazon Fire TV Omni uses the latest version of the brand’s proprietary operating system. The full-screen homepage is essentially the same as the one used for other Fire TV devices, with the addition of the built-in tuner and Freeview Play. It remains a fairly well-designed interface, although the emphasis is obviously on Amazon services and products.
The interaction is reasonably intuitive, with a single bar along the middle of the page that provides access to inputs, live TV, settings and the various loaded apps. There’s an extensive choice, with a full complement of UK catch-up apps, Freeview Play, and every streaming service imaginable, including YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV, Now and Rakuten TV.
The setup is straightforward, thanks to an effective wizard and a settings page that lays out all the options in a clear and concise fashion. In general, it’s a fairly standard smart TV experience, but as you frequently discover with operating systems where accessing apps and recommendations comes first, the normal TV settings feel tacked on and are difficult or time-consuming to access.
As is often the case with an OS originally developed for another device and then ported over to a TV, there doesn’t seem to be sufficient processing power to run it effectively. The user interface is often sluggish, and the smart platform can feel unresponsive at times. As these systems become more sophisticated, TV manufacturers need to increase the processing power to keep up.
Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review: Image quality
The Amazon Fire TV Omni uses a VA panel, which ensures decent black levels but does result in limited optimal viewing angles. As long as you’re directly facing the screen, you get a native contrast ratio of 3,800:1, which is good for an LCD TV, but as soon as you move away from centre the contrast and colour saturation will start to drop off.
The big selling point of the Omni is the use of Mini LEDs in a full-array backlight with local dimming. A moving dot pattern reveals there are 14 horizontal and 6 vertical zones, giving a total of 84 independently dimmable zones. Amazon actually lists 80 in the specs, which is a rare case of marketing understatement, but either way, it’s less than some of the competition.
The Omni ships in the Energy Saving mode, which unusually has a fairly accurate greyscale, with a slight push to magenta, but a heavily manipulated gamma and oversaturated colours. When initially selecting the more accurate Film Dark mode, these problems persisted, until I realised there’s a fake HDR setting called Smart HDR that defaults to on.
Once Smart HDR is turned off, the Dark Film mode is immediately more accurate, although it could still be better. The gamma is tracking the target of 2.2 precisely, but an excess of red in the greyscale results in an average DeltaE (error) of 3.3, which is just above the visible threshold of three. The colour accuracy is more impressive, with an average error of only 2.1.
Given the price, it may be hard to justify the cost of a professional calibration, but the picture controls work well. If you bring down the amount of red in the greyscale using the white balance control, the resulting average error drops to 0.5, and the colour accuracy is also improved, with the average DeltaE dropping to 1.4. This is a reference performance after calibration.
The picture processing is also good, upscaling lower-resolution content cleanly and without introducing unwanted artefacts. The same goes for motion handling, which is smooth and free of judder. The Clarity settings are best left off with movies, but when it comes to fast-paced sports action, a touch of smoothing can reap rewards.
Thanks to the accurate greyscale, gamma and colours, SDR images look excellent, with solid blacks, nice shadow detail, precisely upscaled pictures, and rich colours that benefit from this QLED TV’s quantum dot filters. The benefits offered by the direct Mini LED backlight are also obvious, with local dimming and image processing playing their part.
The number of independent zones might not sound like much, but the local dimming algorithm makes full use of the 84 zones at its disposal. The scene in Gravity where Sandra Bullock is framed by the Milky Way is handled very well, and in the low local dimming setting the stars shine without obvious blooming, and the letterbox bars are pleasingly black.
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Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review: HDR performance
The Amazon Fire TV Omni is a solid performer when it comes to high dynamic range, and offers a full suite of options – HDR10, HLG, HDR10+ Adaptive, and Dolby Vision IQ. For HDR10 and HLG the Film Dark mode is the most accurate option, and for Dolby Vision choose the Dark setting for critical viewing at night.
The Dolby Vision IQ setting uses a built-in light sensor to adjust picture brightness based on the dynamic metadata and is useful for watching content during the day. Whichever version of HDR you are watching, make sure the local dimming is set to high. This will ensure the brightest highlights and deepest blacks, delivering HDR with the maximum amount of impact.
Unfortunately, the Omni isn’t the brightest of HDR TVs, with a peak luminance of 570cd/m2 on a 10% window and 439cd/m2 on a full-field pattern. On the plus side, the greyscale and tone mapping are excellent, and able to handle 1,000, 4,000 and 10,000 nit content. As a result, HDR images are impressive with deep blacks and bright highlights that deliver punchy pictures.
The colour performance is also very good, hitting 95% of the DCI-P3 colour space, which means you’re getting almost the full benefit of HDR’s wider colour gamut, and these colours are mapped correctly. As a result, the Omni handles the richly saturated colours in a film like Elvis with great skill, ensuring all those garish 1960s palettes pop with vibrant energy.
Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review: Gaming
The Amazon Fire TV Omni is a pretty good option for gaming, with an HDMI 2.1 input that supports ALLM (automatic low latency mode), which means the TV switches into the game mode when a console is detected, and VRR (variable refresh rate), although this is only up to 60Hz.
The reason for this is the panel only supports frame rates up to 60Hz, which means no gaming at 4K/120Hz. Of course, you might not care even if you have one of the latest consoles, because games only seem to offer ray tracing at 4K/60Hz, so you may never use the higher frame rates.
The game mode uses the current picture setting but greys out features that increase input lag like motion enhancement. The result is a pleasingly nippy response time, with an input lag that only measures 10ms, which puts the Omni on a par with the likes of LG and Samsung.
Playing Call of Duty: Black Ops on the Omni is a joy, with smooth motion, detailed images, well-defined highlights, and great response times. The inclusion of support for every version of HDR ensures optimal performance, and since this is an LCD panel there’s no danger of screen burn.
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Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review: Sound quality
If there’s one area where the Amazon Fire TV Omni disappoints, it’s in terms of the audio features and sound quality. That’s not to say the Omni sounds bad, but its two-channel system with 12W for each speaker is hardly going to weave sonic magic. It’s certainly sufficient for general TV watching, but if you’re looking for something a bit more immersive, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
The Omni supports Dolby Digital Plus, but, unlike many competing TVs, there’s no Dolby Atmos delivered using psychoacoustic processing. Although to be honest, two-channel speaker systems don’t make much of Atmos anyway, so perhaps Amazon has been wise to omit it. If you’re wanting a more robust sonic experience, we recommend investing in one of the best soundbars to accompany the Fire TV Omni.
Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review: Verdict
The Amazon Fire TV Omni is a solid entry from the retailing giant that brings the benefits of a full-array Mini LED backlight and local dimming to the more affordable end of the market. The black levels are good, the accuracy even better, and the use of quantum dots ensures that colours are richly rendered. The image processing and motion handling are also first-class.
The result is an excellent performance with SDR and every version of HDR. The build quality is also good, the connections are capable, and the Fire TV OS is comprehensive and includes built-in Alexa. The smart platform is very Amazon-focused and a bit sluggish, the audio is perfunctory, and there’s no 4K/120Hz, but otherwise, this QLED TV offers great value for money.