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Pros: Amazon 39.99 Amazon Fire TV Stick is an expensive device with Alexa Voice Remote to stream video from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, Sling TV and other online services. It’s just as responsive as other devices, which means it charges lightning-fast and low for included voice remotes.
Cons: The current user interface very aggressively pushes Amazon content. Alexa is less effective than the device that’s always running. Unlike Roku, there’s no dedicated app outside of Amazon for video services like La Vadu or Fandango Nai.
The Bottom Line: The fast, affordable new Fire TV stick is great for Amazon fans who will use its voice capabilities and a great value, but it’s still not as good as Roku.
- Review Price: £40.00
- Alexa voice control (remote included)
- Upgraded 802.11ac Wi-fi
- Quad-core CPU
- Updated user interface
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What is the Amazon Fire Stick?
Amazon Fire Stick (or Amazon Fire TV Stick) is the second generation of its cheapest video streaming device company.
From Amazon Video to Netflix and the full roster of catch-up services in the UK such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, and all 4 4. Prime music and Spotify, there are many more apps besides just video games, as well as access to Amazon’s growing games library.
What’s new For starters, the interface has been extra stressed to make it look so nice and accessible. This change will filter over old devices over time, though Alexa controls the voice, so the real benefits of the new stick are its faster processor and improved Wi-Fi. The Amazon Fire Stick only goes in full HD 1080p resolution and goes against the aging (but still great) Chromecast or platform-agnostic Roku Express.
If you are more interested in 4K Ultra HD or HDR video, check out full size Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV 4K, Google Chromecast Ultra or Roku streaming stick plus.
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Amazon Fire Stick – Design and build
The Amazon Fire Stick looks like a memory stick on steroids and is plugged directly into the HDMI port on your TV. It’s a neat design to hold in plastic. It will be a bit crunchy when pressed but it feels sturdy enough for the purpose.
At 9 cm long and about 3 centimeters deep, it extends from your TV back panel, especially when you consider its micro USB cable making room for power supply. Thankfully, Amazon does include an HDMI extender in the box to empty some boxes if it gets too heavy.
The remote attached is the same as the one you will see included with the Pricer Amazon Fire TV box. It offers a D-pad for navigation, a handful of playback controls, and the all-important voice input key, making it pretty easy. It’s great that it’s now included, though iOS and Android apps work equally well and can activate the same Alexa commands.
Amazon Fire Stick – Set up and interface
It’s really easy to set up your fire stick. Just plug it into your TV with an extra HDMI slot and its USB cable as a power source. Some on-screen instructions will pair your Alexa remote and add the Fire TV stick to your home network. Once you’re signed in to your Amazon account, you’re ready to go.
If you are familiar with the previous Fire TV stick, you will immediately notice that the interface has been redesigned. The main navigation menu has moved from side to side, and a new image-led carousel with suggested content dominates the top half of the screen. The idea is that Fire TV Stick will learn the contents of the list over time, in your viewing habits, the video teasers will bring you a a During the one-week test, it includes selected programs and films.
Detailed pages have also been developed, with a larger image backdrop and more in-depth program information. Once you start watching the show, Amazon’s X-ray IMDb feature will open by clicking on the top of the remote to find out more about the program’s cast and background information.
In addition to downloading apps, I found that I needed the homepage alone. In the side-scrolling menu below the carousel, you’ll find your recent shows and apps for quick access. At the bottom, you can browse and organize your downloaded applications, several menus of main content recommended, and even a scroll to Netflix (depending on your subscription).
Especially fresh about this particular version of Amazon Fire Stick. Although Amazon Prime content is still dominated by its bread and butter (and its menus), finding content from other providers is not as difficult as before.
For example, Amazon Prime offers Breaking Bad as a paid-for-box set, if you sign up for Netflix, it comes as part of your subscription. If you search for it, Fire TV will suggest you watch it first on Netflix, with the option to purchase it in the “More ways” menu. It seems to be working for the benefit of the user and not for itself, this is how it should be.
