Amazon’s announcement that it would create its own series of TVs came as a surprise, but the company has clearly done its homework. The Amazon Omni TV offers a bright, colorful 4K/HDR screen with a smart platform and Alexa integration for a meager sum.
While we’d consider the Omni TV more of a budget model in line with the TCL 4-Series and Vizio V-Series, it performs much closer to a mid-range model with its above-average brightness and color saturation. Contrast is still a sour point, though, and you might notice some screen lighting uniformity issues as we did with our review sample.
For gamers, the 60Hz native panel refresh rate and single HDMI 2.1 port will likely – and rightfully – be deal-breakers. But smart home enthusiasts may find some joy in having an Alexa-imbued TV that can control their doorbell cameras and smart lights.
It’s not going to challenge an LG OLED or Samsung QLED for best picture quality, but if you want a competent budget screen with some handy features, the Amazon Omni TV delivers an experience that punches well above its price tag.
Price and availability
The Amazon Omni TV was released in 2021 and is available in five different sizes, ranging from 43 inches to 75 inches.
In terms of pricing, the Omni TV’s list price starts at $400 for the 43-inch model, however, it can often be found for under $300. A 4K TV for less than $300? That’s exciting in and of itself.
Stepping up to the 65-inch ($600) and 75-inch ($899) versions will bring Dolby Vision support to the table. As both remain at the 60Hz native refresh rate, don’t expect any improvement to the motion processing, though.
From an aesthetic standpoint, Amazon doesn’t try to do much out of the ordinary with the Omni TV. The 43-, 50- and 55-inch models have a black bezel around all sides and black u-shaped feet supporting the TV near the outer edges, while the 65- and 75-inch variants have a silver bezel along the bottom and silver feet.
All models have a built-in microphone for Alexa located at the bottom of the screen. It will light up when it hears the wake word (for most folks, that’s “Alexa”) and you can talk to it just like any other Echo device.
Spin the TV around to the back and you’ll find a decent amount of ports to pick from. There are three regular HDMI 2.0a ports and one HDMI 2.1 eARC port that you can use to connect a soundbar. Obviously having more HDMI 2.1 ports would be better, but it doesn’t matter much considering this is only a 60Hz television.
In terms of panel design, you’re looking at a direct-lit LED-LCD screen. A lack of local dimming hurts the overall package, as that’s something even Vizio includes on its entry-level TVs – we’ll cover the full implications of that in the performance section.
Inside the box, you’ll get a plastic remote that can also be used for voice commands if you’re sitting further away from the TV or want to walk into another room for a minute and still give the TV some commands, like changing the music.
In terms of design, everything is pretty face-value here. That all changes when you start talking about the Omni TV’s feature set and performance.
Features are a bit of a mixed bag for the Amazon Omni TV. On the one hand, it’s tremendous value getting a smart TV with Alexa voice recognition for a pittance, but on the other, you do miss out on a number of niceties like Dolby Vision. Moreover, some of the advertised features, like Casting, don’t always go smoothly and may require a few attempts to get working.
Leet’s start off with the good points. Setup is incredibly easy, especially if you have an Amazon account already. You’ll basically just need to enter some Wi-Fi information and log in to your Amazon account to link the TV, and then you’re done. You’ll also get the benefit of Fire TV’s new UI right out of the box. It’s clean and simple to understand, plus it puts content first.
Sure, most of that content is going to lean heavily in the favor of Amazon’s own service, but it is nice seeing a row of recommendations front and center.
Despite being Android-based, Fire TV is definitely a different beast than both Android TV and the newer Google TV that the company rolled out two years ago. Ads are a bit more prevalent on Fire TV and the whole ecosystem feels a bit more confined to Amazon devices.
That last bit isn’t so bad, though, especially if you use other Amazon smart home devices. Being able to use the built-in Alexa to turn off the porch light at the end of the night or turn on the front door camera when a package is delivered are both handy features. Other TVs promise this level of integration, but due to Amazon already having your smart home devices’ information in the Alexa app, you can talk to the TV just like you would any other Echo device in your house. It’s extremely convenient.
The other benefit of having Alexa built-in is that you’ll be able to control the TV without picking up the remote. For us, that was often as simple as turning the TV on using our voice, turning the TV to HDMI 1 that had the Xbox Series X hooked up to it, then turning off the TV with our voice when we were done for the day – no remote necessary.
In terms of connecting the TV to other apps, we had some successes and some failures. Connecting to YouTube by Casting was always hit-or-miss (mostly miss), but we had no problems getting Spotify Connect to work after we installed the Spotify app on the TV.
