We reviewed Amazon's smallest Fire TV – and it highlights the problem with cheap TVs

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED QL43F601
(Image credit: What Hi-Fi? / Amazon Prime Video, Tales From The Loop)

We all love a good bargain. That’s why this week I had high hopes that the team and I would finally find the Holy Grail of home cinema kit – a cheap, small TV worthy of our hallowed five-star rating.

This flutter of hope occurred when our TV and AV editor, Tom Parsons, got Amazon’s 43-inch Fire TV Omni QLED into our London viewing room for testing. 

Why was I so hopeful? Mainly because we've been fairly impressed with past Omni QLED sets. Take the 50-inch Amazon Fire TV QLED we tested last year. Not only did the TV earn a perfect five-star rating, it also won a What Hi-Fi? 2023 Award

Our Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED 50-inch review says it all:

“Budget TVs are hard to get right, but the 50-inch Omni QLED succeeds where others have failed thanks to a consistent, considered performance and impressive feature set.”

Sadly, this hope was short-lived as the moment we turned the TV on and started doing our standard suite of tests, the usual issues we've experienced reviewing other small, cheap sets rapidly started appearing.

Playing Blade Runner 2049 we immediately experienced a serious lack of black depth, with shadowy scenes having a distinctly grey look. Next up, the set’s motion handling proved to be sub-par, with movements looking smeary and unnatural, even when compared to its moderately more expensive, 50-inch sibling.

Our testers’ verdict sums up the entire experience nicely:

“There are people who think that a TV will scale up and down in size with little to no impact on the overall performance, but the 43-inch Amazon Omni QLED is yet another reminder that that simply isn’t the case. It just isn’t in the same league as the larger models in the range, which are much more impressive than expected.”

Why am I devoting time to kicking the smaller Fire TV when it’s down? Because this is a repeating pattern in our test rooms. Regular readers will know I’ve bemoaned the lack of good, cheap and small TVs for quite some time.

The 43-inch Amazon’s inability to change this is frustrating as myself and the team are acutely aware there’s a cost of living crisis going on, and most people can’t afford to invest $500 / £500 on a TV, let alone the thousands it costs for a top end OLED.

We want to have one to recommend, but even with our focus on performance per pound/dollar, in the past 12 months there simply hasn’t been one good enough to do that. That’s why if you look at our best cheap TV guide you’ll see a sea of four-star, good, not great, products.

All I can say is that we’ll continue looking for new sets to test and rectify the situation as soon as possible. On top of that, I’d like to ask any reader with a suggestion for us to test to get in touch so we can try and get it into our viewing rooms for review!


These are the best small TVs we've tested

Here's our picks of the best 50-inch TVs

We rate the best 65-inch TVs money can buy

Alastair Stevenson
Editor in Chief

Alastair is What Hi-Fi?’s editor in chief. He has well over a decade’s experience as a journalist working in both B2C and B2B press. During this time he’s covered everything from the launch of the first Amazon Echo to government cyber security policy. Prior to joining What Hi-Fi? he served as Trusted Reviews’ editor-in-chief. Outside of tech, he has a Masters from King’s College London in Ethics and the Philosophy of Religion, is an enthusiastic, but untalented, guitar player and runs a webcomic in his spare time.