Fire TV Cube review: Time to ditch the Fire TV Stick?

Amazon Fire TV Cube review

Amazon Fire TV Cube 2022 review (Image: AMAZON • GETTY)

The new Fire TV Cube brings even more TV streaming features to your living room

What we love

  • Powerful streaming box
  • Wi-Fi 6E future-proofs the purchase
  • Easy set-up
  • Hands-free Alexa is useful
  • Can act as an Echo speaker

What we don’t

  • No Pro remote in the box
  • Expensive compared to Fire Sticks
  • Most TVs offer the same features for free

Amazon already produces some of the most popular gadgets that help make your TV smarter and the new Fire TV Cube brings even more features to your living room.

It’s now faster, gets a refreshed fabric design and, if you have a Wi-Fi 6 router, it can take full advantage of this speedy broadband technology which means your streaming will never be plagued by stuttering again.

It’s also the only Fire device to feature hands-free Alexa which means you can bark orders at the chatty assistant without reaching for the remote, plus you can hook it up to your other set-top boxes or game consoles and control things via your voice . Thanks to some in-built audio, this device can also act like a mini Echo speaker with music, timers and useful information blaring out with a decent level of volume.

Like all Fire TV devices, there’s an easy-to-navigate on-screen menu and it integrates all of the most popular services such as Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV+ and Disney+ into one place.

You can also add plenty more TV apps like Paramount+, freevee, ITVX, Discovery+ and YouTube plus there are games and even platforms such as TikTok that can all be viewed on the big screen.

There are lots to like but at over £130 this is not a cheap device. For some reason, it also ships with a standard remote rather than the more premium Pro channel changer. With Amazon’s basic Fire TV Sticks offering similar features at a fraction of the cost, the new Fire TV Cube should only be considered by hardcore Fire fans.

Amazon Fire TV Cube

All of the biggest streaming apps are integrated (Image: AMAZON)

Fire TV Cube: Full review

Amazon’s Fire TV Sticks offer some of the best value when trying to make your television a little smarter, but what if you want something with a few extra bells and whistles? That’s where the Fire TV Cube starts to shine with this diddy set-top box offering some useful extras you won’t find on any of Amazon’s streaming sticks.

The Fire TV Cube has been around since 2018 but it’s just had a major overhaul with a new design, more power and silky smooth streaming thanks to the introduction of Wi-Fi 6E. So should you splash out over £130 and buy one? Here’s our full Fire TV Cube review.

Set-up and Design

The new Fire TV Cube is a breeze to get up and running with Amazon doing all the heavy lifting for you via its smartphone app. A few taps on your iPhone or Android device will hook the Cube up to your Wi-Fi and link things to your Amazon account with the whole process taking a matter of minutes.

Once things are all connected you simply pop it next to your television and plug in the HDMI cable to binge content on the biggest screen in your home.

Along with being simple to set up, the Cube looks pretty premium with Amazon ditching the all-plastic appearance in favor of a design that’s now covered in fabric. When you shout an order at Alexa this device also has a neat light around its edge which glows so you know the smart assistant has heard you.

Its small size, which measures in at just 7.7cm tall, means you won’t really notice it once placed alongside your telly and there are also volume and Alexa buttons on the top which are easy to find and press.

Amazon’s design team has done a nice job on the Fire TV Cube and it really won’t look out of place in even the most luxurious living rooms.

Amazon Fire TV Cube review

The Fire TV Cube ships with a standard remote (Image: AMAZON)

The Remote

Shipping with the Fire TV Cube is a standard plastic remote control which is perfectly usable but definitely not market-leading. Apple sells its new TV 4K box with a stunning rechargeable aluminum channel changer which feels far more premium than what comes in the box with the Fire TV Cube.

Don’t get us wrong, it’s not a bad remote as it’s comfortable to hold and there are plenty of buttons to help switch channels, pump up the volume and change settings. There are even four quick access keys which instantly launch apps such as Prime Video, Netflix and Disney+.

It’s fine, but we can’t help thinking that Amazon should be bundling its new Alexa Voice Remote Pro remote with its most premium streaming device.

We can’t help thinking that Amazon should be bundling its Fire TV Pro remote with its most premium streaming device

That controller includes backlit keys, a more compact design and two extra buttons that can be programmed to access favorite apps and services. There’s even simple pairing to Bluetooth headphones and a loud alarm should it slip behind the sofa.

If you want this remote you’ll have to pay an extra £35 on top of the Cube which feels pretty rich.

The fact that Amazon doesn’t offer any way of recharging its remotes means you will also face the nightmare of tracking down those AAA batteries when things run out.

Alexa Pro Remote

Alexa Voice Remote Pro should be included (Image: AMAZON)

Speed ​​and Streaming

Packed inside the Fire Cube is a speedy Octa-core processor which offers some slick performance – in fact, this is the most powerful Fire device the online retailer has ever made. That means whizzing around menus and launching apps is all done without a hint of a stutter. Animations also appear silky smooth and it’s plenty fast enough to play games and flick quickly between streaming apps.

This is definitely Amazon’s most powerful streaming device to date and it really is a joy to use plus that extra performance is more likely to come in handy for the longevity of the device.

