- The next generation of our bestselling Fire TV Stick. The most powerful streaming media player under $50–now with the Alexa Voice Remote.
- Enjoy over 7,000 apps, games, and Alexa skills including Netflix, Hulu, HBO NOW, YouTube, Amazon Video, NBC, WatchESPN, Disney, and more. Subscription fees may apply.
- Launch and control content with the included Alexa Voice Remote. Simply say, “Play Game of Thrones” or “Launch Netflix” and Alexa will respond instantly. Plus, play music, find movie show times, order a pizza, and more—just ask.
- No cable or satellite? No problem. Watch the best of live TV and sports from AMC, HGTV, ESPN, FOX, and others with a subscription to Sling TV, or top-rated primetime shows with CBS All Access.
- Find the best way to watch with universal search results from over 100 channels and apps including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video
- Prime members get unlimited access to Prime Video, featuring thousands of movies and TV episodes at no additional cost. Plus, members can add over 90 premium and specialty channels like HBO and SHOWTIME—no cable or satellite subscription necessary.
- Pick up where you left off. Bring hit shows and movies with you when you travel. Plug Fire TV Stick into any TV’s HDMI port, connect to Wi-Fi, and continue watching.
- Play current favorites or quickly discover what to watch next directly from the Home screen
What is the Amazon Fire TV Stick?
The Fire TV Stick is Amazon’s answer to the Google Chromecast and the Roku Streaming Stick. If you’re familiar with the Amazon Fire TV box, you’ll be right at home. The Fire TV Stick takes many of the same features and crams them into a HDMI dongle. That means you can stream Full HD content from services like Amazon Prime Instant Video, BBC iPlayer and Netflix. You can also stream music from Spotify and play a host mobile games from the Amazon App Store.
Amazon occasionally discounts the Amazon Fire TV Stick, but even when at the full £35 retail price, this is a little streamer is an absolute bargain.
Amazon Fire TV Stick – Design
The Fire TV Stick setup is very similar to the Google Chromecast and Roku Streaming Stick. It’s an HDMI dongle that plugs into your TV. There is a USB cable that you can plug into your TV, or into the bundled mains adaptor. Amazon also throws in a HDMI extender cable, which is handy if your spare HDMI port is a little tricky to get to. There’s also a small remote, which doesn’t have the voice-control feature of the Fire TV Box remote.
As with the Fire TV, you can sync with Amazon’s Fire Game Controller (sold separately) or third-party gamepads for playing games. Annoyingly, you can’t power the stick from a USB port on your TV, which does mean sacrificing a plug socket and having another wire trailing down the back of your TV.
The matte black dongle is roughly the same width as the Roku Streaming Stick and slightly taller, with a single Micro USB port for the power being the only thing breaking the simple design up. There’s no reset button like you get on the Roku Streaming Stick in case the software freezes, although that didn’t happen on any occasion during our testing.
So what are the big differences between the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick? Apart from the size, there are a few things that will alter the experience for some. The first thing you’ll notice is that the Ethernet and optical-out ports are both sacrificed. In the processor department, Amazon has swapped a quad-core Snapdragon processor for a cheaper dual-core Broadcom one and dropped from 2GB to 1GB of RAM. It also uses an older Bluetooth 3.0 standard, but that shouldn’t really impact how you use it.
It does still have 8GB of internal storage, the same excellent dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity, and runs on the same Fire OS 3.0, based on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. In the grand scheme of things, you’re missing out on the home theatre connectivity and losing some of the processing power as a result of the drop down in size.
The Fire TV Stick comes with its own remote, which is smaller and more compact than the one supplied with the Fire TV box. It’s still all in black with a cheaper, rougher-feeling plastic finish and a tricky-to-prise-away back where the two AAA batteries live. You get the same two rows of buttons and circular navigation pad, but the voice search button is notably absent. That doesn’t mean you miss out on the feature altogether, though. If you download the Amazon Fire TV app, you can use your phone’s mic to search instead. If you already have a Fire TV box remote control, you can sync this in the settings to use as well.
Amazon Fire TV Stick – Setup
Once you’ve hooked it up to the mains and connected to a Wi-Fi network, it takes less than 10 minutes to get going. If you’re not setting up at home, Amazon has already thought about that very scenario by adding captive portal support. This basically means it’s easier to sign into Wi-Fi networks where you require launching a web browser to access the internet. Hotel Wi-Fi would probably be a good example of where this can come in handy.
When you buy the TV Stick from Amazon, you’ll also have the option to pre-register your account on the device to pull through supported content you’ve already purchased. If not, that’s not a problem; you’ll still have the option to create one during setup.
After sitting through a short intro video explaining how to navigate the system and use the smartphone remote control app, you can decide on whether to set up parental controls with Freetime support so you can control how much the service can be used by others.
The great thing about the Fire TV stick is that it really is plug-and-play. Once it’s set up on one TV, you can move to another room, plug into another TV and it will boot up in no time. The same certainly can’t be said about the Chromecast and Roku Streaming Stick.
Amazon Fire TV Stick – Software and Performance
Unsurprisingly, the UI is no different from that on the Fire TV box. Down the left-hand side is your navigation bar, with Search located right at the top of the list and Settings at the bottom. Over on the right is where you’ll find the content feeds, which adjust as you scroll through different sections on the navigation bar. Even with a processor downgrade, it’s still very slick to navigate the Android-based UI.
Searching content is restricted to text search, but you can add voice search with the phone app. Annoyingly, it’s not universal search, which would make it so much easier to find content. Although we’re not surprised that it’s restricted to Amazon content. If the search doesn’t find exactly what you’re looking for, it’ll push you to something it thinks you might be looking for. It’s not always on the money, especially when hunting out apps from the Amazon App Store.
In the Settings menu, you can set up parental controls to restrict purchasing and content types. You can also pair Bluetooth devices such as controllers, and check your account details. Crucially, there’s nothing too daunting here and it gives you just the right amount of information and control.
- Slick navigation
- Easy-to-navigate UI
- Good content selection
- Great bundled remote