Amazon Fire TV Stick Review
The Amazon Fire TV Stick (2nd generation) is a streaming device that was released in October 2016 (R). This streaming device is a stick that plugs into the back of your television using the HDMI port. This device is Amazon’s budget, regular HD (1080p) streaming device that is primarily focused on Amazon content but does contain many popular applications.
Amazon has been producing its own streaming media players since 2014. Released in 2016, the Amazon Fire TV Stick is the second generation of streaming media devices that it is built around Amazon’s FireOS, which is a modified Amazon version of Android. This means it is built around the Amazon ecosystem of content such as Amazon Prime media, Amazon Instant Video, and Amazon Prime Music.
The Fire TV Stick does have a few notable omissions from its content catalog which may make this device less attractive to those cord-cutters who are not heavily invested in the Amazon ecosystem. The device is also great for cord-cutters who are new or want an inexpensive device for secondary TVs
Amazon Fire TV Stick Hardware
In terms of hardware, the Amazon Fire TV Stick packs a lot of punch in a small package. The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a small rectangular-shaped device that is slightly larger than your typical USB thumb drive, except it has an HDMI plug on one end.
The device is designed to plug directly into your TV’s HDMI port but it may be a little wider than a normal HDMI connection. Included is a male-to-female HDMI cable if this is the case for your TV.
On the other end is a micro USB port for powering the device. The device can be powered using the wall charger or by directly plugging in your TV’s USB port. Please note that plugging into the USB port will likely cause a dramatic reduction in the quality and power of the device as is typical with just about every other streaming device on the market.
The 2nd generation has upgraded both the CPU and Wi-Fi capabilities. The new generation is now powered by a quad-core 1.3 GHz ARM Cortex-A7 CPU, which is an upgrade from the previous dual-core. The device also boasts 1 GB of DDR3 memory. The Wi-Fi has been upgraded from 802.11n to the faster 802.11ac which can access both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, bands.
Also included is the all-new Alexa Voice Remote with TV and device control. The remote connects to the device via Bluetooth so you don’t have to be within line of sight of the device. The remote design is small, matte black, with a directional ring, three Android buttons, volume buttons, play/pause, reverse, and fast-forward buttons, and the voice search button.
Amazon Fire TV Stick Performance
Amazon Fire TV Stick has seen a decent boost in performance. The device only sports a 1080p resolution but the device is quick. Scrolling through menus and the interface is speedy with content loading almost instantly thanks to the upgraded quad-core processor.
Like most devices performance can be affected by the proximity to your internet router but thanks to the upgraded dual-band Wi-Fi, the device experiences minimal lag as long as you’re within a reasonable distance from your router.
The one area of performance that the Amazon Fire TV Stick shines is voice control. Voice recognition is superb and may just be the best out of any other competitor. Powered by Amazon’s Alexa, the device can understand a plethora of commands and voice types.
Amazon Fire TV Stick Setp
Getting set up with the Amazon Fire TV Stick is very easy and should take less than 5 minutes. Simply plug in the device, connect the HDMI cable to your TV, and you will see the loading screen. The device may take a few minutes to calibrate the very first time you use it.
You will need to pair your remote to the device, which can be done by holding the “home” button down for 10 seconds. When the remote is paired you can hit the play button to begin the setup process. Select your preferred language and you will be prompted to connect your Wi-Fi.
Once you’ve connected to the Wi-Fi you will need to register the device with an Amazon account. If you order directly from Amazon the device will be pre-registered for you. Once registered you can begin browsing the Amazon ecosystem and watching your favorite streaming video and audio content.
Amazon Fire TV Stick Channels and Applications
The ecosystem of the Amazon Fire TV stick is robust but primarily designed around Amazon applications; however, it is much easier with the newer version to navigate and find other content.
Cord-cutters get access to over 2,000 different streaming channels and apps. There are over 190 built-in channels with access to over 500,000 movies and TV episodes. Some of the most popular channels and apps found on Amazon Fire TV include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Sling TV, fuboTV, and many more.
