The Amazon Fire TV Stick is the smaller, cheaper version of Amazon‘s Fire TV streaming set-top box. Although its compact stick form draws evaluations to Google’s Chromecast, it really has more in common with the Roku Stick. Such as the Roku, the Fire TV Stick has a full-on TV software of its own and it is managed using a remote control (included). Its diminutive size means it can’t accommodate certain features found on its set-top counterpart – Ethernet and optical audio ports, as well as the option of using Bluetooth headphones so that you can enjoy videos or music without disturbing anyone else. Plus, the Stick has a slower processor, even though this would only be a challenge if you mean to play games, that are available from Amazon’s store (a mixture of free and paid-for titles). The Fire TV Stick has exactly the same straightforward screen found into the full-size Fire TV. It’s not as easy to use since it could be because, unlike the Fire TV, its remote control does not have a built-in microphone, meaning you can’t instantly utilize Amazon’s excellent voice search. Yo u can circumvent this through the use of Amazon’s Fire TV Remote application.
In addition to replicating the real remote control, the apps let you search utilizing your voice, but we found they weren’t quite as accurate at recognizing our voice needs as the full-size Fire TV’s real remote. Amazon’s search system isn’t as clever since the one built into Google’s Android TV (see our review, problem 448). It struggled to work away descriptions. To ensure that searching for ‘Roman Polanski film noir’ came up empty-handed, whereas looking for ‘Chinatown’ found the 1970s classic.
As in the set-top box, searching (using either your vocals or the fiddly on-screen keyboard) only shows results from Amazon’s video and music services. It doesn’t offer results in the third-party apps, which include iPlayer, Netflix, Spotify and Demand 5 (ITV Player and All4, the newest name for 4oD, still are not available). In any case, you’ ll obtain the most from the Stick if you subscribe to Amazon’s Prime Instant Video service. For £79 a year, you get access to a big range of TV programs and films. Amazon’s Fire TV Stick is by no means bad, but it’s very much a cut-down form of the Fire TV set-top box, with all the current same limitations. Until you’ re keen a subscription to Amazon’s video solution, the similarly priced Roku Stick is better value because it has access to a wider selection of popular video and audio apps.
Amazon Fire TV Stick Specifications
•• 1x HDMI •• 802.11a/b/g/n •• 12x25x85mm (HxWxD) •• 25g •• One-year warranty