Review Amazon Fire TV Stick : Lite vs. Regular and More!

hey everybody it’s lon seidman and we’re taking a look today at the brand new fire tv stick from amazon and in fact there’s not one but two new sticks and we’ll talk about the differences between these two low-cost tv streaming devices in just a second but i do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that i paid for this with my own funds all of the opinions you’re about to hear are my own no one is paying for this review nor has anyone reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what this new fire tv stick is all about now the price point on this one starts at 29 for the light edition the regular one here costs 39 what’s important to note on both the light and the regular fire tv stick is that these are 1080p devices only so they will work on 4k tvs and in fact you can get some hdr color functionality out of these as well but if you have a 4k television i would recommend going to the 4k stick and the reason is is that the 4k stick can support the full resolution of your tv and it also works with dolby vision hdr which this one does not support so this is probably better suited for an older set running at 1080p or 720p the big difference is that they bumped up the performance on this one a bit so it now performs at the same level as the 4k version but it doesn’t play back 4k video and that might be something that is important to some of you out there so again if you got the fancier set go with the notch above this one it’s not too much more money now from a hardware perspective both the stick and the stick light are the same so both have a usb input here for power but this will also support external usb devices and we’re going to do an advanced review of this to cover some of the fancy things you can do with this port in an upcoming video and that’s pretty cool but for most folks you’re just going to plug power in here and you’ll be good to go they include a nice long power cable just a usb cable and a usb adapter here a lot of folks can just plug the usb cable directly into their television to power this device it doesn’t use all that much power but if you need to they do give you a plug in the box and of course this can plug

directly into your television with the hdmi connector here on the front if for some reason you can’t get this to fit behind your tv sometimes they’re up against the wall they do give you a nice little extension cable here in the box that is very flexible so you could most likely get this thing to fit no matter what your circumstances are and it’s nice that they included this and it feels like a pretty high quality extension cable too which is good to see now the remote control is where the first differences are between the light edition and the regular fire tv stick so we bought the regular stick here and as you can see we have tv controls volume up and down and a mute button you will not get these controls on the light version of the stick you can’t control your tv with the light but both have a voice search button here that is tied in with amazon’s alexa ecosystem so you can issue voice commands to your fire tv and use it like any other amazon voice device and we’ll demo that in a minute and again both the light and the regular one get the voice controls but only the regular one has control of the tv let’s plug this thing in now and i’ll show you some more differences between the light and the regular and then we’ll get into seeing how this performs all right so we are all booted up now and i want to actually start on the settings screen here because this is really the primary difference between the light and the regular at least as far as what most things people might be concerned about and that involves equipment control and one of the cool things that you can do with an amazon device like this one is control your tv and all the stuff plugged into it with simple voice commands so for example if i wanted to have my xbox load up i could just save the command into the remote here and what it will do is power on the tv it’ll switch my av receiver to the right input and my xbox will magically appear on screen and if you struggle with having too many remotes in your house it might be real easy here to go up to your amazon fire remote and say load up the cable tv box and it will just take care of everything and the remote that comes with the regular edition has the ability to send infrared commands beyond just hdmi commands so if you have some device that doesn’t respond to an hdmi cec request the remote here will send it out via infrared and that’s the big difference here between the two so that’s one area another area where this one is a little different the regular one is that it has the ability to decode audio on board whereas the other one just passes it through so if you have a tv that doesn’t support a specific surround sound mode the regular

