October 26, 2021

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Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite review: Capable streamer, cheap price

Roku is the major title in streaming components, with several distinct streamers offered ideal now, and even much more TVs and soundbars. Amazon has been gunning for Roku’s slice of the pie ever because the initial Fire Tv appeared. The $thirty Amazon Fire Tv Lite is the firm’s most affordable streamer, an response to the $30 Roku Convey and as you’d anticipate its major edge more than Roku is the Alexa voice assistant.

Like

  • Dirt-cheap
  • Features Alexa voice distant
  • Large range of streaming apps, including HBO Max
  • Integrates very well with Echo speakers

Never Like

  • Voice commands will not perform with every app
  • A lot more sophisticated menus than Roku
  • HDR with out 4K is kinda pointless

Amazon also has a $40 Fire Stick but I would argue that the Fire Stick Tv Lite is the greater offer. The most important variance is that the much more high priced Stick has a distinct distant with electrical power, quantity and mute buttons to command your Tv. If you’re only making use of this streamer on a cheap Tv in any case, it really is worthy of preserving the cash, except you actually want Tv command.

So is the $thirty Fire Tv Lite greater than the $thirty Roku Convey? They mostly have the exact same range of apps, now that Fire Tv has Peacock, so the vital variations are in the menu programs and voice support. The Lite’s developed-in obtain to Alexa is a large edge if you like talking alternatively of typing when you research for displays and launch apps. In the end, I preferred the Fire Tv Lite a little bit greater, despite the fact that the Roku Convey is however an fantastic alternative also. If your Tv has an HDMI port, the Fire Tv Stick Lite is a wonderful way to equip it with a prosperity of streaming for not significantly cash.

What is it?


Sarah Tew/CNET

The Fire Tv Lite is a USB adhere-sized gadget which plugs into a spare HDMI port on your Tv. For thirty bucks it features a great deal of functions, including that focused voice distant that enables integration with the Alexa voice assistant. There is also dozens of supported streaming services among its countless numbers of offered apps.

The distant hasn’t physically adjusted significantly because the initial Fire Tv and I failed to like the sense as significantly as the Roku distant or the new Google Tv remote. Amazon’s clicker also lacks the shortcuts to Netflix or other generally-used providers, but it does contain a new are living Tv button. 

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The Lite distant should really appear acquainted to Fire Tv end users.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Urgent that new base button brings up a grid-type are living Tv manual populated by default with “channels” of absolutely free displays from Pluto Tv and Starz. Unusually Amazon’s individual IMDb Tv is not component of the are living Tv grid, even nevertheless it has its individual method grid the moment you open the app. If you take place to subscribe to YouTube Tv, you are going to also see displays and channels from that provider in the manual, despite the fact that it failed to perform with Sling Tv (subscribers will have to use the Sling app as regular).

The adhere itself will come with a electrical power adapter which Amazon strongly endorses you use. Even though you could use the USB ports on your gadget to electrical power it I located it could lead to the unit could behave unusually. For example, Dolby Atmos content wouldn’t perform at all when plugged into a Tv USB port, despite the gadget declaring “Dolby Atmos” — the sound arrived out as 5.one.

A single element on the Lite’s element checklist appears to be a tiny out of location: HDR compatibility. This is the initial gadget we’ve seen to supply HDR but not 4K resolution, and it raises the question of what kind of Tv it really is made for. There are hundreds of 4K HDR TVs out there but, centered on a research of the Best Purchase site, there are only 4 1080p TVs that can do HDR. For most persons with 4K HDR TVs, we might recommend having a streamer that can really do 4K alternatively of a 1080p streamer like the Lite.

Lots of streaming apps

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The Fire Tv Lite supports a broad range of apps.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Like other streaming equipment the number of providers that Amazon Fire Tv supports is bettering all the time. It can obtain practically all of the important streaming apps, including Amazon Primary Video ($nine at Amazon), Peacock, HBO Max, Netflix, Hulu, Sling Tv, Crackle, Pluto Tv, Tubi Tv, Amazon Songs, Pandora, Spotify and several, several much more. 

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The new Dwell button on the distant summons a grid-type method manual.


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

What it really is like to use

The healthful complement of functions, tightly built-in voice commands and its relative velocity would make for a profitable blend. In general opening apps was speedy, and only navigating the home site tiles could give a quite occasional slow-down, but almost nothing that spoiled the knowledge. 

Making use of the Fire Tv Stick Lite distant is straightforward, and Alexa queries with the microphone button ended up much more responsive and related than making use of the Echo as a go-amongst. Only the moment in a when did I would like for a mute button, and that was generally in the course of the autoplay movies that accompany the tiles on the home site.

I appreciated currently being ready to use both the distant or an Alexa speaker for voice commands, but making use of an Echo speaker failed to perform with every app I experimented with. Asking for “Umbrella Academy” on Netflix unsuccessful, for example, and I just acquired a “verify your expertise” message (there is no official Netflix skill in the Alexa app). 

Making use of the distant alternatively of a speaker was much more profitable, but even that was not infallible. Supplied that YouTube Tv is now tightly built-in I hoped that voice research would perform greater than it does. For instance I asked for “Battle Bots on YouTube Tv” and all I acquired ended up YouTube and Amazon “purchase” backlinks. Amazon Primary video labored very well with Alexa voice, nonetheless.

In distinction, Roku might not have the exact same robust voice abilities, but textual content and voice queries by way of the Roku distant are typically much more specific towards the absolutely free/involved programs instead than simply just pointing to “purchase now” backlinks.  

Photo and sound good quality ended up also quite excellent, but the deficiency of an audio structure command outside of “Best Out there” could direct to some odd complications. For example, The Legend of Korra on Netflix making use of the Lite only gave me stereo sound (nevertheless it should really be able of 5.one), whilst the new Fire Stick did give me the predicted 5.one. Other programs, including Jack Ryan on Amazon, ended up performed in Atmos on the Lite so it was not most likely a components ability challenge. A lot more most likely a Netflix one particular, and when I attained out to Amazon for clarification, a spokesperson verified the gadget supports both equally 5.one and seven.one. 

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Sarah Tew/CNET

There are two distinct colleges of considered when it will come to how streaming equipment organize their articles. App-centric menus like Roku and Apple Tv just demonstrate you a grid of apps, so you won’t be able to really look through for a little something to watch with out clicking by way of to each individual app. Amazon Fire Tv and Google Tv just take a much more articles-targeted technique, surfacing plenty of titles on the home site itself. 

If you like to graze for articles, the Fire Tv may be much more captivating, despite the fact that the “are living tiles” autoplay video can be jarring. If you know what you want currently, or at the very least what app you want to watch, Roku is likely a greater alternative, in component mainly because Amazon’s research final results skew closely towards its individual articles (generally at more price). 

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Should you purchase it?

If you want an ultracheap, able streamer and are embedded with Alexa and the Amazon universe, this merchandise would make a great deal of perception. You might or might not overlook the Tv command functions but the Dwell Tv Tutorial button is a actual bonus for cord-cutters in individual. At $thirty it really is a worthy streamer and a wonderful stocking filler.

If, on the other hand, you have the 2019 Fire Stick, there is certainly certainly no rationale for you to purchase both of the 2020 versions. Dolby Atmos and/or Dolby Vision are strange increase-ons for 1080p equipment, and if you have a respectable 4K Tv then you should really get a actual 4K streamer — it really is just a further $twenty.

Initial published Oct. 8 2020, current June 2021 with addition of Peacock.