Amazon's first smart TV supports voice control without a remote, but image quality falls short of the competition
The Omni Fire TV is one of the first Amazon-branded smart TVs to hit the market.
It features Alexa built-in for easy voice control and even lets you connect a webcam for video calls.
The TV's picture quality is mediocre, however, and can't match competing models from TCL and Hisense.
Amazon's Omni Fire TV is one of the very first TVs developed by Amazon itself. With a built-in microphone and access to tons of apps, the Omni is basically a 4K display, Echo Dot, and Fire TV streaming stick all rolled into one device.
But, while the set's hands-free voice control is convenient, the Omni's picture quality can't match similarly priced TVs from Vizio, TCL, and Hisense. With a list price of $830, the 65-inch Omni is simply too expensive for what you get.
That said, the Omni is rarely ever sold at full price. Amazon frequently discounts the TV to as low as $500. At that price, it delivers better value, but it's still hard to recommend unless you're someone who really prioritizes the convenience of Alexa over image performance.
Amazon Omni Fire TV specifications
|Amazon 65-inch Omni Fire TV||Specifications|
|Resolution:||4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160p)|
|HDR formats:||HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG|
|Backlight:||Direct-lit LED (no local dimming)|
|HDMI ports:||Three HDMI 2.0, one HDMI 2.1 eARC|
|Smart TV system:||Fire TV OS|
|Remote:||Alexa voice remote|
|Extra features:||Built-in microphone with hands-free Alexa, video call support with webcam (sold separately)|
|Dimensions:||57.1" x 33.3" x 2.9" (without stand)|
|Weight:||42.5 lb (without stand)|
Amazon sells two different smart TV models: the Omni Series and the 4-Series. The 4-Series is positioned as the entry-level model, while the Omni is meant to be the brand's flagship (or highest-end) offering.
Both series offer 4K panels with high dynamic range (HDR) support and voice remotes, but the Omni steps things up with hands-free Alexa capabilities, webcam support, and Dolby Vision playback.
Omni TVs are available in 43-, 50-, 55-, 65-, and 75-inch screen sizes, but Dolby Vision is only supported on the 65- and 75-inch versions. We received the 65-inch model for review.
The Omni is powered by Amazon's Fire TV OS (operating system), so using the display is a lot like using a Fire TV Stick. The home screen lets you see rows of recommendations, along with recently used apps and recently watched content.
Amazon supports every major streaming service, so there aren't any notable apps missing. The interface gets the job done and works well, but we find the simpler, app-focused design used on Roku TVs to be easier to navigate.
Navigation speed is solid but can be inconsistent. Moving around the home screen is generally snappy, but some occasional lag crops up when sifting through menus in individual apps.
Boot times for most apps are similar to what you'll get on other streaming devices, but certain services, like HBO Max, can take up to 20 seconds to load. That's double the time it takes on Amazon's own Fire TV Stick 4K Max.
There's also an occasional delay if you try to pull up the Omni's settings menu while the TV is playing a video. It can sometimes take a full five seconds for the menu to pop up after you click the button.
Despite the lag here and there, overall speed is similar to other models in this range. But, since the Omni is positioned as Amazon's best smart TV offering, we were hoping for an experience more on par with the company's Fire TV Stick 4K Max.
One of the Omni's biggest selling points is its support for hands-free voice control with full Alexa capabilities. There's also a handy switch on the front of the display to deactivate the microphone for privacy protection.
You can ask Alexa to turn the TV on, switch inputs, adjust volume, open apps, pause videos, scroll through menus, and search for content without ever touching the remote. Alexa can also answer questions, check weather, set timers, and handle other tasks while the display is off, just like any other Echo device would.
Response time is good, but it's a little more delayed than an Echo Dot. Voice recognition is also solid, but we've run into a few issues with Alexa misunderstanding certain search queries. For instance, the TV tends to hear "Hulu" instead of "Vudu" whenever we try to launch the latter app.
Alexa isn't a complete substitute for a remote, but you can get by watching a lot of content on the Omni without ever lifting a finger.
Video calls are now a big part of many people's work and home lives, so Amazon included webcam support for the Omni. You just need to plug a compatible webcam (sold separately) into the TV's USB port, and you're good to go.
The Omni supports video calling using Alexa Communications and the Zoom app. Amazon provided a Logitech C920x with the TV so we could test this feature, and it works really well. Using the Zoom app, we were able to join a meeting with family. The app runs smoothly with no issues.
Compared to typical video calls on a laptop or phone, being able to casually sit on the couch and see everybody on the big screen makes the chat feel a bit more like actually being in the room with everyone. Though we wouldn't call this a must-have feature, it's a handy option to have and it's not one that many other smart TVs support.
The Omni's image quality can best be described as entry-level. The TV lacks many of the handy contrast and color features you'll find on mid-range sets from competitors like TCL, Hisense, and Vizio. As a result, it just can't compete with those similarly priced displays.
Most notably, the Omni is missing local dimming support. Local dimming allows LCD TVs to brighten and darken in specific zones across the screen to create deeper black levels and brighter highlights.
The Omni just has a standard backlight, so black levels veer toward a gray appearance when watching movies in a dark room. Brightness is also limited with a max of around 300 nits when using the TV's "Movie" picture mode, which is the display's most accurate setting.
That's fine for casual viewing but it isn't enough to really show off the benefits of high dynamic range (HDR) content. Wide color gamut support is also missing, so HDR movies and shows aren't displayed with their full range of colors.
For comparison's sake, the 65-inch Hisense U6G, which often sells for $550, has local dimming with up to 600 nits of brightness, as well as quantum dots with wide color support. If you're buying a TV with HDR performance in mind, you're better off going with a set like the U6G.
That said, for people who don't care about home theater-level image quality, the Omni looks decent enough. 4K movies appear sharp, color looks punchy despite some accuracy issues, and the TV actually has solid contrast considering its lack of dimming. Just keep in mind, you can find much better looking TVs for a little more money.
The bottom line
Amazon's first attempt at its own smart TV is a decent effort, but it's not quite on par with the competition. At a list price of $830, the 65-inch Omni is way too expensive. When on sale for $500, the TV offers better value — but only if features like hands-free Alexa and webcam support are big selling points to you.
Buyers who want a budget-friendly home theater display with much better HDR performance should pay a bit more for the TCL 5 Series or Hisense U6G. Those TVs have better picture quality features, like quantum dots and local dimming, for a typical street price of $550-$600.
If you really want Amazon's interface, you could also just pair a Fire TV Stick 4K Max with one of the above displays. You'll lose the all-in-one Alexa integration and web cam support of the Omni, but overall performance will be better.
Pros: Built-in Alexa support with hands-free voice control, video call feature when paired with a webcam, Fire TV OS with access to many apps
Cons: No local dimming, can't get bright enough to show off HDR content, doesn't support wide color gamut