The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K was released about two years ago, and it’s still a very capable device for the price, thanks to its reliable performance and support for Ultra-HD Dolby Vision content, as well as loads of apps. However, the company’s more affordable Fire TV Stick Full-HD lineup is long overdue for a hardware upgrade. This has finally arrived with the new Amazon Fire TV Stick (3rd generation) and Fire TV Stick Lite. Under review today is the former, and it is the more expensive of the two.
Priced at Rs. 3,999, the Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen) is a full-HD streaming device intended for use with affordable televisions and offers a little more than Rs. 2,999 Lite Model. The hardware gets some useful upgrades, which Amazon hopes will keep the product lineup relevant in the face of stiff competition, most notably the Mi TV Stick and Mi Box 4K. Is this the best affordable streaming device you can buy today? Find out in our review.
Who is the Amazon Fire TV Stick (3rd generation) for?
Like the Mi TV Stick, the Amazon Fire TV Stick (3rd generation) is a full-HD streaming device that plugs into a television’s HDMI port. If you have an older smart TV that isn’t getting updates and can’t run modern apps, or even a non-smart TV, the Amazon Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen) will plug into an HDMI port and add up-to-date smart and streaming features to your screen. It’s a good way to get access to the full intelligence without having to replace your TV.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick (3rd generation) is a standalone streaming device. It is powered by the Mediatek MT8695D processor, runs Amazon’s Fire OS 7 (based on Android 9) and has 1GB of RAM. All major apps and services are supported on Fire OS, including Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar and YouTube, as well as Amazon’s own Prime Video. Fire OS also supports the Apple TV app, which is currently not available on the Android TV platform.
With support for streaming at up to full-HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), the Amazon Fire TV Stick (3rd generation) is ideal for use with smaller, more affordable televisions, including 32-inch models and many 43-inch models. You can also use the new Fire TV Stick with big-screen 4K TVs if you like, but video quality will be limited to full-HD, even though it’s available at higher resolutions. Dolby Atmos audio is supported, and interestingly, HDR up to the HDR10+ format.
HDR at resolutions below 4K doesn’t make much of a difference and isn’t even supported at the hardware level on most non-4K TVs, but it’s a nice spec to have. If you intend to use the device with a 4K HDR TV, software-level support can make a small difference in improving color and brightness levels even if the stream resolution goes up to 1080p.
How does the Amazon Fire TV Stick (3rd generation) work?
Once connected to an HDMI port on your television, the Amazon Fire TV Stick (3rd generation) works like any other connected device, as it handles content and connectivity on its own. Fire OS has a large and growing list of supported apps and services, so you can stream content from a variety of sources. This includes popular subscription-based streaming services as well as several free content providers.
As is the case with other Fire TV devices, the Fire TV Stick (3rd generation) user interface is heavily focused on Amazon Prime Video and therefore is an ideal choice for you if you use this streaming service a lot. While the user interface offers easy, reliable and very functional access to all major streaming services, there is a clear visual bias towards Amazon’s own service and streaming content.
This is all controlled via a dedicated remote, which is the main difference between the Amazon Fire TV Stick (3rd gen) and the more affordable Fire TV Stick Lite. Remote control is a complete affair on the more expensive of the two streaming devices and is similar to what you get with the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K.
In addition to basic controls for the Fire OS interface and content playback, the remote can also be configured to control certain aspects of your TV by sending the specific IR signal your TV accepts, including power and volume, which is useful as it allows you to place your regular TV remote far away most of the time.
The remote also has a microphone and gives you access to Alexa. You can use it pretty much the same way you use Amazon’s voice assistant on your smart speakers. Responses are customized to your account, and the Alexa on the Fire TV Stick can be used to access specific content and apps via voice commands, as well as control devices and linked smart devices such as plugs and lights.
What can you do with the Amazon Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen)?
The Amazon Fire TV Stick (3rd generation) is an entry-level streaming device suitable for most streaming purposes, especially if you have a small-screen television with resolutions up to Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels). It offers reliable and easy access to all popular apps and streaming services, including Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Disney+ Hotstar, and it does so with an easy-to-learn, content-prioritizing user interface that separates videos by genre, language, and more.
Naturally, how well the content looks and sounds depends a lot on the television you use and any other connected equipment, such as sound bars or speaker systems, but the Fire TV Stick (3rd generation) does a good job of sending the highest quality content possible to your screen. The UI performance is good even though the device only has 1GB of RAM thanks to the much improved processor.
An electrical power adapter and Micro-USB cable are included in the box. Amazon recommends that you connect the Fire TV Stick (3rd generation) to an external power source via the Micro-USB port on the side, but I had no trouble powering the new Fire TV Stick from a USB port on my MarQ 43SAFHD TV. I was even able to configure the TV’s power and volume controls via the Fire TV Stick’s remote.
Boot time is a bit slow in this case as it needs to fully boot every time, but it’s no slower than how long it takes for Android TV based devices like the Mi TV Stick and Mi Box 4K to boot. If you have the Fire TV Stick plugged into an outlet, you can safely leave it on at all times; in this case, booting is much faster, as it just comes out of standby mode.
I had a virtually bug and lag free experience with the device and was able to quickly and reliably stream a variety of content in up to full-HD. Of course, you’ll need a fast internet connection to be able to get the most out of the Fire TV Stick, and anything above 10Mbps should let you stream in full-HD without too much trouble. In my case, thanks to my 50Mbps connection, the Fire TV Stick (3rd generation) was able to upscale content to full-HD resolution on Amazon Prime Video in just a few seconds.
Our current pick among streaming devices is the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, and the Fire TV Stick (3rd generation) offers much of the same experience for smaller televisions at a lower price point. The user interface is easy to use, the performance is reliable and the extensive application support makes this the best full-HD streaming device you can buy today. However, the Rs. The price of 3,999 is the biggest weakness of the Amazon Fire TV Stick (3rd gen).
At Rs. At 3,499, the 4K-capable Mi Box 4K is a more affordable, better-equipped option. If you think you don’t need 4K streaming right now, the Mi TV Stick, priced at Rs. 2,799, it’s considerably more affordable and offers basically the same features as the Fire TV Stick (3rd gen). If price and value are big factors for you, Xiaomi devices might be worth considering.
Amazon itself also has an alternative in the form of the Fire TV Stick Lite. Priced at Rs. 2,999, the Lite model bypasses the TV controls on the remote and supports Dolby Atmos, but has the same hardware and software as the Fire TV Stick (3rd generation). If you watch a lot of content on Amazon Prime Video, the two new Fire TV Stick devices are definitely worth considering.
Price (MRP): LOL. 3,999
- All major apps and services supported
- Excellent UI
- Good remote control, Alexa access
- Reliable, hassle-free performance
Ratings (out of 5)
- Design and specifications: 4
- Features: 4
- Value for money: 3
- Overall: 4
Mi TV Stick vs Fire TV Stick Lite vs Mi Box 4K vs Fire TV Stick 4K: Which is the best budget streaming device for TVs in India? We discuss this on Orbital, our weekly tech podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or simply hit the play button below.