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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Fire TV Cube review: A better picture, without touching the remote

The Amazon Fire TV Cube is a premium offering that adds more functionality to the Fire TV Stick. However, at a price of Rs 12,999, should you buy it? Read our full review to find out.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Rs. 12,999
Written by Nandagopal Rajan | New Delhi |
Updated: April 22, 2021 8:07:37 am
Amazon, Amazon Fire TV Cube,Check out what we think about the new Amazon Fire TV Cube. (Image Source: The Indian Express/ Nandagopal Rajan)

The Amazon Fire TV Stick has over the years taken smart features to millions of televisions across the world at a very affordable price point. Now, Amazon wants to push the game and offer more from its Fire TV stables with a premium new offering called the Fire TV Cube.

So what is the Fire TV Cube?

The Fire TV Cube does what the Fire TV Stick does, but adds a handsfree experience, better connectivity and more processing power. It has the shape of a cube and can connect with the TV via an HDMI cable, which you will have to buy extra if there is none lying around in your house.

The big difference is that Fire TV Cube is an Alexa device on its own and it can reply to queries, as well as control the TV and other devices connected to it. The Fire TV Cube comes with a converter that lets it connect directly to the internet using an ethernet cable — connectivity is at times a problem on Echo devices when you are syncing audio from a TV to a different speaker — and an IR Extender cable to control other, not so smart, devices.

Amazon, Amazon Fire TV Cube, The Amazon Fire TV Cube remote controller. (Image Source: The Indian Express/ Nandagopal Rajan)

Fire TV Cube: What is good?

With the Fire TV Stick, you could use press the Mic button on top and use voice commands to search for content or just ask stuff to Alexa. However, this worked only when the stick was on.

Now, with the Fire TV Cube, you can walk into a room, ask Alexa to switch on the TV and then play Young Sheldon from Amazon Prime. Works like a breeze and if the episode that’s played is one you have watched, you can ask Alexa to change the episode or just switch the TV back off. All without even figuring out where you left the remote last.

Interestingly, while the Fire TV Cube can be operated fully hands-free, it has a better remote than the Fire TV Stick. The new remote has replaced the Mic button with an Alexa one and has dedicated buttons for Prime Video, Netflix, Amazon Music and all apps. There is a forward and reverse button which earlier had to be something you had to manage with the ring and select buttons.

Amazon, Amazon Fire TV Cube, The Amazon Fire TV Cube is an Alexa-enabled device and can reply to queries. (Image Source: The Indian Express/ Nandagopal Rajan)

The Fire TV Cube has a processor that plays 4K content in Dolby Vision HDR10+ at up to 60 frames per second and with Dolby Atmos, provided you are not stuck with Full HD TVs like me. On a Full HD TV, I could no make out a huge difference in video quality to the earlier generation Fire TV Stick. There are no audio ports on the Cube, so you will connect to a soundbar if needed via Bluetooth.

One good thing about the Fire TV Cube is that is a full-fledged Alexa device and does everything any other echo device will do. So if you ask a query it gives an answer and even throws the text result on the screen for good measure. If you request a song it plays on the TV as the Cube does not have a great speaker. You can connect other Alexa enabled devices to this one and control like you would an Echo. In fact, look at this as the Echo for the house, but connected to a TV and a speaker for better audio quality.

Fire TV Cube: What is not that good?

The Fire TV Cube has a pricing that is three times more than that of the Fire TV Stick, so buy this only if you have high-end televisions at home and pay extra for the Netflix 4K streaming. This is not a replacement for your Fire TV Stick.

Fire TV Cube: Should you buy?

Yes, but only if you have high end 4K televisions at home and maybe you have not yet invested in an Alexa device. For such users this is a great product that can become your smart entertainment hub, connecting and controlling much more than your TV. Others can stick to the Fire TV Stick which is best smart options for content consumption.

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