What is a Amazon Fire TV Stick?
The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a streaming media device to opposition Google’s Chromecast and a Roku Streaming Stick. It crams many of a same facilities as a Fire TV box into a HDMI dongle, vouchsafing we tide Full HD calm from a likes of Amazon Prime Instant Video, BBC iPlayer and Netflix. You can also tide song from Spotify and play a horde mobile games from a Amazon App Store.
At a moment, we can collect adult a Fire TV Stick for a discount £25, yet even when it jumps behind to a customary £35, this is a tiny streaming hang that’s a fun to use.
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Amazon Fire TV Stick – Design
The Fire TV Stick setup is unequivocally identical to a Chromecast and Roku Streaming Stick. Hidden inside a tiny black wrapping we get a HDMI dongle that plugs into your HDTV, a USB-powered mains block and a remote. Amazon also throws in a HDMI extender cable, something we don’t get with a other streaming dongles. It’s accessible if your gangling HDMI pier is a tiny wily to get to.
As with a Fire TV, we can sync with Amazon’s Fire Game Controller (sold separately) or third-party gamepads for personification games. Annoyingly, we can’t energy a hang from a USB pier on your TV, that does meant sacrificing a block hollow and carrying another handle trailing down a behind of your TV.
The matte black dongle is roughly a same breadth as a Roku Streaming Stick and somewhat taller, with a singular Micro USB pier for a energy being a usually thing violation a elementary pattern up. There’s no reset symbol like we get on a Roku Streaming Stick in box a program freezes, nonetheless that didn’t occur on any arise during a testing.
So what are a vast differences between a Fire TV and Fire TV Stick? Apart from a size, there are a few things that will change a knowledge for some. The initial thing you’ll notice is that a Ethernet and optical-out ports are both sacrificed. In a processor department, Amazon has substituted a quad-core Snapdragon processor for a cheaper dual-core Broadcom one and forsaken from 2GB to 1GB of RAM. It also uses an comparison Bluetooth 3.0 standard, yet that shouldn’t unequivocally impact how we use it.
It does still have 8GB of inner storage, a same glorious dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity, and runs on a same Fire OS 3.0, formed on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. In a grand intrigue of things, you’re blank out on a home entertainment connectivity and losing some of a estimate energy as a outcome of a dump down in size.
The Fire TV Stick comes with a possess remote, that is smaller and some-more compress than a one granted with a Fire TV box. It’s still all in black with a cheaper, rougher-feeling cosmetic finish and a tricky-to-prise-away behind where a dual AAA batteries live. You get a same dual rows of buttons and round navigation pad, yet a voice hunt symbol is quite absent. That doesn’t meant we skip out on a underline altogether, though. If we download a Amazon Fire TV app, we can use your phone’s mic to hunt instead. If we already have a Fire TV box remote control, we can sync this in a settings to use as well.
Amazon Fire TV Stick – Setup
Once you’ve bending it adult to a mains and connected to a Wi-Fi network, it takes reduction than 10 mins to get going. If you’re not environment adult during home, Amazon has already suspicion about that unequivocally unfolding by adding serf portal support. This fundamentally means it’s easier to pointer into Wi-Fi networks where we need rising a web browser to entrance a internet. Hotel Wi-Fi would substantially be a good instance of where this can come in handy.
When we buy a TV Stick from Amazon, you’ll also have a choice to pre-register your comment on a device to lift by upheld calm you’ve already purchased. If not, that’s not a problem; you’ll still have a choice to emanate one during setup.
After sitting by a brief intro video explaining how to navigate a complement and use a smartphone remote control app, we can confirm on either to set adult parental controls with Freetime support so we can control how most a use can be used by others.
The good thing about a Fire TV hang is that it unequivocally is plug-and-play. Once it’s set adult on one TV, we can pierce to another room, block into another TV and it will foot adult in no time. The same positively can’t be pronounced about a Chromecast and Roku Streaming Stick.
Amazon Fire TV Stick – Software and Performance
Unsurprisingly, a UI is no opposite from that on a Fire TV box. Down a left-hand side is your navigation bar, with Search located right during a tip of a list and Settings during a bottom. Over on a right is where you’ll find a calm feeds, that adjust as we corkscrew by opposite sections on a navigation bar. Even with a processor downgrade, it’s still unequivocally sharp to navigate a Android-based UI.
