comscore Amazon Fire TV Stick Review: It saved my TV from becoming obsolete
Review

Amazon Fire TV Stick Review: It saved my TV from becoming obsolete

Amazon Fire TV Stick has its own highs and lows, but is it worth your investment? Find out in our detailed review.

Amazon Fire TV Stick

4 5
BGR Rating :
4/5

I have always wanted to own a media player such as the Apple TV. But I could never carve out the budget for one (Apple TV retails in India for Rs 13,700). Thanks to the Google Chromecast though, I never felt the need to buy an additional media player to stream content on my dumb TV, since that relies on your smartphone to do the heavy lifting. Enter the Rs 3,999 Amazon Fire TV Stick – an affordable media player as such, but with limited capabilities compared to some of the high-end options available. Also Read - Best 5G phone under Rs 20,000 on Amazon, Flipkart today: Realme 8s, iQOO Z3, Samsung Galaxy M32, more

Also Read - Redmi Note 10S discounted, 64GB model under Rs 12,000 during Amazon Great Indian Festival sale

Launched in India last month, the media player is aimed at helping Amazon amplify its massive push into the video streaming arena, which has a slew of existing services such as Netflix, Hooq and Hotstar, among others. Since its launch, there has been a lot of chatter around the product and the growing OTT and streaming markets in India, which is rapidly becoming a data-focused country. I have been using the Amazon Fire TV Stick for last month or so, and here s my review of the device. Also Read - Amazon Pay Later: How to set it up and use to shop

Design & Specifications

The Amazon Fire TV Stick looks like a beefed-up version of a typical Internet dongle, quite reminiscent to the first-generation Google Chromecast. Besides the dongle, the box also includes the Fire TV voice remote, USB cable (for power), power adapter, two AAA batteries and an HDMI extender cable. ALSO READ: Airtel Internet TV will make your TV smarter, but should you upgrade right away?

Amazon Fire TV stick 1

In terms of dimensions, the dongle measures 85.9 mm x 30.0 mm x 12.6 mm and weighs 32g. The device runs on Amazon s proprietary Fire OS, which is based on Android. It is powered by a 1.3GHz MediaTek quad-core SoC along with 1GB of RAM. The device comes with 8GB of on-board storage.

For connectivity, the Fire TV stick supports Bluetooth 4.1 and Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi supporting 2×2 MIMO 802.11a/b/g/n/ac. The dongle supports up to 1080p at 60fps output resolution. It also supports Dolby Audio, 5.1 surround sound, two-channel stereo, and HDMI audio pass-through up to 7.1, which is impressive for a Rs 3,999 device.

How to set up

Setting up the Amazon Fire TV stick is fairly easy and very similar to the setup process on the Google Chromecast. To get started, you need to have a TV with at least HD resolution, and a Wi-Fi connection, with speed recommended at over 4MBPS for easy streaming. Now, plug the dongle into the HDMI port of your TV. Just like the Chromecast, the Fire TV Stick needs an active power connection, so you need to connect the one end of the USB cable to the Fire TV stick and the other to either the power adapter or a spare USB socket on the TV itself. ALSO READ: Google Chromecast Audio, new Chromecast: Hands-on and first impressions

After having switched on the device and set it to the correct input on your TV, you need to follow the instructions on the screen to connect to the local Wi-Fi network. After that the home screen will ask you to enter your Amazon Prime credentials. If you are already a member, you can input your data whereas new users can sign up from the screen as well. In the meantime, insert the batteries into the remote, and get started with the navigation.

The remote comes with a joystick-like pad allowing you to navigate from one corner to another. The main highlight of the remote is the voice support. To give a command, you need to press the voice button on the remote and speak. ALSO READ: How to setup Amazon Fire TV stick

Experience: UI, apps, navigation and more

Once you have setup the device and logged in, a wide range of content in tile format is spread out on the home screen. While Amazon gives its own platform priority on screen, it also does not shy away from touting the catalog of apps it offers. The Amazon Fire TV stick comes with support for more than 3,000 apps. However, the main focus is on the likes of Netflix, YouTube, Gaana and Airtel Movies, among others. There are also some games that can be played with the remote, including Flappy Bird.

Considering the large number of apps available, Amazon has done a fine job at taking the minimalist approach to the UI. It s pretty and neat, and more importantly quite easy to get started with. Shuffling from one app to another can be done with absolute ease. And there s a screensaver mode that gets activated when on standby. The mode shows you some stunning photos curated by Amazon, though this reminds me a lot of Google Chromecast s wallpapers and is indeed inspired heavily by Google. That said, these beautiful wallpapers fully utilize the high-definition display on your TV.

