In the run up to Amazon's Fire Phone announcement in June, many reports suggested the company was going to wow us with new 3D technology. The rumors didn't quite pan out, though Amazon did reveal a device with a feature called Dynamic Perspective. In fact, the company's phone actually comes with a series of custom sensors to create what Amazon promises will result in a more immersive experience.
We already know that the Fire Phone sports a number of unique features and services. In addition to Firefly, which is capable of identifying just about everything you see throughout the day, the device also offers Mayday, a free year of Prime (for a limited time), a camera Amazon says is better than the competition and, of course, Dynamic Perspective. To the average consumer, those words might not mean much. But pick up the phone, stare at the screen, and immediately it all makes sense.
The Fire Phone actually comes with four new front-facing sensors (plus the usual selfie camera)—one on the top left, top right, bottom left and bottom right. This system allows the device to track a user's head at all times, giving off the impression that the display is "dynamic;" these four sensors come with infrared LEDs, too, meaning they can see you in complete darkness.
When in the lock screen, for example, the wallpaper will seem more alive; tilting the phone or moving your head will reveal more of the scene, like you're looking at something in the real world. In an app like Maps, landmarks pop, giving you a truly immersive flyover view. The Space Needle in Seattle, for example, looks like you're actually staring down from a vantage point above. Tilt the phone slightly and you can manipulate your view; tilting the screen even more will reveal more of the map.
Dynamic Perspective is pervasive throughout the entirety of Amazon's Fire OS. For context, it's best described as a more robust parallax, which Apple famously introduced in iOS 7; Amazon was adamant, however, that Dynamic Perspective is not a parallax gimmick. Why? Menus can be accessed by a tilt to the left or right, making one-handed use super simple. Amazon says it purposely designed the OS to behave this way to offer an uncluttered experience.
Even deeper, you can tilt the device to scroll up or down in some apps, which has been a familiar feature in other Android handsets. The feature also works deeply with certain games, making them seem more immersive, though if only by a little. That kind of seems like our overall feeling of Dynamic Perspective; it's a neat party trick, but it seems more in the way than anything. You'll be impressed for all but five minutes, only to wish it would just go away.
Luckily, you can turn the feature off.
Amazon clearly put a lot of thought into how Dynamic Perspective would influence the experience, and for that we commend the company. But it in no way makes us shout for joy. This isn't that Eureka moment that will have us ditching any of the other big flagships currently on the market.
To see this feature in action, and for an even deeper rundown of what dynamic display offers, check out the video above. This is by no means a review of the Fire Phone; we'll have that up shortly.