Amazon Fire TV vs Fire Stick: Which Streaming Device is Best

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There is no doubt that the entertainment revolution is all about streaming. Amazon’s Fire TV devices are extremely popular. One of the reasons is that they are incredibly convenient to use and give you a lot of variety in the movies and TV shows that you can watch. From free services to subscription platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video, you are going to have a ton of choices when it comes to what you want to watch.

These devices also give you the capability to access Alexa, allowing you to control your TV using your voice. Getting a Fire TV media streamer can be incredibly useful, especially if you want to have access to a ton of entertainment options.

Whether you are looking for ways to access your Prime Video or Netflix account on the big screen and enjoy them in high resolution, these are the devices for your home. On top of that, you also get to control your other smart home devices using Alexa or play a few games. These are a worthwhile investment.

Amazon Fire TV Comparison

Let’s take a look at how these three devices are similar or different from each other. These are all excellent media streamers, but one of these might suit your current situation. Which one is the right media streamer for your home? Let’s find out.

Fire TV CubeFire TV Stick 4KFire TV Stick
Form FactorCubeStickStick
Fire OSFire OS 7Fire OS 6Fire OS 5
CPU6-core S9224-core MediaTek
MTK8695
4-core MediaTek
MTK8127D
GPUARM Mali G52-MP2IMG GE8300Mali-450 MP4
Memory2 GB DDR41.5 GB DDR41 GB DDR4
Storage16 GB8 GB8 GB
DisplayUp to 4K with HDR
Support
Up to 4K with HDR
Support
Up to 1080p
HDR SupportHDR10, HDR10+,
HLG, DoVi
HDR10, HDR10+,
HLG, DoVi
NONE
ResolutionUHD 4K
(3840 x 2160)
UHD 4K
(3840 x 2160)
FHD 1080p
(1920 x 1080)
Refresh Rate60 Hz60 Hz60 Hz
BluetoothBluetooth 5.0Bluetooth 5.0Bluetooth 4.1
WirelessDual band Wi-Fi
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Dual band Wi-Fi
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Dual band Wi-Fi
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Ethernet10/100Mbps10/100Mbps10/100Mbps
Alexa SupportYES, Far-fieldYESYES
Dimensions3.4 x 3.4 x 3.0 inches3.9 x 1.2 x 0.6 inches3.3 x 1.0 x 0.5 inches
Weight465 grams43.4 grams25.1 grams
Price$119
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$49
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$39
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Design and Build

These three devices look vastly different from each other. Although you will notice some similar features, the sizes, and even their shape are diverse that you can quickly determine one over the other. Let’s take a look at how these three streaming devices differ from one another.

Fire TV Cube

The Amazon Fire TV Cube is essentially an Echo, but with corners. It’s a small box with the buttons that you will usually find on their smart speakers. This means that you will find buttons for volume, mute, and one to trigger Alexa. It also comes with a light bar indicator that lets you know if it is connected to Alexa or having some issues.

As a streaming device, it comes with ports that you will need to connect it to the internet and your TV. It comes with the usual list like an HDMI and micro-USB ports. Now, it does not have a built-in Ethernet port on the body of the device itself. Instead, it comes with an adapter that will do the trick.

It is a rather large cube that will sit in front of your TV. It is not the sleekest or the slimmest streaming device out there, but it does the job well. You should have no problem blending this with your other entertainment gadgets with its black glossy finish.

Fire TV Stick 4K

The Fire Stick 4K is a totally different device in terms of design. If the Fire TV Cube is more of a countertop streaming box, this one is more of a dongle. Although it is incredibly large for one, it might stick out too much on some older TV models. It comes with a flexible HDMI adapter in case you have a hard time figuring out where to connect this.

It is small, but compared to other dongle streaming devices out there, it is on the bulkier side. This may also be the reason why it is necessary to plug it into a wall socket, making it a bit on the cumbersome side.

Fire TV Stick

Amazon keeps its design aesthetic of a lot of edges with the Fire TV Stick. There is really no subtlety to the shape since it lacks any form of curves. It is on the long side, though, so there will be times that you will have a hard time fitting this at the back of your TV, especially on older models. The good thing is it comes with a flexible adapter so you can let it dangle.