In the picture-quality department, the Amazon Omni is a surprising star among some of its dimmer, less colorful rivals. Even with its normal out-of-the-box setting with no calibration, the Omni TV dazzles with its bright highlights and deep colors. It makes most HDR games and movies look absolutely phenomenal.
Obviously, this TV was built for 4K HDR content so that’s where things look the best. Playing games on an Xbox Series X and PS5 look fantastic, despite not being able to run at 120Hz. The colors in shows like Chef’s Table and The Witcher (both available in 4K HDR on Netflix) pop off the screen in vibrant hues.
That said, while colors and peak luminance push well above their weight here, contrast isn’t the TV’s best strength. On gray screens, it’s easy to see where there are uniformity issues with the Omni TV’s direct backlight with some patches of LEDs shining brighter than others. This can make for poor black levels when you’re watching a night or space scene.
Additionally, motion processing is fine right out of the box with no obvious artifacting in any of the content we watched – you’re not always getting the smoothest response when watching fast sequences like a Formula 1 race or a football game on TV.
You also should watch out for issues with upscaling. While the Omni TV does a decent job taking 1080p content and upscaling it to fit the 4K screen, it’s not perfect. You won’t see any grain, but you might see a slightly softer picture than you would on a mid-range model.
All of these issues should give you pause, honestly, but for TVs in this price range, these issues are often significantly worse. With that in mind, Amazon’s first outing is a success in terms of picture quality, in our opinion.
Rocking two 8W down-firing speakers, don’t expect much from the Amazon Omni TV in terms of great audio quality. Dialogue was often quite hard to hear unless the audio was cranked up to 40 or 50 and the balance never seemed to be quite right no matter which audio preset or volume level we picked.
Just as bad, sound reproduction is pretty flat. Again, this really isn’t uncommon on a TV in this price range, but it does mean that movies and music sound a bit less impactful than they would on a higher-end model.
You could, of course, fix this by adding on a soundbar but, as far as we know, you can’t get the TV to pass through a Dolby Atmos signal. You’ll have to stick with Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 sound instead of a 7.1.2 soundbar.
That said, Amazon does have one trick up its sleeve to help make the situation a little better for fledgling home audio enthusiasts. It allows you to use an Amazon Echo device as a surround sound speaker.
The setup for this isn’t all that intuitive (you need to go into the Alexa app, then tap the plus symbol to add a new home theater group) but once done you can funnel the sound away from the TV’s speakers to up to two Echo or Echo Studio devices and a subwoofer. That’s going to greatly enhance your sound quality and is well worth looking into, especially if you have extra Amazon Echo speakers lying around.
Should you buy the Amazon Fire TV Omni Series?
Buy it if…
You want a budget 4K HDR TV that has a good feature set
The Amazon Omni TV doesn’t do everything, but at this price point it does most things better than the competition. It’s rare to find a TV this good in this range, and the Omni TV easily rivals some of the leaders in the budget category.
You’re tied into Amazon’s hardware ecosystem
It’s not a necessity, but you’ll get more enjoyment out of the Amazon Omni TV if you’re already tied in with Amazon’s hardware ecosystem. Being able to check your Ring cameras from your TV and use Amazon Echos as surround sound speakers aren’t essential features, but they are niceties that Amazon users will enjoy.
You always lose the remote control
It’s hard to use your voice for everything (navigating settings is still better with a remote) but for folks who often misplace their remote, the Amazon Omni TV’s built-in Alexa is a godsend. Being able to change input and volume without tracking down a remote can save you precious time and you’ll quickly find that you can do most of your everyday tasks without ever needing to pick up your plastic companion.
Don’t buy it if…
You plan on pairing it with an Xbox Series X or PS5
Disappointingly, the Amazon Omni TV is a 60Hz TV. That means no 120Hz refresh rates from the latest and greatest video game consoles.
You’re into watching 1080p (or less) sports content
Another issue is that the TV’s upscaling and motion processing prowess is, well, a little under par. It’s not the worst we’ve seen, but it does leave some room for improvement that only a mid-range or high-end TV can provide.
You want crystal-clear dialogue and impactful audio
Unless you’ve got two extra Amazon Echos lying around that you can connect to some giant floor-standing speakers, you shouldn’t expect any extravagant audio here. What the Omni offers is basic 8W two-channel sound that barely passes muster. In all likelihood, you’ll probably want a soundbar to go with it in the very near future.
- Looking for the best screen money can buy? Check out our guide to the best TV 2022