This is still a device targeted at Prime subscribers, and I definitely suggest that you have to sign up for the service in order to get the most out of the different services offered. With its new monthly subscription option (£ 7.99 / $ 8.99 per month), it’s now much more accessible. If you’re not interested in anything Prime does, you’ll find that you’re better served by a Chromecast or similar streaming stick provider, such as Roku.
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Amazon Fire Stick – Features
In addition to the new interface, Amazon Fire Stick also saw a few hardware upgrades, including a new quad-core processor and enhanced Wi-Fi.
The new chipset will be called 30% faster, but 802.11ac Wi-Fi ensures more stable streaming, faster downloads and faster buffering. If your Fire TV Stick is even a bit farther away from your router, you will get thanks for a better performance range really.
There is still 8GB of onboard storage for apps and games, and the same 1GB of RAM as its predecessor, which is enough
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Amazon Fire Stick – Performance
Scrolling through the menus, it is noticeably clear that the new quad-core processor boosted the power to the Fire TV stick. It is clear and quick to load as you browse the menus and outdoors while you search for content.
Voice commands work really well for this. If you do not use the Alexa Wake command in Amazon Echo, just press a button on the remote, hold it down and talk.
I’ve also seen voice remotes like the likes of Fire TV Boxes, made for the first time Alexa Fire TV products. He’s much smarter than what you get from a standard voice command system, so now there’s more to it than ever.
The results are fast and accurate for the most part. You can search by actor, genre or movie name, and during my testing, Alexa didn’t misunderstand one of the commands I gave her.
It’s even better that Alexa works like this (he?) On an Amazon Echo device, so you can control the elements of your smart home as well. We have written through our hands about the complete list of Alexa functionality.
It said that some expected suggestions are not always as helpful as we think they can be. Search for Brad Pitt, and the results that come back offer five TV shows and movies before bringing movies like Seven and Inglourious Bastards that don’t show the actor at all. Likewise, Jeremy Clarkson’s quest suggests a number of connected films and shows before the surfaces of Amazon’s own Grand Tour series.
Specific movie or TV show searches fare much better and offer similar titles as well as direct matches. In this way the top gear explored by the Grand Tour comes as a suggested observation, which makes more sense.
Alexa’s talent doesn’t stop there, though. You can ask him for weather, sports scores, check in the news, make a shopping list, or set a timer. The new functionality means you can ask to be fast forwarded or rewind during the Amazon show, which is done seamlessly. The language you can use to control him is also quite flexible. He will respond “fast five minutes” just like “go five minutes,” using a fire TV stick.
And, Alexa lets you control all of your smart home devices, just like you use an Echo device. You need to make sure you have a compatible smart home device, on the same Wi-Fi network, and complete setup through the app before you begin.
When controlling smart home devices, no need to turn on the TV, just grab the remote, hold the microphone down and make your request, such as turning on the lights, and Alexa handles everything. If you don’t have an Amazon Echo or Dot speaker in the same room on your Fire TV, this can be an easy way to control your devices.
But what if you have an Echo in the same room as your Fire TV? Well, Amazon has one more trick, as you can use the Alexa app to connect your Echo to your Fire TV. This allows you to activate the voice search on Fire TV Stick with your smart speakers. And, you get pause / play control as well, so you can just say, “Alexa, pause” and the on-screen action stops. Admittedly, using the remote control is an easy option, but if you are a phone
Regardless of what you see, playback is stable and buffering fast – all you need to do is blur an image before your full resolution starts and the images look crisp. In comparison, Chromecast’s image takes a bit longer to publish and is not as fast as loading content.
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Why buy the Amazon Fire Stick?
The new Amazon Fire Stick doesn’t do anything radical in the media streaming space, but it does improve a good product. And at £ 40, it’s only $ 5 more than the original.
Alexa is a great way to navigate voice commands and uses the extra speed of the new processor and the enhanced Wi-Fi Fire TV stick.
After setting up the new interface on the old device it comes down the line, and with Alexa support, owners of the original Fire TV stick may not get the upgrade right away. However, any major customer who has not yet made the jump can find themselves very tempted in this new version.
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These may be subtle improvements, but the new Amazon Fire Stick is better for them.