Along with that extra power under the bonnet, there’s also full compatibility with Wi-Fi 6E technology.

For those not aware, Wi-Fi 6E is capable of faster speeds. In lab conditions, it can achieve downloads over a wireless network at speeds of 9.6Gbps – that’s almost triple the ceiling on Wi-Fi 5, which topped out at a respectable 3.5Gbps.

This is definitely Amazon’s most powerful streaming device to date and it really is a joy to use

This all adds up to much more reliable streaming although it is worth bearing in mind that you’ll need a Wi-Fi 6 router if you want to take advantage of this boost. Wi-Fi 6E also won’t make the broadband coming into your home physically faster but it will make sure the signal around the home is more reliable.

One other thing to note is that Amazon’s cheaper Fire TV Stick Max is also fully Wi-Fi 6 compatible and costs half the price of the Fire Cube.

When it comes to watching and finding shows Fire TV OS, which is the operating system found on all Fire TV Stick hardware and Fire TV-powered Smart TVs, is gorgeous. For our money, it remains one of the best user interfaces on any streaming gadget

Fire TV fills the screen with stunning, high-resolution artwork from shows and movies as you browse. There are also brief descriptions and ratings from IMDB – so you don’t need to keep referring to your smartphone to find out whether the film you’re thinking of watching was savaged by critics or not.

You’re also able to curate your own Watchlist of shows and films that have caught your eye that you’d like to get around to watching at some point.

Amazon Fire TV Cube

The Cube offers a slick user interface (Image: AMAZON)

Hands-free Alexa

One of the best features of the Fire TV Cube is touch-free access to Alexa. It makes this streaming box feel just like an Echo smart speaker as you simply need to say that famous name to see the smart assistant spring into action. No other Fire device has this easy accessibility and it works really well.

You can ask the Cube to play some music, set timers, read the news and launch apps on the screen such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Prime Video.

There’s even the option to say things like, “Alexa, show me Bond films on Prime Video” and, in a flash, the screen will be full of those famous spy flicks.

When watching content, quick voice commands such as “Alexa, pause”, and “Alexa, fast forward 5 minutes”, also work really well and you’ll rarely need to grab the remote to control things on the screen.

Amazon’s Alexa is still one of the best smart assistants on the planet and the integration with the Cube is brilliant.

Of course, most of these features can be found on the cheaper Fire TV Sticks, but to wake Alexa you need to find the remote, push the voice button and speak. There’s no such hassle on the Cube.

Amazon Fire TV Cube

There are plenty of ports on the case including HDMI and USB-C (Image: AMAZON)

One of the biggest additions to the new Cube is being able to plug in other devices, such as set-top boxes or consoles, and get full Alexa support. It basically means you can switch between devices and change channels without ever reaching for the remote.

It takes a bit of time to get this feature working but if you love voice controls it’s a nice addition to the Cube.

As you’d probably expect, Amazon’s most premium streaming box is fully 4K ready and also supports Dolby Vision, HDR and Dolby Atmos audio.

There are easily accessible volume and Alexa buttons on the top and on the back of the box you’ll find an Ethernet port to hard wire your internet and there’s also a USB socket.

This allows you to plug in external devices such as hard drives and web cameras for video calls.

The Price

When compared to a basic Fire TV Stick, the new Fire TV Cube is ludicrously expensive. The entry-level Amazon dongle will cost you just £29.99 – that’s over four times cheaper than the Fire TV Cube.

At £139 it is slightly less expensive than the £149 Apple TV 4K and it can also act as an Echo speaker which improves the overall value for money.

That said, if you already own an Amazon smart speaker and really aren’t bothered about speed, Wi-Fi 6E or hands-free Alexa, it’s probably not worth the price and we’d stick to a cheaper Fire TV Stick.

One thing that’s definitely worth looking out for is the annual Prime Day sales as the Cube is certain to be reduced and that could make its price look far more attractive.

Amazon Fire TV Cube

The Amazon Fire TV Cube is expensive but feature packed (Image: AMAZON)

Fire TV Cube: Verdict

The new Fire TV Cube from Amazon is a brilliant little streaming box that not only beams content to your telly but also acts as a mini Echo smart speaker.

Thanks to its speedy processor and Wi-Fi 6E capabilities this device also offers a fast and seamless streaming experience plus there’s a plethora of apps and games which makes it feel far more than just a TV set-top box.

The fact that it has hands-free access to Alexa is also a huge bonus as you can bark orders at it without having to reach for the remote.

Other features that impress include the simple set-up, compatibility with other devices and its neat design means it shouldn’t spoil the look of even the most luxurious living rooms.

So that’s the good stuff but there are some things that we are not so keen on. First, Amazon should be shipping its Cube with the improved Fire Pro remote. Asking customers to stump up extra cash for that accessory is darn right cheeky.

Then there’s that price itself. The Fire TV Cube costs £139 which is £100 more than a basic Fire TV Stick. Is it really £100 better? We’re not totally convinced it is.

If you really want the ultimate Amazon streaming device then the Fire TV Cube won’t let you down. It’s a fabulous box that makes streaming a dream. However, if you simply want a device that will make your telly a little bit smarter you really can’t go wrong with a £29 Fire TV Stick.

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