Since it is an earlier model of their streaming devices, there are issues when it comes to the Fire TV Stick getting power from a USB port. There are times that it may not be enough, so you will have to resort to plugging this in using its wall charger.

Our Pick: Fire TV Stick 4K for its small form factor design

Performance

These streaming devices do more than just play your favorite movies or TV shows. They must be responsive so you can navigate around quickly and focus on watching and not waiting for it to load. Which of these is snappier and allows you to forget that you are using a streaming device, let’s find out.

Fire TV Cube

The Fire TV Cube is remarkably speedy compared to other Amazon streaming devices. This is all thanks to the new 6-core processor making it significantly faster. One of its secrets is Local Voice Control, which remembers the commands that you use the most and use it, rather than connecting to the cloud. So, doing your usual tasks is going to be much quicker and more responsive.

As for the rest of the Alexa features, the Fire TV Cube comes with improved far-field voice recognition technology allowing it to pick up commands even if you are away from the device. This definitely comes in handy if your TV is a little bit too loud, and you want to relay a quick command to Alexa.

Looking at other Amazon streaming devices, the Fire TV Cube is significantly faster. There are even instances when it performs commands in half the time compared to other brands and models.

Fire TV Stick 4K

The Fire TV Stick 4K is an update to their streaming sticks. It is a lot snappier and quicker when it comes to navigating the menus and searching for your favorite movies or TV shows. The 4-core 1.7 GHz processor is the main powerhouse of this device, which gives it that promptness as you push on the remote.

For something as small as a USB drive, it is Alexa-enabled, which allows you to take full advantage of Amazon’s virtual assistant. The Fire TV Stick 4K works as well as you would expect when giving out voice commands. Although it may not have the Fire TV Cube’s Local Voice Control feature, which can make things a little slow, it should be quick enough to respond to your instructions.

Fire TV Stick

The Fire TV Stick is the slowest of the bunch here, and it is understandable, since it is the device, too. Although for something powered by a 2-core 1.3 GHz processor, it still performs smoothly. It is still visibly slower than the later versions, but you can continue to use it without any issues.

Content loads up quickly, but it lacks the snappiness that you get from the 4K version or the Fire TV Cube. The buffering time is noticeable and takes a bit of time for your videos to get to the full 1080p resolution.

Amazon added Alexa capabilities to the Fire TV Stick, allowing you to use the assistant’s varied features. There will be a bit of sluggishness to it, but you can still enjoy it.

Our Pick: Fire TV Cube for a significantly snappier performance

Video Quality

As streaming devices, one of the most essential performance categories to look out for is video quality. Most of them come with 4K HDR compatibility. However, there is still some subtle difference in how they render your favorite content. So, let’s take a look at how each of these stacks up against one another.

Fire TV Cube

Now, you will be able to stream and watch sharp and vivid videos with the Fire TV Cube. It supports 4K HDR10+ that reveals a lot more detail and makes colors pop out more. This is especially true when streaming content from Amazon Prime Video. On other platforms such as HBO, Netflix, and YouTube, you may not get similar rendering quality, but still, get to enjoy them in al their 4K HDR glory.

The Fire TV Cube also supports Dolby Vision allowing you to watch movies that support it and enjoy even more detail. Overall, it’s a great device to stream your favorite content, and this works even better if you have seen them in regular 1080p so you can see how big the difference is.

Fire TV Stick 4K

The Fire TV Stick is a lot smaller than the Fire TV Cube, and it is astonishing to think that it will be able to stream 4K HDR content, as well. And it does it pretty well, in fact. You should have no problem reaching the resolution with the enhancements in no time. It may buffer a bit, but you should be able to enjoy the added detail and improved contrasts in a matter of seconds.

This is a great streaming device to have if you have a 4K-enabled TV so you can take full advantage of its features. Between this device and the Fire TV Cube, it’s pretty close in terms of video quality, there is little that separates the two.

