Fire TV Cube hands-free streaming device with Alexa 4K Ultra HD review

Fire TV Cube hands-free streaming device with Alexa 4K Ultra HD review
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Can you watch TV channels in Fire TV Cube hands-free streaming device with Alexa 4K Ultra HD? With Alexa on Fire TV Cube, you can control compatible TVs, soundbars, and A/V receivers from top brands like Samsung, Sony, LG, Vizio, and more. Plus, tune to live TV channels with cable or satellite boxes from providers like Comcast, DISH, DIRECTV/AT&T U-verse, and more. Even it supports 4K quality games. Know more about benefits in Fire TV Cube hands-free streaming device with Alexa 4K Ultra HD review.

In the box

Fire TV Cube (2nd Gen), Alexa Voice Remote (2nd Gen), power adapter, Quick Start Guide, marketing guide, 2 AAA batteries, infrared (IR) extender cable, Amazon Ethernet Adapter (10/100). HDMI cable is sold separately.

  • Fire TV Cube
  • IR extender cable
  • Ethernet adaptor
  • Quick Start Guide
  • USB power cable
  • AC power adaptor
  • Alexa Voice Remote
  • 2 AAA batteries

Pros & Cons – Fire TV Cube hands-free streaming device with Alexa 4K Ultra HD

Pros

  • 4K, HDR resolution
  • Smart home control
  • Alexa voice command
  • TV/AV control center
  • Infrared blaster can control your home theater by voice
  • Fast performance
  • Native YouTube app
  • Hands-free Alexa voice support
  • Supports all major HDR formats


Cons

  • HDMI cable not included
  • Home screen is mostly Amazon content
  • Limited manual remote
  • Larger than most devices
  • Language recognition isn’t perfect
  • Expensive compared with smaller 4K media streamers
  • Expensive price tag

Specs – Fire TV Cube hands-free streaming device with Alexa 4K Ultra HD

  • Operating SystemAndroid
  • Surround Sound FormatsDolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, Dolby Digital
  • Audio/Video OutputsHDMI
  • Features4K
  • ModelAmazon Fire TV Cube
  • Price: $119.99
  • Size: 3.4” x 3.4” x 3.0”
  • Storage Capacity16 GB
  • Playable Media FormatDolby Vision
  • ColorBlack
  • Video: 1080p, 4K Ultra HD, HDR, HDR 10
  • Audio: Dolby Atmos, 7.1 + 5.1 surround sound; standard 2.0 stereo
  • Generation1st Generation
  • ConnectivityWi-Fi, HDMI
  • ProcessorQuad Core
  • Storage: 16 GB (internal)
  • Wi-Fi: Dual-band/dual-antenna 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  • TypeHD Digital
  • Maximum Resolution2160p
  • Remote: Alexa Voice Remote (included) or Fire TV app (download)

Fire TV Cube price

The All-New Amazon Fire TV Cube is available for $119.99 (£109, around AU$160), having launched in October 2019. The old model retails for around $99 in the US, but we expect that to fade out after stock runs out. 

To put that price in comparison with other streaming boxes, the Roku Ultra would run you $99 while the Apple TV 4K currently sells for around $179 (£179). 

If you want to save some money, you can always buy the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K with the Alexa Remote that costs only $49.99 (£49.99, around AU$70). 

Compare Fire TV Cube hands-free streaming device with Alexa 4K Ultra HD vs Fire Stick

Fire TV StickFire TV Cube
Included remoteAlexa Voice Remote (3rd Gen)Alexa Voice Remote (2nd Gen)
Remote with TV controls (power/volume buttons)YesYes
Audio supportDolby Atmos AudioDolby Atmos Audio
Release year20212019
Best forStreaming essentials plus TV controlHands-free voice control of entertainment
Hands-free with AlexaYes
Picture qualityUp to 1080p Full HD with support for HDR, HDR 10, HDR10+, HLGUp to 4K Ultra HD with support for HDR, HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision
Behind-the-TV designYes
Storage8 GB16 GB
Quad-core processorYesHexa-core
Optional Amazon Ethernet AdapterYesFull Ethernet support

