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CNET First Look
This TV has Amazon Alexa built-in, but it's not what you thinkThe Element Amazon Fire TV Edition features thousands of apps and Alexa Voice control. So what's the catch?
Amazon has its own TV now, complete with Alexa voice control built in. But there's one big catch. Alexa, launch Netflix. You have to talk into the remote while holding down a button. Launch Netflix. Even if you have an Amazon Echo or Dot in the same room. I just finished reviewing Amazon's first Alexa powered TV, and there's a lot of things about it that I liked. It has a sleek, easy to use interface that's the same as Amazon's other Fire TV devices like the $40 Fire TV stick. There are thousands of apps and games to choose from, and the interface puts streaming front and center. Putting app tiles for Netflix and all your favorites right on the homepage next to the inputs. One downside to the interface however, especially compared to competing Roku TV's is the prominent advertising for Amazon's own TV shows and movies. Although other apps, like Netflix, get rows of tiles too amazon itself always seems to take precedence on this TV Go figure. Voice control on this TV worked very well allowing me to search for content, switch inputs and channels, and even do smart home stuff like control lights, just like an Amazon Echo or Dot. Turn on the light. As I used it, however, I kept wishing I didn't have to pick up the remote to issue commands. Sure this TV has Alexia but without the always on always listening feature found on the Echo it just didn't feel the same. People using over the air antenna to watch TV however, might really appreciate this set. Your local broadcast appear with full information and thumbnails right on the homepage. There's a 14 day grid style program guide. You could search for shows and change channels with voice commands and you can even pause live TV. The Element has 4K resolution, but in my test, image quality was just okay. And worse than similarly priced local dimming and hdr capable tvs from Vizio and TCL. Black levels were light leading to lower contrast and video processing and screen uniformity fell short of competitors. All told I still prefer Roku tvs to this Amazon powered model. If you really like Alexa and don't mind talking into your remote it's worth a closer look. Check out my full review on CNET for more.