Amazon Fire TV stick lead image

While I am fairly impressed with the neat UI, the performance of the stick in general stands out. Apps load very quickly with nonexistent lag. Another great thing about the Fire TV stick is smooth playback. For an example, I have a 16Mbps Airtel connection but usually have an erratic experience when I am browsing or streaming content on my phone. The Fire TV stick, however, delivers an almost buffer-free experience – something that kept me hooked on to the device.

During my first impressions of the device, I had expressed my apprehensions on the dismal 8GB of storage. Turns out, I didn’t need more than that, with about five or six apps that I regularly used, including Hotstar, YouTube, Netflix, Flappy Bird, and some news services. There are a lot more apps out there, which seem pretty interesting as well, but a streaming device is unlikely to need more than basic streaming apps and services.

Although I had a bit of trouble with Hotstar, Netflix and the other apps I used worked smoothly on the device. YouTube too works fluidly, but since it requires you to manually search for new content, using the remote to enter text is cumbersome. Predictive searches do help, but it’s still not the best experience.

Amazon Fire TV stick 3

The experience with the remote has been pretty unique. Apart from looking good, it also fits really well in your palm and gets you going with absolutely no hassle. The voice command support works pretty well and surprisingly even understands the Indian accent without much trouble. It also gets Indian language inputs accurately, understanding Hindi movie names with ease.

That being said, the Amazon Fire TV stick is not without its flaws and imperfections. One of the biggest issues is the lack of universal search. At the moment, the Fire TV stick shows suggestions from Amazon Prime Video only, but it would have been much better if I could just simply search for content in one place rather than opening each app and searching individually.

Also, I d have preferred a volume control and a switch-off button on the remote, both of which are non-existent. Additionally, high-resolution support for up to 4K or HDR content could have helped the Amazon Fire TV Stick really stand out. However, the price point and merits of the device do help in my overlooking these shortcomings.

Verdict

I think it s unfair to compare the Amazon Fire TV stick to the Google Chromecast. Even though both the devices stream content, they are very different when it comes to the purpose. The Fire TV stick is more of a media player at a competitively low cost, whereas the Google Chromecast is more of a screen-mirroring device. I have been a loyal to the Google Chromecast for a long time, and with the likes of Netflix and Hotstar adding support for it, I have never needed a separate media player and have been able to leverage the capability of my smartphone effectively.

After having used Amazon Fire TV stick for roughly a month, I hardly ever felt the need to use the Chromecast. The sheer fluidity of the performance and the interface of the Fire TV stick is impressive. Of course, it s not a high-end media player like the Apple TV, but does a very good job at satiating your binge-watching thirsts. To be honest, I have started to watch content on TV more often now than before. If you are looking for a new media player at a very tight budget, I will recommend you buy the Amazon Fire TV Stick. Moreover, the bundled offers such as free 100GB high-speed data from Airtel broadband or Airtel 4G Home Wi-Fi sweeten the deal.

For the latest tech news across the world, latest PC and Mobile games, tips & tricks, top-notch gadget reviews of most exciting releases follow BGR India’s Facebook, Twitter, subscribe our YouTube Channel. Also follow us on  Facebook Messenger for latest updates.
  • Published Date: May 30, 2017 7:00 AM IST
  • Updated Date: May 30, 2017 7:45 AM IST



new arrivals in india

Realme 8i
Realme 8i

13,999

Realme 8s 5G
Realme 8s 5G

17,999

Xiaomi Redmi 10 Prime
Xiaomi Redmi 10 Prime

12,499

Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G

35,999

Samsung Galaxy M32 5G
Samsung Galaxy M32 5G

20,999

Vivo Y33s
Vivo Y33s

17,990

Realme C21Y
Realme C21Y

8,999

Vivo Y21
Vivo Y21

15,490

Realme GT Master Edition
Realme GT Master Edition

25,999

Realme GT 5G
Realme GT 5G

37,999

Itel A48
Itel A48

6,399

Motorola Edge 20
Motorola Edge 20

29,999

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion
Motorola Edge 20 Fusion

21,499

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

84,999

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

1,49,999

Samsung Galaxy A12 (Exynos)
Samsung Galaxy A12 (Exynos)

13,999

Nokia C20 Plus
Nokia C20 Plus

8,999

Vivo Y53s
Vivo Y53s

19,490

Tecno Pova 2
Tecno Pova 2

10,999

Infinix Smart 5A
Infinix Smart 5A

6,499

Micromax In 2b
Micromax In 2b

8,999

Vivo Y72 5G
Vivo Y72 5G

20,990

Tecno Camon 17
Tecno Camon 17

12,999

Tecno Camon 17 Pro
Tecno Camon 17 Pro

16,999

Realme C11 2021
Realme C11 2021

6,999

Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G
Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G

