The latest Fire TV Stick impresses with its strong app offering, new user interface and good overall performance
First introduced in 2017, Amazon Fire TV Stick (streaming media player) has become a must-have accessory for people to indulge in their choice of entertainment— TV shows, music, movies, originals from popular content providers (Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, etc.,), fitness, gaming, sports and much more. With Alexa, voice has quickly become the simplest way to find and watch your favourite content; the best part is with Fire TV’s universal search, viewers do not have to switch through multiple apps. Millions of Fire TV devices have been sold in India and company officials say that in 2020, Fire TV saw more than 50 million monthly active users on its devices worldwide.
Cut to present. We are looking at the all-new Fire TV Stick (3rd generation, 2021 release) with an all-new Alexa Voice Remote, available for an alluring Rs 3,499. Now a made-in-India device, it is said to be 50% more powerful than the second generation variant for fast streaming in full HD, includes Alexa Voice Remote with power and volume buttons. At the outset, I was impressed with its promise of less clutter and more control. Let me explain how. The all-new Alexa Voice Remote lets you use your voice to search and launch shows across apps. All-new preset buttons get you to favourite apps quickly. Plus, control power and volume on your TV and soundbar with a single remote. Let’s take a deep-dive into some of the features that make this Amazon device a hot commodity.
The new Fire TV Stick is simple to set up and use. I plugged the Fire TV Stick directly into the Sony TV, you can even use the included HDMI extender. Plug into wall socket, connect to the home internet and you are good to go. The compact design plugs directly into an HDMI port and can tuck neatly behind your TV. You can easily move Fire TV Stick between TVs at home or away so your content travels with you. A piece of advice: Fire TV Stick does not support 4K streaming. If this feature interests you, you can opt for the higher priced Fire TV Stick 4K (Rs 5,999).
The first thing I liked about this Fire TV Stick is that it simplifies streaming with power, volume, and mute buttons in a single remote. Plus, with 50% more power than the previous generation, Fire TV Stick delivers quick app starts and fast streaming in Full HD. This is something you can only experience if you get to try out the new variant.
The second thing is its audio. You can easily feel scenes come to life with immersive Dolby Atmos audio on select titles, including on Prime Video, Disney+ Hotsar and Netflix when connected to compatible soundbars and home audio systems. Dolby Atmos moves sounds all around you— even overhead— immersing you in whatever you’re watching. I checked out some Hollywood blockbusters such as Saving Private Ryan starring Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt’s ferociously gory 2014 tank war movie Fury, that is intense and riveting; watching these dramas on Dolby Atmos is like sitting in the cinema hall with all the intense sound all around you.
Streaming on Fire TV is simple and intuitive. It all starts with the easy-to-use Fire TV home screen. Search across multiple streaming services to find what you want to watch. You can check out tens of thousands of movies and shows from Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, Zee5, SonyLIV, Sun NXT, ALT Balaji, Discovery Plus and many other apps. You can stream live news, sports, and popular shows. Or access tens of thousands of HDR titles. Plus, play numerous songs through services like Amazon Music, Gaana and others. Amazon Prime members get unlimited access to thousands of movies and TV episodes on Prime Video, as well as ad-free listening to millions of songs with Prime Music—no extra apps to download and no cable subscription required.
Back to the Alexa Voice Remote. Basically, this can control the Fire TV Stick and certain functions (such as power and volume) on a wide range of compatible IR-enabled devices, including TVs, soundbars, and A/V receivers. This also contains preset top app buttons. So you press and hold the voice button and ask Alexa to find, launch and control content. Alexa can also switch to cable and control supported smart home devices.
These are pandemic times and we are all working and learning from home. Get this new amazing creation from Amazon and stay home, stay safe and stay entertained. Highly recommended to keep boredom at bay.
Dimensions: 86 x 30 x 13mm, 32g weight
Processor: Quad-core 1.7 GHz
Storage: 8GB internal
Ports: HDMI output, micro-USB for power only
System requirements: HDTV with available HDMI input, Internet connection via Wi-Fi, a power outlet
TV compatibility: HDTVs with HDMI capable of 1080p or 720p at 60/50 Hz
Voice support: Yes, with Alexa Voice Remote (included) or the free Fire TV app
Estimated street price: Rs 3,999