- Small, discrete and easy to install
- Full HD + Dolby Digital
- Access to lots of very popular apps
- Some games are a little tricky to control with the included remote
Amazon has been making their own tech products for a few years now, which include streaming devices and tablets. The first and still their most popular streaming device is the Amazon FireTV Stick and that is what we will be looking at today. The Amazon FireTV Stick is a streaming device that will turn your television into a SMART TV and will enable you to gain access to a number of popular apps such as: Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Plex, BBC iPlayer, 4oD, ITV Hub, Spotify and many more.
Below is some information on the specifications you can expect from the Amazon FireTV Stick:
- Full 1080HD output
- Duel core processor
- 1GB memory
- 8GB storage
- WiFi – Dual-band, dual-antenna, 802.11a/b/g/n (MIMO)
The stick comes in a very small and neat box, along with a remote control, a power cable, HDMI extender cable (incase your HDMI ports are on the back of the TV and not on the side) and some simple instructions to get you started. There are two options when purchasing the stick, you can either get a standard remote or a voice control remote, so you can speak commands into the remote instead of using the buttons. It will cost you an additional £10 for the voice control remote however so bear that in mind when making a purchase decision.
The stick resembles your typical USB memory stick, just slightly larger, and instead of it having the male USB part, it has HDMI instead. The stick is finished in a matte black coating and overall looks very modern and discrete. It’s also very lightweight and perfect for moving it around the house or taking it away anywhere you go!
To get the stick up and running, you first need to plug it into the next available HDMI port on your TV or monitor, insert the micro USB cable into the stick and plug the other end into your local power socket. Very straight forward. Amazon do recommend using their power plug, as it’s optimised for the stick but I’m sure other plugs or even a USB port on your TV, will work just fine. Once the power is on, the stick will begin to set itself up. The initial set up will take you through a number of settings, that will require your input – think things like your location and WiFi passwords – and once that’s done, a short informative video will appear, briefly running through how to use the stick. The video lasts for around three minutes but it’s really handy and very well put together; I recommend you to watch it. On top of the remote, there is also a free app that you can download to your smart device,which enables you to control the stick, including the voice control function. I tried the app, it works pretty well but for me, nothing beats physically pushing a button to make something work.
So what can you do on the stick? You can watch movies, listen to music, browse your photos and play games. There are a number of apps you can install on the stick, including some of your favourite TV services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, as well as an array of games. Some of these apps come pre-installed and for the rest, you need visit the app store. There are both paid and free content available on the app store but keep in mind the 8GB storage allowance on the stick. You can buy and rent content via your Amazon account, and this will show up in within your library albeit only lasting a day or two depending on rent time. You can also build your own watch list, so all of your favourite content is in one place. One of my favourite apps from the app store, is the fish tank screensaver. It’s actually an HD video recording of real fish; none of the computerised stuff and it’s awesome!
The stick takes about 30 seconds to boot up, after initial install. It’s very smooth and responsive, with apps opening within a few seconds of selection. The user interface is beautiful. It’s slick, modern and extremely easy to navigate and use. The picture quality is full 1080p HD, assuming your content and TV are both 1080p compatible. The stick does not support 4K however although the TV box version does. Sound quality is very good, thanks to it having a Dolby Digital Plus certification. The games looks great and if you are not a fan of using your remote, you can get an official Amazon game controller, which resembles the shape and layout of a traditional Xbox controller. This would definitely improve your gaming experience however we weren’t able to test one of these out.
This stick overall is a brilliant piece of kit. It offers everything you need for an all-rounded entertainment hub. It’s very well built and backed by one of the largest companies in the world. It’s currently available for just £34.99 and I feel that is an absolute steal for the amount of content you actually receive to the stick! I’ve tried similar products like the Chromecast and Humax H3 Espresso and none of them offer what this stick does,