Early look at Amazon's first smartphone

Early look at Amazon's first smartphone
FILE - This June 18, 2014 file photo shows the app that links to shopping on Amazon.com on the new Amazon Fire Phone, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Amazon is getting ready to release its first smartphone named the Fire, this Friday July 25th. Consumer Reports put an early version to the test - to find out if it's worth considering a switch. 
 
In its commercial for the Fire, Amazon boasts that the phone comes with free Amazon Prime for a year, which includes some free two-day shipping and unlimited streaming music and video. ººBut checking out the Fire in Consumer Reports labs, tech geeks were excited about some of the phone's other features. 

Overall, they found the Fire to be a really cool phone - beginning with dynamic perspective which gives the phone a 3D look. Another feature, Firefly, helps you identify objects in front of you by scanning them. It can even identify music and movies by listening to them.
 
As for how well all the phone's features actually work - Consumer Reports testers found the hands-free gesture feature a bit clunky. It didn't always work.  And they found Firefly sometimes had trouble identifying movies, songs and objects in front of it.

Another feature of the Fire is called Mayday, which is free video tech support with live people. They can access your phone and fix problems or change settings while you watch.

After their initial test of the early version, Consumer Reports says the Amazon Fire 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.

When the retail version is available on July 25th Consumer Reports will begin its in depth testing for features like sound and camera quality.

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Correction: An earlier version of Consumer Reports’ Fire Phone report indicated consumers would be required to have an Amazon Prime account in order to use the new Fire phone. Consumers Reports included that information in error. Amazon does NOT require membership in Amazon Prime to use the new Amazon Fire Phone.