Last updated: Nov 10, 2022
Before making a purchase decision, you have to read the pros and cons of the Fire TV Stick. With so many other options available, you must choose one that fits your needs.
If you are planning to use this tv stick for your monitor and using Bluetooth speaker. You may not able to increase or decrease your speaker sound with the tv remote which is very frustrating. The best tv stick for monitor is Google TV with Chromecast, it works perfectly.
The third-generation Amazon Fire TV stick was launched a couple of years ago to enable older TVs to stream media content like the latest smart TVs. Selling at $24.99 is an expensive streaming device, and you have to consider whether this investment is worth it. Amazon already has the Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Stick Lite, which have similar features. If you have a 4K TV, you should go for the Fire TV Stick 4K, or better yet, Roku Express 4K. The Fire TV Stick Lite costs only $30, offering the same streaming features, but its remote is not as useful as the 3rd gen Fire TV Stick.
Fire TV Stick plugs into an HDMI port on the TV to stream your favorite channels using the WiFi connection. It is loaded with numerous apps to stream both audio and video content. Even though Fire TV Stick is from Amazon, you don't need an Amazon prime account to stream content. You can stream your favorite channels as soon as you plug in the device. It can stream pictures in HD on your television. This is ideal for those with an older TV without smart updates. You can convert your old TV into a smart TV with the Fire TV stick without having to replace it. It is powered by a Mediatek MT8695D processor and runs on Amazon Fire OS 7, and it has 1GB of RAM.
The Amazon Prime video is built into the main interface, so streaming Amazon content is much smoother. The other apps may lag a few seconds, but the streaming is efficient once these apps are opened. The picture quality is as good as for a device that supports 1080P. Of course, we can't expect 4K video quality from an HD-supported device.
The Fire TV Stick remote is an upgrade from the Fire TV Stick lite remote. The 3rd gen Fire TV Stick launched in 2021 has a sleek design for the remote. The overall look is the same as the remote is a black rectangle with rounded corners, just like the other Amazon Fire TV sticks. However, it is different from the Lite version as it has volume control buttons built into the remote. With this remote, you won't need a separate remote control for your TV. Now, using the Fire TV stick remote, you can stream music to your speaker more easily.
The new and shiny blue button invokes Alexa when you want to use voice control for your Amazon Fire TV stick. The remote has four buttons dedicated to Amazon prime video, Hulu, Netflix, and Disney+. You can quickly stream your favorite channels by clicking on the button. Apart from these, the remote has a circular navigation pad and playback controls. The dedicated service buttons are a sleek new addition to the Fire TV stick, making it on par with the Roku 4K remote.
The home screen is the Fire TV interface that lets you choose your favorite show to stream. Compared to the previous simple menus, the layout is cluttered as so much information is crammed into the interface. The interface favors choosing Amazon prime content, but with some scrolling, you can stream any channel you want.
If you are used to the Roku's sleek interface, you will not be happy with the Fire TV Stick home screen design. We feel that the interface stuttered when trying to open many apps. However, once the apps are opened, streaming has no issues. If you like browsing the home screen looking for something interesting to watch, you may like the interface with too many options. Opening multiple apps may lead to crashing frequently. We can't expect more from a budget-friendly streaming device designed solely to help old TV owners add some smart capability to their existing television sets.
You can stream popular channels like Netflix, Hotstar, Disney+, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV app, HBO, Max, Peacock, and many more. Using the Fire TV Stick, you can easily output Dolby Atmos audio to your soundbar. This feature was not available in the older version or the Lite version. The dedicated buttons on the remote allow you to open the corresponding channels immediately. These popular channels are also on the home page, so it's easy to find them without the buttons.
You can also stream games on the streaming device with Amazon Luna. However, you will need a Luna controller for some serious gameplay.
The Fire TV Stick falls short when mirroring screens from other devices. You can use MiraCast or WiDi to stream from a mobile device or PC. With Roku, there is Apple AirPlay, and with Chromecast, there is Google Cast, which makes sharing media from mobile devices easy. However, such features are not available with the Fire TV Stick, mainly because it is not designed for that purpose. The new processor results in updated hardware with the Fire TV Stick 2021 edition compared to the Fire TV Stick of 2020. Aside from that, there is no reason for you to purchase the 2021 Fire TV Stick if you already have the 2020 version.
The installation of the Fire TV Stick is straightforward. All you need to do is plug in the stick to the HDMI port of your television and keep the WiFi connection on. If the location of your TV doesn't support inserting the device directly into the HDMI port, you can use the HDMI extension cable that comes along with the product. It also supports 10/100 Mbps Ethernet, but you need to purchase a separate adaptor from Amazon to use the device with an Ethernet cable. We guess it also works with android adapters with power pass-through, but it depends on your version of the adapter.
The device comes with a micro USB power cable that you can use along with the wall outlet to charge Fire TV Stick. You can set it using your television, but we don't recommend it. Many users have reported that the streaming doesn't work well when the TV powers the device.
Apart from connecting to the Dolby speakers through the remote of the Fire TV Stick, you can also click on headphones if you want to listen to your content privately. This is one of the high-end features surprisingly found in a budget streaming device. Every media service has a Fire TV app, so you should be able to stream any channel you want.
The Fire TV interface is designed for Amazon content. You will receive too many Amazon prime video recommendations on all tabs. Android TV streaming devices allow each app to display its content, but during our review, such a feature was unavailable on the Fire interface. Netflix, YouTube, etc., don't work well with the Fire TV home screen. You can still stream these apps, but you must navigate the cumbersome interface to get to your favorite streaming channel apart from Amazon Prime video.
One of the biggest problems is the intrusive ads that come with the Fire TV interface. Most of these advertisements are related to Amazon content. Sponsored titles and giant banners ruin the experience for us. Roku and Google TV streaming devices show ads too, but they are not right on your face like the ads on the Fire TV interface.
Alexa commands work surprisingly well because the 2020 model was a letdown in that aspect. There are no significant delays when trying to open apps, and the new hardware update makes the streaming experience hassle-free.
If you have an older HD TV and no intention of upgrading it anytime soon, Amazon Fire TV Stick is a better option with TV controls embedded into the remote. You can get the same features for your older TV with Fire TV Stick Lite, which is $10 cheaper, but it doesn't have TV controls. If you have a 4K TV, then there is no reason for you to be stuck up with Amazon Fire TV Stick. You should go for Roku 4K or at least Amazon Fire TV 4K stick in that case. Spending a little extra on the 4K experience will be worth it. We hope this might help you in taking the right decision.