Searching calm is limited to calm search, yet we can supplement voice hunt with a phone app. Annoyingly, it’s not concept search, that would make it so most easier to find content. Although we’re not astounded that it’s limited to Amazon content. If a hunt doesn’t find accurately what you’re looking for, it’ll pull we to something it thinks we competence be looking for. It’s not always on a money, generally when sport out apps from a Amazon App Store.
In a Settings menu, we can set adult parental controls to shorten purchasing and calm types. You can also span Bluetooth inclination such as controllers, and check your comment details. Crucially, there’s zero too daunting here and it gives we only a right volume of information and control.
This is also where we can activate Chromecast-style shade mirroring around Miracast. It now works with a Amazon Fire Phone, Fire HDX tablets and any Android tablets regulating Android 4.2 Jelly Bean or above. Unfortunately, it’s not unequivocally reliable. We attempted with a operation of upheld inclination and had churned results. Sometimes it works with no emanate and others times it’s a tiny glitchy. Hopefully this is something Amazon is operative on.
Content is pivotal for any streaming device, of course, and a good news is that there’s copiousness here. Key players like Netflix, iPlayer and Spotify are there, along with Ministry of Sound Radio, BBC Sport and Sky News. The app knowledge for Netflix, BBC Sport and iPlayer is unequivocally identical to what we get regulating them on a console or a Roku. Apps bucket adult fast and there’s no loiter while navigating around a user interface.
If you’ve used a Kindle Fire inscription or Fire TV product before then
you’ll know that Amazon’s cloud storage is a vast partial of how everything
works. It means calm such as music, games and films already purchased is pulled in automatically. Games will, of course, need to be commissioned if we wish to store them on a 8GB of onboard storage.
Apps and mobile games are powered by a Amazon App Store. A discerning peek shows that there’s some high-profile titles blank – quite Android games like a new console ports of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and San Andreas. It’s maybe not that surprising, though, as a GPU and estimate energy are most improved versed for personification Crossy Road or something elementary like Machinarium. If you’re not happy with a app selection, there’s some tinkering that can be finished to sideload Android apps to urge matters.
Amazon Fire TV Stick – App
If we conduct to displace a enclosed remote and don’t wish to flare out for another one, afterwards we do have your phone as a backup. The Kindle Fire TV Remote app is a giveaway download for Kindle, Android and iOS devices, giving we an choice proceed to crop a Fire TV interface. For a Fire TV Stick, it also adds a voice hunt around your phone’s microphone.
It works over Wi-Fi and requires drumming in a four-digit formula that should cocktail adult on your TV to bond a two. First-time users will conclude a tiny educational explaining how it works, yet it’s flattering self-explanatory. There are a same dual rows of buttons that we get on a earthy remote, with a keyboard by-pass for calm searches in a top-right-hand corner.
The vast block in a center of a shade is where we can appropriate your fingers to navigate a UI. It’s unequivocally a tiny some-more restive to use, yet it’s a decent adequate substitute. To activate voice search, we can appropriate and reason down from a mic button, and call in your request. We attempted it on an iPhone 5 and a Samsung Galaxy S6. Both offering poignant and accurate voice-recognition results.
Should we buy a Amazon Fire TV Stick?
If we wish a streaming hang that’s hassle-free and only works, afterwards a Fire TV Stick is unequivocally value considering. Amazon’s proceed is so most slicker than a rivals. Some competence good protest that we need to be sealed adult to Amazon Prime to make it worthwhile, yet there’s still copiousness of calm we can entrance though it.
Most will also be means to live though a facilities Amazon has nude divided for a consequence of creation it smaller. Despite a dump down in specs from a Fire TV box, a altogether opening is still great. Casting is still not ideal from non-Amazon devices, yet aside from that, we had no issues to protest about.
At £35, it’s likewise labelled to a Chromecast. While Google’s streaming hang offers some-more coherence with mirroring content, it lacks a UI to navigate and connectivity can still be flaky during times. Roku’s hang offers some-more content, yet it’s a tiny some-more inconstant when relocating it around to other TVs, and it doesn’t unequivocally contest with Amazon’s mobile gaming support.
SEE ALSO: Chromecast vs Amazon Fire TV Stick vs Roku Streaming Stick
It competence not be a aristocrat of shade mirroring, yet a Amazon Fire TV Stick is one of a easiest and cheapest ways to make your TV smarter.