Amazon calls it the fastest and most powerful Fire TV ever.
That was quick, or was it? Hours after Apple announced the second gen Apple TV 4K including India pricing and availability, Amazon has silently dropped the Fire TV Cube. In the press release (and on Amazon India where it is now listed) Amazon calls it the second gen Fire TV Cube, which is right, but what it does not tell you is that the product was first launched in 2019 so, it is arriving in India nearly two years after global debut. The first gen Fire TV Cube was never launched in India.
Expectedly, Amazon is undercutting Apple in pricing. The Fire TV Cube costs Rs 12,999 in India and bundles a bunch of accessories including an Ethernet adapter, Alexa voice remote (third gen), and IR extender cable but no HDMI cable (for some curious reason). Amazon said it will give you one at no extra cost along with the device as an introductory offer. It is available for grabs starting today from Amazon India website and select Croma and Reliance outlets. The Apple TV 4K starts at Rs 18,990 for a model with 32GB storage (Rs 20,990 for 64GB) and will be available in the second half of May with pre-orders beginning April 30.
So, what is the Fire TV Cube? It is basically three devices in one: a streaming media player, Alexa smart speaker, and universal remote to control other devices. It has a 6-core MediaTek processor paired with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage and runs the new Fire TV UI right off the gate. Amazon calls it the fastest and most powerful Fire TV ever. It is also its most expensive Fire TV ever.
Coming back to functionality, it can stream 4K, 1080p and 720p content up to 60 frames per second (fps). It supports popular HDR codecs including Dolby Vision (this was in fact one of the headlining features of the product at launch since the first gen model did not support it) and it can do Dolby Atmos as well. That said, the Apple TV 4K’s faster A12 Bionic processor allows it to support high frame rate HDR video and 60fps Dolby Vision playback over AirPlay – this is its main selling point.
The Fire TV Cube however makes strong comeback with far-field voice control using eight microphones and the ability to control IR-enabled devices including TVs, sound bars, cable and satellite boxes.
Though it is late to the party, the Fire TV Cube is worth your attention especially when you’re also looking at the Apple TV 4K. While it may not be as fast, the Fire TV Cube goes neck and neck with Apple TV 4K on almost every feature ground in a package that’s also more affordable. There is also the Alexa skills edge and broader ecosystem support to consider. Watch this space for our full review of the Fire TV Cube and Apple TV 4K in the days to come.