Good / Very affordable and useable for the price. Great device for starter streamers.
Bad / Given that the device is so cheap, you can’t expect the same sort of polish, speed, and smoothness while navigating menus and launching apps that you can on more expensive devices like the Apple TV or even the Amazon Fire TV.
Verdict / The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a great little device perfect for entry level streamers that want to access streaming apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Amazon Fire TV Stick Review
Streaming sticks are great alternatives to streaming boxes if you’re on a budget. In addition, streaming sticks and their small sized plug and play nature make them perfect for casual streaming users who can’t quite wrap their head around needing an entire box.
No, for a stick like the Amazon Fire TV Stick–you need only a stick, not a box. Needless to say, even if the Fire Stick is much less powerful than devices like the Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV–is it still a good streaming device?
The Amazon Fire TV Stick, regardless of how small of an impact this review has, is consistently sold out on Amazon (if you want it, buy it quick)–which shows that the Amazon Fire TV Stick is doing quite well. However, the Amazon Fire TV Stick is sold on Amazon, and sold by Amazon. So take that with a grain of salt.
If I were wearing a tinfoil hat, I might suggest that the company could be creating false demand to increase demand.
In addition, Amazon has handcrafted their Amazon Fire TV Stick to make it stand out against competitors without noting what other competitors do better. In their chart, the Amazon Fire TV Stick hits every mark better than competitors. But does it?
The Amazon Fire TV Stick features a Broadcom Capri 28155, dual-core 2xARM A9 up to 1 GHz processor with a VideoCore 4 GPU with 8GB internal storage and 1GB of memory. Amazon makes sure to point out that it has 4x the storage and 2x the memory of the Chromecast. However, this isn’t relevant since the devices are used entirely differently. However, do the specs of the Amazon Fire TV Stick make it as fast as they make it seem?
Unfortunately, for the majority of the time, you’ll be using the device, the Amazon Fire TV Stick feels like a $39.99 device. Launching the device is quite quick, however, but it’s not uncommon to experience some significant latency while switching between apps or going through the menus. It can also be hard to load custom apps or things like emulators since they can cause the stick to crash or freeze, requiring a restart that seems to take an awkward amount of time.
The actual stick of the Amazon Fire TV Stick just looks like a USB storage device–which is fine, since it just sits in your TV’s HDMI port. The controller feels a bit cheap, but the buttons are clicky enough to work well with the interface as well as some basic games.
The Amazon app store is steadily increasing, but when browsing the games–you might be a bit disappointed. The Amazon app store doesn’t have as many games as you might expect on a tablet with the Google Play Store–or even the Apple App store–but most streaming sticks and devices have similarly stunted game libraries. I had a ton of fun playing Pac-Man 256 with the remote, however since the buttons on the controller made it felt much better and precise than playing it on my iPhone.
Other options are of course available, with things like Amazon Video and Netflix. However, if you’re looking to use things like YouTube you’re going to have to use a third party app which is horrible. One annoying thing about Amazon Video is how it shows you clips within Amazon Video that you often have to pay for.
This means you can find a show–be happy it’s available, only to find you have to pay to watch it. However, on the flip side, this also means you can access things you might not be able to on other services by paying for it. In the end, you have to remember that Amazon is a different service from Netflix–something more like iTunes combined with a streaming service.
Amazon has created a cheap streaming stick that’s incredibly small and versatile, but some of the specs, when integrated with the software, can cause some noticeable lag and hiccups along the way.
One of the Amazon Fire TV Stick’s best selling points is that it’s only $39.99. While some streaming sticks like the Chromecast boast similar or even lower prices, the Amazon Fire TV Stick offers a full experience that lets you use services and apps with a controller (the former does not).
As we mentioned at the beginning of this review, Amazon makes it clear the Fire TV Stick is leagues above other similar streaming devices–meaning the Roku. However, the Roku Streaming Stick has a better processor (quad core) and more streaming channels. Check out that full review here.
For the price, the Amazon Fire TV Stick is quite a good deal, however, as we talked about in the other sections, you get what you pay for, and you might experience some small lag, freezes, not be able to use YouTube well, and experience some minor hiccups along the way.