Amazon has always been a market leader when it comes to smart home technology, so we naturally expected good things from its new and improved Amazon Fire TV Stick.
It is 50 per cent more powerful than the previous 2019 model and it now has those highly requested volume and power buttons on the remote. But, with the release of the new, cheaper Fire TV Stick Lite, is the Fire TV Stick worth the extra money? In our opinion, yes.
The mid-range smart TV stick from Amazon is quick to set-up, easy to use and give those without a smart TV access to streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+ and NOW TV. For those who already have a number of Amazon subscriptions such as Prime Video, Audible and Amazon Music Unlimited, it could also be a brilliant tool for access them in one place.
Here’s our Amazon Fire TV Stick review as we consider its price, streaming quality, specs and design. And, why we think the Fire TV Stick is best suited for people trying out streaming sticks for the first time.
- Amazon Fire TV Stick review: summary
- What is Amazon Fire TV Stick?
- How much is Amazon Fire TV Stick?
- Streaming quality
- Amazon Fire TV Stick set-up
- Difference between Amazon Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite
- Our verdict
- Where to buy
The Amazon Fire TV Stick has all the key smart TV stick features. It streams in full HD, gives you access to a great range of apps, is good value and quick to set-up. The addition of volume and power buttons to the remote is simple but improve the user experience hugely. And with 50 per cent more power, the new Amazon Fire TV Stick is fast and responsive to both manual and voice commands.
Price: The Amazon Fire TV Stick is available for £34.99 at Amazon.
- Offers full HD streaming
- Supports Dolby Atmos
- Voice search via Alexa voice remote
- Access to apps and streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, Spotify, Apple TV, NOW TV
- Good value for money
- Quick and intuitive set-up
- Hidden out of view
- Great selection of apps and channels
- Interface is easy to navigate
- Homepage a little heavy on Amazon Prime Video content
- No 4K streaming
Amazon Fire TV range is currently made up of four devices. The cheapest is the Fire TV Stick, followed by the newly upgraded Fire TV Stick, the Fire TV Stick 4K and finally, the most powerful Fire TV Cube. The Fire TV Stick is Amazon's mid-range streaming device and offers full HD streaming and apps such as Twitch, YouTube, Disney+, Netflix, Spotify and NOW TV.
What does Amazon Fire TV Stick do?
Amazon Fire TV Stick allows those without a smart TV to watch streaming services. The smart TV stick has access to TV shows such as Gangs of London, The Boys and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, as well as numerous music, sport and entertainment apps.
- Streaming in full HD
- Ability to watch live TV along with streaming services like Netflix, NOW TV, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video
- Stream music from Amazon Music Unlimited, Spotify and BBC Sounds.
Is Amazon Fire TV Stick good value for money?
The new Fire TV Stick is Amazon's mid-range offering and for less than £40 full price, you get a lot for your money. It supports Dolby Atmos, streams in full HD and has an Alexa voice remote with volume and power buttons. The latter of which is missing from its cheaper counterpart, the Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite.
Both the remote and Fire TV Stick itself feel solid and well-made, and has a good range of apps and streaming services on offer. These include Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, ITV, BBC iPlayer, YouTube and Spotify.
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When compared to competitors' devices such as Roku Premiere (RRP £39.99), the price is identical. It has also forced Amazon to up its game when it comes to the features it offers. The Roku Premiere may not have volume buttons on its remote, but it does have an app with a built-in remote from which you can control the volume, making it a bit of a null issue. In addition, the Roku Premiere streams in 4K and also has a 'private listening' mode that allows you to play the TV's audio through headphones via the app to avoid disrupting fellow family members.
These are not features available on Amazon Fire TV Stick, but it may still be preferred for those who already have a number of Amazon accounts. The Fire TV homepage is fairly Prime Video-heavy making them shows easy to find and it's ideal for those looking to access Prime Video, Amazon Music, Audible and Amazon Photos all in one place.
Purchasing a streaming stick does mean adding another cable to the growing collection behind the TV. However, at less than 9cm in length, the Amazon Fire TV Stick is relatively small and hidden from view when in use.
The accompanying remote is small but not tiny enough that it will be lost down the back of the sofa. It feels well made and the buttons have a solid click. There are 11 buttons in total including mute, volume, play/pause and power buttons so it is simple to use. The best feature of the remote is the ability to voice search.