Fire TV Cube hands-free streaming device with Alexa 4K Ultra HD Review

Design

It’s a three-inch cube with glossy black plastic sides and a matte black plastic top, with the front face denoted by a translucent strip hiding a series of LEDs on the top front edge. The bottom panel, lifted up slightly by four rubber feet, holds a series of grille holes covering the built-in speaker. The top panel holds Alexa, volume up/down, and microphone mute buttons, along with eight pinholes indicating the far-field microphone array.

Ports

Spin the Fire TV Cube around to the back and you’ll find an HDMI port, microUSB, an IR extender and a power connector. There’s not much to say about the microUSB or the power connector, both of which work as advertised, but there’s something to say about how the Fire TV Cube handles HDMI. The good is that the Fire TV Cube comes with HDMI CEC, that feature that allows you to control your devices over HDMI and IR commands. 

Processor

Fire TV Cube used a Quad core ARM Cortex-A53 1.5GHz CPU, Mali-450 MP3 GPU and Amlogic S905Z SoC to produce stunning visuals and fast load times throughout the OS, but that’s been upgraded to an ultra-powerful hexa-core processor that can play Dolby Vision and 4K Ultra HD content at up to 60 fps.

4K HDR image

HDR and Dolby Vision really bring out the best and brightest colors in your favorite shows and movies, it’s best to watch content in native 4K HDR wherever you can find it. To help with that very thing, the Amazon Fire TV home screen has a 4K HDR row, so it’s worth taking advantage of it.

What about HD/SDR content? Well, the Fire TV Cube does a good job working with your 4K TV to upscale them for the higher resolution, but you’ll still see a difference. Colors don’t look as vibrant in HD/SDR and black levels suffer, too.

Game

Amazon Fire TV Cube has the ability to play some light games as well. The games are usually akin to what you’d find on the App Store or Google Play Store (which makes sense as Fire TV OS is a variation of Android), but Amazon’s offerings are smaller in number and lesser in quality to what you’d find on, say, the Apple TV 4K or Nvidia Shield, both of which offer high-quality (but still ephemeral) games. 

Music

In terms of audio streaming, Amazon Fire TV Cube supports Spotify, but you’ll probably end up using Amazon Music or Amazon Music Unlimited the most. The former has a few million songs and is available with every Amazon Prime subscription, while the latter will run you a few dollars extra per month but offers tens of millions of songs from more obscure artists instead.

Remote control

Starting at the top with a power button and an Alexa mic button, there’s also a navigation wheel (with Select command inside). Then Back, Home, Menu, Fast-Forward, Play/Pause, Rewind, and Mute, followed by a volume up/down rocker. That’s it.

Those who prefer not to talk to their electronics might prefer a beefier remote, but this navigates the Cube nicely. If you want a more feature-rich remote in your hands, there’s also the Fire TV app for Android and iOS, but its performance isn’t quite on-par with Fire TV Cube’s system.

Alexa to control your home

The Fire TV Cube’s most notable feature is its far-field microphone array for hands-free Alexa use. Just say “Alexa,” and ask a question or give a command. The Fire TV Cube will respond with its built-in speaker, and show any related information on the TV if it’s turned on.

It can also control your home theater devices directly with its IR emitters, and your smart home devices over Wi-Fi if they’re compatible with Alexa (and the vast majority of major home automation products are).

Audio

As an Echo device, it’s not too bad. Even tucked into a TV stand behind a perforated door, it never struggled to hear the wake word and, while sound quality is only so-so when the TV is off, music requests are played through the TV speakers when it’s on so you might find it does the job as a dedicated living room smart speaker.

WiFi

The Fire TV Cube features dual-band and dual-antenna MIMO Wi-Fi compatible with 802.11 a/b/c/g/n/ac. If you want a wired connection, that’s covered, too; the micro USB port can accept the included Ethernet adapter, letting you connect the Fire TV directly to your router.

