With the Amazon Fire TV Stick the mail order company Amazon brings a compact offshoot of its set-top box Fire TV to the market. We’ve taken a closer look to the Google Chromecast competitor and given him a good try.
Design and Workmanship
The Fire TV stick weighs 25 grams and has sleek roughly the dimensions of a cigarette lighter. It is slightly longer but narrower than Chromecast. The Stick comes in a simple, matte black finish. The Amazon-label is engraved and stands out with a piano black finish from it. The workmanship is impeccable.
- Processor: Dual-core processor
- Memory: 1 gigabyte
- Flash Memory: 8 GB
- WLAN: Dual-band antenna, Standards of 802.11 A/B/G/N
This is in the Box:
- Amazon Fire TV Stick
- power Supply
- USB cable
- HDMI extension
- Quick Reference Guide
Installation and Setup
The installation of the Fire Sticks TV is self-explanatory. First, connect the stick over the HDMI interface with an open slot on the TV or monitor. The power is supplied via the included power adapter, which is connected via the microUSB port with the stick. The power supply via a USB port on the TV is not enough. The initial start-up takes about five minutes to complete and will show you the key features and tips in a video introduction.
To use the TV Fire Sticks a stable Internet connection via Wi-Fi is required. The stick tests your connection quality within the facility. On additional ports like an Ethernet port or an audio output as in the Fire TV box you have to live without on the stick. At the conclusion of the initialization, you will still be asked for your e-mail address of your Amazon account.
You can use the streaming stick even without an existing Prime subscription. Free content however can only be watched via third-party apps. A Prime subscription for 49 Euros per year makes sense because the stick was especially designed for downloading movies, series and documentaries of Prime subscriptions. With the Fire TV Stick you have access to all Prime Instant video content and can, like on PC, rent (chargeable of course) films and series as well.
Operation and Navigation
The user interface is very clear, and the taken mainly from Amazon Fire TV Streaming Box. The clean-designed, clearly structured menus are very convincin. In addition, additional apps can be installed, with which you can go beyond the limitation os Amazon Prime. I for example use as well Netflix. Optionally, the stick can be controlled with the supplied remote or with an app on your smartphone!
With the free Amazon Fire TV Remote app searching is also conveniently via voice input possible. The voice recognition worked well in the test – no matter whether we were looking for movie titles, directors or actors. The smartphone app further simulates the hardware keys on the remote control – it hence easily replaced the remote easily completely. The navigation via smartphone and remote proved throughout the test more than convincing.
The compatible and separately available game controller comes not only as a joystick for many game apps that you can download. The controller can also be used as a remote control for the video content.
Unfortunately we miss the function to stream web content or streams of not supported streaming services on the TV . This works for Chromecast via an appropriate extension for the Chrome browser. This can reflect individual or multiple tabs on the TV.
Another cool add on is X-Ray. With X-Ray both streaming modules obtain a feature that allows some information appears to actors of the scene or to the currently playing music. X-Ray draws on the extensive database IMDB (Internet Movie Database). To be able to retrieve additional information must be paused only within a film or series. Who wants the inserts during playback, press the High button on the remote in the navigation pane. For more extensive information further submenus can be called. Switching off the function is currently not provided.
Performance and Quality
Amazon promises the highest performance HDMI stick on the market. Videos should be capable of rapid start and even start without delays at all caused by the relatively well-equipped hardware and with appropriate link quality. Videos loaded in the test really quickly, but installations of apps and games on the other hand took some time to complete. The performance therefore cannot fully be described as very good.
The sound and picture quality assessed as good to very good. Videos are available if reproduced in HD resolution. The reproductions of pictures and videos on the Amazon cloud in the test functioned properly. For playing elaborate gaming titles you should, however, rely on the Fire TV streaming box that has better hardware equipment.
The Fire TV Stick made by Amazon is a powerful HDMI Streaming stick, which for Prime subscribers provides particularly true added value compared to the competition models. The supplied remote control and the option on the smartphone or a game controller to access, knew to convince. The total package is right. But streaming content directly on the web browser is left to the competition from the house of Google (Chromecast) .