The Fire TV interface is also simple and easy to navigate. Amazon Prime Video users will find it extremely familiar and content from the streaming service does take prominence. The addition of voice search makes finding your favourite TV shows and apps simple.
- Style: The smart TV stick is a small, black box that is plugged into the HDMI port in the back of the TV. The remote is also small and black and fits neatly in your hand.
- Robustness: Both the smart TV stick and remote are light but feel well made. The remote's buttons are rubber but feel like they will last.
- Size: Measuring less than 9cm long and 3cm wide, the Amazon Fire TV Stick is small and easily hidden behind the TV.
The 2020 Fire TV Stick is 50 per cent more powerful than the previous 2019 model so navigating between shows, streaming services and apps is smooth. The resolution remains at 1080p but we found the picture quality to be good and enjoyed the full HD streaming capabilities.
When it comes to voice search, Alexa is activated by the 'microphone/voice' button at the top of the remote. Fire TV responds quickly and had no trouble taking us to the requested show first time. YouTube videos, TV shows and films all load quickly and there was no buffering.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick also supports Dolby Atmos but it is on selected shows. These are a little limited currently but include Amazon Prime Video's Jack Ryan series featuring John Krasinski.
Setting up the Amazon Fire TV Stick was simple and intuitive. The Amazon Fire TV Stick comes with everything you need to get started so there are no additional cables or batteries that you are required to buy separately.
Once the device is out of the box, the smart TV stick slots into the HDMI port in the back of your TV. The rest of the set-up is then prompted by instructions on the TV screen.
These prompts including pairing the remote with the TV (two AAA batteries including in the box) and connecting to Wi-Fi. Beyond these steps, the longest element of our set-up was waiting for the latest updates to be installed and the whole process took less than 10 minutes.
When this initial set-up is over, you sign up or log into your Amazon account. If you have previously had a Fire TV device, you will also be given the opportunity to restore all the apps connected to your old TV stick. This will save you having to redownload these apps again.
The final stage is setting up any parental controls to prevent any younger family members accessing TV shows or films that are not age-appropriate.
Along with the release of the new Echo Dot, this year also saw Amazon reveal two new Fire TV Sticks. The new 2020 version of the Amazon Fire TV Stick was joined by a cheaper device, the Fire TV Stick Lite.
Retailing for £29.99, the Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite is designed to bring you all the key smart TV stick features without the usual price tag. Because of this, the Amazon Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite have a lot of similarities.
Both stream in full HD, slot into the back of your TV and have a the capabilities to voice search via the Alexa remote. The picture quality and storage space is the same, too. Because they are both made by Amazon, they also give you access to the same apps, channels and subscription services.
The main difference is on the Alexa voice remote itself. The Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite comes with a remote that does not have volume or power buttons. This means in order to turn the volume up or turn the TV off, you will still need your main TV remote to hand. This is unlikely to be a game-changer for most but we have to admit that having everything on one remote was useful.
For those already signed up to various Amazon services, the new Fire TV Stick is a great choice. It is 50 per cent more powerful than the previous-generation device, has more features than the cheaper Fire TV Stick Lite and at £39.99 full price, it is good value for money, too.
The device is small and can be hidden behind the TV, and the remote is solid with the useful addition of power and volume buttons. The likes of Prime Video, Netflix and Disney+ can be streamed in HD, can be searched hands-free using voice commands and certain services also support Dolby Atmos.
Even if you aren't an Amazon loyalist, the Fire TV Stick is a brilliant device for getting the most out of your older HD TV, allowing you to watch streaming subscriptions and on-demand services on a bigger screen. If you're buying a smart TV stick for the first time, you are unlikely to go wrong with the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
It is only those with 4K capabilities that may benefit more from another smart TV stick. The new Amazon Fire TV Stick doesn't stream in 4K, so if this is you, you may be better spending £1o more on the Fire TV Stick 4K or considering the Roku Premiere. Beyond this, the Amazon Fire TV Stick will deliver everything you expect from a smart TV stick; a great range of apps, channels and subscription services, voice search via the Alexa remote and smooth HD streaming.
Sound quality: 4/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Ease of set-up: 5/5
Overall rating: 4/5
The Amazon Fire TV Stick is available at a number of retailers.