Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite review: Why budget can be best

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(Pocket-lint) - Fire TV Stick devices are large additions to TVs that are either not astute astatine all, oregon TVs with comparatively dilatory oregon restrictive built-in apps. While latter-day astute TV operating systems person galore of the capabilities baked in, fewer tin vie with the Fire TV's broad and varied streaming app enactment and Alexa control.

The Fire TV Stick Lite is Amazon's affordable streaming stick, but however does it comparison to others successful the range? Well, it's precise akin to the modular Fire TV Stick (3rd generation), arsenic some beryllium arsenic Full HD-capable devices. Want 4K resolution? You'll request the Fire TV Stick 4K. On balance, then, is the Lite the 1 to get?

Comparing the Sticks

  • Compatible with HD TVs with HDMI susceptible of 1080p oregon 720p astatine 60/50Hz
  • Lite's distant doesn't diagnostic TV on/off oregon measurement buttons
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 support

Crucially, the Fire TV Stick Lite differs lone from the modular Fire TV Stick (3rd generation) successful 1 respect – the distant with the non-Lite mentation of the instrumentality features controls that alteration you to alteration however your TV behaves utilizing the measurement up/down and powerfulness buttons. That's not truthful overmuch of a occupation if you're blessed to usage the TV's ain distant for that stuff. 

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So wherefore person 2 versions? Well, the Fire TV Stick Lite has intelligibly been introduced due to the fact that of inexpensive Full HD sticks from the likes of Roku with its Roku Express arsenic good arsenic Google's Chromecast.

Even successful specified a crowded market, Amazon having 3 sticks astatine antithetic terms points is intelligibly what the marketplace demands. 

As with its Echo range, Amazon has shown it isn't acrophobic to redefine its products oregon wholly teardrop things up if required (the fourth-gen Echo wholly switched the design, for example). Even comparatively caller products rapidly vanish from the scope should income not beryllium moving successful the close direction.

As such, we reckon that Amazon volition yet instrumentality to offering a azygous Full HD instrumentality arsenic much radical determination towards 4K. 

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The Fire TV Stick Lite is superbly priced – we've besides seen $10/£10 reductions during Amazon merchantability times – which makes it a no-brainer successful presumption of the determination to purchase. 

Features and performance

  • Dimensions: 86 x 30 x 13 mm / Weight: 32g
  • Processor: Quad-core 1.7 GHz IMG GE8300
  • HDR support: HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG; H.265, H.264, Vp9
  • Audio: Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital+ via HDMI audio passthrough 

The boon of streaming sticks is that they enactment retired of sight, plugged straight into the backmost of an HDMI larboard connected your TV (as with different Amazon Fire TV devices there's an HDMI extender should you not beryllium capable to plug the instrumentality successful directly). They don't necessitate each the plugs and paraphernalia a set-top container comes with.

While plugging the Fire TV Lite into the mains is recommended, it's imaginable to powerfulness it via the USB larboard connected your TV to further trim cablegram wide (this won't enactment for each tellies, though). 

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The distant is reasonably afloat featured for controlling the Fire TV interface itself, with entree to immoderate unrecorded TV, location and backmost buttons, an easy-to-use directional and prime control, and truly elemental rewind and guardant buttons. On Prime Video particularly these travel into their own, with one-touch skipping backmost and guardant by 10 seconds each. 

Despite its characterisation by Amazon arsenic a 'lite' streamer, there's not a batch that's an inferior acquisition here. HDR is supported alongside 60fps Full HD and if you're not fussed astir 4K oregon those other distant buttons past it'll suit you conscionable fine, convey you precise much. 

Like the different existent Fire TV devices, the Fire TV Stick features enactment for Dolby Atmos audio and Dolby Digital Plus – some via HDMI passthrough only.

Alexa, Fire TV interface and apps

  • Full Alexa enactment with Alexa Voice remote
  • All the large streaming services supported
  • Redesigned Fire TV interface

This instrumentality has afloat entree to each of the Fire TV apps arsenic good arsenic Alexa's capabilities – though you request to clasp down the dependable fastener connected the distant to talk to Alexa retired of the box.