edition will decode that audio and convert it into something your tv can play whereas the light lacks that decoding capability so if those two things are not important to you save the money and go with the light because otherwise these devices will look and perform the same but again the big difference here is the remote and the audio decoding capabilities so let’s take a look now at the interface on the fire tv and some of the things that you can find on there now remember this is an amazon device so you’re going to be seeing amazon content and services marketed quite a bit to you that’s why these things are so inexpensive they are a gateway to amazon’s ecosystem where they hope you’ll spend more money so of course we’re getting some marketing right now for the boys which is a prime video service and if you have a prime account with amazon you get all the prime video content as part of the deal and it’s actually a pretty good service you’re also going to see advertising occasionally peppered in throughout the interface as well it’s not showing me an ad right now but a few minutes ago there was an ad for gatorade here right below uh the my apps and channels section as i was browsing through now most but not all of the major streaming providers will have apps available on the fire tv so you can see here i’ve got disney plus prime video of course netflix apple tv youtube is supported now with an official app which wasn’t the case in the past and if you are looking for something specific i found the easiest way to find additional apps is to use voice commands as opposed to trying to browse through their store so if i wanted to get hulu installed for example i could just push and hold the microphone button and say hulu and what will happen here is it will execute a voice search and there you go apps and games and hulu is front and center i can jump in there and then go in and install it you can browse around the interface to get there but i found it’s easier just to ask for it and you’ll usually get there with it now while it does have a lot of support for a lot of different applications it does not at the moment appear to support hbo max i believe there is some kind of dispute going on between amazon and hbo over the new service so you can get some of the hbo services through subscribing via amazon but hbo max is an app is not yet available on the fire tv stick just yet but i’m sure we’ll see it at some point in the future once they settle their differences and that’s one of the issues you run into when a company that makes a box also has a competing streaming service there’s going to be a lot of back and forth with this sort of stuff and unfortunately what i found in my own usage is that i have to have multiple devices to watch all the things that i’m subscribed to and that’s just the reality unfortunately of living in 2020.

But i did find performance on the new stick here to be very good on par with the fire tv stick 4k they have similar processors built in this one has a mediatek mt8695d and as you can see youtube here is pretty snappy and responsive as we’re browsing around through different things i found that other apps like netflix also were very quick to bring content up so there really wasn’t much waiting going on these support ac wireless networks so if you have faster wi-fi it will work with that it has a gigabyte of ram which means you will be seeing things having to load up from scratch quite frequently because it doesn’t have a lot of memory for multitasking and it has eight gigabytes of storage which will of course fill up quickly if you’re putting apps on beyond just the streaming stuff but there are ways to use external storage with this which we’ll explore in a future video but all in

performance here was pretty good and it was nice to see now netflix working with atmos audio on one of these low end devices too in fact the atmos will work on either the light or the regular stick with compatible hardware now i know a lot of you follow me for my coverage of the plex media server and in full disclosure they are a sponsor here on the channel i tested out the live tv feature earlier that worked fine it was de-interlacing channels properly which is something the older iterations of the fire tv stick did not do well however it doesn’t do so great for higher end home theater tasks but it is better than prior iterations there too so we did run a blu-ray mkv here this is a 24p movie of course it is now properly switching the tv into 24p mode but the lossless audio is not being passed through even with that setting turned on so we did not get dts hd or dolby atmos but it is a better plex experience than prior versions of the stick were now if you don’t want to pay anything for content you can find a bunch of free stuff to watch and they actually have a free section here that you can easily get to it all from so of course you’re going to be presented first with imdb tv that is amazon’s free tv offering but they also have 2b and pluto tv in addition to pbs and pbs kids and a lot of other stuff as well that you can find by digging through some of the app store offerings you can also go directly to specific pieces of content here and this stuff will change all the time as they update their library typically with the free offerings these are advertiser supported so you will have interruptions for ad breaks as you’re watching like you

would on traditional broadcast television and you usually can’t skip those ads but if you don’t want to pay anything beyond the cost of entry for the hardware you do have that option here they also have some live stuff now this will integrate a few paid live services like sling youtube tv philo and others they also have free integrations here with pluto tv and this integrates directly with the amazon fire tv interface so for example i can scroll down here to a channel guide and have a lot of the pluto tv offerings provided natively through the amazon interface and if i had youtube tv on here as well it would integrate all of that into a single place and who’s available through this interface will vary based on the deals that they’ve made but there is the ability to watch live tv if you are a subscriber to one of these services and amazon also sells a tv tuner that will get free tv over the air that integrates over the network to your fire tv now as i mentioned this does support voice commands that works over amazon’s ecosystem so if you have an amazon echo device or any other amazon voice control thing in your house this will integrate along with the rest of it so we can start with the basics here by asking about the weather show me the weather in new york city today and what will happen here is it will go out and issue that command and bring back not only an audio response but a visual one i can also do stuff like find content so i could say find me star trek the next generation and this will work like a universal search and it will go out to a

