What is the Amazon Fire Stick?
The Amazon Fire Stick (or Amazon Fire TV Stick) is the company’s second generation of its cheapest video streaming device.
You can stream from Amazon Video, as well as Netflix and the full roster of the UK’s catch-up services. There are plenty more apps besides, including Prime Music and Spotify, plus access to Amazon’s growing games library.
So, what’s new? For a start, the interface has had an overhaul to make it look a lot prettier and easier to use. This will filter down to older devices over time, though, as will the Alexa voice control, so the real benefits of the new Stick are its faster processor and improve Wi-Fi.
- Connect Amazon Fire TV Stick to your HDTV and start streaming movies, TV shows, and songs from Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, Netflix, Gaana and many more services. Subscription fees may apply.
- Easy to set up and use: Pre-registered to your Amazon account so you can just plug it into your HDTV and enjoy favorite titles and personalized recommendations.
- Massive Selection: Get access to thousands of Bollywood, Hollywood and Regional language movies and TV episodes, songs and games.
- Perfect with Amazon Prime: Amazon Prime members get unlimited access to Amazon Prime Video, featuring thousands of Bollywood and regional blockbusters, Hollywood movies, US TV shows, award-winning Amazon Originals and kids’ shows at no additional cost.
- Voice Search that really works: Amazon Fire TV Stick comes with a voice remote. Simply press the voice button and say the name of the Amazon Prime Video title you want to watch and start enjoying in seconds.
- Take your TV with you: Bring your favorite shows and movies with you when you travel. Plug Fire TV stick into any TV’s HDMI port, connect to Wi-Fi and continue watching. Some content not available in all countries.
Amazon Fire TV Stick connects your HDTV to a world of online entertainment. With a huge selection of Bollywood, Hollywood and regional language movies, TV episodes, voice search that actually works, it’s the easiest way to enjoy Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Prime Music, Hotstar, Netflix, YouTube, Eros Now, Gaana, music, games and more.
Amazon Fire Stick – Design and build
The Amazon Fire Stick looks a bit like a memory stick on steroids and is designed to plug straight into an HDMI port on your TV. It’s a neat all-in-one design housed in plastic. It will creak a little if squeezed but feels tough enough for the purpose.
At 9cm long and around 3cm deep, it will need a bit of room on your TV back panel, though, particularly when you consider making room for its Micro USB cable power supply. Thankfully, if this is too much of a squeeze, Amazon includes an HDMI extender in the box to free up some space.
The accompanying remote is the same one that you’ll find included with the pricier Amazon Fire TV box. It’s pretty simple, offering a D-pad for navigation, a handful of playback controls and the all-important voice input key. It’s nice that this is included now, although the iOS and Android app does an equally good job and can activate the same Alexa commands.
Amazon Fire Stick – Set up and interface
Setting up your Fire Stick is really easy. Just plug it into a spare HDMI slot on your TV, and its USB cable into a power source. Some on-screen instructions will get your Alexa remote paired and the Fire TV Stick hooked up to your home network. Once you’re signed into your Amazon account, you’re ready to go.
If you’re familiar with the previous Fire TV Stick, you’ll notice immediately that the interface has been redesigned. The main navigation menu has moved from the side to along the top, and a new picture-led carousel with suggested content dominates the top half of the screen. The idea is that the Fire TV Stick will learn your viewing habits over time and tailor this to you, with video teasers to draw you in. During a week’s testing, the selection it surfaced improved to include programmes and films I’d be more likely to choose, including content from other providers like Netflix.
Amazon Fire Stick – Features
Alongside its new interface, the Amazon Fire Stick has seen some hardware upgrades too, including a new quad-core processor and improved Wi-Fi.
The new chipset promises to be 30% quicker, while the 802.11ac Wi-Fi ensures more stable streaming, quicker downloads and faster buffering. You’ll really notice this improvement if your Fire TV Stick is a little further away from your router too, thanks to a better performance range.
There’s still 8GB of onboard storage for apps and games and the same 1GB RAM as its predecessor, which is enough.
Amazon Fire Stick – Performance
Scrolling through the menus, it’s clear that the new quad-core processor has given the Fire TV Stick a welcome boost of power. It certainly feels slicker to browse and faster to load, as you flick in and out of menus and search for content.
Voice commands work really well for this too. Rather than using the Alexa wake command as you would on the Amazon Echo, you press a button on the remote, hold it in and speak.
While you may have seen voice remotes before, with the likes of the Fire TV Box, this is the first time that Alexa has been built into a Fire TV product. She’s a lot cleverer than your standard voice command system, so there’s now much more you can do.
The results are fast and for the most part accurate. You can search by actor, genre or film name, and during my tests, Alexa hasn’t misunderstood a single command.
Why buy the Amazon Fire Stick?
The new Amazon Fire Stick doesn’t do anything revolutionary, but it does make a good product even better. In Indian Currency, it will cost you around Rs. 3,999.00.
The Alexa voice commands are a great way to navigate, and the extra speed from the new processor and improved Wi-Fi makes using it a breeze.
With the new interface set to come to older devices later down the line, and Alexa support too, owners of the original Fire TV Stick might not find the upgrade immediately necessary. However, any Prime subscriber that hasn’t made the jump as yet may find themselves very tempted now.
They might be subtle improvements, but the new Amazon Fire Stick is all the better for having them.
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