39,990

Oppo Reno6 5G
Oppo Reno6 5G

29,990

Samsung Galaxy M21 2021
Samsung Galaxy M21 2021

12,499

OnePlus Nord 2
OnePlus Nord 2

27,999

Poco F3 GT
Poco F3 GT

27,999

Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
Samsung Galaxy A22 5G

19,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10T 5G
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10T 5G

13,999

Samsung Galaxy F22
Samsung Galaxy F22

12,499

Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite

21,999

Infinix Note 10 Pro
Infinix Note 10 Pro

16,999

Infinix Note 10
Infinix Note 10

10,999

Vivo Y73
Vivo Y73

20,990

OnePlus Nord CE 5G
OnePlus Nord CE 5G

22,999

iQOO Z3
iQOO Z3

19,990

Realme C25s
Realme C25s

9,999

Poco M3 Pro 5G
Poco M3 Pro 5G

13,999

Realme X7 Max 5G
Realme X7 Max 5G

26,999

Oppo F19
Oppo F19

18,990

Motorola Moto G40 Fusion
Motorola Moto G40 Fusion

13,999

POCO M2 Reloaded
POCO M2 Reloaded

9,499

OPPO A74 5G
OPPO A74 5G

17,990

Oppo A53s 5G
Oppo A53s 5G

14,990

Vivo V21 5G
Vivo V21 5G

29,990

Realme C25
Realme C25

9,499

Realme C21
Realme C21

7,999

Realme C20
Realme C20

6,799

Motorola Moto G60
Motorola Moto G60

17,999

iQOO 7
iQOO 7

31,990

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G
Samsung Galaxy M42 5G

21,999

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

69,999

Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro 5G
Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro 5G

39,999

Xiaomi Mi 11X
Xiaomi Mi 11X

29,999

Realme 8 5G
Realme 8 5G

13,999

Samsung Galaxy F02s
Samsung Galaxy F02s

8,999

Samsung Galaxy F12
Samsung Galaxy F12

10,999

POCO X3 Pro
POCO X3 Pro

18,999

Realme 8 Pro
Realme 8 Pro

17,999

Realme 8
Realme 8

14,999

Vivo X60 Pro Plus
Vivo X60 Pro Plus

69,990

Vivo X60 Pro
Vivo X60 Pro

49,990

Vivo X60
Vivo X60

37,990

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G
OnePlus 9 Pro 5G

64,999

OnePlus 9R 5G
OnePlus 9R 5G

39,999

OnePlus 9 5G
OnePlus 9 5G

49,999

Samsung Galaxy A72
Samsung Galaxy A72

34,999

Samsung Galaxy A52
Samsung Galaxy A52

26,499

Micromax In 1
Micromax In 1

10,499

Asus ROG Phone 5
Asus ROG Phone 5

49,999

Samsung Galaxy M12
Samsung Galaxy M12

10,999

Motorola Moto G30
Motorola Moto G30

10,999

Motorola Moto G10 Power
Motorola Moto G10 Power

9,999

Oppo F19 Pro Plus 5G
Oppo F19 Pro Plus 5G

25,990

Oppo F19 Pro
Oppo F19 Pro

21,490

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max

18,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro

15,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10

11,999

Realme Narzo 30A
Realme Narzo 30A

8,999

Realme Narzo 30 Pro
Realme Narzo 30 Pro

16,999

Infinix Smart 5
Infinix Smart 5

7,199

Samsung Galaxy F62
Samsung Galaxy F62

23,999

Samsung Galaxy A12
Samsung Galaxy A12

12,999

Nokia 5.4
Nokia 5.4

13,999

Nokia 3.4
Nokia 3.4

11,999

Realme X7 Pro 5G
Realme X7 Pro 5G

29,999

Realme X7
Realme X7

19,999

Vivo Y31
Vivo Y31

16,490

Oppo Reno5 Pro 5G
Oppo Reno5 Pro 5G

35,990

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G

1,05,999

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus 5G

81,999

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G

69,999

Vivo Y12s
Vivo Y12s

9,990

Vivo Y51A
Vivo Y51A

17,990

Samsung Galaxy M02s
Samsung Galaxy M02s

8,999

Xiaomi Mi 10i
Xiaomi Mi 10i

21,999

Oppo A15s
Oppo A15s

11,490

Best Sellers