Apps

Amazon Fire TV Cube heavily favors Amazon’s own streaming service, it’s still possible to get a number of other streaming apps including Netflix, HBO, Starz, Hulu, PlayStation Vue and Crackle, alongside smaller services like The CW, NFL Network, AMC and more, with new services added regularly. 

Setup – Fire TV Cube hands-free streaming device with Alexa 4K Ultra HD

Connecting a Fire TV Cube directly to a TV is easy and almost entirely automatic—especially if it’s a newer TV. Older models may require a few extra minutes and steps for system recognition. If you ordered the Cube from Amazon, it’ll even already be signed into your Prime account (again, convenient or scary—you decide).

From there, the Fire TV Cube’s setup wizard will walk you through the processes for syncing up other components. One important step it leaves out, though, is a reminder to turn on the other devices’ HDMI CEC (consumer electronics control). Many newer devices come CEC-ready, but be sure to check first.

As with any device setup, we recommend using the Fire TV Cube’s included AC adaptor rather than running from your TV’s USB power, which turns on and off with the TV. Also, we prefer the direct internet connection of an Ethernet cable to Wi-Fi, but we get the aversion to cluttering your entertainment-center wires. You do you.

Fire TV Cube hands-free streaming device with Alexa 4K Ultra HD customer review

Good Streamer Alexa is a bonus

This was purchased to replace a different streamer that I had to get repaired under warranty. ( I got a replacement for it )

My criteria for a streamer is 1 picture and sound quality 2 reliability of connection to the various streaming services and the apps offered 3 ease of setup and general usability.

For item 1 I give this streamer the Cube a 7 overall (the other streamer was 9 overall )
Part of the problem appears to be the WiFi but is better with direct Ethernet cable to router (the other streamer is better on WiFi,
WiFi issue-
Picture: is mostly ok to good but for darker scenes seems to blur to a dark undefined area with no or little shadow detail.(black crush?)
Direct Ethernet cable this problem is not present or very minimized.

Sound: I don’t seem to be able to find any Dolby Atmos movies or content. The other streamer would always present Atmos to my
Yamaha receiver.
Costs:
I picked this up on Labor Day sale so it’s definitely a good deal.
I think PRIME is the better deal since we have a Prime account which provide Amazon Music, Prime books/ Kindle and shopping.
( Netflix raised prices again so ended my membership)

Item 2: Connectivity.
WiFi I give an 8 rating . Generally the connections have been flawless. A specific app I use for News ( News 12 on Optimum on LI NY) though the stream is terrible when it starts but cleans up after about a minute. The other streamer I have is flawless for the News 12 app. Possibly the streamer is doing optimizing as a stream starts ? Then the Cube or app will finally settle for good enough?
My average network speed is 60Mbps on my internal 5g WiFi, 80 Mbps on a PC with wired nic
I should note these issues are not seen on the other Streamer (fruit name)
Note: On direct Ethernet cable the Cube behaves better overall.

Item 3: Usability I give this a 7. Set up was easy. Alexa is ok but control of the TV and Reciever and other inputs on the reciever is odd.
It took 3 attempts of using the wizard to get Alexa to control everything by voice.

The remote is OK, pausing, ff, few and X-ray work nicely. Captions are paint to get to.

The overall interface on the Cube though does not segregate the PRIME only programming from everything else making for tedious selection of programming.
I don’t understand why PRIME subscribers don’t have a single point of entry to see their Prime programming? The other streamer has the Amazon app and the Prime programming separated so I don’t by accident select something that I have to pay for.

Fire TV app on a tablet i give a 4. The screen area that is like a touch pad is WAY too sensitive, If i move a finger just a little bit the list of programming flies by.

Alexa is new to us so still getting used to it.

Overall this a good streamer and worth getting.

By Techtoyguy at Best Buy

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