Fire TV Stick

The biggest difference between the Fire TV Stick to its 4K version and the Fire TV Cube is that it does not have 4K streaming capabilities. You can still enjoy your favorite content in Full HD 1080p, though, which can be enough, especially when you do not have a 4K TV.

The Fire TV Stick gets the job done with 1080p streaming, but if you do have a TV that is capable of giving you a 4K HDR experience, this is not the device for you.

Our Pick: Fire TV Cube and Fire TV Stick 4K for their crisp 4K HDR streaming capabilities

Remote Control Features

Not all streaming devices are created equal. Even though they are from the same company, there will be small differences between those from different generations or device class. Especially in cases between the Fire TV Stick 4K and the non-4K version, you are bound to see some features getting upgraded or scrapped from one.

The remote control is one of those areas where Amazon put some distance between their flagship streaming devices to others. Let’s take a close look at how they compare to each other.

Fire TV Cube

The Fire TV Cube is Amazon’s latest and most powerful streaming box. So, you can understand if they put in a little bit of extra on the remote that comes with it. If you are looking for a fancy one, you are surely going to pay a few extra bucks.

Now, the Fire TV Cube does have a remote, but it comes with a massive upgrade over its predecessors. It is an Alexa remote, which allows you to use your streaming box without ever touching it.

Alexa is snappy and reliable, especially when it comes to going your way through the different menu options that come out on screen. You can even tell it to start playing a movie or show that you want on the home screen as it is smart enough to figure out which streaming app to open. It’s an amazing feature that shaves off some precious seconds when you do it on the remote.

The remote automatically syncs to your TV and can even identify your other peripherals such as your cable box, soundbar, and more. This means that you can use Alexa to control your TV, change channels, turn up your volume. You can essentially throw away your remote.

Fire TV Stick 4K

Now the 4K version of the Fire TV stick comes with the same Alexa-enabled remote as the Fire TV Cube. So, you are getting the same performance and feature set, allowing you to control your entire TV set with your voice. You can also ask Alexa about sports, weather, traffic, and even integrate with your other smart home devices.

It may take some time to get used to doing everything by voice, but once you do, it’s a lot quicker and allows you to do things that you will not be able to do by using the remote. This feature is extremely useful if you have an Echo lying around beside you since it can quickly pick up your voice commands.

Fire TV Stick

The remote on the Fire TV Stick is a lot different than those on the other two devices. You can even consider it as their predecessor, so it does not have all the features of the Alexa remote. However, it does come with a microphone that allows you to talk to Alexa, but without the fancy integrations with your TV set.

If the remotes on the Fire TV Cube and the 4K version encourages you to use Alexa, this, not so much. Still, it works pretty well and enables you to navigate the menus to look for your favorite content quickly. It has a directional wheel with a confirm button for quick scrolling and media buttons. It does not have the volume controls of the Alexa remote, but you should be fine without it.

One not so obvious feature of the Fire TV Stick remote is its Bluetooth capability. Now, you can link one of your wireless headsets, so you do not have a wire running between you and the TV if you want a more private viewing experience.

Our Pick: Fire TV Cube and Fire TV Stick 4K for the Alexa-enabled remote

Alexa Integration

All these Amazon streaming devices come with some form of Alexa integration. The difference really is the tricks that go with it. As for the basics, they can do just about anything you ask Alexa to. Play your favorite movie or TV show is not a problem, just say it, and Alexa will do it.

Fire TV Cube vs Fire TV Dongles

The main difference between the Fire TV Cube and the rest of their streaming devices is that it comes with a lot of virtual assistant tricks. For one, it’s a full-fledged Alexa speaker, and this allows you to speak to it without pushing a button. It’s really similar to an Echo with streaming features.

On top of that, it also has full integration support, which means that it is capable of controlling your other smart devices around your home. Where this feature comes in handy is being able to speak to control your cable box and TV. It still works even if you are not streaming so you can change the channel, quickly mute it, or make it do other tasks.

The dongles, on the other hand, are a little limited. On their own, you will not be able to do most of these tricks. But as soon as you pair them up with an Echo, it will open up everything. Now, this is great when you have Amazon’s speakers, if you do not have it, then getting the Fire TV Cube is your best bet since it can act as both.

Our Pick: Fire TV Cube for its added Alexa tricks allowing you to control your other devices

Pricing

Fire TV CubeFire TV Stick 4KFire TV Stick
Price$119
CHECK PRICE
$49
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$39
CHECK PRICE

Best Amazon Streaming Device for Your Home

AMAZON FIRE TV CUBE

AMAZON FIRE TV CUBE

Retail Price: $119

The Amazon Fire TV Cube can be considered a different device when put side by side with other streaming sticks, and it is also significantly more powerful and has more added features. It feels like it should be on a different class on its own, which really makes it one of the best streaming devices for your home.

One of the big differences is that the Fire TV Cube is more comfortable as a centerpiece of your home entertainment system as the sticks are meant to be hidden. Even though it has a minimalist design, there is more to what meets the eye.

For one, the Fire TV Cube is more than just a streaming device but is also an Amazon Echo. This is one of the reasons why it is more expensive than the two sticks. What this means for you, is its capability to continuously listen for voice commands, rather than pushing a button on the remote.

As one of Amazon’s smart speakers, it also comes with the features of the Echo, where it can not only control your TV but other devices around your home that are integrated with Alexa. This means that you can use it to control your cable box and home theater devices even if they are not connected physically.

The Fire TV Cube can do this since it comes with an IR blaster so it can tell other devices what to do. It is definitely an interesting and innovative addition to a solid streaming box. Of course, it comes with 4K streaming capabilities from your favorite platforms. It also supports all HDR protocols, together with Dolby Atmos, making it a complete streaming device.

PROS
Quick and snappy performance
Excellent 4K HDR quality
Amazing Alexa integration
Smart home hub capable
CONS
On the expensive side

Seriously Consider this Streaming Device

AMAZON FIRE TV STICK 4K

AMAZON FIRE TV STICK 4K

Retail Price: $49

If the Fire TV Cube is a little too expensive for you, and you simply need a device that can stream your favorite content from different platforms, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is for you. It is the streaming stick of choice if you have a 4K-capable TV or planning to buy one soon. It is a fact that any content viewed in 4K with HDR support is simply amazing. This streaming stick is going to allow you to enjoy anything that you want to watch.

One of the reasons to jump on the bandwagon is that streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Netflix are pumping out 4K content. To fully enjoy these, you will need a bit of help that comes from a streaming device.

An advantage of the Fire TV Stick 4K is its support for just about every type of HDR protocol. You will be able to watch any content that runs on HDR10+, HLG, and even Dolby Vision. This means that you are also saving money in the long run since this essentially future-proofs your viewing experience.

It also comes with Dolby Atmos support, which will take your viewing experience to the next level with immersive sound. At the moment, it is not a popular audio protocol. Still, a lot of content is popping up on streaming platforms that use this.

If you are looking for a more affordable alternative to the Fire TV Cube, and do not really want its added features, then go for the Fire TV Stick 4K. Anyway, you can still replicate the full Cube experience with an Echo, making the decision on what to get between the two a lot easier.

PROS
Excellent 4K HDR picture quality
Navigation is quick and responsive
Improved remote with more Alexa features
CONS
Require a power adapter to run

Final Thoughts

When it comes to getting the Fire TV streaming device for you, it’s all about the value it will provide you. The Fire TV Stick is the most affordable of these three, but it does have some drawbacks. For one, it only streams up to 1080p, so if you have a 4K TV at home, this is simply not going to work.

The Fire TV Stick 4K is its big brother, and for a few dollars more, it’s going to open up UHD resolution streaming to your home. It still is a reasonable investment even if you do not have a 4K-capable TV since it is likely that the next one you buy will be able.

The Fire TV Cube is a different machine altogether. It is significantly more expensive than the streaming sticks, but it does give you more Alexa tricks. This is the box to get if you are also intending to go deep into the Amazon ecosystem and get an Echo and other compatible smart home devices.

If you want to take your entertainment and viewing experience to the next level, one of the best ways to do that is to get a media streamer. These Amazon Fire TV devices are amazing and are capable of providing you with that experience, and a little bit more.