Also available are more than 200 games. Users can use a remote control or purchase the Amazon Fire Game Controller separately. Titles include classics such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Final Fantasy, Crazy Taxi, and more. Also, featured are newer titles such as Alphadia Genesis, SoulCraft, PBA Bowling, and more.
Notably missing are Google Play Movies & TV, Google Play Music, YouTube TV, and Vudu.
Amazon Fire TV Stick Technical Specs
|Size||3.4” x 1.2” x 0.5” (85.9 mm x 30.0 mm x 12.6 mm)
|Weight||1.1 oz (32.0 g)|
|Processor||Quad-core ARM 1.3 GHz|
|Storage||8 GB internal|
|Wi-Fi||Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi supports 2x2 MIMO 802.11a/b/g/n/ac|
|Audio Support||Dolby Audio, 5.1 surround sound, 2ch stereo, and HDMI audio pass through up to 7.1|
|Output resolution supported||720p and 1080p up to 60 fps|
|Content Formats||Video: H.264 1080p30H.265 1080p30. Audio: AAC-LC, HE-AACv1 (AAC+), HE-AACv2 (eAAC+), AC3 (Dolby Digital), eAC3 (Dolby Digital Plus), FLAC, MIDI, MP3, PCM/Wave, Vorbis, AMR-NB, AMR-WB. Photo: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP|
Fire TV Stick Review Conclusion
The Amazon Fire TV Stick is Amazon’s budget streamer for cord-cutters looking for 1080p resolution. For the price, this is one of the best streaming devices on the market and one of the most popular. The new generation has upgraded the CPU and Wi-Fi for a slightly speedier experience. The crown jewel of this device is the integrated Amazon Alexa voice control technology which can be controlled through the new upgraded remote control. This device is great for first-time cord-cutters, budget cord-cutters, secondary TVs, and even those looking for a portable solution.
Compare Amazon Fire TV Stick To Other Streaming Devices
Wondering how this streaming media player stacks up vs other devices? Compare our Amazon Fire TV Cube review to other popular streaming TV devices reviews. We have reviewed the most popular devices on the market including brands such as Amazon, Apple, Roku, and more. Check out our full list of device reviews here:
- AirTV – Dual network tuner that transmits OTA signals to a device connected television. Rating: 7.0; Price: Discontinued.
- AirTV Player – Unique device that combines streaming television with over-the-air antenna local channels in one platform. Rating: 6.4; Price: Discontinued.
- Amazon Fire TV Cube – Central hub for connecting and controlling all of your home theatre equipment including TV, cable box, and even audio equipment by using the Amazon Alexa voice control technology. Rating: 8.6; Price: $119.99.
- Amazon Fire TV Stick – Amazon’s budget streamer for cord-cutters looking to for 1080p resolution. Rating: 8.4; Price: $39.99.
- Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K – Amazon’s 4K streaming stick. Great value. Rating: 9.0; Price: $49.00.
- Apple TV – Original set-top box by Apple. Rating: 8.4; Price: $149.99.
- Apple TV 4K – One of the most powerful set-top boxes on the market. Apple’s 4K version. Rating: 9.2; Price: 32G $179.99 and 64G $199.99.
- Google Chromecast Dongle that allows users to cast from a separate device. Rating: 6.4; Price: $35.00.
- Google Chromecast Ultra – Google’s 4K version of the dongle. Powerful but awkward. Rating: 7.4; Price: $69.00.
- Roku Express – Ultra budget 1080p set-top box. Rating: 7.6; Price: $29.99.
- Roku Express+ Tiny set-top box for older televisions. Rating: 7.8; Price: $35.00.
- Roku Premiere – Inexpensive 4K and HDR10 streaming box. Rating: 8.6; Price: $39.99.
- Roku Premiere+ Upgraded version of the Premiere. Rating: 8.6; Price: $49.99.
- Roku Ultra Top-of-line 4K and HDR set-top box. Rating: 9.6; Price: $99.99.
- Roku Streaming Stick Non-4K streaming stick for budget cord-cutters. Rating: 8.6; Price: $49.99.
- Roku Streaming Stick+ Very powerful 4K streaming stick for power cord-cutters. Rating: 9.6; Price: $49.99.