Just arsenic with Alexa connected different devices, it works truly good and erroneous commands are comparatively rare; you tin easy usage it to unfastened an app, hunt done shows by histrion oregon director, find retired what the upwind is similar time oregon power connected your Alexa-enabled astute location device.

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You tin hunt crossed aggregate services and, portion it doesn't enactment with a immense magnitude of apps, it does with Netflix (in summation to Amazon Prime Video, but of course). 

Although you request to clasp the dependable fastener connected the distant to talk to Alexa, you tin usage it hands-free by pairing it with an Echo astute speaker. 

The apps disposable see Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+, YouTube (finally backmost aft a hiatus), and Disney+, truthful you won't beryllium wanting for immoderate streaming services.

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There's besides enactment for HBO Max and Hulu successful the US; and BBC iPlayer, ITV, All 4 and My5 successful the UK - among others including BT Sport, Sky News, Now (finally supported connected Fire TV aft a agelong wait). 

Music apps are besides supported specified arsenic Amazon Music, Apple Music and Spotify – indeed, there's a full room of apps to browse through.

Fire TV is besides progressively being utilized arsenic a level for unrecorded TV and unrecorded athletics – you tin subscribe to assorted services and different channels specified arsenic Eurosport, Starz oregon Showtime (all of these incur other subscription fees though).

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The Fire TV interface – seen connected expanding numbers of TVs arsenic good arsenic Amazon's ain devices – has been thing of a cluttered acquisition and Amazon knows it due to the fact that it's been redesigned.

The update makes it easier for you to observe caller worldly you'll similar and browse for contented (like Amazon's burgeoning unrecorded athletics offerings), portion the location surface is simply a small easier connected the eye. Pinned apps volition besides beryllium shown successful the navigation bar. 

There are circumstantial areas for unrecorded contented positive a class hunt if you don't privation to usage Alexa oregon walk a batch of clip sportfishing done content. 

While the apical furniture of the caller interface works overmuch better, scrolling down inactive reveals the older-style rows of content. Browsing what's disposable determination is inactive a spot of a lottery and it's inactive precise messy. Trying to browse for thing to ticker tin sometimes consciousness similar a never-ending quest. The solution, of course, is to usage Alexa to find what you want. 

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The caller Fire TV update besides introduced idiosyncratic profiles and, since Alexa tin recognise idiosyncratic voices, you tin conscionable inquire the adjunct to power to your profile. Profiles really enactment beauteous good successful personalising your experience. If you've utilized them on, say, Netflix, you'll cognize however utile they tin be, particularly if you person kids who request to spot a antithetic experience. 

Verdict

The Fire TV Stick Lite is simply a no-brainer if you privation to bargain into the Fire TV ecosystem and you privation conscionable a 1080p Full HD solution. It's good priced, accelerated and highly capable. 

If you privation a 4K-capable instrumentality past you request to cheque retired the Amazon Fire Stick 4K, Chromecast Ultra, Roku Premiere oregon Apple TV 4K

Whether oregon not you request the 'non-Lite' mentation is wholly up to you – due to the fact that it depends connected whether you request the TV controls connected your Amazon remote. That's the lone existent quality betwixt them.

Either mode you look astatine it, though, the Fire TV Stick Lite is simply a large and affordable introduction constituent into streaming, whether you request to bolster an existing TV oregon conscionable don't get connected with its existent astute setup.

Also consider

Google Chromecast (3rd gen)

The reliable Chromecast is simply a large enactment if you privation to formed from your mobile instrumentality alternatively than utilizing a abstracted distant to play worldly straight from the stick. It works with some iOS and Android.

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Apple

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Apple TV HD

If you're surviving successful an Apple satellite and privation to usage AirPlay with your macOS/iPadOS oregon iOS devices, this is the streamer for you. The downside is that it comes with an Apple premium terms – which volition beryllium excessively overmuch to tummy for many. 

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Roku Express

Sitting astatine the fund extremity of Roku's range, the Express was redesigned successful 2019 yet remains resolutely Full HD. At specified a debased price, it's a precise superior alternate to the Fire TV Lite and is truly elemental to setup and use. 

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Writing by Dan Grabham. Editing by Mike Lowe. Originally published connected 2 August 2021.

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