few different services and show me where i can find star trek the next generation for example and the voice searching is very useful amazon is very good at this kind of stuff so you can very easily find what you’re looking for but again it’s always going to favor the content on amazon services as opposed to other ones so if i wanted to find star trek beyond just amazon prime i have to go here to more ways to watch and then it will show me which other services have it available and these are the ones that are currently listed so it won’t be everything it’s only who made a deal with amazon to get on the search here but you can find stuff if you’re looking for it just by issuing a simple voice command and because this is integrated with my iot devices i can also for example take a look at my cameras around the house so i could say show me the garage camera and what will happen here is it will go out to the garage camera it’s a wise camera that i set up earlier and it can show me what’s going on in my driveway here these cameras do take a little bit of time to come up but generally they come up pretty quickly here and we’ve got a live view now of what’s going on outside i’ve always found that to be really useful and then you also have the ability to control light switches and stuff too so for example i’ve got my studio lights here set up on one of these smart plugs and i could say turn off the studio lights [Music] and off they go so pretty cool stuff and it’s

integrated along with the rest of your amazon echo devices now if you were looking at a fire tv and also maybe considering a low priced roku one of the big differentiators on the fire tv platform is that it’s running android as its base operating system and as a result it can do more than just run tv streaming apps it can also do things like play games and this controller actually costs more than the device it is currently paired up with but we’re connected via bluetooth right now we are playing the fire tv version of shovel knight which is essentially an android game and as you can see here it runs great for a really low price device you’re not going to be running you know grand theft auto 5 or any recent aaa video game titles here directly but for casual gaming it’s not bad there’s a bunch of games on the fire tv app store that you can install many of them support game controllers like mine does here you can also sideload android apps on it as well which we’ll cover in an upcoming video so there’s a lot of stuff that you can do here that go beyond the basics and gaming is one of them and on the 3dmark slingshot benchmark test we got a score of 502 and that puts this one pretty much in line with the fire tv stick 4k in so far as cpu and gpu performance is concerned if you are looking at this as a emulation device to run old game consoles it should be able to handle most of the 8 and 16 bit games just fine you might be able to do a little bit of n64 and ps1 on it but your mileage will vary there it’s not a terribly powerful device but it’s certainly really good for its price point and we’ll explore emulation in that upcoming advanced video that we’re working on so stay tuned for that i do want to note though that if you look back on the chart the nvidia shield tv is still the most powerful box on the market and has been for some time so if you really want something to deliver raw graphical and cpu performance

that one is still the one to go with but for its price this is a very nicely performing little tv stick now you can also stream games to your fire tv stick and a little bit earlier we streamed the game from my gaming laptop over the local network here to the fire tv stick using the rainway app and that worked just fine with the game controller we were playing around with a few minutes ago moonlight is also available on the amazon app store which is another way to do local game streaming and we’re also starting to see more streaming game services emerging as well none of them appear to be available through the app store officially at the moment but amazon is in the process of launching their own service called luna that will allow you to boot up games in their cloud and play them over the internet on your fire tv stick with a controller so we’re going to see a lot more of that emerging and this device should be able to handle that in the upcoming video with more advanced features we’ll look at side loading some game streaming services that run on android to see how they do here that’ll be coming up in the near future so overall this is a tremendous value for a tv streaming device and if you don’t need the audio processing features or the device control functionality then this is an even better deal because the light version is all you need it performs exactly the same in either the light or the regular configurations otherwise so games and some other things you might want to run on these will give you the same performance and altogether just a good deal here and definitely something worth picking up if for nothing else just to tinker with always fun again if you have a 4k tv i think the 4k stick is better but if you don’t this is a great value and definitely worth picking up that’s going to do it for now until next time this is lon simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by supporters including gold level supporters tom albrecht chris allegretta mike patterson and bill pomerantz if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to lawn dot tv support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

Read More: Full Review! Chromecast with Google TV

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *