Amazon Fire TV Omni Series QLED overview: Worth it for Alexa followers, and now $180 off

Mike Powers
Amazon Fire TV Omni Series QLED overview: Worth it for Alexa followers, and now 0 off


Amazon Fire TV Omni Series QLED

pros and cons

Pros

  • Great picture and sound
  • Dedicated game mode
  • Alexa features are optional
  • Easy to set up
  • Great for gaming
Cons

  • A bit overpriced
  • No easy way to access app library
  • Somewhat invasive ads on home screen
  • Lots of cool features locked behind Alexa functions
  • No Dolby Atmos support

more buying choices

The Amazon Fire TV Omni Series QLED is the next evolution of Amazon’s TV offerings, with an all-new QLED screen for bolder colors, sharper detailing, and enhanced contrast.¬†

It also aims to provide you with a great streaming experience with rich, clean audio from twin 12W speakers and access to thousands of shows and movies. 

The Amazon Fire TV Omni Series QLED even works as a gaming TV with a dedicated gaming picture mode to enhance color and detailing so that characters and landscapes pop. 

Also: OLED vs QLED: Which is better?

However, the biggest strike against the Omni QLED is that a lot of its cool functionality is locked behind Alexa. This means that in order to get cool features like making voice or video calls, playing trivia, or checking the weather, you’ll have to buy an Echo device and set up an Alexa profile if you don’t have one already.¬†

Specifications

Screen size 65 inches
Panel type QLED
Operating system FireOS
HDR support Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10+ Adaptive
Speakers Dual 12W
Audio Dolby Digital Plus
VRR support N/A
Refresh rate 60Hz
Connectivity HDMI, HDMI eARC, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB, AUX, Optical, Coax

Pricing 

The 65-inch Fire TV Omni Series from Amazon retails for around $800, which isn’t a bad price for a decently sized screen and all of the features. If you’re an avid Amazon or Alexa user, it’s worth every penny. If you aren’t, it’s a bit steep considering that you won’t use half of the features. And requiring the added cost of an Echo device to unlock the TV’s full potential is a disappointment.

Since the FireOS is so closely tied to Amazon’s proprietary technology, a lot of the cool features are locked behind Alexa functionalities like Skills. This problem is more evident with the $1,100 price tag for the 75-inch Fire TV Omni version, and highlighted further by the lower prices and somewhat better feature sets of competitor models. And right now during Amazon’s Big Spring Sale, you can snag the 55-inch Omni QLED for just over $400 (saving you $180).

For example, the Hisense A6 65-inch normally sells for about $470 while still providing premium-grade features like Dolby Vision support, voice controls, and screen mirroring. And TCL, the undisputed king of budget TVs, sells its 65-inch 5 Series for around $500 while giving you comparable picture and sound as well as VRR support for console gaming.

Also: The 5 best budget TVs

For as great as the new Omni Series QLED models are, the price is a big sticking point for me, especially since I personally don’t use Alexa or want an Amazon-centric streaming experience. However, Amazon is currently running a sale on the 65-inch Omni Series QLED, bringing the price down to $550 — this is much more in line with what I think this TV should be retailing for to begin with, making it a great, budget-friendly option if you’re looking to upgrade. ¬†

Picture and sound

I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting to be as impressed as I was with the picture and sound quality of the Omni Series QLED. Since Amazon is so new to manufacturing, I was expecting a bare-bones TV with basic features and passable picture and sound. And I am very glad to be proven wrong.

The QLED panel definitely seems like an improvement over the previous iteration, producing more colors, better contrast, and sharper detailing. It also supports Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ for enhanced settings when you need it, which is great news for movie and TV show buffs. And it is absolutely worth going through the HDR calibration process (which only takes a few minutes) to fine-tune your images to get the best picture possible.

Also: Microsoft: This new Windows 11 app will tune your HDR display

The TV also has a dedicated gaming picture mode. This gives your games a much-needed visual boost — especially if you’re playing an older console or digital copy of an older game.¬†

The adaptive HDR10+ settings automatically adjust brightness, contrast, and color to make scenes look sharper and more eye-catching.

The TV also has integrated ambient light sensors, which automatically make the screen brighter or dimmer based on your environment. A lot of newer smart TVs have this feature. I’m glad that Amazon included it in this model upgrade. Our house catches a lot of morning sun, which can make watching the morning news a bit difficult on our Samsung TU-8000¬†(which doesn’t have adaptive screen brightness).¬†

The Amazon Fire TV Omni Series QLED. The screen shows a scene from Fellowship of the Ring

Taylor Clemons/ZDNET

Another small gripe I have with the Omni Series QLED is the 60Hz refresh rate. While this is perfectly fine for most streaming and broadcast entertainment, if you’re an avid console gamer or sports fan, it leaves a lot to be desired. And while I understand there are licensing fees for supporting AMD FreeSync or Nvidia G-Sync specifically for gaming, general VRR support would have gone a long way toward providing smoother on-screen action.¬†

Also: The 5 best gaming TVs

The integrated speakers on the TV are a credit to the redesign, however, providing rich, clear audio that doesn’t sound tinny or muffled like some stock TV speakers can. Dolby Digital Plus audio support also ensures that you’ll get deep bass notes, as well as clear mid and high tones, so you never miss a line of dialogue or bit of music.

If you want a more elaborate audio setup, you can connect your TV to Echo speakers to create a custom home audio solution or provide whole-home audio for streaming music. This is an excellent feature that I wish Amazon hadn’t shackled to its own brand.¬†

Also: The 5 best video streaming services

I would much rather see multi-device support for generic Bluetooth speakers and soundbars, since users might have audio equipment from different brands rather than a house full of Amazon-branded devices. You can set up non-Amazon speakers and soundbars with the TV but won’t get that whole-home audio experience, which is a shame.

Alexa and Amazon features

As it’s meant to be the centerpiece of your Amazon or Alexa-centered smart home network. the Omni QLED features native Alexa support via a voice-enabled remote, as well as a four-microphone array built into the unit itself. If you don’t have an Alexa account already, you can use basic voice commands for turning the TV on and off or launching certain apps. And if you want expanded, hands-free controls as well as the ability to add Skills, you can either connect to an Echo device or the Alexa companion app. Though you will need an Amazon account to sign into the Alexa app as well as the TV itself to access many enhanced features.¬†

The Amazon Fire TV Omni Series QLED TV showing a still from the movie Emma

Taylor Clemons/ZDNET

If you decide to download Alexa Skills, you can play music, games, check the weather, get daily trivia, or even make and receive video calls. Skills are what really set the Omni QLED apart from similar smart TVs from competitors like TCL and Hisense. Without access to these features, the Omni QLED is reduced to a pretty bog-standard smart TV with better-than-expected picture and audio capabilities.  

Gaming

Where I was the most surprised with the Omni QLED is just how well it does with console gaming. I set up both my PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch and ran this TV through every test and challenge I could think of. And the Omni Series QLED is more than capable of delivering a quality console gaming experience. 

Also: Best TVs for gaming  

The dedicated gaming mode is automatically enabled as soon as the TV detects that your console is powered on and connected, which is great because you don’t have to navigate through any confusing menus to get the best picture possible for your games. This picture mode automatically boosts contrast and color to give you sharp, clean images that make characters and landscapes really pop.

The Amazon Fire TV Omni Series QLED showing the launch image for Mass Effect Andromeda

Taylor Clemons/ZDNET

I was most impressed with just how great Ghost of Tsushima looks, with its cinematic landscapes, rich character modeling, and sheer amount of stuff on screen at any given point. And even with the Omni QLED’s somewhat lackluster 60Hz refresh rate, I never had any issues with screen tearing or artifacting; and I never had any issues with motion blur feeling excessive or like an annoyance.¬†

It does get a bit tricky when playing rhythm games, as it can throw you for a loop when trying to hit complicated beat combos, but it doesn’t detract from most games.

The Amazon Fire TV Omni Series QLED TV, showing a still from Ghost of Tsushima

Taylor Clemons/ZDNET
The Amazon Fire TV Omni Series QLED TV in a darkened room, showing a still from Ghost of Tsushima

Taylor Clemons/ZDNET

The Switch looks nice on this TV as well, especially since many Nintendo titles have bold colors and interesting art direction that work really well with the QLED panel. The original Paper Mario looks clean, if clunky in comparison with later entries to the series, and Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory is a delight. 

The Amazon Fire TV Omni Series QLED TV, showing the title screen for the original Paper Mario

Taylor Clemons/ZDNET

I usually play console games with a headset so I can better pick up on audio cues and dialogue, but the integrated speakers of the Omni QLED provide loud and clear audio that doesn’t make you miss out on fine details like wind through trees, subtle music, and quiet character conversations.¬†

If you’re in the market for a TV strictly for console gaming, I’d highly recommend the Omni QLED. Even at the full $800, it’s still a solid option against competitors from brands like Sony and LG when it comes to picture quality and a smoother, more enjoyable gameplay experience.

Streaming

This TV was built from the ground up to be a one-stop-shop not only for streaming Amazon Originals and Prime Video offerings, but streaming from every one of your favorite apps. Upon startup, the Omni QLED drops you right into the FireOS home screen, which puts Prime shows and movies front and center. You can also access Amazon’s other video streaming partners like Freevee from the home screen as well to watch free movies and shows with ads.¬†

Also: The best free movie apps

The Omni QLED comes with a small suite of preloaded apps to get you started, but you’ll have to manually download popular options like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ if you want them. This process is no big deal, as many new smart TVs only offer a small selection of preloaded streaming options. But to not at least have other Amazon-owned apps like Twitch preloaded and ready to go is an odd choice to me.¬†

The Amazon Fire TV Omni Series QLED TV, showing the home screen with an ad for the Prime original movie Vengeance

Taylor Clemons/ZDNET

Another home screen issue I have is the ads. They’re not quite as invasive or annoying as what you’d see on a Kindle, but a good portion of the home screen is taken up by ads for various Amazon-produced shows and movies, streaming partners, and even tips for setting up and configuring your new TV.¬†

While these are generally helpful for finding new things to watch, if you’re absolutely against ads, it’s something to keep in mind. Especially since they don’t always load on startup, leaving your TV screen a void of various shades of gray.

The Amazon Fire TV Omni Series QLED TV, showing the home screen with blank spaces where ads failed to load

Taylor Clemons/ZDNET

Once you have all of your apps downloaded, you then have to configure your quick-selection menu. It’s not a particularly difficult or time-consuming task, but it’s a small annoyance that recently used apps don’t show up on the home screen automatically. You have to access your full library by going to the settings menu, where you can then add your favorite streaming services to your quick-access menu.¬†

Thankfully, you really only have to do this once if you’re like me and you stick to just a handful of streaming apps; but if you like to switch things up a lot, you’re going to spend a lot of time tweaking your quick-access list.

The Amazon Fire TV Omni Series QLED showing a still from The Legend of Vox Machina

Taylor Clemons/ZDNET

Along with apps, you can also share your mobile device screens via AirPlay or Chromecast. I will say that when the Omni QLED arrived at my house, I had quite a bit of trouble getting AirPlay to work properly. I ended up contacting Amazon for troubleshooting help. One factory reset and several firmware updates later, we were able to get the issue fixed.

So if you’re having issues sharing anything via AirPlay or Chromecast, I suggest checking the settings menu for the latest firmware update. And if that doesn’t work, a good old-fashioned reset usually takes care of any software or connectivity weirdness. Which unfortunately means you’ll have to go through your setup and home screen configuration process again.

Also: How to AirPlay to a TV 

Once I got AirPlay to work properly, it was fairly easy to stream Twitch broadcasts, TikTok videos, and YouTube clips to the TV. A few image quality issues cropped up, like weird white balancing and washed-out colors, but I chalk this up to the way screen mirroring works rather than any fault with the TV. And unless you plan on scrolling through your TikTok FYP for hours, you’re not going to notice much of a difference anyway.¬†

The Amazon Fire TV Omni Series QLED showing a still from Dexter's Laboratory

Taylor Clemons/ZDNET

Animation is another area where this TV really comes into its own. Whether you’re watching brand-new shows or childhood favorites, the Omni QLED can produce bright, vivid colors that make every frame feel cleaner and more exciting. Overall picture quality varies quite a bit, depending on the age of the animated show or movie you’re trying to watch. But even original episodes of Dexter’s Laboratory look clean and sharp; there’s a little “fuzziness” at times with older shows and movies in general, due to the resolution limitations of the time. But the 4K upscaling does a great job of bringing out fine details without ruining the charm.¬†

Bottom line 

At the end of the day, the Amazon Fire TV Omni Series QLED is a run-of-the-mill smart, 4K TV that aims to provide a solid streaming experience for Amazon and Alexa users. If you’re not an avid Alexa or Amazon fan, you can still get a lot of mileage out of this TV, especially if you’re looking for a more affordable TV for console gaming.¬†

The dedicated gaming picture mode lets colors and details pop while the integrated speakers provide clean, clear audio. And even older cartoons and films look amazing with upscaled 4K resolution, letting you revisit childhood favorites in a satisfying way.

Many of the cool features are inextricably linked to Alexa functionality, so if you want to be able to take full advantage of the Omni QLED, you’ll have to invest in an Echo device and set up an Alexa account. And this reason alone is why I think the $800 price tag is just a touch on the high side for this TV, since without Alexa Skills, it’s just a basic QLED model. But right now, you can get the 65-inch Omni QLED for just $550 at Amazon, which is a much more appropriate price point to my mind.

Alternatives to consider 

The Hisense A6 offers similar picture and audio quality along with features like Dolby Vision, screen mirroring, and a dedicated game mode. Though its list price is $470, it’s currently on sale for about $80 less than the Omni’s sale price and more than half of the Omni Series QLED’s retail price, making it a great option for budget-conscious shoppers.¬†

TCL is best known for its budget-friendly smart TVs. But just because they’re on the cheaper side doesn’t mean they’re cheaply built. The 65-inch 5-Series also uses a QLED panel with Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support as well as 40 contrast control zones for enhanced detailing and contrast. It also has a dedicated game mode, but where it differs from the Omni Series QLED is that the 5-Series supports VRR technology. This syncs the TV’s refresh rate with that of your console’s video output, preventing annoying screen tearing and stuttering. The Omni QLED is locked at 60Hz, where the 5-Series is more flexible for smoother motion.

The LG QNED80 is another great alternative to the Omni Series QLED. It retails for about the same as the Omni’s retail price, but beats out the Omni QLED with a 120Hz refresh rate, Nvidia GeForce Now support, and Bluetooth surround sound support. It also supports AMD FreeSync Premium VRR for smoother motion while gaming. The QNED80 also uses AI to create virtual surround sound, so you don’t have to set up extra speakers for great film and TV audio or music.¬†

Editor’s Note: We had originally stated that users need to have Alexa-enabled devices like the Echo Show or Echo Dot to take full advantage of the Fire TV Omni QLED’s full suite of features. We have found that the Alexa app allows users to access these features, though users still need an Amazon account to use Alexa through the app. The review has been updated to reflect updated information from additional testing and spec sheets provided by Amazon.¬†





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